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30 Cool Things to Do in Northern Wisconsin

A Guide to attractions and vacation spots in Northern Wisconsin to help you get the most of out upper Wisconin

There’s nothing quite like a trip to travel Wisconsin!

From pristine lakes and breathtaking forests to laidback small towns and vibrant cities, there is no shortage of things to do in Northern Wisconsin.

No matter what type of traveler you are – an outdoor adventurer looking for the perfect camping spot, or a foodie ready to explore the local cuisine scene – you’ll find something that appeals to your taste here.

So if you’re looking for some inspiring ideas on how to make the most out of your next visit up north, then read on!

I’ve put together this list of remarkable places and activities guaranteed to leave lasting memories.

Wondering about things to do in Northern Wisconsin? I got you covered! Find a complete guide on attractions in Northern Wisconsin to travel to the best places in the northern part of the Dairy State including inspiration on what to do in Northern Wisconsin during winter or on rainy days. #wisconsin #northernwisconsin #usatravel #wisconsintravel #northernwisconsinthingstodo #kayaking #hiking #apostleislands #doorcounty #roadtrip
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Overview: Best Things to Do in Northern Wisconsin

1. Visit Big Bay State Park

brown rocks by the lake side, with trees on top of the cliffs
Big Bay State Park, Madeline Island, Wisconsin
  • Address: 2402 Hagen Rd – La Pointe, WI 54850-1500
  • Best Thing to do: Rent a kayak
  • Accommodation Options: The Pinehurst Inn Bed & Breakfast is perfect for those who want to splurge a bit and the Old Rittenhouse Inn is a fabulous mid-range option. For Airbnb and cabin lovers, this Madeline Island Cabin is located right on the lakeshore on Madeline Island.

Big Bay State Park is located on Madeline Island’s far edge, the largest of 22 Apostle Islands, with a pretty beach and hiking trails.

Visiting the State Park is considered one of the best things to do in Apostle Islands, WI.

Thus, don’t forget to bring your Wisconsin hiking maps.

This 2,350-acre park sports fantastic sandstone bluffs and caves with dramatic views of Lake Superior. It contains a State Natural Area that is open for use by the public.

Once you come here, you’ll find unique habitats such as old-growth hemlock, sphagnum bogs, 4 miles of Lake Superior shoreline, and 1.5 miles of sandy beach; considered one of the best beaches in Wisconsin.

Big Bay State Park was established in 1963 and has designated picnic areas with grills, tables, drinking water, toilets, and a great place for camping and RV sites.

The park remains open year-round. During winters, you’ll see cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and hunters, making this one of the best places to visit Northern Wisconsin.

Some of the main attractions of Big Bay State Park are hiking, camping, swimming, boating, canoeing, and kayaking. Come enjoy the outdoors with great picnic spots and fishing in the park’s lagoon.

2. Visit Wisconsin Concrete Park, Phillips

Several lifesize sculptures of people and some oxen made from concrete and stones standing in a grassy field next to green trees in the sun
Wisconsin Concrete Park
  • Address: N8236 State Highway 13, Phillips, WI 54555
  • Accommodation Options: The Timber Inn Motel is 3.3 km away from Concrete Park. Each room has a TV with cable channels. You’ll receive free Wi-Fi throughout your stay in the hotel.

Fred Smith’s Wisconsin Concrete Park is an outdoor museum located south of Phillips on Highway 13.

This park delights visitors with 230 figures of mythical and real characters and bas-relief slabs, set among shady trees and well-mown grass. 

Son of German immigrants, Fred Smith was born in 1886 and spent his life working as a Northwoodsman.

At age 65, the self-taught artist and musician began filling his front yard with statues of Paul Bunyan, Kit Carson, Abe Lincoln, Sacajawea, the Statue of Liberty, Ben Hur, and many more.

He built his sculptures by wrapping wooden skeletons in wire, layering them with concrete, and embellishing them with glass insulators and Rhinelander beer bottles from his bar.

The statues are now displayed in a park-like setting.

