Best Wisconsin Road Trips: Explore the Beauty of the Badger State by Car

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Wisconsin is a beautiful state with a diverse landscape, ranging from rolling hills to sparkling lakes. It is a perfect destination for a road trip, with plenty of scenic drives and cultural experiences to explore. Whether you are a nature lover, history buff, or foodie, the best Wisconsin road trips have something to offer for everyone.

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One of the best ways to explore Wisconsin is by taking a historic highway. These roads are not only scenic but also offer a glimpse into the state’s rich history and culture. Another option is to take a scenic drive, which will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of the state. Wisconsin is also home to many cultural experiences, including museums, festivals, and art galleries, that are worth checking out.

Key Takeaways

  • Wisconsin is a great destination for a road trip, with plenty of scenic drives and cultural experiences to explore.
  • Historic highways offer a glimpse into the state’s rich history and culture.
  • Wisconsin is also home to many cultural experiences, including museums, festivals, and art galleries.

Historic Highways for the Best Wisconsin Road Trips

If you’re looking for a road trip with a touch of history, Wisconsin has plenty of options to choose from. Here are two historic highways that are worth exploring.

Great River Road

The Great River Road is a scenic byway that runs along the Mississippi River for 250 miles in Wisconsin. The road takes you through charming river towns, historic sites, and breathtaking natural scenery. Some of the highlights of the Great River Road include:

  • The National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota, where you can learn about the bald eagles that call the Mississippi River home.
  • The Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 250 bird species.
  • The charming town of La Crosse has a vibrant downtown and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities.

Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway

The Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway is a 70-mile stretch of road that runs along the southern shore of Lake Superior. The drive takes you through the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and past some of the most beautiful scenery in the state. Some of the highlights of the Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway include:

  • The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is home to 21 islands and some of the most beautiful beaches in the state.
  • The town of Bayfield is known for its charming Victorian architecture and delicious apple orchards.
  • The Copper Falls State Park has some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state.

Both the Great River Road and the Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, historic sightseeing, and natural beauty. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a scenic drive, these two highways are sure to impress.

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Scenic Drives

Wisconsin is known for its beautiful scenery, and what better way to take it all in than on a scenic drive? Here are two of the best scenic drives in Wisconsin:

Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive

The Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive is a 115-mile route that takes you through the Kettle Moraine State Forest. This drive is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves change color. Along the way, you’ll see rolling hills, glacial lakes, and forests. There are also several hiking trails and picnic areas where you can stop and enjoy the scenery.

Door County Coastal Byway

The Door County Coastal Byway is a 66-mile route that takes you along the coast of Lake Michigan. This drive is especially beautiful in the summer when you can see the clear blue waters of the lake. Along the way, you’ll see lighthouses, quaint towns, and cherry orchards. Be sure to stop at one of the many beaches along the way to enjoy the cool lake breeze.

Both of these scenic drives offer stunning views of Wisconsin’s natural beauty. Whether you’re looking for fall foliage or a summer beach getaway, these drives are sure to please.

Cultural Experiences

If you’re looking for a road trip that’s rich in culture, Wisconsin has plenty of options. Here are a couple of routes that showcase the state’s diverse cultural experiences.

Wisconsin Native American Tribes Route

Wisconsin is home to 11 Native American tribes, each with its own unique history and traditions. The Wisconsin Native American Tribes Route is a great way to learn about these cultures and see some beautiful scenery along the way.

The route covers over 300 miles and includes stops at several tribal communities. Some highlights include:

  • Ho-Chunk Nation: Visit the Ho-Chunk Nation’s cultural center and museum to learn about the tribe’s history and traditions.
  • Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa: Take a guided tour of the tribe’s wild rice fields and learn about the importance of wild rice in Ojibwe culture.
  • Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin: Visit the Menominee Indian Reservation and see the tribe’s sustainable forestry practices in action.

Wisconsin Amish Country Route

Wisconsin is also home to a large Amish community, concentrated in the southwestern part of the state. The Wisconsin Amish Country Route takes you through this picturesque area and gives you a glimpse into Amish life.

The route covers about 50 miles and includes stops at several Amish-owned businesses. Some highlights include:

  • Yoder’s Amish Furniture: Browse handcrafted furniture made by Amish artisans.
  • Swiss Valley Farms: Sample fresh cheese and other dairy products made by Amish farmers.
  • Country Woodshed: Shop for handmade quilts, baskets, and other crafts.

Just remember to respect Amish customs and traditions while you’re in the area. Dress modestly and don’t take photos of Amish people without their permission.

Whether you’re interested in Native American culture or Amish traditions, Wisconsin has plenty of cultural experiences to offer. Plan your road trip today and explore the state’s rich heritage.

Nature and Wildlife

If you’re a nature lover, Wisconsin has plenty of road trips that will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. Here are two must-see drives for those who want to experience Wisconsin’s natural beauty up close.

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Drive

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is a vast expanse of forested land that covers over 1.5 million acres in northern Wisconsin. The forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife, from black bears and wolves to bald eagles and loons. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Drive takes you through some of the most scenic areas of the forest, including the Flambeau River State Forest and the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area.

