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15 Fun Family Vacations in Wisconsin

Guide to the best destinations for family getaways in Wisconsin

As one of the largest Midwestern states, there are many options for family vacations in Wisconsin that can cater to any tastes.

When you travel Wisconsin with kids, you will need to plan your activities carefully so they have a vacation that they will never forget.

My list of the best family getaways in Wisconsin will help you to get started, and I have included somewhere to stay with your family in each one.

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Overview: Top 5 Family Vacations in Wisconsin

  • Bayfield & the Apostle Islands
  • Milwaukee
  • Eau Claire
  • Door County
  • Wisconsin Dells

1. Eau Claire

best family getaways in Wisconsin, waterfall running through rocky outcrops with autumnal trees behind

Where to stay for families: GrandStay Residential Suites – Eau Claire

Eau Claire is where you can find the most charming family vacations Wisconsin can offer. It is perfect for families seeking the outdoors, with plenty of places to enjoy fishing and hiking.

You can even relax on a sandy beach at Big Falls Country Park, one of the top things to do in Eau Claire.

However, there are also options if you are looking for the best vacation spots in Wisconsin for families that are indoors.

The Children’s Museum of Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley Museum are educational, fun, and interactive. They are perfect for Wisconsin fall getaways when the weather is starting to get cooler.

Finally, Eau Claire is also a strong option for urban Wisconsin vacations for families.

The historic downtown is full of excellent cafes, shops, and restaurants, and a summer walk along the river in Phoenix Park is beautiful and relaxing.

Book the best vacation rentals in Eau Claire

2. Lake Namakagon

Wisconsin vacations for families, View of the calm blue waters of a wide lake surrounded by green trees and foliage under a wide open blue sky with a few white fluffy clouds

Where to stay for families: Lakewoods Resort

The perfect place to go for a luxury family vacation is Lake Namakagon, a 3,400-acre scenic site known for its luxurious cabins, apartments, lodges, homes, and villas.

These excellent accommodations are charming and rustic in equal parts. There is plenty to do at Lake Namakagon when you are not relaxing in your cabin.

If you can get an afternoon away from the kids, the fairways of Forest Ridges Golf Course are brilliantly kept and will ensure a fantastic round of golf.

Meanwhile, the 850,000-acre Chequamegon National Forest is one of the state’s best natural areas and well worth exploring.

Book the best vacation rentals in Northern Wisconsin

3. La Crosse

fun family trips in Wisconsin, view looking across a valley with buildings and a bridge surrounded by green trees with a large green hill behind

Where to stay for families: Gundersen Hotel & Suites

Due to the huge amount of outdoor adventures available, La Crosse is perfect for kid-friendly vacations in Wisconsin.

Positioned on the Mississippi River, scores of families flock there to try paddling, kayaking, and canoeing.

Hiking is another one of the best things to do in La Crosse, making it also unmissable if you are looking for hiking Wisconsin family vacations.

Incredible views will surround you if you hike at Grandad Bluff Park, Mississippi Valley Conservancy, or Perrot State Park to the north of the city.

This city also has some great restaurants to keep you fueled during your Wisconsin family getaways. A popular option is the supper club Digger’s Sting Restaurant.

Book the best vacation rentals in La Crosse

4. Lake Geneva

best vacation spots in Wisconsin for families, View of coastal harbour with several speedboats moored in front of people sunbathing on the beach with green trees behind on a bright sunny day

Where to stay for families: Abbey Resort and Avani Spa

You will struggle to find more spectacular scenery in Wisconsin than the stunning Lake Geneva, a perfect city for family vacations in Wisconsin if you like to pause to enjoy the view.

The city on the lake is known throughout the Midwest for its Victorian architecture and elegant downtown area.

Here, you can enjoy luxury restaurants and accommodation if you think your family deserves a treat.

Meanwhile, there are endless adventures on the lake and things to do in Lake Geneva if you are aiming for fun family vacations in Wisconsin.

There are four beaches to choose from, giving you access to plenty of boating and swimming options.

To travel further afield on the lake, you need to get on board the Lake Geneva Cruise Line.

Book the best vacation rentals in Lake Geneva

5. Bayfield & the Apostle Islands

great family vacations in Wisconsin, Sea caves along the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior

Where to stay for families: Lucy’s Place

Bayfield and the Apostle Islands are located on America’s biggest lake and visiting is one of the top things to do in Northern Wisconsin.

Bayfield itself is a charming small city that makes for incredible family vacations in Wisconsin.

You can choose to stay in the city, enjoying the Bayfield Maritime Museum, Victorian-style museums, and other coastal attractions, or you can use the city as a launching point to explore Lake Superior.

For adventurous family trips in Wisconsin, you should take your children on a ferry to Madeline Island, one of the best things to do in Apostle Islands.