Along with the sculptures, this park also offers a ½ mile-long hiking trail. There’s a large parking area that can accommodate tour buses and RVs.

Explore the park and get awestruck by the different types of sculptures. Click photos with them and have a good time.

The Wisconsin Concrete Park is one of the most unique places to visit in Northern Wisconsin.

3. Enjoy the great outdoors on Madeline Island

brown sand island by the lake with trees on the edge with clouds on a bright sky
Beach on Madeline Island
  • Address: 20 Washington Avenue, Bayfield, WI 54850 (ferry landing on the mainland) 
  • Accommodation Options: The Pinehurst Inn Bed & Breakfast is perfect for those who want to splurge a bit and the Old Rittenhouse Inn is a fabulous mid-range option. For Airbnb and cabin lovers, this Madeline Island Cabin is located right on the lakeshore on Madeline Island.

If you’re looking for a unique Wisconsin vacation idea, Madeline Island has it all! This is definitely one of the best things to do in upper Wisconsin.

From water sports like fishing, sailing, swimming, and kayaking to hiking, camping, or just sitting on the beach, this quiet island in Lake Superior will give you the peace and quiet you have been looking for. 

It’s also the perfect place to bring your inflatable kayak for whitewater.

Just a 20-minute ferry ride away from Bayfield, Madeline Island delivers you into a laid-back world of friendly faces and spectacular, secluded scenery.

You’ll feel the stress slipping away as you make the two-mile trip across the lake to the island. 

During the winter, Madeline island turns into a fairytale and in my opinion, it is one of the best things to do in Apostle Islands in winter.

Madeline Island is only 42 square miles with the state park, ancient rock formations, and wildlife viewing areas. It is a great place to show your kids nature and wildlife as it was intended to be.

Visit the history museum, tour different pubs and restaurants, take a car ride on this mesmerizing island, and try out activities, such as swimming, golfing, and some of the best trails in Northern Wisconsin.

Madeline Island is particularly a great idea when looking for things to do in Wisconsin in winter since the landscape is gorgeous during this time of the year.

4. Relax in a Northern Wisconsin Resort

a view of resort buildings with beach chairs and trees on a lakefront location
Zen out at a resort in upstate Wisconsin

Some people like to relax while they are on their expedition trips. If you’re one of them, what can be better than relaxing in one of the best resorts in Northern Wisconsin?

Pine scents hang in the fresh air, the woods beckon, and diamond light dances across clear and deep lakes with plenty of fish; this is what you get to experience in Northern Wisconsin resorts.

You’ll find an array of options when it comes to cabins in Northern Wisconsin; lakeside resorts, vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, and lodges. 

The area is also home to some of the most romantic resorts in Wisconsin.

Or, for true luxury, why not treat yourself to one of the best spa resorts in Wisconsin?

Come, kick back, relax, and enjoy the peace and tranquility of beautiful northern Wisconsin lodging. Here are some of my favorites:

Westwood Shores Waterfront Resort

A good cabin for rent in Northern Wisconsin is Westwood Shores Waterfront Resort. Located in Sturgeon Bay, this resort has indoor and outdoor pools, a spa bath, private bathrooms, and a fitness center.

Other facilities include a shared lounge and a games room. You can also enjoy various activities on-site or in surroundings like cycling and fishing. 

It’s also a great place to stay when looking for fall activities in Wisconsin.

From here, it’s just a short drive to Cave Point County boasting numerous hiking trails, underwater caves, and a scenic shore inviting for long swims in Lake Michigan. – Check rates & reviews here

Beacon Pointe on Lake Superior

This is a luxury resort that offers free Wi-Fi, an indoor hot pool, and a hot tub that provides you with a fantastic view of Lake Superior

Hugging the Lakewalk in Duluth, this self-catering accommodation features a kitchen on Lake Superior, a seating area, a refrigerator, and a flat-screen cable TV.

It’s perfect when looking for luxury resorts in Wisconsin.

Some rooms include a spa bath, a balcony, and a fireplace. You can enjoy cycling, hiking, and canoeing nearby. – Check rates & reviews here

Caribou Highlands Lodge

This lovely property located in the Sawtooth Mountains in Lutsen offers an indoor and seasonal outdoor pool.

