Guide to the best places to visit in the winter in Wisconsin, including the best winter sports and activities and winter events you can’t miss
There are many places to visit in Wisconsin in winter that offer various activities during the colder season, making it one of the best Midwest winter getaways.
If you’re an outdoorsy person looking into activities like skiing or snowshoeing, Wisconsin is home to several ski resorts and state parks that are perfect for your Midwest winter vacations.
Or, for those who prefer pampering themselves with spa treatments, another perk of travel to Wisconsin is that has some of the best spa resorts in the Midwest
Rest assured, you won’t run out of ideas on what to do in Wisconsin in winter, as the state has something for everyone. So, what are the best places to visit in Wisconsin in winter?
Psssst…!!?? You can’t get enough of Wisconsin in Winter? Have a look at my other posts:
- Top Things To Do At Christmas in Wisconsin
- Unique Places To Stay In Wisconsin In Winter
- Comfy Winter Cabin Rentals in Wisconsin
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Table of Contents
Top resources to travel Wisconsin
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➳ Book vacation rentals in Wisconsin with VRBO
✔ Book tours in Wisconsin with Viator
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$ Get Wisconsin hiking guides and maps at REI.com
Overview: Top 3 Places to Visit in Wisconsin in Winter
- Door County
- Apostle Islands
- Eagle River
1. Door County in winter
Situated in the sweet spot between Lake Michigan and Green Bay, Door County is a great place for Wisconsin winter vacation.
While the city is more popular to visit during the summer, there are also various things to do in Door County in winter.
Peninsula State Park in Door County offers a lot of outdoor activities, from cross-country skiing to candle-lit winter hiking.
The state park has 20 miles of trails that you can opt to enjoy the snow as a part of the exercise, which makes it one of the most fun places to visit in Wisconsin in winter!
In my opinion, one of the best winter weekend getaways in Wisconsin is Sturgeon Bay, a top Door County destination.
There are a lot of amazing things to do in Sturgeon Bay in winter that you don’t want to miss out on.
Sturgeon Bay hosts the annual Fire and Ice Winter Festival, making it one of the most popular places to visit in Wisconsin in winter!
If you’re looking for the best spot for winter camping in Wisconsin, nearby Potawatomi State Park also has one of the best campgrounds to warm up and enjoy the winter wonderland.
2. Lake Geneva in winter
Head southeast to Lake Geneva, one of my favorite places to visit in winter in Wisconsin. Here you can find some of the best winter resorts in Wisconsin.
The area offers various activities for all types of travelers, whether you want to go skiing or prefer relaxing while enjoying their spa facilities.
At the end of January, Lake Geneva usually hosts its famous Winterfest, where the city welcomes the best ice sculptors across the United States to showcase their masterpieces.
You can admire their artwork along the shore of Geneva Lake for free and also participate in some of the best activities for winter in Wisconsin!
Another fun thing to do in Lake Geneva during the winter is to enjoy the Lake Geneva Ice Castles.
3. Milwaukee in winter
As the largest city in Wisconsin, Milwaukee gets into the festive spirit with dazzling holiday lights and decorations throughout the city in the winter.
Every year, the city hosts the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival, which lasts for six weeks from November to January.
Head to Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee, which transforms into an outdoor ice skating rink during the winter.
It’s one of the most popular things to do in Milwaukee in winter, so spare some time to go ice skating under the beautiful city lights!
If you have more time, there are also a lot of great day trips from Milwaukee in winter to enjoy.
4. Madison in winter
Whether you love sports or want to explore the local culinary scene, Madison is where to go during winter in Wisconsin to have it all!
With over 20 Big Ten varsity teams along with its historic campus buildings and festive atmosphere, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin in winter if you enjoy going to sporting events.
On top of that, Madison is also known as one of the best winter destinations Wisconsin has to offer due to its diverse food scene.
From farm-to-table dining to winter dome dining, Madison has a thriving culinary scene where you can explore cozy cafes and restaurants in town!
5. Eagle River
When it comes to Wisconsin winter getaways, there are plenty to choose from. Situated in Vilas County, Eagle River is one of the best places to go in Wisconsin in the winter.
With around 2,000 people, Eagle River is a small city that’s home to the world’s largest inland chain of lakes with over 170 miles of shoreline.
The city is not only one of the most popular places to visit in Wisconsin during winter but it’s also known as the snowmobile capital of the world!
With a 500-mile snowmobile trail network, you can marvel at the creation of a massive ice castle on the frozen Eagle River while enjoying winter sports in one of the best winter cities to visit in Wisconsin!
If you’re looking for the best snowmobile trails in Wisconsin, this is easily one of the best places to visit in the winter.
6. Wisconsin Dells
Don’t miss visiting the water park capital of the world in Wisconsin Dells during the colder season, as you can find a lot of fun things to do in Wisconsin Dells in winter!
Despite being a popular destination in the summer, Wisconsin Dells is also considered one of the best Wisconsin winter destinations as the city offers various activities for all types of travelers.
