Wisconsin May 08, 2018
Here’s Why Even Locals Want to Visit These 10 Tourist Towns In Wisconsin
The weather is finally warm and the urge to get out to our favorite places and explore is high. There are some definite tourist towns all around Wisconsin, but that alone shouldn’t be enough to discourage you from visiting. Sure, you’ll run in to some visitors and there may be some parts that aren’t for everyone, but even in these towns that attract a crowd there’s a lot to see, uncover, and enjoy!
Here are 10 Wisconsin towns that can tend to be touristy, but are still worth it, even for those who live there:
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:
The prime spot on Lake Superior for summer fun is actually an awesome place to visit year-round. Everyone flocks here for life out on the water, but downtown is full of quaint shops, there are some fabulous public beaches, Siskiwit Falls and more! Plus, the fall Apple Festival is pretty much the most fun you can have up here.
2. Sister Bay
Door County's population multiplies in the summer and the harbor here is certainly a hot spot, but there's also nearby Peninsula State Park, some fun summer festivals, the Goat Parade, an awesome art scene and some of the best restaurants on the peninsula.
3. New Glarus
Don't get me wrong, I also love the beer. But people who only head here for the brewery are missing out on a ton. Wandering the streets of this charming little town bring you to an amazing cheese shop, a stellar bakery, some interesting artisans and the Swiss Heritage Center. It's been more than a year since I've been back and I still tell people about the amazing breakfast I had at Cow and Quince. Plan a day to explore New Glarus Woods and the beautiful nearby countryside.
4. Mount Horeb
Yes, there are trolls. But there's also Blue Mounds State Park, the Mt. Horeb Art Museum, Cave of the Mounds, the Military Ridge State Trail and a wide variety of artisan farms. All that delicious local production means the eating around here is A+.
If you've only gone to Cedarburg for the Strawberry Festival, you're missing out. This adorable little town just 20 minutes north of Milwaukee is chock full of charm on their main drag, with unique stores and all kinds of restaurant options, from fine dining down to pub burgers. Head to Cedar Creek Winery or the Fermentorium Brewery and enjoy some libations right along the river.
6. Elkhart Lake
Between the resort-style lake life and the speed of Road America, it feels like there are two very different sides to Elkhart Lake - but really, they're just the surface. Up here you're just minutes from LaBudde Creek State Wildlife Area and the Sheboygan Marsh, plus the Kettle Moraine Red Oaks. Plan at least part of a day in nearby Plymouth to enjoy a town that is pretty famous for its cheese to eat to your heart's content. Johnsonville is close by, as well. You could lounge on the lake and take part in all the little shops or travel out into the wilderness for a lot of fun.
If you haven't been here since visiting the Circus World Museum as a kid, you're in for a big surprise. Baraboo isn't the kitschy spot outside of Madison and the Dells anymore, but a quaint and charming small town with stunningly refurbished buildings and a ton of history. There's fabulous restaurants, an active business community and all the nearby state natural area you could ever want.
8. Lake Geneva
One of the best things to do in Lake Geneva has been right in front of you this whole time - there's a walking path around the lake that gives you all the scenery you could every hope for, from lake views to up close looks at all the huge lakefront homes. In the summer, take a ride on the only mailboat and watch the kids jump docks to deliver. There are also a ton of amazing small shops and cafes and music events to enjoy.
While it's certainly more popular in the warm months, there's a reason a good number of folks find this the place they want to be year round. Every kind of water activity is at your fingertips. There are lovely little shops and all kinds of nooks and crannies to discover. When the weather's warm, there's even more small places that pop up.
Take time to find all the little art galleries here as the beautiful local scenery has built up quite the community of folks inspired by the views. Eat at the creamery, take in a play at Northern Sky Theater, visit an orchard and explore the lighthouse.
You might not want to share, but if you’re willing to give us your secrets, share some of your favorite hidden gems in typically tourist areas in the comments!
If art is your thing, check out
13 Artsy Towns In Wisconsin For A Whimsical Day Trip.