4 Wisconsin Winter Getaways: Outdoor Adventure and Small-Town Charm

By Pat Dillon
Special to TravelWisconsin.com

Embrace Wisconsin’s winter trademarks by curling up to a toasty fire in a cozy out-of-the-way, lake-side cabin or negotiating some tough terrain on a woodland ski trail. Get that tucked-away feeling in a cottage in the woods or experience the local hospitality of quaint, nearby towns. Here are four Wisconsin winter getaway options offering the best of all worlds.


Secluded and cozy, Hauser’s Bayfield Cabin is the perfect away-from-it-all retreat only a short distance from the equally cozy town of Bayfield. At the cabin, a wood stove flickers as a spectacular wooded-view surrounds. Take your cross-country or downhill skis or snowboard to nearby Mt. Ashwabay, just three miles south of Bayfield or investigate the historic shores (possibly ice caves!) of Lake Superior. Dog sled at Wolfsong Adventures, then take in some Lake Superior-caught whitefish at the Pier Plaza Restaurant or have a romantic dinner at the Old Rittenhouse Inn. The Red Cliff Chippewa’s Legendary Waters Casino is a short drive north!


Looking for a spot to cross-country ski with the kids from a quaint cabin on a lake with access to city-style amenities? Holiday Acres in Rhinelander is just the spot. Set on Lake Thompson, Holiday Acres has several winter packages including a cross-country ski or snowshoe rental for use on their many groomed trails. Check out Nicolet College's Nicolet Live! and take the family to a live performance ranging from children's theater to classical music. Afterward, go for a dip in the Holiday Acres indoor pool or thaw out in its sauna, then enjoy family recipes at the lodge’s Three Coins Restaurant.

Nature and Art Lovers

The Mississippi River offers some of the best eagle watching in the state, and Hawks View Cottages puts you eye level with these river raptors. Tucked into the river-valley bluffs of Fountain City, these cottages offer a crackling fire, whirlpool tubs and views of wildlife scampering hillside or perched within the spectacular wooded surroundings. Below, the quaint town of Fountain City has The Monarch Public House, a brewhouse specializing in Irish food or the Seven Hawks Vineyard tasting room. Down the road in Cochrane, visit Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden, home to the work of outside artist Herman Rusch. Drive just 20 minutes north to Wings Over Alma Nature and Art Center and watch eagles soar over Lock and Dam 4. Stop at The Commercial, a gallery gift shop, for a little taste of the river valley’s most gifted artisans. Looking for something in leather? The Alma Leather Shop has it all made right on site!


Door County is pretty quiet when the snow flies, making it a perfect retreat for friends who like to dine in and ski out. The cottages at the Thorp House Inn in Fish Creek have cabins with full kitchens and wood-burning fireplaces, and they’re located right along the waterfront of the Green Bay, a great place for cross-country skiing. Drive just minutes north to Peninsula State Park for more skiing options. Try a traditional fish boil on Friday at the White Gull Inn, or eat at the Whistling Swan Inn and Restaurant where local food is always on option. Then check out some remarkable Door County-made pottery at TR Pottery. Fish Creek is open for business!

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