All rooms are spacious featuring a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, a microwave, a refrigerator, and a coffee machine.

Select rooms feature mountain views and a fireplace. The resort also has tennis courts and 2 saunas. A variety of activities can be enjoyed nearby like skiing, cycling, and hiking. – Check rates & reviews here

The Shallows Resort

The Shallows Resort, with the tagline “Stay on the Bay,” is a family-owned and operated luxury resort.

The waterfront is its main attraction, complemented by a nearby resort pool. Unsurprisingly, it is considered one of the best lake resorts in Wisconsin.

The amenities include a tennis court, a swing set, private shore and dock access, a heated outdoor pool, and hot tubs, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a luxurious Wisconsin resort experience.

Additionally, the resort features two beachside bonfire areas, and popular attractions, such as the town of Egg Harbor, are within walking distance. – Check rates & reviews here

Osthoff Resort

Immerse yourself in the serene and elegant ambiance of the Osthoff Resort, nestled on the picturesque shores of Elkhart Lake.

This luxurious retreat offers a variety of upscale accommodations, thoughtfully designed to provide a sophisticated and relaxing stay in the heart of the Northwoods.

From spacious rooms to well-appointed suites, The Osthoff Resort blends modern amenities with timeless charm, ensuring a truly memorable experience in one of the finest Northern Wisconsin luxury resorts.

Indulge in the resort’s world-class amenities, including a pristine lakeside beach, multiple dining options, and a rejuvenating spa. – Check rates & reviews here

5. Do an RV road trip in Northern Wisconsin 

Recreational vehicle on a scenic mountain road trip with trees at the back
It’s not about the destination, but the journey
  • Best Thing to do: Rent RVs
  • Accommodation Options: Gordon Lodge comes with hot pools and is a great place to stay.

Does the spirit of camping appeal, but the reality of roughing it rubs you the wrong way?

RV camping might be the answer to experiencing the most amazing Wisconsin road trips and scenic drives in Wisconsin.

You can explore northern destinations and the great outdoors, commune with nature to your heart’s content, and then retreat for a bit of homely comfort.

Hitting the road in an RV also lets you discover new sides of Northern Wisconsin.

From wooded serenity at some of the best State Parks in Wisconsin to pools and activities at private campgrounds, the opportunities for RV adventures are limitless.

The US-2 road across Wisconsin navigates wisely, as it takes in the lovely Lake Superior cap of Wisconsin’s northern region and includes a majestic 140-mile detour along the Lake Superior shoreline.

Start your Northern Wisconsin RV road trip at the northwestern corner of the state in the town of Superior.

Going in September or October is also an ideal time to see fall colors in Wisconsin.

Here are the stops for the perfect things to see in Northern Wisconsin on your road trip:

  • Follow the shoreline and detour off US-2 onto Hwy-13, a 100-mile loop that takes you to Cornucopia, Wisconsin’s northernmost community.
  • Along the Hwy-13, you’ll also come across the laid-back resort village, Bayfield, and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Here, you can explore 60 miles of hiking trails.
  • Next, drive further east toward Lake Superior to visit the Wisconsin Point Lighthouse, one of the most unique lighthouses of Wisconsin.
  • Midway between Minnesota and Michigan sits Ashland. The main street here is worth visiting as it has many well-preserved old buildings.
  • Just south of the town is the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, a spacious building with interpretive exhibits of local history and industry.
  • Head east towards Michigan to the Bad River Band Reservation in order to get a glimpse of one of Wisconsin’s six Ojibwa communities. 

You don’t own an RV? Outdoorsy has the best deals when it comes to RV rentals. – Check rates & reviews here

6. Go Waterfall Chasing in Pattison State Park

a wooden bridge on a river and rocks with trees surrounding
Pattison State Park , Wisconsin
  • Address: 6294 S. State Road 35, Superior, WI 54880
  • Accommodation Options: The best way to enjoy the beauty here is by renting a cabin. You’ll love this beautifully decorated Home near Spirit.

