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Unique Vacations In Wisconsin

Updated on October 3, 2011
Photo credit: / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Photo credit: / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Vacations In Wisconsin Are Delicious

Fellow Writer Hubber Julie-Ann Amos asked me the question: "Where are the best places in Madison?"

Since I am new to the city of Madison area, I am going to have to expound on the original question and name my best places for vacations in the state of Wisconsin, I hope this still counts Ms. Amos!

1. State Street, Madison, WI. Starting with Madison area itself! Why a street? You'll know when you get here. There's a lot of boutiques, pub/bars, and interesting restaurants. For people watching, it's hard to beat State Street versus any other place in the State.

2. Madison's Farmer's Market. This is at the end of State Street and only during the warmer months. It's the biggest farmers market in the state, but it's size does not degrade it's food quality, yum.

3. Just north of Madison is the Wisconsin Dells. It's a lot of fun for families and truthfully, my wife and I have snuck off there by ourselves a few times. There are a lot of campy sort of tourist town things to do, old timey photos, a fantastic brauhaus, crazy t-shirt parlors and more. There's also Noah's Ark America's largest water park, don't miss the Sponge Bob Square Pants movie, they spray pickle-smell at you it's great. The season peaks in the warmer months, but there's also large hotels with indoor water parks during the winter too.

4. Not too many miles from Madison and the Dells is Devil's Lake. The Native Americans in the area originally called it Spirit Lake, which has lots more appeal. The nice thing about the Devil's Lake name (I use the word nice sparingly, ask anyone who knows me) is that it keeps the superstitious out of the park, I swear it! Knock on wood! It's an absolutely gorgeous park that many Wisconsinites don't ever go to. It looks a little bit like Colorado with huge boulders, trails interwoven and real honest to goodness rock climbers.

5. One of my all-time favorite areas are the Eagle River/Minocqua cities. Both of these towns offer what Up North Wisconsin does best, great fishing, camping, cottaging, hunting, RV-ing and the like. There's an exotic animal zoo just west of Minocqua that is amazing. Eagle River has it's Main Street still in tact complete with more than one homemade candy making store! Eagle River is also home to the World Championship Snowmobile Derby. I personally love Eagle River for it's rugged camping, this is where my brother and a friend of ours experimented with our first winter camping trips.

6. Lambeau Field. Well now that Brett Favre has been forced to retire the place may be turning into a shrine of mourning! Ha! Honestly though, for many National Football League fans, no trip to Wisconsin would be complete without a visit to the home of the World Famous Green Bay Packers. Here you can see lots of artifacts from the greatest coach in history, the fella who said, "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." That fella's name is Vince Lombardi, nuff' said.

7. HWY 100 West Allis, WI. This is where it all started! What? Well mullets and muscle cars of course! This is the town that raised Ben Zoltak. I am the fruit of West Allis' loins. Jokingly, young locals call each other "Stallions" but old timers may remember that at one time West Allis bore the more bucolic moniker of Honey Creek. Visit Oscars near Greenfield Avenue for some of the best damn mushroom burgers on the planet! They also serve custard, which is to ice cream what Thurston Howell was to Gilligan's Island, rick lovey rich! Downtown West Allis recently opened a piano bar and there's an old German restaurant Kegel's on National that still serves delicious Hasenpfeffer and large steins of Spaten beer. If you time your vacation right you can see all those mullets and muscle cars I talked about when West Allis holds the Wisconsin State Fair in the summer.

8. I would be ashamed of myself if I didn't include Milwaukee on this list. They recently installed (a couple years back) a new wing to the Milwaukee Art Museum by Internationally renown architect Santiago Calatrava, his first creation in North America. It'll strike you nonplussed I swear it. Also home to Lakefront Brewery home of the authors favorite brew of all time "Klisch" beer, find it, drink it, you'll love it. There's Koppa's Farwell foods that serves some of the best deli sandwiches in town. They have a brand spankin' new baseball stadium for the major league Milwaukee Brewers and they have an NBA team, the Milwaukee Bucks and they have one of those restaurants that spins around ever so slowly at the top of the Pfister Hotel. There's some great night life at Mad Planet and some delicious coffee and real vinyl on the speakers at Rochambo coffee house. You may want to research Harley Davidson Motorcycles and Wisconsin if bikes are your thing, their museums in town here! Milwaukee's got a spy bar called the Safehouse but I can't tell you anymore about that or they'll kill me. Don't miss Summerfest in the warmer months there's so much to see and hear. It's not just Laverne, Shirley and the Fonz but that's a pretty cool myth to live up to!

