A guide to the best places to visit in Central Wisconsin for family vacations, romantic getaways and nature lovers
Central Wisconsin is an amazing destination that offers every visitor a unique and exciting experience.
This region is a bit off the tourist radar, but that doesn’t mean there are tons of amazing and unique things to do in Central Wisconsin.
In fact, Central WI has everything from snow activities in the winter to swimming and other water activities in the summer! Don’t forget to explore the beautiful fall foliage here too.
If you’re looking for some fun things to do in Central Wisconsin, you’ve come to the right place! The area has numerous parks where you can just chill and relax on days where you don’t feel like doing much.
On the other end of the spectrum are Wisconsin adventures like the ziplining, Wizard Quest, and watersports that require your full energy! Suffice it to say, this region has some of the best outdoor activities in Wisconsin!
Central Wisconsin is also one of the best places to vacation in Wisconsin.
Here are some of the best things to do in Central Wisconsin.
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Table of Contents
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☘ Get the best discounted outdoor gear (outlet) at REI.com
$ Get Wisconsin hiking guides and maps at REI.com
✎ Never leave without travel insurance. I get mine at SafetyWing. It is easy to set up, cheap, and reliable.
Where to Stay in Central Wisconsin
There are plenty of great places to stay while you travel Central Wisconsin. Here are some accommodation guides to help you pick the best place for your vacation.
- Best Pet-Friendly Cabins in Wisconsin
- Amazing Luxury Resorts in Wisconsin
- Best Luxury Cabins in Wisconsin
- Best Family Resorts in Wisconsin
- Best Lake Resorts in Wisconsin
- Amazing Wisconsin Cabins with Hot Tubs
- Most Romantic Cabins in Wisconsin
Be sure to ask your hotel for a central Wisconsin map to make sure you see all the best sites and don’t get lost!
1. Get active outdoors
There are so many beautiful places to visit in Central Wisconsin for a myriad of outdoor activities.
Whether you want to go hiking, kayaking, or biking, Central Wisconsin has you covered! This region is paradise for nature lovers.
In fact, during spring break in Wisconsin, many families head to central Wisconsin to enjoy hiking and other fun outdoor activities.
For hiking try out the Dells of the Eau Claire segment of the Ice-Age Trail, it’s one of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin, and absolutely stunning.
There are plenty of great hotels in Eau Claire, WI to stay at when you’re done hiking this amazing trail.
If mountain biking is more your speed, Nine Mile Forest in Wausau is a must. It’s one of the most popular mountain bike trails in Wisconsin for a reason!
2. Head over to Jurustic Park
Unlike traditional parks, Jurustic Park contains a wide range of sculptures for display and is one of the best places to visit in Central Wisconsin.
You’ll find sculptures made of wood, metal, and many other materials.
You can also spot dinosaurs, turtles, fish, and many other species beautifully crafted and displayed.
This is truly one of the most unique things to do in Wisconsin. It’s also one of the best roadside attractions in Wisconsin.
There’s a Glass Studio in the park from where you can get handcrafted glass jewelry. Don’t forget to check out the Hobbit House while you’re there.
All the crafts there are handmade and you can even purchase them.
3. Have a picnic at the John Muir County Park
John Muir County Park is also connected to the beautiful Ice Age Trail which circles the lake in the Park, giving you gorgeous views. You can even go fishing in the lake if you’re up for seafood.
Plus, the park is dog-friendly as long as the dogs are on leashes. So you can bring your furry companions here for a walk that you both are bound to enjoy.
Having a picnic here is one of the best things to do in Central Wisconsin. Don’t forget to look out for beavers – they’re very common here and can easily be spotted at night.
4. Check out the Rudolph Grotto Gardens and Wonder Cave
The Rudolph Grotto Gardens consist of beautiful sculptures crafted out of stone, wood and other materials. It’s one of the best places to visit in Central Wisconsin.
The Gardens are a beautiful place to explore and have a little something to offer for everyone!
There’s a museum, a beautiful Wonder Cave, a cathedral, and numerous shrines throughout the area. There’s a gift shop too that you can explore to get cute souvenirs and gifts.
Spend some time exploring your spirituality at the numerous shrines located in the area. Explore the Wonder Cave. There’s an entrance fee for the Wonder Cave, but it’s totally worth the price!
