Fall is upon us and the best way to enjoy the beauty of the season is a getaway to Wisconsin’s Northwoods. With thousands of acres of forests, dramatic fall colors and endless activities, a road trip through Wisconsin’s small towns of Hayward, Cable or Ashland may just be the best thing you do all year. Find your fun at some of our best autumn getaway locations.
Where else can you climb into the mouth of a giant 5-story tall fiberglass fish? Whether you’re a seasoned fisher, newcomer or just want to see the famous “Big Muskie” statue, the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward is a Northwood’s favorite attraction, and a perfect fall fun getaway. The hall of fame serves as an international headquarters for education, recognition and promotion of fresh water fishing. The museum holds over 50,000 sport fishing historical artifacts from lures, rods, reels and accessories. Not to mention, there are over 300 mounted fish and 1,000 antique motors on display.
Stretching all the way along the western Wisconsin border from Prescott to Cable, the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway is a more than 150-mile wonder. Known for its calm waters, especially its tributaries, the St. Croix is the perfect river to spend a day on the water. For a leisurely day outdoors, rent a canoe or kayak from North Country Boat Rentals in Hayward. As you make your way down the peaceful Namekagon, you’ll see an abundance of wildlife and some of the most gorgeous fall colors in Wisconsin.
Ashland Mural Walk - Ashland
A small but must-see stop on your way around the Northwoods area is the Ashland Mural Walk. The eight-block business district of downtown Ashland is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the backdrop for this unique walk. View a collection of 13 murals by local Ashland muralists Kelly Meredith and Susan Prentice Martinsen. The colors on the mural walk add to the beauty of the fall colors for a true Wisconsin Northwoods experience.
Fall Dining in the Northwoods
Contrary to popular belief, restaurants in deep wooded areas in the Midwest don’t only cater to lumberjacks. Check out these unique restaurants, serving up more than just flapjacks.
The No. 1-rated area restaurant on Trip Advisor, the Rookery in Cable offers some of the most creative and flavorful foods in the area. Located at the Cable Nature Lodge, the Pub's ever-changing menu features weekly fresh fish specials, beef and bison steak, handmade pasta, specialty salads, vegetarian and vegan entrees all made with ingredients from local producers. Is your mouth watering yet? The Rookery has some of the best food – in fall – and all year round.
South Shore Brewery was northern Wisconsin’s first brewery and produces its famous Nut Brown Ale as well as other seasonal delights. Stop for lunch at the restaurant on site, Deep Water Grille, and you’ll find a menu with flavorful grill sandwiches and delicious soups. While you’re there, don’t forget to take a tour of the brewery. Tours are free, and can be scheduled in advance over the phone.
Fall Lodging in the Northwoods
Autumn road tripping can be tiring. Do yourself a favor and opt for one of these great lodges in the Northwoods area. No need to count sheep here. You’ll be asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.
Located in the heart of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, the Cable Nature Lodge is a truly green experience. The lodge is certified Travel Green Wisconsin and offers beautiful forest views from any of its seven deluxe cabins. Enjoy amenities such as vaulted ceilings, jet tubs, plush beds and high speed internet. Each room is designed to mirror the spirit of the area’s natural heritage. After taking in the fall colors in the Wisconsin Northwoods, you can rest your head at this green lodge.
Opened in 1923, this peaceful retreat in the woods is the perfect combination of rustic and luxurious. Each of the eight cabins is furnished with a woodsy touch. Greet the morning with a hearty country style breakfast, served to you in the beautiful dining room with a lakeside view. Enjoy the rest of the day outdoors reveling in the fall colors, hiking or just relaxing near the lake.
This four-season resort is located in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and offers an abundance of activities for fall travelers. Sitting right on Lake Namekagon, Lakewoods has its own marina with over 40 boat rentals and guided or self-guided boat tours. Don’t miss out on Lakewoods’ 18-hole golf course, with fairways spread throughout the wooded area. In the fall, the resort offers golf, fishing and hunting packages. Sit back by the pool, or soak in the hot tub without a worry in your mind.