Wisconsin and its large cities have had many descriptive nicknames over the years. “America’s Dairyland,” is the one that has stuck, but the most popular attractions in this Midwestern state have nothing to do with cheese. Endless miles of lakes and waterways combined with rugged cliffs and lush farmland have earned Wisconsin the reputation as one of the Midwest’s most beautiful and most active states.
Some of the most popular destinations in Wisconsin are perfect locations for outdoor enjoyment in almost any form. Wisconsin’s diverse geography has something for everyone. In the state’s largest city, Milwaukee, visitors can enjoy cultural excursions to museums and many other notable attractions.
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Wisconsin is well known for its natural beauty created thanks in part to its seemingly endless waterways, one stretch of which is called Apostle Islands.The islands are known not just for stunning views, but for unique rock outcroppings and caves that are well worth exploring if you can get to them. They are popular destinations for water lovers and land lovers alike with excellent kayaking areas and plenty of hunting grounds.
Dells of Wisconsin River
Wisconsin Dells is the name of a popular resort city in Wisconsin and the dells it was named for, a stretch of rock formations and canyons in a gorge of the Wisconsin River.The cliffs, some over 100 feet high, and side canyons are closed to the public to protect sensitive ecological features. The dells are known for their unique beauty and are often visited by boat.
The town of Wisconsin Dells has made its name known as a hugely popular tourist destination with enough indoor and outdoor water parks to be called the Water Park Capital of the World.
Milwaukee Art Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum is comprised of three buildings on the shores of Lake Michigan in downtown Milwaukee. The museum’s impressive collection includes more than 30,000 artworks from 15th to 20th century European and 17th to 20th century American artists of various mediums. Some of the most famous artists whose work is on display include Degas, Rodin, Monet, Frank Lloyd Wright, Picasso, Joan Miro, and Warhol. It is also known for its impressive collection of works by Georgia O’Keefe, a Wisconsin native.
Milwaukee County Zoo
The Milwaukee County Zoo currently sits on 200 acres of beautiful parkland. The zoo is a home to more than 3,300 mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles with more than 374 species represented. It is a site for special events, holiday celebrations, summer concerts and temporary exhibits. Recognized as one of the country’s finest zoological attractions, the Milwaukee County Zoo serves as a resource to educate, entertain and inspire.
Ice Age National Scenic Trail
Located along one of the routes of the most recent glaciations (Ice Age) this 1,000 mile long National Scenic Trail is a popular destination for short and long distance hikers. The route follows the terminal moraine, or glacial debris path, of what was once an enormous glacier. Along the trail evidence left by the glacial period can be seen in the form of various natural features which would appear to the novice as holes, pipes, ridges, puddles, and other unique rock formations.
Top Things to Do in Wisconsin
Devil’s Lake State Park
Devil’s Lake State Park is the biggest state park in Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s largest state park offers magnificent views from 500-foot Quartzite bluffs overlooking a 360-acre lake which was created by a glacier deposits. Devil`s Lake State Park has 29 miles of hiking trails and 6 miles of mountain biking trails. Spectacular scenery, a full range of recreational activities, and a full-time naturalist make this a very popular park.
The Harley-Davidson Museum is a museum near downtown, Milwaukee, Wisconsin celebrating the more than 100-year history of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The three building complex on 20 acres along the Menomonee River bank contains over 450 Harley-Davidson motorcycles and hundreds of thousands of artifacts from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s 110-year history. The museum’s galleries permanent exhibits spread throughout two floors, in addition to temporary exhibits and the motor company’s archives.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Olbrich Botanical Gardens offers 16 acres of outdoor display gardens and an indoor, tropical conservatory at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. In the outdoor gardens, visit the Thai Pavilion and Garden. The Thai Pavilion is the only one in the continental United States. Walk through the Rose Garden and other specialty gardens such as the Perennial Garden, Sunken Garden, and Herb Garden. The Bolz Conservatory 50-foot-high glass pyramid, houses a diverse collection of tropical plants, a rushing waterfall, free-flying birds, and blooming orchids.
Discovery World Milwaukee
Discovery World is a science and technology center located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The museum focuses on innovation and technology, as well as Great Lakes education and conservation. It contains interactive exhibits, the Reiman Aquarium and two theaters, and is home to Wisconsin’s official flagship, the Denis Sullivan, a fully functional sailing vessel modeled after a 19th-century Great Lakes schooner.
Peninsula State Park
Peninsula State Park is a 3,776-acre Wisconsin state park with eight miles of Green Bay shoreline in Door County. Peninsula is the third largest state park in Wisconsin. Visitors can hike, bike, boat, golf and swim during spring, summer and fall. Winter offers cross country skiing, sledding and snowmobiling. Camping, nature programs, and sightseeing are offered.
Things to Do in Wisconsin
The state’s nickname of “America’s Dairyland” might be one that is ready for retirement. From out-of-this-world summer vacation spots, to stunning caves, and water parks to thrill any daredevil, there’s a lot more to do in Wisconsin than eat cheese.