5. Visit Devil’s Lake State Park
Devils Lake State Park is the largest and most visited state park in Wisconsin, and it’s easy to see why! It’s home to some of the best hiking in Wisconsin Dells, and no matter what time of year you visit it’s stunning!
As one of the best state parks in Wisconsin, there a ton of great opportunities for hiking, camping, and mountain climbing, as well as breathtaking views. And, as the name suggests, it is also home to Devil’s Lake, one of the best lakes in Wisconsin.
There are 423 campsites within the park, so if you want to sleep outside under the stars, you will definitely find somewhere!
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Wisconsin, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Devil’s Lake State Park.
6. Get on the water at Iverson Park
Want to have some outdoor summer fun? Head over to Iverson Park at Stevens Point and enjoy kayaking, swimming, canoeing, and biking.
Make sure to check out my guide on the best inflatable kayaks if you want to bring your own gear!
The park is home to beautiful sceneries and a gorgeous stone-walled waterway making it one of the best places to visit in central Wisconsin.
Other outdoor activities you can enjoy here include softball and volleyball. This park converts into a winter wonderland with sledding hills, toboggan slides, and ice rinks, so it’s a great place to visit year-round.
And if you’re more of a SUP type, have a look at my list of the best inflatable Stand-Up Boards with seats!
In fact, these activities are some of the best things to do in Central Wisconsin!
7. Spend the day at a Theme Park in Wisconsin Dells
Wisconsin Dells is right on the cusp between Central and South Wisconsin. However, as it’s one of my favorite places to visit in Wisconsin, I like to shout about how great it is whenever I get the chance.
There are a lot of fun things to do in Wisconsin Dells no matter your age or budget. But perhaps the number one thing to do is go to a theme park.
In fact, there are over 20 different water and theme parks in Wisconson Dells! If you book a stay at one of the best family resorts in Wisconsin, you will even get all-inclusive access to some of them.
8. Observe beautiful flora at the Monk Botanical Gardens
The Monk Botanical Gardens is one of the best roadside attractions Wisconsin has to offer. Especially if you’re a fan of botany and biology!
The Botanical Gardens are maintained by volunteers and the entrance is free, so it’s amazing to see how well-maintained the Gardens are.
There’s a beautiful treehouse inside the Botanical Gardens too that’s worth a visit!
9. Explore Dr. Evermor’s Foreverton with your family
The Evermor’s Foreverton is a metal sculpture park that consists of pieces of scrap carefully put together to create gems and masterpieces. If you’re a creative person and have an eye for art, this sculpture park is your place to go!
The sculpture park doesn’t have an entry fee but you can make donations to help their cause and promote artwork.
The park is also home to the world’s largest outdoor metal sculpture, and you can find it in the Guinness Book of World Records!
10. Enjoy wine-tasting at the Central Wisconsin Craft Collective
The Central Wisconsin Craft Collective consists of a partnership between numerous craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries. The Central Waters, Kozy Yak Brewery and Winery, Great Northern Distilling, and District 1 Brewing are just a few of the many wineries and distilleries that are part of the Central, WI Craft Collective.
So, what are you waiting for? Head here and enjoy wine tasting at some of the finest wineries in the area! After all, it’s one of the best things to do in Central Wisconsin.
If you happen to be venturing up into Door County, make sure to check out the best wineries in Door County.
11. Have fun at Wildwood Zoo
Unlike traditional zoos, the Wildwood Zoo at Marshfield also serves as a rescue center.
It’s a wonderful place to take your kids in order to teach them about many animals. The Zoo is home to numerous animals including bears, ducks, geese, prairie dogs, cougars, wolves, and bobcats!
The animals here are very well taken care of. There is also a drive-through portion available where you can just sit in your car and drive through the zoo while observing the animals around you.
It’s a wonderful experience, and totally free!
12. Go cycling at the Standing Rocks Park
Have a great time cycling through beautiful flora at the Standing Rocks Park.
It’s also one of the best places to play disc golf. The mountain biking trails here are gorgeous and pretty well-maintained, so those of you who are seeking some Wisconsin adventures should love this place!
During the winter season, you can also warm up at the well-equipped warming house after skiing.
