Wisconsin nature is in its purest form in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Camp on Madeline Island before spending a day exploring sea caves along the banks of the islands. Gliding atop Lake Superior in a kayak is like floating across aquamarine glass; the water is so pristine that you can see the pebbled details on the floor of the lake through 10 meters of water. Come back in winter when the lake is frozen to discover the striking caves on foot.
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, La Pointe, WI, USA, +1 715 779 3397
Experience how truly tranquil nature can be within the Horicon Marsh, the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. This ecosystem, created when a glacier melted thousands of years ago, is home to a vast amount of species. Its biodiversity includes over 305 different species of birds, which is why it has been designated as a ‘Westland of International Importance’ and as a ‘Globally Important Bird Area.’
Horicon Marsh, N7725 Hwy 28, Horicon, WI, USA, +1 920 387 7860
If you wish to vacation like a Wisconsinite, spend a weekend in ‘the Cape Cod of the Midwest’, Door County, the state’s eastern peninsula and its adjacent patches of island. Whilst you’re there, try the fresh cherries if they’re in season—they’ll be the best you’ll ever taste. Explore the charming shops of Egg Harbor, Sturgeon Bay and Ephraim, or learn about maritime history by touring one of the lighthouses dotting the shores of Lake Michigan.
Hike the trails of Pattison State Park near Superior, Wisconsin, to watch Big Manitou Falls pour into the Black River. At a little over 50 meters, Big Manitou Falls is the highest waterfall in the state. Its twin waterfall, the 9.5-meter Little Manitou Falls, is also located within the park. If you’re interested in exploring more of Pattison State Park’s 14.5 kilometers of trails, reserving a campsite for the night is an enjoyable option.
In 1939, quarry workers accidentally discovered an enormous limestone cave system, filled with colorful mineral formations, whilst removing rock in the hills of the Blue Mounds. Rumors of the cave spread quickly and thousands of visitors flocked to what is now called Cave of the Mounds, a National Natural Landmark. Take a guided tour of the 400-million-year-old cave system to see the mystical beauty beneath Wisconsin’s surface.
Architect and interior designer Frank Lloyd Wright is perhaps one of the most famous Wisconsinites to date, due to his mastery of harmony and organic shapes within the field of architecture. In Spring Green, visitors can tour his estate, known as Taliesin, for an up-close-and-personal look at his work. The beautiful setting of nearly 500 acres overlooks a lake and a rich emerald forest.
Taliesin, 5481 County Road C, Spring Green, WI, USA, +1 608 588 2511
There are no excuses for being bored in the Wisconsin Dells. Besides being the self-proclaimed ‘water-park capital of the world,’ there are opportunities to go on ‘duck boat’ tours — rides on amphibious vehicles through the picturesque Wisconsin River and Dell Creek, as well as spectacular cross-country ski trails, horseback rides through the countryside, zip line tours and plenty more. Prepare for an adrenaline rush as you look at natural Wisconsin from a more thrilling perspective.