Nature March 30, 2021
A Nature Lovers Definitive Guide To Wisconsin’s Natural Beauty – Waterfalls, Beaches, Hikes And More!
Wisconsin is well-known as America’s Dairyland, but the state holds so much more than just green pasture and hefty Holsteins. Get off the beaten cowpath and you’ll find more lakes, rivers, islands, beaches, and trails than you ever imagined. In spring, you’ll see endless natural gardens of wildflowers bloom as well as massive migrations of birds coming up north from their winter retreats in the south. In autumn, Wisconsin’s state parks explode with heartwarming fall foliage, drawing visitors from all over the country. For you geology buffs, Wisconsin’s natural history is rich with limestone caves, granite gorges, and various rock formations that play happy host to waterfalls, swimming holes, and other natural wonders. Let’s dig into all the natural beauty Wisconsin has to offer!
The Best Little Known Park In Wisconsin
Tucked on a tiny peninsula outside Oshkosh, Menominee Park is a little slice of wholesome fun for the whole family. There's a beach on the east side of the park with access to Lake Winnebago. You can rent a kayak to hit the water or play volleyball in the sand. Paved walking and biking paths wind around the park, taking you to tons of charming features like a playground and amusement rides for the kids, an ice rink, fishing spots, and even a zoo! Menominee Park Zoo is home to llamas, peacocks, badgers, raccoons, otters, and many more friendly critters.
The Most Pristine Beach In Wisconsin
Sandy, sunny beaches aren't what first pop into mind when you think of Wisconsin, but the state boasts more than its fair share. Topping the list of best beaches in the Badger State is Racine North Beach, just a short drive south of Milwaukee on the Lake Michigan shore. The 2,500 feet of pristine lakeshore attracts loads of families during the hot summer months. There's a kids' playground, volleyball courts and a pier that juts out into Lake Superior. We should mention that North Beach is amazingly clean and was the first beach in Wisconsin to be certified by the National Clean Beaches Coalition.
Are you itching to get your feet wet yet?
The Most Jaw Dropping Lake In Wisconsin
Step aside Lake Superior, Devils Lake near Baraboo takes the cake for the most scenic lake in the state of Wisconsin. Formed during the last Ice Age, this 369-acre lake now draws 3 million visitors per year. In 1911, the lake and the surrounding area were named Devils Lake State Park. The lake offers plenty of opportunities for camping, swimming, canoeing, fishing, hiking and rock climbing. The standing rocks on the hills above the lake make a great hiking destination with rewarding views of the deep blue water. Whether you come to stay for a day or a week, Devils Lake is sure to put a spell on you.
The Most Beautiful Island In Wisconsin
The Apostle Islands off the coast of Lake Superior are not one, not two, but 22 different islands. All together, they encompass 69,000 acres ringed around a peninsula that juts into Lake Superior. The most interesting feature of these amazing islands is the way erosion has created so many natural caverns and waterways. If you're feeling fit and bold, you can kayak into (and hopefully out of!) these caves. When the lake freezes in winter, you can even walk across the water and explore the hauntingly beautiful ice caves on foot. During the warmer months, you can rent a campsite and stay a few nights on your very own private island.
So who's up for some Wisconsin island-hopping?
The Best Trail To Hike In Wisconsin
With more than 1,200 miles of trail winding across the entire state, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail can't be walked in a day, or even a week. The national park follows the edge of the last glacier that covered Wisconsin and highlights other rock formations and geological features left behind by the last Ice Age. But you don't have to be a geology buff to appreciate this trail. Walking the entire length or just short segments will showcase the incredible natural beauty that Wisconsin holds. If you aren't up for tackling the entire trail (who can blame you!), check out the many beautiful mini-hikes all along the way.
Grab your walking stick and get ready to head back to the Ice Age!
The Most Beautiful River In Wisconsin
Dells of the Eau Clair River is a hidden gem that honestly should be overrun with visitors, but thankfully isn't...yet. Located smack-dab in the middle of Wisconsin just a short drive from Washau, this river winds through volcanic rock formations and will leave a lasting impression. The trail that follows the river is broken up by the occasional wooden bridge. The dells from which the river gets its name create endless natural swimming pools perfect for a summertime dip. The park also has camping sites available if you just can't pull yourself away.
Can you hear the river running?
The Most Scenic Mountain In Wisconsin
Jimmy Emerson DVM/Flickr
The glaciation of the last Ice Age didn't leave Wisconsin with many mountains. The most scenic mountain in Wisconsin is actually a hill, Timm's Hill to be exact. Located just a short drive from Tomahawk in Price County, getting to the top of Timm's Hill is a steady, gentle incline. Once there, however, there's a watchtower to climb to get a great view above the beautiful treeline. In winter, Timm's Hill County Park offers snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. In summer, there are picnic and fishing spots as well as a beach and boat landing at nearby Bass Lake.
Are you ready to summit Wisconsin's Everest?
The Most Unique Garden In Wisconsin
Called the "Jewel of Janesville," the Rotary Botanical Gardens is really 26 different gardens in one, featuring styles such as Japanese, classical French, and Buddhist across its 20-acre grounds. There's no better place to enjoy vibrant wildflowers in an elegant, beautifully maintained setting. And if you think winter means there's no reason to visit, think again. The Gardens feature a brilliant holiday light show every year, bringing some much-needed cheer to the cold winter nights and drawing visitors from all over.
Can you smell the roses?