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Wisconsin vacation ideas
Old 04-09-2015, 04:18 PM   #1
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Wisconsin vacation ideas

DW and I are planning to spend a couple of weeks in Wisconsin. We were thinking July. I am looking for input as to "is this the best time of year to go?" and should we rent a place in different parts of WI or concentrate on one area? We love to visit historic towns, do some antiquing, hiking and some fishing. Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:22 PM   #2
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If you're not real familiar with Wisconsin, a great place to start would be Door County. That's the peninsula northeast of Green Bay. It has everything you're looking for.
Door County Visitor Bureau | Door County Wisconsin
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:38 PM   #3
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If you're not real familiar with Wisconsin, a great place to start would be Door County. That's the peninsula northeast of Green Bay. It has everything you're looking for.
Door County Visitor Bureau | Door County Wisconsin
+1. We circled Lake Michigan last September and found Door County to be the best part of our trip
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:17 PM   #4
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There is also Lake Geneva, and the Wisconsin Dells is a beautiful area but is a summer magnet for family vacations with manmade stuff (some not-so-beautiful) to appeal to them. And Milwaukee and Madison are definitely worth a visit. But Door County is hands-down the best.
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:20 PM   #5
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Door County is nice, but it depends on what type of experience you are looking for. For my taste, Door County in July would be too crowded, and generally too "touristy". Since you like to hike and fish, you might want to consider some other places in the Northwoods of Wisconsin - like Eagle River, for example. Or, just west of that area, check out towns such as Boulder Junction, Minocqua, Manitowish Waters - all interesting places, especially if you enjoy outdoor activities. Many lakes in that area with good fishing, and plenty of places to hike on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. If you want to see Lake Superior, you could head up toward Ashland and the Bayfield Peninsula (Bayfield is very scenic).

July or early August would be the time to visit, if you want warmer weather (and fewer mosquitoes than June).
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:51 PM   #6
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not being from wisconsin... the dells are nice.. with some nice hikes.
south/south west of madison has some good craft breweries and local cheese factories (fromagerie ?) These craft cheese factories have great product and a good learning experience for learning how to... during the summer Madison has a kewl farmers market on Saturdays

If you go to lake geneva... stop by Melges and see if you can try an MC Scow.
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:55 PM   #7
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Wisconsin has so many nice areas! I prefer Madeline Island to Door County. I also love the Hayward area with its great lodges and resorts.
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:57 PM   #8
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I would second Door county, Dells (commercial), Bayfield, Apostle Islands, Lake Geneva. Our favorite is Eagle river. Rent a cabin on the chain of lakes and get a boat.

There are a lot of nice state parks with hiking and such as well.
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:38 PM   #9
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Just to round out the statewide tour, I've always enjoyed the Driftless area in the southwestern part of the state. Baraboo, Spring Green, Mineral Point, swing down across the Illinois state line for a stop in Galena.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:41 PM   #10
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This won't qualify for a summer visit, but my most favorite Wisconsin event is the Rock River Thresheree which is always on Labor Day weekend.

Definitely Nirvana for those who like "steam"... An incredible local event that is visited by 30,000 enthusiasts every year. Permanent exhibits and displays and contests, cover many acres. Can't see it all in one day. 800+ exhibitors. Capped by a 2 hour parade of hundreds of tractors and steam engines. An older newspaper article that describes the event.
Rock River Thresheree this weekend - Beloit Daily News: News

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Old 04-09-2015, 11:05 PM   #11
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Also this, Frank Lloyd Wright's estate, is in Wisconsin: Taliesin | Spring Green

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The most personal look at Wright and his work can be found by visiting Spring Green where Wright began building his home, Taliesin®, a Welsh term meaning "Shining Brow," in 1911. This 600-acre estate, which he constantly revised until his death in 1959, represents the evolution of Wright's architectural development which spanned over seventy years...
West of Madison. Worth a visit too.
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:22 AM   #12
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Also this, Frank Lloyd Wright's estate, is in Wisconsin: Taliesin | Spring Green



West of Madison. Worth a visit too.
I'm very fond of Spring Green. It's also home to American Players Theatre, an excellent live theatre that stages many of its plays in an outdoor amphitheater. Tower Hill State Park nearby is one of half a dozen state parks in the area. And there's also the nearby House on the Rock, a tourist destination with a massive collection of curiosities. Can't forget the Don Q Inn, either!

