Summer is knocking on the door in Wisconsin and we are ready to hop in the summer heat. We have so many great destinations for family fun, but which ones are the best? From waterparks in the Wisconsin Dells, to beating the heat at Iverson Park Beach in Stevens Point, we have the top seven destinations for family fun this summer!
Let’s be real here, we all know Green Bay is known for football, but it also has other hidden gems that are great for family fun during the summer too. If you’re in the mood for a day on crazy rides for all ages, head to the Bay Beach Amusement Park. This park is the 9th oldest continuously operating amusement park in the U.S. and is open May through September.
Another fun stop while visiting Brown County is the National Railroad Museum, where you can hop on a self-guided tour and relive years of railroad history. Or, if you’re more into the arts scene make sure to embark on a mural tour of the region. For a guide on the Green Bay murals, click here. Other family fun stops you can make along the way are: NEW Zoo & Adventure Park and Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.
For the big Wisconsin Packers fans, don’t worry, there’s still fun to be had in the off season! You can make stops around Green Bay to see the Oneida Nation Walk of Legends, the Packers Heritage Trail, and the newly created Titletown development.
Ready to interact with farm animals? At Govin’s Farm in Menomonie you can join in on the hands-on experience with their loving animals. From holding and feeding the animals, to just watching over as the lambs nurse, you can truly see it all! And, if you’re lucky… you could even see an animal birth while visiting!
Dunn County is also a great place for a day filled with sunshine and rivers! The upper Red Cedar River is ideal for family trips with relatively shallow and wide waters. Bring your own tubes and kayaks, or rent from a local shop, and enjoy a peaceful float down over 20 miles of calm waters.
If you’re wanting more to do while visiting Dunn County, explore the waterfalls of Devil’s Punchbowl, get some tasty treats at C&J’s Candy Store, or putter over to Tex-Rex Mini Golf.
For some family fun while visiting Portage County, don’t miss the sandy beach at Iverson Park! In the summer, families fill the beach and shallow swimming area making for a day filled with building sand castles, walking the waters, and soaking up that summer sun. Located right on the Iverson Park Trail section of the Green Circle Trail, this summer fun stop allows for easy access to walking, biking and hiking trails.
Another outdoor stop is the Stevens Point Sculpture Park. Also connected to the Green Circle Trail, the sculpture park lays on 20-acres and features artwork from local, regional, and national artists. You can get up close and really see the art pieces that flow throughout the park and it is always growing and changing, making for a fun stop each time you’re in town!
For more fun in Portage County: run around on a rubber play area at KASH Playground, head indoors at the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum, explore history at Heritage Park, and end your day the sweet way with homemade King Cone Ice-Cream.
For a local treasure in Racine make sure to head over to the Racine Zoo, located right along Lake Michigan. With over 100 different species of animals and over 50 endangered species, the zoo is home to lions, tigers, rhinos, giraffes, and more! Not only will you have fun seeing all of the different animals on site but you can also take out some energy on the playgrounds, ride the ZooChoo Express train, and visit the gift shop.
If you’re ready for a sandy day at the beach, North Beach is the perfect place to stop and have a picnic or even take a dip in Lake Michigan! Nearby is the Kids Cove Playground, where kids of all ages can spend hours on hours running around and enjoying fresh air right off of Lake Michigan.
Other fun activities in Racine include: explore nature in the River Bend Nature Center, find your way out of an escape room at Seven Keys to Escape, or see the Wind Point Lighthouse, the oldest and tallest working lighthouse on Lake Michigan.
We can’t talk about summer in Wisconsin without talking about the Waterpark Capital of the World! In the Wisconsin Dells, you can’t go wrong by taking a day trip to one of their amazing waterparks. From the largest indoor waterpark in Wisconsin at the Kalahari to the largest combined waterpark resort (indoor & outdoor) in the nation at the Wilderness Resort, you surely have the best options to make unforgettable memories on your summer trip!
For a day away from the waterpark, visit Rocky Arbor State Park. Spend a nature filled day with a relaxing hike and bird watching in a quiet and secluded park just 1.5 miles away from the Wisconsin Dells. If you’re really feeling adventurous, bring your camping gear along and stay for the night!
Other activities you can join in on are: heading to downtown Wisconsin Dells for bowling at Chalet Lanes, joining in on a boat tour with the Dells Boat Tours, or visiting the largest candy shop at Goody Goody Gum Drop.
Ready to head to the Northwoods? Here’s a few ideas of places to visit while in Vilas County!
The Northwoods Children’s Museum has 24 interactive exhibits that are family-friendly, educational and hands on! While visiting, make sure to check out the Discovery Toy Store that is filled with all sorts of fun: toys, games, puzzles, crafts, science kits, and more!
Plan another day out on the water with Wildwood Outdoor Adventures. Join in on a laid-back and relaxing tubing experience on the Wisconsin River. Or if you’re feeling like a paddle is more of the family's preference, join in on the Lost Canoe Paddle trip that winds down the Wisconsin River and goes to the Eagle River Chain.
Have a thrilling night and head to the Kartway track for horseback riding, bumper boats, go kart racing, miniature golf, and more fun! Other things you will want to squeeze in are learning about history on an Eagle River Twisted History Tours, letting loose at Eagle Falls Adventure Golf and Laser Tag, and getting a sweet treat at Tremblay’s Sweet Shop.
We can’t forget to mention La Crosse County and all of the family fun it has to offer. Don’t miss the Jump Start Adventure Park where everyone can be a kid for the day! Jump into the fun with a giant variety of attractions: performance trampolines, ninja warrior courses, parkour areas, and more!
Find a unique summer drive-in experience at Rudy’s Drive-in and enjoy the authentic 1950s restaurant with roller skating carhops. The drive-in location on 10th and La Crosse Street was built in 1966 and still remains today!
For the hiking fans out there, don’t miss out on Grandad’s Bluff in La Crosse County. Known as the largest bluff in the area that overlooks La Crosse, take in all the beautiful views and scenery when you get to the top. Or, explore the outdoor region of La Crosse by water with rentals from Island Outdoors.
Along with Jump Start Adventure Park, Rudy’s Drive-in and the outdoors, Creative Canvas and Board is a spot to let out creativity indoors. A fun and interactive art studio with an open studio everyday perfect for kids and adults of all ages!
There you have it! The top seven destinations in Wisconsin to enjoy the summer and spend some quality time with family. Let us know in the comments which destination you are most looking forward to visiting!
*This article is brought to you by financial support from the Wisconsin Counties Association.
Kortnee Hass: Digital Media Associate for Discover Mediaworks. A Wisconsin ‘now & forever’ transplant with a soft spot for squeaky cheese curds, craft breweries, and all things Wisconsin tourism.