There are a lot of great winter resorts in Wisconsin Dells that the whole family can enjoy. But If staying at a resort isn’t your thing, there are plenty of cozy winter cabins you can opt for instead.
The city is also home to one of the best spa resorts in Wisconsin, Kalahari Resort, where you can relax and pamper yourself with their top-notch treatments.
Visiting Wisconsin Dells isn’t complete without making a stop at one of the city’s water parks.
The good news is that some resorts also have indoor water park facilities, where you can make the most of your stay in Wisconsin Dells!
You’ll also find a lot of great hiking in Wisconsin Dells and the surrounding area that is great for winter hikes – especially at the nearby Devil’s Lake State Park.
7. Green Bay
Green Bay is one of the best winter places in Wisconsin, especially if you love outdoor activities. From snow tubing to ice fishing, Green Bay should be on your list of places to visit in Wisconsin in winter!
Home to Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Green Bay is one of the best winter destinations in Wisconsin for any outdoor activities.
You can go snowshoeing or winter hiking while enjoying the beautiful landscape and wildlife around the park.
Green Bay offers a world-class fishery with the finest species in the country, from Walleye to Northern Pike.
For those who are new to ice fishing, you can join some tours to get proper instructions from professional guides to make the most of your ice fishing experience!
8. Eau Claire
Looking for the best winter weekend getaways in Wisconsin? Eau Claire is a great choice if you enjoy outdoor activities like winter biking or ice sledding!
Eau Claire is home to some awesome winter biking trails in Wisconsin, and some of the best mountain bike trails in Wisconsin. You can visit Centennial Park or Hickory Ridge for the best biking scenery!
Hiking is also one of the top things to do in Eau Claire year-round, and there are a lot of great trails in and around the city.
If you’re looking for fun Christmas markets in Wisconsin, you can also stop by the Christmas Village at Irvine Park to enjoy the festive lights and holiday decorations!
For skiers, one of the most fun places to go in Wisconsin in winter is Wausau. As a gateway to Granite Peak Ski Resort, Wausau is a great destination for winter getaways in Wisconsin.
Located on the peak of Rib Mountain State Park, Granite Peak is the largest ski area in Wisconsin with over 200 acres of trails suitable for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
Wausau also offers various activities to escape the cold, whether you love shopping or prefer watching a performance at the historic Grand Theater building downtown.
10. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
If you’re up for visiting some unique places to visit in Wisconsin in winter, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is where to go!
Visiting the ice caves at the Apostle Islands is considered one of the best things to do in Wisconsin in winter, making it one of the best Midwest winter vacations.
When Lake Superior freezes, visitors can explore the stunning ice formations along the shoreline.
The ice caves are a captivating sight, with icicles and frozen sculptures creating a magical landscape around the Apostle Islands in winter.
The Badger State offers wonderful experiences in the colder season, with so many places to visit in Wisconsin in winter.
Whether you’re on the lookout for winter sports or planning indoor activities to escape the cold, there are plenty of options for what to do in Wisconsin in winter!
Short FAQs About Places to Visit in Wisconsin in Winter
What are the best places to visit in Wisconsin in winter for families?
Most places in Wisconsin are ideal for winter family getaways, but a few of my top recommendations are Wisconsin Dells (for the waterparks), Madison (for the ice skating), and Eagle River (for the snowmobiling).
How cold is Wisconsin in the winter?
On average, winter temperatures in Wisconsin are around 20°F, but can easily get to O°F or below in some parts of the state during the coldest months.
What is winter like in Wisconsin?
Winters in Wisconsin are truly magical, full of amazing winter events and activities. You’ll find Christmas craft fairs, many available winter sports, unique winter events, and activities and so much more. Just remember, it’s also very cold!
What to pack for your Fall or Winter trip
- Warm Clothing: Bring a heavy winter coat, gloves, scarf, hat, thermal socks, and layered clothing.
- Footwear: Wear waterproof and insulated boots with good traction.
- Snow Gear: Pack snow pants or insulated trousers and snowshoes or crampons.
- Winter Driving Essentials: Include an ice scraper, snow brush, and emergency car kit.
- Travel Documents: Don’t forget your passport/ID, travel insurance, itinerary, and maps.
- Electronics: Bring a portable charger and camera for capturing memories. I love my GoPro!
- Health and Safety: Carry prescription meds and a basic first-aid kit.
- Sunscreen is key! I always take with me my eco-friendly sunscreen by Thinksport.
- I always carry a light rain jacket, just in case.
- Travel insurance: If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel is protected against all odds with HeyMondo.
Want more fun things to do in Wisconsin in the winter? Check out our webstory.
Hola! I am Paulina, a fervent travelette who crossed the Atlantic Ocean by Boat HitchHiking. On my blog, I help you to make the most of your holiday. Get ready to enjoy outdoor and sustainable travel like hiking, cycling or sailing. Let’s hit the road!