Four Tours to Explore Wisconsin by Water

By Sharyn Alden
Special to

Looking for a getaway where you can dive into Wisconsin’s history and natural beauty? Summer is a perfect time to explore Wisconsin’s rivers, lakes and bays on a boat tour.

These four tours feature a one-of-a kind sailboat, a kayak adventure through the Apostle Islands, a Mississippi River paddle wheeler, and one of the oldest boat tours around –the Wisconsin Dells scenic cruisers.

Cruise on a Vintage Sailboat --Ephraim

Eagle Harbor in the center of Ephraim is a magnificent bay adorned with sailboat masts swaying in the wind. White-washed clapboard buildings dot the lakeside village that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

One of the best ways to kick back and enjoy Ephraim’s picturesque coastline is by sailing aboard Scuppers, a vintage sailboat navigated by Captain Tom Schroeder of Bella Sailing Cruises. Sailing aboard the 26- foot twin-masted sailboat is a water vacation like no other. No worries if you’ve never sailed before, all ages and sailing abilities are welcome.

Sightsee by Sea Kayak--Bayfield

Don't let the outward serenity of Bayfield, Wisconsin’s northernmost town, fool you. The landscape is booming with things to see and do on the shores of Lake Superior. One of the best ways to explore the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, including 22 islands and 12 miles of shoreline, is from the water. Sea kayaking around the Apostle Islands is one of the most popular pastimes here.

Living Adventure, a world-class kayak outfitter situated at the gateway to the Apostle Islands, provides guided tours for both first-time and seasoned travelers.

Plan your water adventure from a number of tours that include full, half day, and overnight guided trips. You’ll experience nature close-up in all its glory. Paddlers will skim through sea caves, glide over shipwrecks, breeze by wind-swept boulders, and visit sandy beaches.

Journey on a Mississippi Paddle Wheeler –La Crosse

The scenic bluffs of the Mississippi River are among Wisconsin’s most intriguing sights. La Crosse is a city historically tied to the mighty Mississippi, and today you can take a ride on the La Crosse Queen, a contemporary replica of the great river boats of the past.

One of the few authentic paddle wheel river boats working today, the 149-passenger split sternwheel boat takes cruisers down the Mississippi River for a guided sightseeing tour. Special meal tours are offered as well, including brunch, dinner, and pizza cruises.

Explore on an Upper Dells River Cruise—Wisconsin Dells

Take a cruise on the Wisconsin River to see stunning rock formations formed thousands of years ago. You’ll see amazing gorges, glens, gulches and canyons when you hop on a Wisconsin Dells Boat Tour.

The best way to see the Upper and Lower Dells is aboard a double-decker boat. The Upper Dells glides you by incredible rock ledges that tower above the river, and pauses for shore landings at Witches Gulch, a spooky and spectacular canyon carved into the stone, and Stand Rock, where a surprise guest makes the famous leap between the rock and the cliff edge.

Ready to explore more of Wisconsin's past? Check out these four historic restaurants.

This entry was posted in Boating & Sailing Canoeing, Kayaking & SUP