Along the drive, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop and explore the forest on foot. There are numerous hiking trails that wind through the forest, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. You can also take a kayak or canoe out on one of the many lakes and rivers in the area, or go fishing for trout in one of the many streams that flow through the forest.

Apostle Island Sea Caves

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Drive

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a group of 22 islands located in Lake Superior, off the northern coast of Wisconsin. The islands are home to a diverse array of wildlife, including black bears, white-tailed deer, and bald eagles. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Drive takes you along the coast of Lake Superior, offering stunning views of the islands and the surrounding water.

One of the highlights of the drive is the opportunity to take a ferry out to one of the islands and explore on foot. Each island has its own unique character, with sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, and dense forests to explore. You can also go kayaking or take a boat tour to see the sea caves that line the coast of some of the islands. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a pod of dolphins or a family of otters playing in the water.

Both of these drives offer a unique opportunity to experience Wisconsin’s natural beauty up close. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just looking for a scenic drive, these road trips are sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

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Food and Drink Trails

If you’re a foodie or a craft beer enthusiast, Wisconsin has plenty to offer. Here are two trails you don’t want to miss:

Wisconsin Cheese Tour

Wisconsin is famous for its cheese, and there’s no better way to experience it than by taking a cheese tour. You can start your journey at the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha, where you’ll find over 700 varieties of cheese. From there, head to the Cedar Grove Cheese Factory in Plain, where you can watch cheese being made and sample some of their award-winning cheeses.

Other stops on the tour include the Carr Valley Cheese Company in La Valle, where you can taste some of their artisanal cheeses, and the Chalet Cheese Cooperative in Monroe, which is known for its Limburger cheese.

Wisconsin Craft Beer Trail

Wisconsin is also home to some of the best craft breweries in the country. The Wisconsin Craft Beer Trail takes you to some of the top breweries in the state. Start your journey at the New Glarus Brewing Company in New Glarus, which is known for its Spotted Cow beer. From there, head to the Capital Brewery in Middleton, which has been producing beer since 1986.

Other stops on the trail include the Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, which is known for its Riverwest Stein beer, and the Central Waters Brewing Company in Amherst, which is known for its barrel-aged beers.

Whether you’re a cheese lover or a craft beer enthusiast, Wisconsin has something for everyone. Take a tour of the state’s cheese factories or breweries and experience the best of Wisconsin’s food and drink scene.

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Final Thoughts on Best Wisconsin Road Trips

Wisconsin is a state that has a lot to offer when it comes to road trips. With its beautiful scenery, charming small towns, and abundance of lakes, there is always something new to discover. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the state’s diverse road trip options are sure to please.

In this article, we have explored some of the best road trips in Wisconsin. From the Wisconsin Waterfalls Road Trip to the Cranberry Highway, each route offers something unique and exciting. Whether you’re interested in exploring the state’s natural wonders or its charming towns, there is a road trip for you.

When planning your Wisconsin road trip, be sure to consider your interests and travel style. Some routes may be more suitable for families, while others may be better suited for solo travelers or couples. Additionally, consider the time of year you plan to travel, as some routes may be more enjoyable during certain seasons.

Overall, a road trip through Wisconsin is a great way to explore the state’s beauty and charm. With so many great routes to choose from, you’re sure to find a trip that suits your interests and travel style. So pack your bags, hit the road, and enjoy all that Wisconsin has to offer!

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Wisconsin Road Trips

What are some great weekend road trips from Wisconsin?

If you’re looking for a quick getaway, there are plenty of great weekend road trips to take from Wisconsin. Consider heading to Door County for scenic views of Lake Michigan, or take a trip to the Apostle Islands to explore the beautiful sea caves. You could also head to the Wisconsin Dells for a fun-filled weekend of water parks and outdoor activities.

What are the best family road trips from Wisconsin?

Wisconsin offers many family-friendly road trip destinations. Consider taking a trip to the Wisconsin Northwoods for outdoor adventures like hiking, fishing, and kayaking. The Wisconsin Dells is also a great option for families, with its many water parks, theme parks, and family-friendly attractions.

What are some hidden gem road trip destinations in Wisconsin?

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, consider visiting some of Wisconsin’s hidden gem destinations. The Driftless Area in southwestern Wisconsin offers stunning scenery and unique geological formations. The Great River Road, which follows the Mississippi River, is also a great option for a scenic drive.

What is the most scenic road in Wisconsin?

There are many scenic roads to explore in Wisconsin, but one of the most beautiful is the Door County Coastal Byway. This 66-mile route takes you along the shores of Lake Michigan, through charming small towns and past beautiful natural scenery.

How can I find the best road trip route?

There are many resources available to help you plan your road trip in Wisconsin. Consider using a travel guidebook, such as Lonely Planet’s “Wisconsin Road Trips,” or consult with a local travel agency for personalized recommendations. You can also use online resources like Roadtrippers or Google Maps to plan your route.

What are the best days for road trips?

The best days for road trips will depend on your personal preferences and schedule. However, many people prefer to travel on weekdays to avoid traffic and crowds. If you’re planning a weekend road trip, consider leaving early in the morning to beat the rush.

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