Celebrating Wisconsin! 5 places you need to see off the main roads

USA Travel

On this day in 1848, the state of Wisconsin became the 30th state of the Union of the United States of America and you should visit Wisconsin.

The territory of Wisconsin may be celebrating a birthday today as a state but there is so much more than Green Bay and cheese. Visiting Wisconsin can be a lot of fun and the summer is usually the best time of year unless you want to catch a football game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, then you should brave the cold.

The state’s entire east coast lies along Lake Michigan giving Wisconsin beaches and ports of call. To the north, Wisconsin shares the only land-to-land border with Michigan’s Upper Penninsula along much of the northeast border. The northwestern tip of the state sits along the shore of Lake Superior and to the west, Minnesota.

While we may think of Green Bay, or Milwaukee, or Madison, there are other places that are quite interesting if you are traveling through the 30th member of the United States.

High water levels in Lake Michigan have eroded the shoreline and closed one of the beaches at Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, Wis.
Kottke Lake Michigan Shoreline 2

Door County, Wisconsin

Just north of Green Bay the city, a 70-mile peninsula juts out between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. The locals, residents of around 30,000 people, call the peninsula home. It is referred to as the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Known for its 10 lighthouses on either side of the 10-mile wide “pen”, small village like towns, beaches, parks, Door County gives visitors a reprieve from the big-city hustle that is so often what travelers are trying to escape.

The limestone cliffs along Sturgeon Bay is a gorgeous site for revelers and you have to cross it to get the upper peninsula of Door County. Sturgeon Bay sits along the western coast and divides the county, technically making the upper portion an island. You can also take a ferry over to Washington Island.

The residents keep their traditions alive but more importantly, they want you to visit and become a part of their community while you are there.

Green signs mark the Great River Road, one of three national scenic byways in Wisconsin.
Mjs Grr Sign

Wisconsin’s Great River Road

The western part of the state borders Minnesota but where Wisconsin meets St. Paul, the Mississippi River divides the two states to the south. Along this river sits the Great River Road. The road is a 250-mile mile-long scenic route that at times will run 400 feet above the sandstone cliffs.

Along the way enjoy small welcoming communities and wildlife centers. Stop along the way and take in fishing and other nature offerings. Hotels and bed and breakfast inns offer you places to rest to continue your journey whether that is north or south along the route.

The Great River Road is designated as one of the most scenic roads in all of the midwestern states and should be visited and traversed if you are heading into the state.

Is the long history of holding Farm Tech Days on a county sponsored, local farm like this one near Lake Geneva about to end? Maybe.
Wfs 1106 Oncken 455

Lake Geneva

Located closer to the southern border with Illinois, Lake Geneva offers everything from quaint communities to high-end restaurants and boutiques. Surrounded by vacation homes, mansions, and more, Geneva is a playground for all manners of wealth.  Resorts welcome all walks of life and the Lake Geneva Cruise line will get views of 19th-century mansions on its double-decker old-style riverboat.

Lake Geneva is known for its clear water as well and the summer months bring a little more rise in the water temperature which makes the beaches much more enjoyable for the southern visitors who are not used to some of the more chilly northern water temps.

A pontoon boat motors across the water Wednesday on Minocqua Lake in Minocqua.


It sounds like it should be one of the summer camps from Meatballs or any of those other summer camp movies. With 3,000 lakes in two counties alone, Minocqua is one of the best water sports centers in all of Wisconsin. Boasting beaches, fishing, jet-skiing, and so much more, the lakes are aplenty as you head into the region.

Located between Green Bay and Duluth, Minnesota, Minocqua seems more like an island than a small peninsula. To the North, Minocqua is locked by land but surrounded on the other three sides by water. Throughout this area of Wisconsin, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of sunrises and sunsets and miles upon miles of water views.

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 25: The Harley Davidson logo is displayed in a window of Harley-Davidson of New York City store, June 25, 2018 in New York City. The American motorcycle company announced on Monday that it will shift production of some of its bikes overseas in order to avoid retaliatory tariffs by the European Union in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from the EU. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Harley-Davidson factory

Motorcycle enthusiasts flock to Menomonee Falls north of Milwaukee where the Harley-Davidson museum and factory is located. The factory offers guests free tours of the facility that are only 30 minutes in duration.

The museum offers a look into the history of the Harley-Davidson company and gives insight on how the brand became synonymous with open road lifestyles, good guys and bad guys, and so much more.

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