The scenery is stunning, the activities are adventurous and the prices are reasonable, making it one of the best places to visit in Central Wisconsin.
13. Check out stunning artwork at Stevens Point Sculpture Park trail
This 20-acre sculpture park contains a beautiful long trail with stunning sculptures made by artists. The sculptures are made of different materials and new pieces are added every year.
This is one of the most unique roadside attractions Wisconsin has. You won’t be sorry your stopped by.
Each work of art here has a deeper meaning behind it, and you may not always understand what it means but it’s always great exploring the artwork and looking at it from your own perspective.
It’s a great place to explore beautiful artwork while going on a walk. The trails are all wheelchair accessible as well.
Don’t forget to bring some bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away!
14. Have fun horse riding at the Red Ridge Ranch Riding Stable
Always wanted to go horse riding but have little to no experience?
Don’t worry, the Red Ridge Ranch Riding Stable has you covered! The guides are knowledgeable and teach you nice tips and tricks.
No matter what your previous experience in riding horses is, you’ll have a great time here. This is one of the best things to do in Central Wisconsin.
You can even bring some treats for your horses!
15. Explore the Animal Haven Zoo and Sanctuary
Do you or your kids love being around animals? This could be the perfect place for them to bond and interact with many species including goats, tigers, bears and ostriches.
There’s also a petting zoo where you and your kids can spoil the animals and pet them as much as you like. Don’t worry, the animals are harmless.
Enjoy an ice cream from the local ice cream parlour there – it’s the best ice cream you’ll ever have!
16. Enjoy ziplining at the Bigfoot Zipline Tours
Looking for some Wisconsin adventures? Head over to Bigfoot Zipline Tours and experience an adrenaline rush while ziplining through the forest. The zipline courses are very safe and the guides make you feel comfortable.
If you’re afraid of heights, this is the best spot to tackle that fear!
Other activities here include jet boating and rope coursing. The rope course is quite challenging – but definitely worth the adrenaline rush.
17. Go on a scavenger hunt at Wizard Quest
The Wizard Quest consists of numerous themed mazes with different difficulty levels.
You get puzzles and riddles that you need to solve in order to get to the end of the maze. It’s a very interesting activity for both kids and adults alike and it challenges your intellect!
Going to the Wizard Quest is one of the most unique things to do in Central Wisconsin, especially if you’re with family. Explore secret passages, solve fun riddles and race against time to complete the quests.
18. Go camping in Buckhorn State Park
Set up camps at the vast campsite in the Buckhorn State Park.
Many activities await you here including swimming, fishing and hiking. Canoe and kayak rental options are available so you can explore the two beautiful rivers on your own.
There’s also a great restaurant just near the entrance of the park if you want to get some ready-made food.
It’s a great way to spend some quality time with your family off-the-grid. Don’t forget to keep bug spray with you!
19. Visit Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum
The Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum is the best place to go with your kids!
There are plenty of activities and play-stations available there for kids, including legos, a play grocery store, a well-equipped arts and crafts room where your kids can explore their creativity, and regular music classes.
The learning environment at the Museum is amazing and ideal for kids. You can also safely watch over them while they’re playing.
20. Rib Mountain State Park
Rib Mountain State Park is a beautiful State Park in Central WI where you can enjoy looking at the beautiful fall colors, have fun skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and explore the hiking trails.
There’s also a ski lift/cable car at the Park that lets you get an aerial view of the entire park.
For even more winter fun, you’ll find some of the best snowmobile trails in Wisconsin nearby.
21. Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg
If you’re looking for entertainment, gaming, lodging, and dining all in one place, this is the place to be!
Head over to the Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg and enjoy different games including poker, electronic table games, Dragon’s Den, and other exciting games.
There’s also a snack bar here that serves drinks and delicious snacks.
22. Have fun shopping at Marshfield
Marshfield offers all shopaholics an amazing shopping experience with decent prices and lots of cute stores. Start your day with the finest coffee in the city from Uptown Coffee Company, then visit Rae Baxter’s Fashions to get some trendy clothes.
Check out Endless Designs, Back Porch Boutique, and Living Quarters Marketplace to get innovative and antique decoration pieces and souvenirs.
