Summer’s short, and it’s important to make the most of it. Wisconsin is synonymous with FUN and has a long-standing history of ethnic summer festivals, food, culture and great weather. Throughout the season, there are countless events and activities around the State—from waterparks to outdoor recreation to music festivals—that’ll guarantee you and your friends or family have an unforgettable, funtastic summer! Here are just five of these fun-filled Wisconsin summer vacation spots where you’ll always have a blast!
1. Door County
A short drive up Lake Michigan will bring you to the unique and inviting utopia, known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.” Wine, world-renowned scenery, family-friendly resorts, shopping, attractions and sport fishing are just a few things that make Wisconsin’s most unique county a “must-travel-to” destination. Opportunity is knocking at your “door” this summer.
Looking for a wild catch? Angler’s Edge Sportfishing Charters is the perfect challenge for proving you’ve got what it takes to handle the some of the biggest freshwater beasts in the world. There are no “fishing-stories” here, only fun, unforgettable memories reeling in your trophy fish!
Who knew 23.5 square miles of island could contain enough fun for the whole family? A short ferry ride from the tip of the “thumb” of Wisconsin will whisk you away from the stress of the city and take you to the Gibson West Harbor Resort. Located on 1,000 feet of gorgeous West Harbor and Green Bay shorefront, the whole family can revel in outdoor beauty, while relaxing on a private beach. Sunsets are highly recommended.
Wisconsin is known for its brewing history, but few know that it’s home to many nationally award-winning wineries. Locally grown fruits, such as: cranberries, cherries, apples and grapes, give Orchard County Winery a unique blend on traditional wine. Take a romantic tour with your better half through the orchards and vineyards and experience the wine-making process first hand, while holding a glass of delicious wine in the second. Complementary tasting at the historic, hand-crafted wine bar is a must, which makes this one of the only places you’ll want to “wine” about to your friends.
Perfectly perched between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona on what is called an isthmus, Madison combines outdoor beauty with a modern, urban environment to create a one-of-a-kind travel destination. The capital of Wisconsin offers an impressive variety of fun activities for everyone, ranging from live music festivals and swanky restaurants to romantic scenery and stunning architecture. After your visit, you’ll know first-hand that traveling to this “isthmus” is a must for a fun-filled vacation.
Feel the magic with your significant other at the Overture Center this Summer. Located on State Street, the Overture is hosting a wide range of musical acts and theatrical performances; from the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra to a performance of Cinderella, to the huge-hearted, high-heeled, Tony® Award-winning Broadway hit, Kinky Boots.
State Street Shopping
Take a road trip with the girls and head over and enjoy some State Street shopping, wining and dining. Chat about the performance over a glass of wine, or head out to any number of the local shopping stores and boutiques located on State Street such as Madison Sole, Anthology, Little Luxuries and Citrine.
This is the place to be during the summer months in Madison. The Monona Terrace is a pet-friendly oasis right on the shores of Lake Monona. At night, the terrace transforms into a tropical paradise complete with live music, a beer garden, dancing, food and some of the most fun people you will ever meet! After you are done hanging out at the Terrace, head on up and relax in the Hilton for the night and enjoy breathtaking views of downtown Madison.
Romantic New York style dining has never been so close to home! Award-winning Executive Chef, Tory Miller, brings fresh, locally-sourced ingredients to all of the menu options, including the renowned cheese curds. Imagine relaxing with your significant other, enjoying cocktails and craft beer, all within view of Madison’s Capitol Square. It really does make for that perfect savory, intimate setting that will bring you both close together, all without breaking the bank.
3. Lake Geneva
“So close yet so far” is the perfect description of Lake Geneva. Located 80 miles northwest of Chicago and 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee, Lake Geneva is getaway full of history, romance, luxury and fantastic family fun. The area is filled with: world class golf resorts, spectacular spas, charming B&Bs, boutique shopping, fine dining experiences, historical sites and beautiful scenery, all of which make it an ideal destination for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa is the perfect destination for that girlfriends’ getaway you’ve been thinking about. With over 300 luxury rooms and suites, award-winning dining, and impeccable customer service, the Abbey Resort and Avani Spa will undoubtedly exceed the expectations of any lady who longs for a life of leisure, lounging and luxury.
What do golf legends Lee Trevino, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer have in common? They each designed one of the three world-class golf courses at the Geneva National Resort. With 54 scenic holes of “Wisconsin’s Best Golf,” you can say the Geneva National Golf Club offers the whole nine yards. And after a long day of eagles and birdies (and maybe a few bogeys) you’ll rest easy in the adjacent, AAA, 4-star Grand Geneva Resort where you can recharge before you take on your next round.
50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor family fun awaits at the Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark. Splash your way through gigantic waterslides, a lazy river and activity pools that’ll keep the kids busy for hours! Bring the family together with whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and private balconies included in every suite. All you’ve got to do is kick back and enjoy the fantastic family fun.
Treat yourself and that special someone to Lake Geneva’s most luxurious and romantic inn on the lake. Every room at the Baker House has a distinct personality, individually decorated with period pieces, timeless elegance and exotic artifacts. Indulge in a variety of delicious, regional delicacies, such as: Wisconsin artisan cheese boards, savory charcuterie, seasonal fondues, as well as heartier favorites, like sirloin sliders and robust garden paninis. There’s only one thing to do at the Baker house; Relax, Reconnect and Repeat.