This is a popular destination for hiking and biking on the land or kayaking, canoeing, and swimming on the lake.

Book the best vacation rentals in the Apostle Islands

6. Madison

family weekend getaways in Wisconsin, view of Capitol building at the end of a street of shops and cafes that is empty except for a person a bike under a bright blue sky with a few clouds

Where to stay for families: The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club

As Wisconsin’s second city, many people travel through the city during their family vacations in Wisconsin but fail to spend long enough there to properly enjoy the city.

However, Madison is a fantastic city, and there are great things to do in Wisconsin for kids, whatever their age.

Some great options for things to do in Madison, WI, will help your kids to get close to animals and nature.

This includes Henry Vilas Zoo, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Vilas Park, and UW-Madison Arboretum. You’ll also find great hiking in Madison, WI around the Arboretum.

After a long day exploring these sites, there are great evening entertainment venues like Capital Brewing and Wisconsin Brewing Company, where you can catch live music.

Book the best vacation rentals in Madison, WI

7. Wisconsin Dells

where to go for a rfamily oad trip around Wisconsin, view of rocky coast with layered wearings on rocky from water

Where to stay for families: Aloha Beach Resort

No trip to Wisconsin with your loved ones is complete without a family vacation in Wisconsin Dells. After all, there are some of the top things to do in Wisconsin with kids in the city.

This city is known as the waterpark capital of the world, and it certainly lives up to the title with over 20 indoor and outdoor waterparks.

One of the best is Noah’s Ark Waterpark, which is the largest in the US, and easily one of the best things to do in Wisconsin Dells.

They have attractions for the most thrill-seeking youngsters, including Black Anaconda, but there are also fun pools for younger kids, like the lazy river and the Safari Jungle Area.

As one of the state’s most popular attractions, there is a great range of places to stay in Wisconsin Dells, including budget hotels if you want cheap family vacations in Wisconsin.

Book the best vacation rentals in Wisconsin Dells

8. Port Washington

Wisconsin attractions for families, rocky pier out to Port Washington Station at sunset

Where to stay for families: The Harborview, Ascend Hotel Collection

At the other end of the spectrum for family vacations in Wisconsin is Port Washington, known for its slower pace of life.

Here, you can enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, and visiting one of the best lighthouses of Wisconsin.

Port Washington has been put on the map for its fishing, and going for a fishing trip is a great way to bond with your teenage children during family weekend getaways in Wisconsin.

You can charter a boat for salmon or trout fishing with Nicky Boy Charters, or you can find a great spot to cast a line at Harrington Beach State Park.

Meanwhile, younger children will love a visit to the Possibility Playground, which is one of the most inclusive Wisconsin attractions for families.

This playpark has been designed with children with physical, cognitive, and developmental disabilities in mind.

Buy the ultimate road trip itinerary for Wisconsin

9. Door County

best kid-friendly vacations in Wisconsin, Aerial view of green forest area with small open area containing a few buildings sitting on the coast next to the turquoise waters of the sea and a long river stretching off into the distance

Where to stay for families: Westwood Shores Waterfront Resort

Door County is a unique location for family vacations in Wisconsin as a peninsula in Lake Michigan North of Green Bay.

There is a lot to see and do with fantastic small towns like Egg Harbor, Sister Bay, and Gibraltar to explore.

Here, you can connect to the lakeside life that Door County’s residents have enjoyed for generations.

The county also has abundant wildlife and nature hikes to enjoy, so you’ll never run out of things to do in Door County.

Getting a ferry to Washington Island is very popular, with lots of visitors enjoying the sights and smells of the lavender fields there.

Door County has some of the best family resorts in Wisconsin. This makes it ideal for active families looking for fun weekend trips in Wisconsin.

Book the best tours around Door County

10. Milwaukee

where to go for Wisconsin kid-friendly vacations, View looking across a wide open field of green grass populated by many wandering geese with a backdrop of differently shaped skyscrapers all under a bright cloudy sky. You can find some of the best Milwaukee resorts here.

Where to stay for families: Residence Inn Milwaukee Downtown by Marriot

There are lots of fun things to do in Milwaukee with kids. As the capital of Wisconsin, you can find endless historical landmarks and cultural attractions, so the trip can be very educational.

The best museums for kids include Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, Discovery World, Milwaukee Public Museum, and The Mitchell Park Horticulture Conservatory.

As Wisconsin’s primary city, they get lots of theater shows coming through, which are certainly worth adding to the itinerary of your family vacations in Wisconsin.

The best ones for families are put on by the First Stage Children’s Theater.

Book the best tours around Milwaukee

11. Sheboygan

fun Wisconsin family getaways, fountain in downtown sheboygan under a clear blue sky

Where to stay for families: Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center

Sheboygan is essential for all the best family vacations in Wisconsin because it offers the best views of Lake Michigan, which can be enjoyed from its large, sandy beaches.