Escape from the drudgery of everyday life when you visit Pattison State Park, a breathtaking area that spans more than 1,400 acres and is one of the most beautiful places in northern Wisconsin.

Home to 2 waterfalls in Northern Wisconsin, including the Big and Little Manitou Falls, water is the main attraction here. 

Big Manitou Falls is a majestic waterfall, dropping a spectacular 165 feet! It’s the tallest fall in Wisconsin and the fourth tallest waterfall east of the Rockies.

The waterfall is across the highway from the main park and accessible by a tunnel. Embark on the Big Manitou Falls River Trail to reach the waterfalls.

This trail offers spectacular views of the landscapes and natural beauty. 

The fun doesn’t stop here! Cross back to the main part of the park and hike up the Beaver Trail to get to the 31-foot Little Manitou Falls.

The two-mile Beaver Trail promises plenty of natural beauty, from forested areas to local wildlife. 

For those who love waterfalls, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best places in northern Wisconsin.

The breathtaking view of the falls here is awe-inspiring and enough to inspire anyone to come back to it, again and again!

No wonder the area was a film location for some of the best movies set in Wisconsin.

Typical things to do here are adventure sports, mountain biking, hiking, and water activities. It’s the perfect place to bring your favorite vegan hiking boots too!

7. Go Hiking near Tomahawk

things to do northern wisconsin, Colorful trees reflected in the lake.
Fall in Tomahawk, Wisconsin

If you’re still thinking about all the things to do in Northern Wisconsin, you might want to consider hiking near Tomahawk.

Tomahawk is home to a variety of hiking trails and walking paths that are open to anyone who feels like exploring.

You’ll find trails that extend more than 1,000 miles to trails that meander to a beach, a must if you love hiking in North Wisconsin! Make sure to bring your Wisconsin hiking guides.

Imagine walking along the trails that are covered in rail.

Once the site was constructed to export white pine logs back and forth from Northern Wisconsin forests that have now become a popular hiking destination.

It’s now used as a recreational corridor, and the surface is covered with granite, which makes it easier for people to walk or cycle.

Some of them go along the scenic shore of the Wisconsin River which is a particularly quaint setting for hikes in Northern Wisconsin.

Some of the wonderful Wisconsin hiking trails in Tomahawk are the Bearskin State Trail, Hiawatha Trail, Escanaba Trail, Wolf Mountain Trail, Lake Gogebic State Park, and Timm’s Hill Trail.

8. Do a Cabin Getaway on Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

trees above a Sea caves along the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior
Apostle Islands of Lake Superior, WI

If you’re looking for things to do up north Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands are a must!

Along windswept beaches and sandstone cliffs, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a place where water meets land and sky, and past meets the present.

Apostle Islands is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in upper Wisconsin.

The 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland coast host a unique blend of cultural and natural resources, featuring raw natural beauty and rich cultural history.

The top things to do on Apostle Islands National Lakeshore include hiking, sailing, or cruising.

The clear water, underwater rock formations, and fascinating shipwrecks combine to provide outstanding scuba diving opportunities as well.

A trip to the island is one of the best things to do in northern Wisconsin in summer, especially for those who love the outdoors!

Camping is also available on 19 of the lakeshore’s 21 islands and one campsite on the mainland, making it the best spot for camping in northern Wisconsin. 

If you’re planning for a weekend getaway, you might consider booking a cabin on Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The cottages are quaint and cozy.

Some of the cabins that you can rent include Fin McCool, Hippophile farm Get-a-way Garden Apartment, Madeline Island Beach Cottage, Wilderness Retreat, and Hermitage Cabin. 

A Wisconsin weekend trip to this place will definitely give you beautiful memories to cherish forever.

The area is also famous for hosting some of the most romantic cabins in Wisconsin.

If looking for cozy winter getaways in Wisconsin, you can also rent a cabin on Madeline Island for the winter.

I highly recommend visiting the Apostle Islands in winter as it is extra romantic and magical.