Since the OP mentioned historic towns, it's worth noting that the southwestern part of the state is home to most of its oldest white settlements. Some sites have been faithfully restored, like Shake Rag Street in Mineral Point and Villa Louis at Prairie du Chien.
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Old 04-10-2015, 01:42 AM   #13
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If you are there in late July, early August the EAA has their flyin and airshow at Oshkosh.
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Love Wisconsin
Old 04-10-2015, 08:46 AM   #14
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Love Wisconsin

I'm a cheesehead--born and bred!
Go to Mineral Point for antiques. Go to Cambridge (east of Madison) for pottery. Go to Kenosha and Racine for salmon fishing. Sheboygan for bratwurst. Milwaukee has every kind of summer festival you could hope for. The list is endless.

The Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail is the first rails-to-trails conversion in the country.
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Old 04-10-2015, 01:33 PM   #15
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I liked the Dells. It is a bit kitschy but that is part of the charm.

In Milwaukee I enjoyed the Mitchell Park Conservatory and the Milwaukee Public Museum.
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Old 04-10-2015, 03:16 PM   #16
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If you have any interest in (old) cars, there is the Iola old car show, July 9-11 (2nd weekend of July every year) on a 300 acre site with 2,000+ show cars and 4,000 + swap spaces. And if in that area (my backyard) "tubing" down the Little Wolf River is a summertime treat. Beverage Barge to float the consumables is optional. Southwestern area of the state, west of I-94 and bordered on the west by Mississippi River has a more challenging topography, with the National Brewery Museum in Potosi a very interesting visit for history of brewing, exhibits of memorabilia, etc.

As others have said, Door County is a nice visit, can get touristy but still quite a beautiful area; although I tend to like the Keweenaw peninsula of Michigan even more as it is far less crowded, M26 along Lake Superior is an incredibly beautiful drive. That said we usually visit Door County a couple of times each summer. Northern 1/3 of Wisconsin becomes less farmland and more wooded, and can be busy in summertime but with a little searching one can easily find interesting places to visit. We had used VRBO for finding a vacation rental near Rhinelander, worked out well for us. Fishing and hiking can cover any location, really depends on your tastes for whether or not to settle in a single location or skip around and see more of the state. I am sure you will enjoy that time of year, July-September is generally the best time of year weather-wise.
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Old 04-10-2015, 03:31 PM   #17
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New Glarus was good for a couple of days. Very historic with lots of restored exhibits. House on the Rock is good for a day of exploring. Personal taste rules in all choices of what to see. Enjoyed the Frank Lloyd Wright complex. Not a big fan of the Dells. Took the boat tour, but other than that, not much interest. YMMV
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Old 04-11-2015, 09:06 AM   #18
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Thanks for all the responses!
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Old 04-11-2015, 09:47 AM   #19
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We live in the area and here are some of my favorites:

- Lake Wisconsin/Devil's lake state park - stay in Baraboo or one of the other towns in the area.
- I'll 2nd Taliesin - I love architecture so this was very interesting for me.
- Madison - Great town, especially at the time you are considering. The Union terrace, sailing (you can rent power or sail boats at the marinas), biking and shopping are excellent.
- Door County - agree it is beautiful, but too touristy and crowded for me at that time of year. I prefer post Labor day when it empties.
- For antiques you could work the corridor west of Madison from Mount Horeb to Spring Green (as mentioned). Great small towns along the way.
- I'll also 2nd a trip to Lake Geneva. Take a boat tour and check out the mansions. You can also walk on the lake trail all the way around if you'd like. The trail goes right through everyone's back yards.

I suggest staying in a few different places to get some variety. Driving is easy in WI so you can hit quite a few areas in one trip. Lots more and have fun. Any specific questions, feel free to PM me. We've been in most areas.
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