Smack dab in the middle of the Madison-Milwaukee-Fox Valley triangle, Dodge County is an easy drive to a place that’s hard to compare to anywhere else. The winding rivers and trails, charming communities, unique attractions, plus a world-renowned wildlife refuge all add up to make Dodge County an unforgettable destination. Here’s our Top 10 in Dodge County.
Dodge County Trails – With three major rivers, including the Rock River, a National Water Trail, plus miles of hiking and biking trails (Hi, Wild Goose and Glacial River Trails!), Dodge County is the perfect setting for any outdoor adventure be it by paddle or pedal.
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area – As the largest, freshwater, cattail marsh in the country, it’s no wonder Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area is a huge draw for birdwatchers and other wildlife enthusiasts. Rare species of birds and plants call the marsh home, and many others fly through a few times a year while migrating. Enjoy a peaceful walk along one of the marsh’s many hiking trails, stop in at Marsh Haven Nature Center to learn about conservation efforts, and maybe even meet one of their Animal Ambassadors.
City of Sculpture Tour – Did you know the city of Waupun has more public art per capita than any other city in the country? It’s mostly thanks to Clarence Shaler, a Waupun industrialist-turned-sculptor who personally crafted or commissioned a series of eight sculptures for the city. You can see all of the sculptures on a self-guided driving or walking tour. Maps are available at Waupun’s city hall.
Guth’s Candy Shop – Whether you’re spending the day in Waupun or just driving along Highway 151, you’re going to want to make time for Guth’s Candy Shop. This community staple has been providing chocolatey goodness for four generations, and they’re still using the same beloved recipes from when the shop first began. With a wide assortment of chocolates, ice cream, popcorn, coffee drinks and other treats, Guth’s is a must-stop during your Dodge County getaway!
Great Beaver Paddle Festival – According to the locals, Beaver Dam Lake is one of the area’s best-kept secrets: over 6,700 acres of water and 42 miles of shoreline with fantastic fishing and stunning sunset views. And every summer, people can enjoy the best of lake life during the Great Beaver Paddle Festival. Free kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboard rentals, as well as free clinics for first-time paddlers, make this a great way to get out on the water!
Wall Dogs Murals – In 2017, dozens of artists with the Wall Dogs organization descended on Beaver Dam and got to work painting various murals throughout the community. Today, these works of public art showcase important moments from Beaver Dam’s history and add beautiful pops of color to various buildings.
Edwin Brix Winery – Dodge County’s only winery is a beautiful countryside escape, set among the rolling drumlins that make this area ideal for growing grapes. Enjoy a taste of their various reds or whites in the taproom, or lend a hand during the harvesting season to see the entire process from grape to glass.
Zwieg’s Grill – Since 1946, Zwieg’s Grill has been serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner for Watertown residents and visitors alike. If the cozy, small-town diner atmosphere and home-style meals aren’t enough to draw you in, consider this: food blog The Daily Meal consistently votes Zwieg’s Double Cheeseburger one of the 101 Best Burgers in America. Just be sure you order it the “Zwieg’s way” – with fried onions, pickles and ketchup!
Riverside Park- Watertown has no shortage of beautiful parks, but Riverside Park truly serves as a major hub for the community. With the Rock River running right through it, plus a weekly farmers market, playground and aquatic center, it’s easy to spend an entire day here. Plus, Riverside Park also hosts Riverfest: Watertown’s biggest summer festival complete with games, rides, live music and a car show.
Octagon House – Once one of the largest single-family homes in Wisconsin, the Octagon House remains an architectural and historical marvel located in the middle of a quiet, residential neighborhood in Watertown. With five floors and 32 rooms, many of which display original furnishings from the home’s first owners, the Octagon House is like a time capsule from the 19th