9. Outdoor Activities in Marinette County

a twelve foot falls waterfall in the middle of a river surrounded by autumn trees
Pike River in Marinette County, Wisconsin

Marinette County provides restful, scenic surroundings to spend leisure time and various outdoor adventures.

The endless trails here provide recreation for adventurers who desire to ATV, snowmobile, hike, bike and cross country ski. These are all some of the top things to do near Marinette for outdoorsy people!

The 230,000 acres of forest land are available for hunting and exploring wildlife.

One can also canoe, kayak, and go fishing in the exceptional inland lakes and trout streams.

With its extensive recreational facilities and vacation advantages, Marinette County is truly an outdoor paradise!

This area is also perfect for family outdoor camping and one of the best things to do in Northern Wisconsin!

10. Get active in Minocqua

Rustic wooden trestle across the Bearskin State Trail in Minocqua Wisconsin surrounded by trees by a body of water
Rustic wooden trestle across the Bearskin State Trail in Minocqua Wisconsin.

There are many fun outdoor activities and things to do in Minocqua, WI.

Take out a bicycle or plan to walk to explore Minocqua’s breathtaking and extensive scenic trails. Families, please come back to Minocqua as you can’t do it all in one visit.

Here, you can try different water activities, such as water skiing, fishing, wakeboarding, tubing, and raking a relaxing sunset pontoon ride.

During winters, cruise the lake on a snowmobile or trek through the winter wonderland.

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11. Rent a Lake Cabin in Northern Wisconsin

wooden cabin surrounded by trees with chairs and fire outside

If you really want to enjoy your stay, you must rent a lake cabin in Northern Wisconsin. Leave your work behind this weekend and bring your family along. 

Some of the cabins have free kayaks, canoes, and playrooms.

You’ll easily find tons of gorgeous and some of the most romantic cabins in Wisconsin.

Here are some of my favorite cabins in Northern Wisconsin:

Most of the cabins are located near the public beaches, offering you the best ever cabin life! The cabins are trendy and quirky.

12. Go Lake Hopping in Northern Wisconsin

sunset over lake michigan with rocks on the foreground and trees on the side
Lake Michigan at sunset

After you find the perfect lake cabin, try freshwater fishing as well!

As beautiful northern Wisconsin offers over 3,200 lakes, streams, and rivers, you might wonder where to begin!

Some of the lakes which are known for providing the best freshwater fishing experiences are Big Green lake, Eagle River Chain, Minocqua Chain, Shawano Lake, and Pewaukee Lake.

It’s the perfect place to bring your own inflatable kayak.

13. Do the Escanaba Hiking Trail

tree lined path through the forest

The Escanaba Hiking Trail is a wonderful blend of fun, challenging terrain, and gorgeous scenery.

This is one of the most scenic groomed-classic ski trails in northern Wisconsin and one of my things to do in Northern Wisconsin in summer

This hilly, rolling and very scenic trail winds around several lakes and through a variety of timber types and has a shelter and fire ring provided.

The Escanaba Hiking Trail is an intermediate level cross-country ski trail. A Wisconsin State Trail Pass is required. Make sure to bring your Wisconsin hiking guide.

14. Visit Breweries in La Crosse, WI

tall brewery towers painted with the La Crosse logo standing next to another part of the brewery with a tree to one side and a parked vehicle to the other

While figuring out some of the best places to visit in Northern Wisconsin, take a Breweries tour in La Crosse.

Experience the Coulee Region crafted in every sip as you discover the individual styles expressed at 13 of the area’s best breweries, wineries, and distilleries located in La Crosse.

Some of the northern wisconsin tourist attractions that you must not skip are Turtle Stack, Pearl St, and 608 Brewing Company. Enjoy a lot of brewery tours in Wisconsin.

La Crosse is one of the best places to spend spring break in Wisconsin!

15. Race at State Park Speedway in Wausau

Blue race car driving fast

The country setting of State Park Speedway in Wausau is impressive!

This area is known for providing some of the best racing experiences here in Central Wisconsin!

This place should be on your list of best places to go in Wisconsin!