There’s a reason Wisconsin Dells is globally known for its countless, state-of-the-art waterparks. Defined as “small valleys usually among trees,” Wisconsin Dells is one of the few places close to the city that gives you the perfect mix of breathtaking scenery and fun activities for the whole family. Waterparks galore, delicious cuisine, shopping, world-class resorts and nightlife all make a getaway to the Wisconsin Dells so close, so fun, and so Wisconsin.
Inspired by the “Spirit of Africa,” the Kalahari combines authentic African culture with a one-of-a-kind waterpark to create an unforgettable travel experience. Let the kids play in the 125,000-square-foot indoor and 77,000-square-foot outdoor waterparks, while dad plays on the award-winning Trappers Turn golf course, and you enjoy some rest and relaxation at the first-class Spa Kalahari. That’s what we call real family fun.
The story of Noah’s Ark stands the test of time at “America’s Largest Waterpark.” With over 70 acres of rides and attractions, Noah’s Ark is the location for endless fun. So when you and the kids need a break from the daily routine, switch it up with a trip to Noah’s Ark.
If you enjoy quality steak, Del-Bar is must-visit destination this summer. This contemporary steak house serves USDA prime graded beef, aged for flavor and tenderness, along with some of the freshest seafood in the Midwest. Established in 1939, the Del-Bar was designed by a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, who created a unique architectural setting that is accented with original art, beautifully appointed dining rooms, and a cocktail lounge. Its casual elegant style makes the Del-Bar a favorite place to relax with family and friends to have real, genuine fun!
Take a trip through time and experience some of the most gorgeous, unscathed scenery this side of Lake Michigan. Tour the Upper and Lower Dells your way, by taking: a scenic tour, jet boat tour, or a sunset tour, complete with dinner and live music to set the romantic mood with your better half. Whether you’re a naturist, thrill seeker, or a debonair romantic, the Wisconsin Dells Boat Tours will make any getaway an unforgettable one.
A “big city with a small town feel” perfectly describes Wisconsin’s largest, most diverse city, and gives Milwaukee the advantage when it comes to summer fun. There are countless ethic festivals happening almost every weekend, and Milwaukeeans know the best way to celebrate, well… everyone: Native Americans, Germans, African Americans, the Polish, Hispanics, Italians, the Irish… the list goes on and on. The curation of these cultures give Milwaukee a unique and delicious taste for a diverse cuisine, music, art, and (of course) beer, making a Milwaukee visit a must!
Known as the Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee’s scenic Art and Fashion District is perfect for a weekend of shopping, dining, relaxing at a spa, and catching up with the girls. Spend the morning catching up at any number of quaint coffee shops, and then walk on over to the Milwaukee Public Market to grab a bite before a day of shopping at any number of high-end apparel or boutique shops. Take a night out on the town, and live it up at countless clubs and lounges, all without breaking the bank. One thing’s for sure: you’ll never forget those selfies you took from the Third Ward!
Odds might be in your favor when you visit the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino, and not just when you’re playing your favorite games. Recent renovations, such as the 19-story, 381 room hotel, provide guests with luxurious views, top-notch service, and first-class amenities that rival Vegas’ best casinos. Take a break from gaming and eat at five different restaurants with cuisine prepared by world-class chefs. Hang out at any one of the many swanky bars and lounges, while jamming to musical performances from some of the world’s leading artists. Potawatomi Hotel and Casino is Milwaukee’s “ace in the hole.” Responsible, fun gaming is always encouraged.
Take the family on a trip this Summer to Mexican Fiesta, which brings the sound, culture, and taste of Mexico to Milwaukee’s lakefront. Fun for everyone, Mexican Fiesta offers delicious and authentic Mexican food, drinks, games, activities, and cultural singing and dancing that lasts through the night. As they say in Milwaukee, “Mexican Fiesta is more than just a celebration; it is a vigorous declaration of community spirit at its best.”
While the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum undeniably caters to children, in reality, this is one museum with enough fun for the whole family! State-of-the-art, interactive exhibits will wow and amaze the kids, while educating them about the world. There’s even an exhibit where you can be on TV! The kids might be out of school, but who says learning can’t be fun? It just needs to be disguised as the critically acclaimed Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. In addition, the museum is very accommodating to people with disabilities.
Picture it: just you and your special someone lounging on a blanket in a beautiful park, eating cheese, drinking wine and listening to world-renowned jazz and blues musicians. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Located in the historic Cathedral Square Park in downtown Milwaukee, Jazz in the Park is a ticketless concert series that hosts top musicians from around the country. Be warned though, spontaneous dancing is known to happen occasionally.
Travelers looking for year-round Wisconsin getaway ideas, travel planning, events and free guides can discover their own fun by visiting TravelWisconsin.com. For even more fun-filled travel ideas, “Like” us on Facebook at Facebook.com/TravelWisconsin or “follow” us on Twitter at Twitter.com/TravelWI and Instagram at TravelWisconsin.