A Key to Taking Care of Your Mental Health: Get Outside and Discover Wisconsin

Kortnee Hass

June 14, 2022

Summer has arrived in Wisconsin and it’s the perfect time to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, boost your Vitamin D levels, and take care of your mental health! After the long and cold winter, it’s time to gear up and get yourself ready for a mentally strong remainder of 2022. Let’s dive into how you can get outdoors all throughout the state and take care of yourself all while exploring nature! 

Northern Wisconsin

Photo Credit: @paratusoutdoors via Instagram

Getting outdoors in the Northwoods is always a surreal experience, especially during the summer months. Heading up north makes for a bit of a cooler summer at times, which is why it’s a great time to get outdoors, get some fresh air, and clear your mind! Northern Wisconsin is home to some incredible state parks that boast scenic views and gorgeous waterfalls to quietly clear your mind and improve your mental wellness. 
One place in Northern Wisconsin that is great for exploring is Amnicon Falls State Park. Strolling through this peaceful park can bring a stable mind from just witnessing the rolling waterfalls to the beautiful views along the river. 
Copper Falls State Park is another hot spot to get out and hike away from your seasonal depression and enter the summer with a clear mental health slate. Copper Falls has some of the most spectacular waterfalls, incredible views, and even areas to cool down and take a swim. Not only does the natural beauty of these two parks help get your mental health into a better place, but exercise has been proven to help boost your physical and mental health as well thanks to the endorphin rush and natural dopamine drip. 
These are just two state parks to get away and boost your mental wellness in Northern Wisconsin, but we know that there are many quiet getaways in local parks and small areas all over the area. We recommend finding time for yourself daily to take time to enjoy nature, explore the area, and find what truly helps you boost your mental wellness in this area of the state. 

Southern Wisconsin

Photo Credit: Geneva Lake Shorepath // @jcard_16 via Instagram

Some may find that exercise helps boost their mental wellness throughout the year and in the summertime what better way to exercise than by getting outside by hiking, biking, swimming, or …however you prefer and getting your workout in! We know that Wisconsin has plenty of fun places to explore for exercise but in the Southern part of the state, there are a few specific things we wanted to share. 
In Lake Geneva, you can get in a beautiful and long day of exercise by taking the Geneva Lake Shore Path. This popular walking path around Geneva Lake takes you right through historical estates and stunning homes that lie right on their beautiful lake. There is a great feeling of serenity while walking and you’ll surely get your exercise in…considering its almost 26 miles! If you’re someone who wants to only do a portion, we suggest having a drop-off and pick-up area designated with a friend or family member, or take them along and park a car at each location!
If biking is more your style, there are plenty of options to explore in Dane County. All throughout Madison, you can find plenty of trails that connect through the outskirts of the city and intertwine within the isthmus as well. You can find the Dane County Bicycle Map here or get a look at the local community bike maps here. The best part about exploring by bike in Madison is that you can get to see a bit of it all, from the hustle and bustle all the way to the farms and locals! Plus, did you know that Madison recently beat out Portland, Oregon as the best biking city in the country?! If that isn’t reason enough to try out a bike path in Madison, remember the benefits it will have on your physical and mental health, and then check out a local bike rental place to get started!
Exercise is a great way to help boost your mental health all throughout the year, but we are so lucky to have such beautiful summers in Wisconsin that getting outdoors is key and extremely helpful to help that mental wellness grow throughout the rest of the year!

Eastern Wisconsin 

Photo Credit: Kohler-Andrae State Park // @travelwithgreen via Instagram

Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine! We all know that the sun provides a natural boost in Vitamin D levels and those are important for our bones, blood cells, and immune system…but the sun is also instrumental to our mental health! Thankfully, you’ll find a lot of it along the eastern shores of Wisconsin, with plenty of beaches interwoven with the Great Lake border to the state.
One great beach to visit is Bradford Beach along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Milwaukee. Bradford Beach is one of the top beaches not only in Wisconsin but across the nation and it’s a great place to get outside and soak in the rays. Not only is it known for its incredible beach, but it also made national headlines for being built to be extremely accessible for everyone! Not to mention the great volleyball courts, the cleanliness of the beach, and it has plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the sand on your own terms.  
Another great place to hit the beach is at Kohler-Andrae State Park. This beach is filled with sand dunes and a spacious beachfront to sit back, relax, and get in all of that sweet sunshine. This state park also has an abundance of wildlife and recreational activities. It truly is a mental getaway from the real world! 
There are so many other local hotspot beaches along the eastern part of the state that provide many places to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Locals and visitors alike can take advantage of these destinations all year round and after a long Midwest winter, it is definitely needed!

Our mental health and wellness are so important, especially after a global pandemic and we are glad to help share places and resources to provide Wisconsinites and visitors an opportunity to help boost their mental wellness now. Learn more about how our mental health impacts our lives in relationships, decision making, and management of stress in this segment of Know Your Wisconsin, ‘Mental Health Today’:

About WCA Group Health Trust: The WCA Group Health Trust was created when county officials joined together to create an employee benefit program that would meet the unique needs of local governments. Today, their founding principles still remain at the core of their close working relationship with their members. The WCA Group Health Trust is governed by officials from participating units of government and school districts, making the organization more responsive to local healthcare needs. Learn more at https://www.wcaght.org/

Kortnee Hass: Social Media Coordinator for Discover Mediaworks. A Wisconsin ‘now & forever’ transplant with a soft spot for squeaky cheese curds, craft breweries, and all things Wisconsin tourism.

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