Apart from speed racing, this site offers a bar and great food, and you’ll enjoy your time watching local drivers racing. It’s the place to be for people interested in speed racing shows!

16. Backpacking in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Top view of Chequamegon-Nicolet is a National Forest in Northern Wisconsin during snow season
Chequamegon-Nicolet, National Forest in Northern Wisconsin
  • Accommodation Options: The best way to enjoy the beauty of this area is by renting a cabin or a cottage. This cabin is tranquility in a nutshell and comes with its private dock. I am also obsessed with this secluded cabin.

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is made up of two forests. Separated by about 150 miles of farms, houses, and urban areas, it’s all managed as one national forest.

This beautiful forest is one of the best things to do in Northwest Wisconsin for nature lovers. It can even be enjoyed any time of year.

Come backpacking here in the late spring through the first snowfall is wonderful! Hikes through groves of maple and oaks and get a chance to see white-tailed deer, foxes, and countless bird species.

Hike through North Country Trail to get the best views in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. 

If you love backpacking, have a look at these fabulous backpacks made from recycled materials.

17. Visit Downtown Farmers Market in Eau Claire

vegetable market with red tomatoes and yellow bell peppers in the foreground and stalls of other vegetables behind

If you want to find places to go in northern Wisconsin for local and fresh veggies and fruits, as well as baked goods and beverages, Downtown Farmers Market is the best one!

Located in Eau Claire, this is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Once you’re done shopping, try some of the food at local food vendors; they’re delicious!

The farmers market is one of the best things to do in Eau Claire and shouldn’t be missed when you next visit!

18. Watch a football game in Green Bay, Door County

football players playing football in the ground
Hut hut hike!

A trip to Green Bay is a must for any Wisconsin vacation as it is one of the top things to do in Northeast Wisconsin.

Do you want to know more about the things to do in Green Bay, Wisconsin? Why not watch a football game in Green Bay? Go to Lambeau Field to watch an on-going match.

Come here in August to watch the team practicing live. The Green Bay team is simply legendary and famous across Wisconsin state! You can purchase tickets online.

Once done, head towards the Green Bay Packers Pro shop to collect some souvenirs. 

If you’re an outdoor buff, you should also consider driving up north to Door County. It’s only 44 miles away, a paradise for hikers, fishermen, and those who love lakeshore beaches.

19. Go Camping in Northern Highland American Legion State Forest

top view of beach with green forest with a cliff and mountain view of sea

Camping is one of the top things to do Northern Wisconsin has to offer! And camping at Northern Highland American Legion State Forest is a great way to enjoy nature and get great views.

Northern Highland American Legion State Forest was established in 1925. This place is a perfect getaway for people wanting to camp.

Located right in the heart of northern Wisconsin, there are 18 family campgrounds and 900 lakes. Some campgrounds to visit are Firefly, Crystal, Clear, and Musky.

20. Rent a Kayak in Northern Wisconsin

group of people kayaking in door county

If you’re adventurous or it’s your first time to rent a kayak in Northern Wisconsin, you should try out Madeline Island Sea caves, Fox River-Governor Bend. Neenah Creek, Montello Rover, and Mecan River.

Explore the waters and enjoy this rewarding water sport. It’s also the perfect opportunity to bring your own inflatable kayak.

21. Spend a day on the Northwoods Zip Line

a Woman riding on a zip line with the view of trees and clouds
Zip lining at Northwoods, Wisconsin

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a drone camera, flying through the air? Well, that feeling is the main attraction here at the Northwoods Zip Line in Minocqua.

It’s one of the most fun things to do in northern Wisconsin!

But if hanging from a wire isn’t for you, there’s so much more to do here. Other activities include kayaking, off-road driving, mountain biking, paddle boarding, and plenty of hiking.

And all the while you’ll be learning about the beautiful Northwoods Wisconsin area.

22. Enjoy a day out at Kartway

three people having fun go karting

If you need speed, head to Eagle River and race on the many different tracks available at Kartway!

If you like going around corners sideways, the Slick Track has got you covered. If it’s pure speed you’re after, the Oval Track has the fastest karts available.

