Sometimes you want to take a leisurely hike and sometimes you’re looking to get the adrenaline pumping. If the warmer weather has you itching to get out and get your heart rate up, we’ve got the list for you. Throughout Wisconsin, there’s plenty to see and do, but these nine areas have some of the best, most blood-pumping activities to help you add a bit of adventure to your life:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Wisconsin Dells
Beyond the waterslides and go-carts, there's plenty to do in this vacation mecca to appease your adventurous side. Check out one of three different zip line companies in and around town.
Just south of Lake Delton, Canyon Creek Riding Stable is a great way to enjoy the warm weather, but is even better in the fall when the leaves are changing. And in the winter, check back for sleigh rides!
Just a bit further out, Devil's Lake might be the most popular and well-known state park, but it's for a reason. Whether hiking or swimming, you'll never regret a day spent here.
2. Lake Geneva
Don't dismiss this little resort town in southeast Wisconsin as sleepy. Lake Geneva Canopy Tours provides an awesome and unique viewpoint on the forest.
The gorgeous lake is a great place to learn how to sail with Geneva Lake Sailing School.
But for the ultimate adventure, head to Lake Geneva Balloon Company for a literal birds-eye view. You'll never forget floating up above the land.
3. Apostle Islands
One of the best parts of the Apostle Islands is that there's just as much cool stuff to do in summer as in winter. Sure, you've seen the pictures of the frozen ice caves, but exploring this area in summer means getting out on the water to paddle board and more. Commune with Mother Nature and find your center with paddle board yoga with Madeline Island Yoga.
The fishing up here is spectacular and there are plenty of charters to take you out. Hook and Fin Charter Company said these kids didn't even need any help - meaning even novice fishermen can head out for a successful day on Lake Superior.
But the best way to enjoy this part of the state is to get in a kayak and be among it. The caves are so awesome and you get up close and personal this way. Check out how they've been worn and shaped by the water.
Way up north, Hayward is certainly well-known as a summer relaxation destination, but there's so much more than fishing to do here.
Runamuk rides provides boats, ATVs, snowmobiles and more for you to rent and get out into the amazing surrounding nature and forest.
In the summer, take part in the fat tire ride or in the winter, head up for the World Famous Birkebeiner ski event.
There's so much to do in this area. Marineland Dive Center is Wisconsin's largest scuba diving outlet and you can train and learn everything you need to know from them.
Nearby Perrot State Park sits at the confluence of the Trempealeau and Mississippi rivers and is a great example of our state's Driftless area. Hike around and up to get great views of the surrounding landscape and marvel at how different the terrain is here.
Part wetland, part sand prairie, at more than 6,000 acres, the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge is home to a wide array of plant and animal life. It's a prime place to watch for the birds that use the Mississippi Flyway as part of their migration path.
Situated on the border with Minnesota on the St. Croix River, Osceola showcases a different type of coastal environment. And the best way to see it is with SkyDive Twin Cities. Despite the name, this place is definitely in Wisconsin and definitely offers one of the biggest rushes of anything on this list.
With 24 trails and three terrain parks, Trollhaugen is an ideal winter resort. But there's also plenty to do here in warmer months. The aerial adventure park will test your limits and leave you feeling so accomplished.
When you're ready to slow it down just a bit, head to Cascade Falls to see the huge gorge carved by the St. Croix River and the pretty waterfall that comes where Osceola Creek meets the river. Make plans to hike to nearby Osceola Bluff, rising 100 feet over the river and giving more spectacular views.
The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway offers a wide variety of adventure options as well as stunning views.
You might not have heard of Athelstane, but you'll want to put it on your mental map. The best whitewater rafting in the state - and maybe the Midwest - are right here on the Menominee and Peshtigo Rivers. There are class II-IV rapids for all adventure levels. It's the best adventure you can find in the Dairy State.
When you're ready to dry out, head over to Governor Thompson State Park. One of the state's newest parks, it has 6.5 miles of shoreline on the Caldron Falls Reservoir, part of the Peshtigo River, and 5,300 feet of shoreline on two small kettle lakes. It sits adjacent to the Peshtigo River State Forest.
You've never experienced anything like being able to see for miles in every direction from a glider at Soar Midwest. On a good day you can see both the Milwaukee and Chicago skylines. When you're done, sit under the oaks and enjoy a picnic lunch or use their grills and enjoy watching others take off and land.
When you're coming down from that high, check out Beckman Mill. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it's one of Wisconsin's only restored, working gristmills. Built in 1868, the mill has been restored and is now part of the 50-acre Beckman Mill County Park. Check out the dam, mill pond, fish ladder, foot bridge, 1840's cooperage, visitor center, gift shop, creamery, blacksmith shop, picnic shelter, vintage garden, nature trail and more.
End your day exploring the Rock River, relaxing in far southern Wisconsin.
9. Door County
You know it for cottages and antiquing, wine tours and girlfriends' weekends, but Door County offers so much more than that. With all that gorgeous outdoor space, there's so much opportunity for adventure. With Wisconsin Water Wings you can see out over the water and the trees for a totally unique view of the peninsula.
Heading out to Rock Island feels a bit like traveling to the ends of the earth without really leaving home. With no cars and only ferry access, Rock Island feels remote and special and you never know what you'll find there.
There's something totally wild and unbridled about Cave Point County Park. Definitely explore it from land, but make sure you get out on the water to see the caves and experience the beauty from another angle.