A Wisconsin Hidden Gem: Waupaca

Kortnee Hass

June 22, 2022

Tucked in the central part of Wisconsin is truly a hidden gem, Waupaca. This city is rich with history, surrounded by natural beauty, and is full of fun all year long! This small town is filled with pride and it truly shows in every place you visit and sight you see. Let’s get into how you can explore this wonderful area through their delicious dining, fun entertainment, activities, and where you can stay while you explore it all!

Things To Do

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Every season brings different things to enjoy year-round in Waupaca but let’s focus on some summer fun activities that you can experience on your next visit! A summer (or fall!) trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a local farmers market. Held weekly on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm, you can join the fun in downtown Waupaca to get all of your favorite local produce, animal products, baked goods, flowers, handmade goods, clothing, and so much more from shops and farmers right in the Waupaca area. 

Along with a Wisconsin farmers market, you can’t miss out on a summer concert series. Waupaca’s Summer Night Concert Series kicked off June 8th at The Casino on Waupaca’s Chain O Lakes. Every other Wednesday, you can join the fun at the South Park Upper Pavilion from 5:30-9:30 pm. Bring a lawn chair and expect to enjoy great music, grab some tasty food from local food trucks, and even take part in family fun activities!

And if you are wanting to get a little game of golf in on your trip to Waupaca, there are a few courses that make for a great day on the tees! Some courses that you can add to your list to check out are Foxfire Golf Club at Par 4 Resort, Waupaca Country Club, Glacier Wood Golf Club, and Hidden Waters Golf Course. And if you bring the kiddos along, there is a mini-golf course too! You can join the fun at Tom Thumb Mini Golf which has been a Chain O’Lakes tradition since 1959 and lies right along one of the lakes. This makes for a perfect day of old-school fun for all ages! 

One thing you definitely need to add to your to-do list on your next visit to Waupaca is a day along the Chain O’Lakes. This chain is home to 22 spring-fed lakes that connect throughout the entire area. Along the chain, you can head out kayaking, boating, tubing, or find local restaurants and more!

Dining & More

Photo Credit: Simpsons

While we were just talking about how wonderful the Chain O’Lakes is, one restaurant you’ll have to visit in the area is Clear Water Harbor. This iconic restaurant in Waupaca is known for its gorgeous lakeside dining and delicious food. If you’re out boating and exploring the lakes, you can even pull right up for dockside dining or head indoors and take a seat inside or out! 

A hidden gem dining spot, Simpsons, has been a favorite in Waupaca since 1932 and serves up some of the best scratch food in the area. From delicious seafood to a wonderful steak, you can really find any dish you’re seeking at Simpsons! There is dining indoors and outdoors and it is a great family-owned business for groups to enjoy a meal out together. 

Another historic destination in the Waupaca area is The Wheelhouse. The Wheelhouse has been open since May of 1978 and overlooks the beautiful Chain O’Lakes! Open all week long, they are specifically known for their delicious pizza but feature weekly specials including a fish fry, pasta night, smoked brisket, and a famous pizza buffet. And if you’re in the mood for a dessert after dinner, you’re in luck. Right next door to The Wheelhouse is Scoopers. Scoopers serves up some of the greatest ice cream cones, malts, shakes, cookies, and brownies in the area! 

And if you’re looking to grab some snacks to go, you’ll definitely want to check out Delicious! Delicious serves up fresh and local popcorn and potato chips right in Waupaca. Generations of the Hollnbachers family have continued the tradition since 1932 and are still making great popcorn and potato chips today. Taste them for yourself and learn how to find these products on your next visit to the Waupaca area by clicking here.   

Lodging in the Area

Photo Credit: Apple Tree Lane Bed & Breakfast

Waupaca is home to some unique lodging options including many bed & breakfasts, Air BnB’s, campgrounds, hotels, and more! If bed and breakfasts are your style of lodging, Waupaca is definitely the place to be. There are three that you’ll need to add to your list to check out on your trip, the first being Apple Tree Lane Bed & Breakfast. This historic Victorian farmhouse is set among beautiful and historic apple orchards and along the Crystal River! It is within close distance of the charming downtown for shopping, food, and more. 

Another bed and breakfast to check out is the Green Fountain Inn Bed & Breakfast and Cafe. The Green Fountain Inn was built in 1900, first as a private residence, and in 1994 when new owners took over the home they then converted the property into a bed and breakfast! Now, the B&B also has a cafe on site serving elegant and healthy lunch options as well as dinner on Friday and Saturday nights! One other B&B in the area is the Crystal River Inn. Watch our Discover Wisconsin episode ‘Waupaca: From The Chain to Main’ to get all the insider details on the Crystal River Inn!

And if camping is your style, there are four different campgrounds that you can choose from in the Waupaca area! Deerhaven Campground, Hartman Creek State Park, Rustic Woods Campground, and Waupaca S’more Fun Campground all provide unique and fun experiences for the entire family.  If you’re wanting to stay in a hotel, options include the Comfort Suites at Par 4, EconoLodge, and Ramada Waupaca!

From The Producer

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Discover Wisconsin Producer, Jessica Vokoun, shares her thoughts on her part of the production for the full episode, “Waupaca: From The Chain to Main”:

“I picked up this production on the winter segment and had a blast filming on location at Hartman Creek State Park, the Curling Club, the youth hockey rink, shopping on Main Street, and Hinder’s Brewing. Every person we met and interviewed was kind and gracious; they truly love the Waupaca area and their enthusiasm is genuine.”

Are you getting prepared to plan your next trip to Waupaca? From the outdoor things to do and local dining options all the way to some of the best lodging options in the area, you will surely be happy with your next trip to the Waupaca area! Get more inspiration for an upcoming trip and watch ‘Waupaca: From The Chain to Main’ now:

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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