Unplug from Technology and Get Outdoors in Wisconsin

By Dan Rose
Special to TravelWisconsin.com

Bright lights flash. The city whirls around us. We rush from our day job, to our after work appointment, to the gym. A few minutes for dinner means a chance to check email and Instagram. The cycle repeats and we can begin to feel lost and drained.

It’s time to recharge, and Wisconsin has some amazing places where you can ditch your phone and reconnect.

The Chequamegon - Nicolet National Forest

Put simply, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is utterly massive and wonderfully remote. Don’t plan on using your cell phone while traveling through the woods. You’ll have two primary options for lodging while staying here: camping or cabins. For the adventurous camper, the Great Divide Campgrounds like Beaver Lake or Namekagon are one of your best options. They provide ample access to surrounding lakes, hiking and bike trails. If you’re looking for a cabin instead, check out Whitetail Woodlands or Eagle Pointe Lodging offering more traditional amenities while still allowing you to unplug.

Rock IslandDoor County

With Rock Island, the journey is half the fun. This scenic camping location is only accessible via ferry from Washington Island. This means you’ll have to take a total of two ferries to reach the island. Once you arrive, you’ll have to carry your supplies in to your campsite (the island is vehicle free). If all of this seems like a little too much effort, you can also stay the night on Washington Island and just take a day trip out to Rock Island State Park.

Mirror Lake State ParkBaraboo

If you’re looking for something a little less remote but that still offers opportunities to disconnect from hectic day-to-day life, then Mirror Lake State Park is the perfect destination. Enjoy one of the park’s 151 campsites nestled into a serene pine forest. If you’re not a camper, consider renting the Seth Peterson Cottage. This cottage is the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home available for the general public to rent. It was restored in 1989 and remains a fascinating piece of Wisconsin history.

Copper Falls State ParkMellen

If you want to unplug but don’t want to sacrifice adventure, then Copper Falls is the perfect Wisconsin destination for you. Located just a few miles North of Mellen, this state park offers some intermediate hikes to reward you with incredible views of the scenic falls. There are a small number of campsites available here, one of which is remote and open for backpackers. 

Alternative Options

All of the above options really require you to embrace the great outdoors. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate or you simply don’t feel like roughing it for a weekend. Here’s a few quick hit ideas that will still let you unplug and refresh.

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The Thai PavilionMadison

The intricate Thai Pavilion is located in the heart of Madison’s Olbrich Botanical Gardens. It was donated to the University of Wisconsin by the Thai government, and is one of only four outside of Thailand.

The Great Escape of La CrosseLa Crosse

Escape rooms are a popular activity across the US, but how will they help you unplug? To keep the experience immersive, escape rooms require you to lock your phone up ahead of time. This keeps you in the moment and focused on solving the puzzle with your team.

The Lazy Cloud InnLake Geneva

Staying at this small bed and breakfast is kind of like camping indoors. The rooms are cozy with warm fireplaces, relaxing whirlpool tubs and a distinct lack of televisions. Bring a good book, a bottle wine and take the time to reconnect.

Looking for more adventures? Explore these hidden trails across Wisconsin or check out our outdoor fun directory.