9. Cauldron Falls and Crivitz, WI. Crivitz has one of the most endearing Independence Day parades in the country in my humble opinion. They also have a great ice cream stand, several places to by cheese in bulk, and many, many hair salons. During the summer Cauldron Falls is known for some dangerously fun white water rafting and Hog Wrastling! (see video) That's right, greased up hog wrestling, I love the state I grew up in!

10. I guess I have to contrast or redeem the above aforementioned wrestling with one last bit of class, and that would be the American Players Theater in Spring Green Wisconsin. Known as the "Theatre in the woods" this venue is maybe a best kept Midwestern secret, but more people should visit. They are best known for their world class renditions of Shakespeare's works but also do others such as:The Circle by W. Somerset Maugham, Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw and The Syringa Tree by Pamela Gien.

Well Ms. Amos, and anyone else new to Wisconsin, I hope you have had fun reading my cross section slice of the state of Wisconsin. There is a lot more, and I'm sure anyone from the state would add this and that to the list. But this is a good starting point to be sure. There's also Door county and a plethora of cities along our Great Lake Michigan (an inland sea for the Euro-Asian crowd) it's beautiful. Stevens Point in Central Wisconsin sports a theatre, art galleries, coffee houses and some of the warmest folks in the state.

If you're driving along the highway late at night, I'll quote my old friend Chris Phillips' uncle, "Dem deers! Der eyes! Day freeze up on da goddam headlights! Makes me swerve all over da rote!" So beware, if the deer won't get you, the beer and cheese might, and that's a good thing called Wisconsin!


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    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks for reading Pete, you are well travelled in Wisconsin if you've been to most of these places. I still haven't made it to Governor Dodge but it's high up on the list. We're traveling to the Dells in a few weeks, can't wait to hang out in the 84F waterpark!



    • Pete Maher profile image

      Pete Maher 

      7 years ago

      I've been to every stop listed above and even lived in some of the cities mentioned... even Spring Green at Governor Dodge State Park, but I've never heard of the theater in the woods. I'll have to make it a point to watch a play there this summer.

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I agree with you Peggy about Wisconsin's star attraction being the water and scenery, I hope it stays that way for a long time! I have not been to little Norway, I used to have a girlfriend that lived near there though, great people from what I understand. Interesting about your grandfather being the manager of the Tower building, if that's the building I'm thinking of (the Town Hall Tower, not the First Wisconsin building) that was Milwaukee's first million dollar + structure and is considered one of Milwaukee's architectural gems.

      Thanks for adding to Eclectic Top 10: Vacations in Wisconsin Peggy!


    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Great picture of the Milwaukee Art Museum at the top of this page! When the Tower building was the tallest building in Milwaukee, my grandfather was the manager of it. He was also one of the people advocating the building of a stadium for what became the Milwaukee Braves many years ago.

      Enjoyed reading about your eclectic top 10 spots for vacationing in Wisconsin.

      The Dells have become much more commercialized, but the star attraction is still the water and scenery scooped out by glaciers from the past.

      Oh...and those deer! You have that right!

      Have you visited Little Norway in Wisconsin? I wrote about that some time ago. Interesting spot for sure.

      Wisconsin is a beautiful state! I loved growing up there as a child.

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      What a great place to live! I wonder how long you've been there? And if you've noticed a difference now that they have so many "winter resorts"?

    • emmett24matthews profile image


      8 years ago

      Ben, all are top notch places to visit while in Wisconsin. I live in the Dells, but have visited most of your mentioned spots. Great list : )

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      9 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks niteriter, I try. Well most of the time I try, sometimes instead of trying I just drink too much, also fun though. Here's to finding more bucolic monikers! Cheers!

    • Niteriter profile image


      9 years ago from Canada

      I gotta leave ya now, Ben. I'm so struck nonplussed by all this that I have to run out and try to find me a more bucolic moniker. Superstition aside, with any luck I'll find one... knock on wood!

      You are a rascal to the core!

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      9 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thank you Julie-Ann! You were the first person to inspire to keep going with HubPages, I appreciate it! Best! Ben

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 

      9 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Hey thanks for this. Great hub and I didn't know about the Harley davidson museum! Thank you for answering my question!


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