You can even team up and take a two-person kart onto the Big Track – Kartway’s most competitive circuit.

Families with younger children will especially enjoy one of these day trips in northern Wisconsin, as Kartway also has mini-jeep riding, a huge Circus City bouncy house, mini golf, and even bumper boats.

23. Visit the Snowmobile Hall of Fame

fun things to do in northern wisconsin, multiple people snowmobiling in the snow
Snowmobiling in upstate Wisconsin

Wisconsin is beautiful, but it’s also cold sometimes. Fortunately, that’s why such places as the Snowmobile Hall of Fame exist!

Head way up north in upstate Wisconsin to St Germain to find this cultural gem. Get into the addictive sport of snowmobile racing by watching (or taking part in) their many racing events.

Learn about the history of the snowmobile at their fascinating museum. Team spirit is high in the snowmobiling community, so get ready to share the love and be swept up the enthusiasm!

Of course, afterward, make sure to actually check out some of the amazing snowmobile trails in Wisconsin for yourself!

24. Go Whitewater Rafting in Northern Wisconsin

a group of people enjoying a rafting down a river with big waves on the foreground

If you’re into outdoor adventure sports, then no day trips in Wisconsin will be complete without some whitewater rafting. There are plenty of places that offer this exhilarating activity.

Places like Bear Paw Outdoor Adventure Center, Shotgun Eddy, Wildman Adventure Resort, and Kosir’s Rapid Rafts offer whitewater kayaking, rafting, and tubing options.

They also feature riverside log cabins and campgrounds, so you can make the most of your whitewater experience. It’s northern Wisconsin tourism at its finest!

25. Explore Rhinelander

a statue of a hodag, a folklore character looking like a black large bull-horned with white horns, grass, and a wooden building at the back
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
  • Best Thing to do: Visit the Hodag statue, a fearsome creature from Wisconsin folklore
  • Accommodation Options: Enjoy a relaxing stay at the AmericInn by Wyndham, complete with a complimentary waffle and egg breakfast. If you’re happy to stay just outside of the city, this Rustic Log cabin is the perfect getaway for a long weekend in Rhinelander.

The city of Rhinelander is one of the best places to visit in northern Wisconsin. There are enough forests, lakes and trails to keep any hiker occupied for days on end.

You can learn all about Rhinelander’s rich industrial history at the Historical Society Museum and the Logging Museum, which feature plenty of detailed exhibits.

For country music lovers, Rhinelander is home to the Hodag Country Festival, named after the city’s mascot – a fearsome carnivorous beast from American folklore!

Fancy some delicious local produce? The Hodag Farmers Market runs every Saturday from May to October.

There’s also the Rhinelander Brewery Taproom where you can refresh yourself with some locally brewed craft beers.

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26. Relax in Bayfield

Cityscape view of Bayfield Wisconsin with autumn trees and houses by the lake

If you are out of northern Wisconsin vacation destinations, then Bayfield should be your choice!

This charming town, nestled on the shores of Lake Superior, is renowned for its picturesque beauty and welcoming atmosphere.

It also boasts a vibrant arts scene, with galleries and studios showcasing the works of local artists. Visitors can stroll through the unique shops, filled with handcrafted items, local produce, and artisan goods.

One of the highlights of Bayfield is the Bayfield Apple Festival, held annually in October. This festival is one of the top harvest festivals in the country and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

27. Tour Northwoods Wildlife Center 

young deer with alert ears looking at camera

Visiting the Northwoods Wildlife Center is one of the northern wisconsin activities, perfect for families and wildlife enthusiasts alike. 

Located in Minocqua, this wildlife rehabilitation and education center is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of injured and orphaned wildlife native to Northern Wisconsin.

During a tour of the Northwoods Wildlife Center, visitors have the opportunity to see these animals up close and learn about their natural habitats, behaviors, and the challenges they face in the wild. 

The center also features educational exhibits and interactive displays, making it an engaging destination for children and adults. 