The highest-quality beaches are Deland Park and King Park, both of which have Sheboygan’s characteristic white sand.

Sheboygan also offers camping adventures if you are visiting in the summer.

The best family-friendly campground vacations Wisconsin can offer are found in Kohler Andrae State Park, a few miles south of town.

Book the best vacation rentals in Sheboygan

12. Great River Road

things to do in Wisconsin for kids, View from a hillside of a road built on a bridge over a river leading off into the distance through an area of lakes and trees all under a wide open blue sky

Where to stay for families: AmericInn by Wyndham Lake City

As a state with lots of open space, all the best family-friendly vacations Wisconsin can offer incorporate a road trip.

The most spectacular scenic drive is the 250-mile Great River Road, which follows the Mississippi River through brilliant forests and lakes.

Alongside the scenery, there are also plenty of charming and family-friendly towns to enjoy for a break from the road.

La Crosse, Prescott, and Stockholm are all unmissable. Meanwhile, kids who love animals will surely enjoy a break at the National Eagle Center or Perrot State Park.

Buy the ultimate road trip itinerary for Wisconsin

13. Appleton

Wisconsin weekend getaways for families, View of Appleton Yacht Club with building and jetty with yachts moored in neat rows next to a large body of water with a thick canopy of trees behind in fall colors

Where to stay for families: Hampton Inn Appleton-Fox River Mall Area

The most unique family vacation ideas Wisconsin offers can be found in Appleton, known for its unusual attractions that you won’t find anywhere else.

Kids who love magic will enjoy a trip to History Museums at the Castle. This venue features a range of exhibits carefully curated by Houdini himself.

There is also something for astronomy lovers. Barlow Planetarium runs incredible star shows throughout the year that will get your kids fascinated by science and the universe.

Meanwhile, young kids will enjoy the interactive and play-based exhibits at Building for Kids.

Whatever your family enjoys doing, a stop at Downtown Appleton is essential. In this area, you can find 50 restaurants serving every cuisine you can think of.

Book the best vacation rentals in Appleton

14. Lodi

Wisconsin family vacations in nature, Dramatic view of a rocky hillside overlooking a wide valley of fields and trees under a sky full of bright orange and pink clouds at sunset

Where to stay for families: Quality Inn & Suites

Lots of the spots for Wisconsin weekend getaways for families are based in cities, but you can get away from the hustle and bustle by visiting Lodi.

With plenty of outdoor activities, like rock climbing and swimming, your kids will never get bored. Furthermore, there are plenty of things that you can do together as a family, like mini-golfing.

 If your family wants to get connected to nature, it might be best to camp rather than stay in a hotel. Smokey Hollow Campgrounds is perfect for families with lots of space to run around.

Buy the best hiking guides for Wisconsin

15. Kewaskum

family-friendly vacations Wisconsin in winter, two snow tubes up close on snow with snow-covered hill and several people tubing in background

Where to stay for families: Quality Inn & Suites

Wisconsin kid-friendly vacations are also great in winter when the state becomes covered with a thick coating of crisp, white snow.

The village of Kewaskum is tremendous for winter activities because it is home to the Sunburst Winter Sports Park.

This top-quality winter wonderland has some of the state’s best facilities for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing.

The village itself is also a lovely place to spend time after skiing.

The local people are known for being lively and friendly, so you will always feel welcome, and there are options for bars, cafes, and restaurants after you have finished skiing or snowboarding.

Book the best vacation rentals in Kewaskum

As you will have seen from this list of great family vacations in Wisconsin, there are countless options to choose from in the state, no to mention you’ll find the best large cabin rentals in Wisconsin.

There is truly something for everyone. While thrill-seekers will love Wisconsin Dells or the slopes of Kewaskum, Appleton might be better for kids who prefer a more relaxed experience.

When you plan your trip, make sure that you consult my list of Wisconsin vacation ideas and this family-focused list so that you can plan a trip that your family will never forget.

FAQs About Family Vacations in Wisconsin

Where are the best places to travel with family in Wisconsin?

There are so many amazing places for family vacations in Wisconsin, but my favorite places are Bayfield & the Apostle Islands, Milwaukee, Eau Claire, Door County, and Wisconsin Dells.

Are there any cheap family vacations in Wisconsin?

There are usually budget options in most places. Wisconsin Dells has a lot of great budget options. Some of the most affordable places to visit with family are Kewaskum or Sheboygan.

Is Wisconsin a good place to visit with kids?

Absolutely! There are so many fun kid-friendly activities and events in Wisconsin throughout the year you’ll never run out of things to do whenever you visit.

Before You Go: Top Tips for your Trip