- Veronika J Spencer
Wisconsin is full of unexpected treasures, and its small towns are just one of the many surprises that the dairy state holds. From lakefront paradises to winter wonderlands, Wisconsin’s small towns offer a number of exciting recreational activities, impeccably preserved historical landmarks and vibrant displays of cultural heritage. Here is a list of ten of the most beautiful towns in Wisconsin.
Fish Creek is one of the must-see spots in Wisconsin’s picturesque Door County peninsula. This unincorporated community has less than one thousand inhabitants but the tree-lined streets are often filled with visitors, particularly in the summer months. Fish Creek is full of character, charm, history and fun. Visitors will be delighted by the fine selection of accommodation, restaurants, shopping and outdoor activity available in this beautiful walkable community. In addition to the unique shops and historical sites, the scenic beauty of the Lake Michigan shoreline makes Fish Creek worth a stop.
Bayfield is located in the very north of Wisconsin on Lake Superior. This small town has a history of lumbering and commercial fishing, but is now a popular tourist resort destination. Bayfield is the main gateway for those wishing to visit the scenic Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and stunning ice caves. Visitors to Bayfield can enjoy freshwater boating, kayaking and sailing on the largest of the Great Lakes. Several popular events take place in the small town such as the annual Apple Fest on the first weekend of October and the annual Race Week regatta event during 4th of July week.
Located in southwest Wisconsin, Mineral Point is the state’s third oldest city. Once a lead and zinc mining community, the historic character of the city has been well preserved, making it one of the most beautiful towns in the area. A strong Cornish influence can be felt in Mineral Point thanks to its early settlers. Many restaurants in the city are known for serving Cornish culinary specialties such as figgyhobbin and pasties. Lovely historic buildings can be found throughout much of the city and make visiting Mineral Point a truly memorable experience.
Cedarburg is a suburb community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s biggest city. One of the special historical treats in this town is Wisconsin’s last covered bridge. Wisconsin used to have over forty covered bridges throughout the state but now only one remains, in Cedarburg. The historic woolen mill in the town has been converted into a restaurant and winery, making it a lovely place for tourists to stop. This quaint town has many historic buildings, galleries, studios, shops and weekend festivals, making it a pleasant place to visit, particularly in the summer when a regular concert series takes place.
It is no secret that Door County is one of the most beautiful spots in Wisconsin. Egg Harbor is one of the must-see stops when heading to this area. With friendly people, small town charm and homey restaurants, it is no wonder that Egg Harbor continuously ranks among the best small towns in Wisconsin. A particularly good spot to stop for those in search of a tasty breakfast is the family owned Rusty Tractor Cafe. Egg Harbor’s numerous golf courses, shops, spas and tranquil lakeshore make it an ideal spot for a relaxing getaway.
Algoma is nestled on the shore of Lake Michigan in northeast Wisconsin and is a charming, tranquil town. This lovely small town has something to offer everyone. Whether visitors wish to enjoy a glass of wine at the historic winery, spend the day shopping, go fishing on Lake Michigan or take a relaxing walk along the sand beach and boardwalk, there is always something to do in Algoma. This town is very family friendly and is a great spot for a much needed getaway. Shanty Days and the Concert in the Park Series are fun events taking place in Algoma in the summer.
Ashland is a port city in the northern part of the state on Lake Superior. Known as Lake Superior’s hometown, this small city is a fantastic location for outdoor recreation year-round. Ashland is particularly appealing to winter sport enthusiasts. Snowmobilers will find over two-hundred miles worth of well-kept trails in the area, which several hotels offer easy access to. Skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, hiking and ice fishing are also very popular activities here. Ashland is another gateway to the spectacular ice caves on Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Downtown Ashland’s history is colorfully displayed through vibrant murals, making it the ‘Historic Mural Capital of Wisconsin.’
Elkhart Lake is located in the eastern part of the state and nestled in the midst of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. It is a popular spot for car racing fans. In the 1950s, road races took place on Elkhart Lake’s public country roads but today racing fans can catch the action at the Road America race track, located just outside of the village. Elkhart Lake is also a popular lake resort vacation spot and is perfect for a mini-vacation, whether it be a romantic getaway or a family friendly trip.
New Glarus is known as ‘America’s Little Switzerland’ and is located in the southern part of the state. The Swiss architecture, ethnic food, outdoor festivals and craft brewery make New Glarus a truly memorable place to visit. The New Glarus Brewery brews some of the best beer in the state. This small village has managed to maintain much of its old world charm with flower boxes, Swiss-style chalets and Swiss flags flying side by side with American flags on many homes and businesses. Swiss bakeries, shops meat markets and restaurants are also readily available in this delightful village.
Located in the southern part of Wisconsin, near the state capital Madison, Mount Horeb is often referred to as the ‘Troll Capital of the World.’ The main street of the town is known as the ‘Trollway’ and is guarded by many troll statues, reflecting the community’s Norwegian heritage. Mount Horeb is more than just trolls though, the hospitality and small-town charm are sure to enchant any who visit. The streets are lined with gourmet restaurants, relaxing cafes, tasty bakeries, wineries and a fantastic brewpub. Numerous scenic bike trails, museums and unique shops are easy to come by in Mount Horeb.