Beautiful Lakes Worth a Visit in Wisconsin

Lake Michigan sparkles during the day and at night
Lake Michigan sparkles during the day and at night | © Bill Chizek Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Wisconsin is blessed with an abundance of beautiful nature, including its many incredible lakes. From the great Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan to its smaller, more unassuming spots, all are worth a visit. Culture Trip has sized up the best of the bunch. Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Lake Winnebago

Ice cold sunrise over a partially frozen Lake Winnebago.

This beauty is Wisconsin’s largest inland lake and among the best places in America to fish for sturgeon. At 137,700 acres (55,725ha), Lake Winnebago is large and home to boating, water sports, hiking, camping, picnicking and even an amusement park, so no matter your poison, you’ll find something that suits you here. With a public beach and many beautiful houses on the shore, it’s a sure-fire winner.

Petenwell Lake

Coming in at approximately 23,000 acres (9,308ha), Petenwell Lake is the state’s second-largest lake. Dating back to 1948, this man-made lake – thanks to the construction of a hydraulic dam – provides hours of fun and beautiful scenery. Sailing, water-skiing and fishing are all popular lake activities. It’s also a great place to spot wildlife, especially bald eagles. The surrounding land is relatively undeveloped and wild, so it’s a great place to get lost and unwind. There’s also a campsite in the lakeside forest if you’re keen to stay.

Lake Michigan

The lake Michigan coast in Door County Wisconsin. This picture is taken at Cave Point County Park.

You can’t write about lakes in Wisconsin without mentioning Lake Michigan. As one of the five Great Lakes and a major tourist attraction, it’s a massive landmark, with dozens of cities sitting along its shoreline and its endless horizons reminiscent of the sea. It’s famous for its beaches, with some of the most popular being North Beach, Schoolhouse Beach and Point Beach State Forest. Any manner of lakeside activity can be found here, from kitesurfing to diving.

Lake Wingra

Small but no less beautiful for it, Lake Wingra is located in Madison and is home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, which sits along its shoreline. An important fishing lake, it’s known for its muskellunge, panfish, northern pike and largemouth bass. With beaches, parks and even a zoo along the north side of Lake Wingra, it’s an ideal spot to kick back and relax while admiring the trees on the lake’s shoreline. There’s nothing like being near the water to put things in perspective.

Lake Chippewa

Great blue heron on the Chippewa Flowage in northern Wisconsin

Also known by the rather less glamorous name of the Chippewa Flowage, this lake is famous for its gorgeous natural scenery – which includes undeveloped islands along its shoreline – and is the third-largest lake in the state. It was first filled with water in 1924 and has since been pulling in the crowds. Along with walleye fishing, you can also go birdwatching, hiking, camping, canoeing and even cross-country skiing in winter.

Wazee Lake

Wazee Lake is the deepest lake in the state, as it was a former iron mine. It’s home to the Wazee Lake Recreation Area, which draws scuba divers from all over the US. Fishing is also popular, with everything from trout to catfish up for grabs here. As well as a beach, Wazee Lake is home to 12 campsites and innumerable Instagram-worthy spots. There are also 15mi (24km) of hiking trails and bike paths to keep yourself active.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article