While Wisconsin’s capital has plenty of attractions to visit, those looking to get out of the city for a day or two will not be disappointed by their options.
Madison’s central location in the southern part of the state creates a lot of opportunities for visiting neighboring communities, whether to explore historic sites or relax in the great outdoors. Check out these seven great day trip options from Madison!
Spring Green is just about an hour to the west of Madison. This small town is home to two of Wisconsin’s most famous architectural attractions: House on the Rock and Taliesin. The House on the Rock is an awe-inspiring place that now encompasses multiple buildings and exhibits with quirky attractions, including the world’s biggest carousel. Also located in Spring Green is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin complex. Taliesin is an 800-acre estate that served as a home and studio to the famous architect. Both are must-sees for architecture aficionados.
Devil’s Lake State Park
For those looking to spend a day surrounded by nature, nothing beats Devil’s Lake State Park. The biggest state park in Wisconsin, visitors can soak up the sun on the lakeshore while taking in the stunning glacier-carved rock formations. In the midst of the park, you’ll find it hard to believe that this tranquil, natural oasis is only an hour away from Wisconsin’s busy state capital.
Devil’s Lake State Park, S5975 Park Rd, Baraboo, WI, USA, +1 608 356 8301
Baraboo is approximately an hour’s drive from Madison and is home to the “Greatest Show on Earth.” The Ringling brothers got their start here in the late 1800s. Today, the town’s Circus World museum preserves the history and carries on the legacy of their world-famous circus. Baraboo is also home to the only exclusively clown-focused museum in the world, the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center, which is also worth a visit for circus fans.
Beer lovers should head to New Glarus, which is home to one of Wisconsin’s most famous craft brews, Spotted Cow. Apart from excellent beer, the village is also known for its Swiss charm. Settled by immigrants from Switzerland in the mid-1800s, New Glarus fully embraces its heritage by welcoming visitors with traditional architecture, restaurants, and shops.
It’s no secret that Wisconsin is famous for cheese, and Monroe is one of the best places in the state to get it. The “Swiss Cheese Capital of the USA” can be found about an hour south of Madison, near the Illinois border. Visitors can learn about this small city’s 100-year cheese-making history by touring local cheese factories and visiting the National Historic Cheesemaking Center and Museum.
It’s very easy to watch a day quickly fly by in Wisconsin Dells. From America’s largest waterpark to the famous duck tours, the activity options are endless. In just over an hour from Madison, you can be in the heart of the adventure. While all the tourist traps may be appealing, be sure to make some time to check out the stunning rock formations via one of the Dells Boat Tours®.
Mount Horeb is the “troll capital of the world” and is just over a half hour’s drive from Madison. Creatures from Norwegian folklore line the main street on what is referred to as the village’s “Trollway.” Created as both a way to embrace the area’s Norwegian immigrant past and to draw in tourists, the trolls are brought to life by a local woodcarver. With more than 15 life-size trolls now sprinkled around Mount Horeb, there is even a downloadable map available to help visitors find them all.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip 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 — and this is still in our DNA today. 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 certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.