Have your pen and paper handy? We’re throwing 10 creative ideas at you to discover in Wisconsin’s stunning southwest corner!
1. Fish it, canoe it or tube down it—however you decide to relish Wisconsin’s largest river, you’ll be awestruck by the remarkable views and diverse wildlife that surround you on the Lower Wisconsin River.
2. Pack a picnic lunch, throw on a decent pair of hiking boots and tour the parks! Our top picks: Blue Mound State Park in Blue Mounds, Blackhawk Lake Recreation Area in Highland, Governor Dodge State Park in Dodgeville, and Wyalusing State Park in Bagley.
3. Amidst the southwestern Driftless Area's steep hills and valleys are 345 lakes. This is definitely a fisherman’s dream destination. The abundant trout inhabiting cold-water streams in Richland and Vernon counties specifically entice fishing aficionados from afar.
4. Up for a unique history lesson? Take a step back in time and visit Villa Louis in Prairie du Chien. Our crew recently spent some time filming at this former Dousman residence, one of the official Wisconsin Historic Sites. If you still haven’t satisfied your hankering for history, go experience Stonefield Historic Site in Cassville for a look into a rural community at the turn of the 20th century as well as the home and estate of Wisconsin’s first governor at Nelson Dewey State Park.
5. A sightseeing staple here in Wisconsin, the House on the Rock in Spring Green definitely lives up to its fun and eclectic reputation. This former vacation home– created by Alex Jordan –is now enjoyed by thousands every year as an attraction, inn and resort.
6. Norskedalen is a nature and heritage center located in Coon Valley. Take a stroll on the six miles of nature trails, and enjoy the guided tours of the restored Bekkum pioneer log homestead and the Skumsrud Heritage Farm, which features an open-air museum with 12 different types of Norwegian immigrant log houses.
7. When in Wisconsin, do as the Wisconsinites do: appreciate cheese. Stop by Cedar Grove Cheese in Plain for a tour of the facility and a deep dive into the art of cheesemaking.
8. For the adrenaline junky, we’ve got just the thing. Southwest Wisconsin isn’t just nature walks and sightseeing, the area can really get your heart pumping, too. Get an adrenaline rush when you climb on-board a small plane to enjoy 60 seconds of free fall over Lancaster with Airborne Skydiving.
9. An impressive line-up of country music stars will touch down in Wisconsin’s second oldest city for Country on the River, August 7-9, 2014. Artists such as Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Tracy Lawrence, Thompson Square and many more will make this concert a must see.
10. Journey to Platteville’s downtown historic district and check out the Mining Museum - Rollo Jamison Museum for an underground tour of the 1845 Bevans Lead Mine. Psst…while you’re in the area, be sure to climb the world’s largest M for a spectacular view of southwest Wisconsin.
Share your favorite southwest Wisconsin destinations on Twitter by using hashtag #SouthwestWI.
Mariah Haberman is one of the hosts of Discover Wisconsin, the nation’s longest-running travel TV show. She hails from Evansville, where she was brought up in a family of seven in a small farmhouse outside of town. Some of her favorite memories include Lake Michigan fishing trips with her Dad, showing sheep at the Rock County Fair and buzzing around the farm on an ATV with her little brother. Tweet her: @MariahHaberman