By visiting the Northwoods Wildlife Center, you not only gain a deeper appreciation for Wisconsin’s wildlife but also support the center’s mission of wildlife conservation and environmental education.

28. Experience the Ice Age National Scenic Trail

slightly blurry photo of a tree lined hiking path

Experiencing the Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a must for nature enthusiasts visiting Northern Wisconsin.

This remarkable thousand-mile trail follows the path of the last glacier to cover the state, offering hikers the chance to see a variety of unique geological features and marvel at the Wisconsin scenery.

The fascinating formations provide a glimpse into the region’s ancient past and create a diverse and intriguing landscape.

In the northwestern segment of the Ice Age Trail, hikers can enjoy the serene beauty of forested areas, clear lakes, and rolling hills.

The trail is well-marked and features various access points, making it easy to customize your hike according to your interests and fitness level. 

Along the way, you might spot wildlife, enjoy picturesque views, and discover the quiet beauty of Northern Wisconsin’s landscapes.

29. Go Fishing and Boating in the Northwoods

Three people in silhouette standing on a wooden jetty holding fishing rods in front of a calm body of water with some rolling hills visible in the distance at dusk

Going fishing and boating is one of the best things to do in the Northwoods for outdoor enthusiasts.

Renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities, the region is dotted with pristine lakes and rivers that offer a serene and picturesque setting for anglers. 

Notable fishing spots include the Eagle River Chain of Lakes, the Minocqua Chain, and the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage. 

These waters are teeming with a variety of fish species, including muskie, walleye, bass, and panfish, making it a haven for both novice and experienced anglers. 

In addition to fishing, the Northwoods are perfect for a range of boating activities. The expansive lakes and interconnected waterways are ideal for boating, water skiing, and kayaking. 

Whether you’re seeking the thrill of water skiing or the peacefulness of a leisurely boat ride, the Northwoods offers a perfect blend of excitement and relaxation on its beautiful lakes.

30. Attend a Local Festival or Event

closeup of a woman blowing confetti

Wisconsin is renowned for its vibrant festivals and events that celebrate the state’s rich cultural heritage, local traditions, and seasonal changes. 

Attending an event is one of the things to do in North Wisconsin you should not miss.

Here are a few events to consider:

  • Summerfest in Milwaukee is a music festival that spans 11 days and features more than 1,000 performances on multiple stages
  • Cedarburg Strawberry Festival offers a weekend of strawberry-themed treats, arts and crafts, live music, and family-friendly activities
  • EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is an air show and aviation gathering that attracts aviation enthusiasts from around the world
  • Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, an 11-day event celebrating Wisconsin’s agricultural heritage
  • Minocqua Antique & Classic Boat Show showcases beautifully restored watercraft and draws boating enthusiasts from all over
  • Oktoberfest in La Crosse in La Crosse is a lively celebration of German culture

These are the top Northern Wisconsin attractions that you must visit! Book a flight and reach one of the airports in Northern Wisconsin. Bon, voyage!


Map of Northern Wisconsin Attractions & Hotels


Short FAQ about Things to do in Northern Wisconsin

What are the things to do in Northern Wisconsin during winter?

Some of the best things to do in Northern Wisconsin during winter are skiing, ice skating and snowmobile.

What’s it like to live in Northern Wisconsin?

Northern Wisconsin is the perfect place to connect with nature, relieve stress, and explore. It offers you the opportunities to get into the great outdoors, from countless lakes and rivers to miles of hiking and ATV trails.

What are family things to do in Northern Wisconsin?

You can enjoy family outdoor camping and a relaxing vacation at the lakeside in Northern Wisconsin.

What are the best things to do in northwestern Wisconsin?

Northwestern Wisconsin offers a variety of activities, including exploring the Apostle Islands, relaxing in Bayfield, and touring the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

What to see in northern Wisconsin?

Some of the places to see in Northern Wisconsin are Madeline Island, Marinette County, and Green Bay.

What are the best northern Wisconsin vacation ideas?

Embark on a road trip around Lake Superior or go Camping and Hiking in state parks are some ideas to do on your northern wisconsin vacation.