Marshfield is also great for a romantic getaway as it has one of the most romantic hotels in Wisconsin.
23. Visit Central Wisconsin Chestnut Center for the Arts
The Chestnut Center for the Arts is an amazing all-in-one center for everything that’s art.
From exhibitions to classes, this place hosts everything! If you’re an art enthusiast, you should head over and check out some stunning artwork.
24. Head over to Escape Room Marshfield
Escape Room Marshfield is a creative and innovative space for young children and teenagers where you have to navigate through physical puzzles by finding your way through riddles and clues.
It’s a great experience for kids and helps bring out their innovative side.
The prices are pretty reasonable too and there are different modes and themes available so you can choose the one that fits your interests best.
Finding your way through the maze at Escape Room is one of the best things to do in Central Wisconsin!
Don’t worry if you’ve already mastered all the rooms here, there are plenty of amazing escape rooms in Wisconsin to try out next!
25. Head over to the World’s Largest Round Barn
Love farm animals? Head over to the World’s Largest Round Barn in Marshfield and pet your favorite farm animals.
You just need to donate $1 per person to get a full tour of the barn! The barn is over 100 years old.
The Central Wisconsin State Fair is an event that happens here in the barn and you should definitely attend it íf you’re in the area while it’s happening!
26. Head over to the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center for some berry-licious fun!
Did you know that Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries in the U.S? Over 60% of all American cranberries come from Wisconsin.
So it’s no surprise that one of the best things to do in Central Wisconsin is visit the Cranberry Musuem.
The Cranberry Museum has all the cranberry products you could think of – you name it and they have it. From cranberry sundae to cranberry coffee, this is the best place for cranberry fans!
They have a fine cranberry wine collection and delicious cranberry jams too. You also get to learn everything about the process of growing and extracting cranberries here. Don’t forget to try some of their delicious ice creams!
If you happen to visit Central Wisconsin in the fall, the Cranfest in Warrens is one of the best fall festivals in Wisconsin. Alternatively, a cran marsh tour is one of the top things to do in Wisconsin in October. You’ve never seen so much red in your life!
27. Sawmill Adventure Park
The Sawmill Adventure Park is an all-in-one park for individuals of all ages and it’s one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin! The park contains a beautiful mini-golf course that’s pretty reasonably priced.
The adventure park’s highlight is the trampoline area, which contains facilities for trampoline basketball and trampoline dodge ball.
Other facilities available here include rock climbing, ninja courses, high jump, and a designated area for toddlers where they can have all the fun they want.
It’s a great place to hold birthday parties and other events for kids in Central, WI!
28. Enjoy delicious Mexican food at El Mezcal
Start your meal with complimentary chips and salsa with authentic Mexican flavor! The location is beautiful and the atmosphere is also pretty relaxing and comforting.
Their shrimp Chimichangas are a must try! Other items you should try include fajitas, El Zarape, guacamole, and stuffed poblano peppers.
The restaurant also offers great value for money, so you don’t need to worry about it being too heavy on the pocket.
So, what are you waiting for? Visit Central Wisconsin and have the time of your life exploring this wonderful area!
From adventure parks to delicious Mexican food, this place has it all. Whether you’re looking for some winter activities or some outdoor summer fun, there are so many amazing things to do in Central Wisconsin!
Short FAQ about the best things to do in Central Wisconsin
What are the best free things to do in Central Wisconsin?
Some of the best free things to do in Central Wisconsin are exploring Jurustic Park, the Rudolph Grotto Gardens, visiting Dr. Evermor’s Sculpture Park, the beautiful Monk Botanical Gardens, and seeing the animals at Wildwood Zoo.
What are the top things to do in South Central Wisconsin?
A few of the top things to do in South Central Wisconsin are spending the day at a water park or hiking in Wisconsin Dells.
What are the best things to do in North Central Wisconsin?
One of the best things to do in North Central Wisconsin is enjoying the outdoors by hiking the Eau Claire segment of the Ice-Age Trail or biking along the Nine Mile Forest in Wausau. If the weather isn’t very nice, you can also go shopping or check out the world’s largest barn in Marshfield
Hola! I am Paulina, a fervent travelette who crossed the Atlantic Ocean by Boat HitchHiking. On my blog, you’ll find all the tips 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 together!