By Pat Dillon
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
Adventure-seeking couples needn’t look further than Wisconsin, and we have recommendations for fun in every corner of the state.
Resorts tucked into forests and along waterfronts of the Northwoods offer access to paddling and peddling through a contrasting landscape. Heading south for an urban experience, bikers easily access city entertainment or explore the area’s urban ecology using Milwaukee’s many bike routes.
To the west, the mighty Mississippi and its tributaries promise spectacular birding among its diverse wildlife habitat. And to the east, whitewater rafters can find the outfitters to create an adventure at any experience level.
Anchor your belongings at the Cable Nature Lodge and pick an outing in any direction. The lodge is set in the gorgeous Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and is a stone's throw from so many hiking, biking and paddling opportunities it may be hard to choose a sport.
Paddlers have the Porcupine and Rainbow Lakes or the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway; hikers and bikers can access the CAMBA Trail System or the Rock Lake trailhead just a mile from the lodge. Hikers head to North Country National Scenic Trail or Copper Falls State Park.
When you get back, the lodge’s Rookery Pub awaits with what has been designated the best food in the Hayward-Cable area by TripAdvisor—much of it locally sourced.
The Calatrava-designed Milwaukee Art Museum is just one cultural gem among Milwaukee’s many urban picks. Hotel Metro, once a mid-century office building, is a sophisticated boutique hotel in the heart of downtown. Guests have free use of Hampton Cruiser bikes to easily access the nearby trails, including the Hank Aaron trail that runs through The Historic Third Ward, the Menominee River Valley and onto the Ice Age Trail.
Art seekers can saunter the Historic Third Ward River Walk and take in art at notable galleries like Tory Folliard Gallery featuring contemporary art from Wisconsin’s top artists. Grab lunch at one of the many hip cafes with outside seating along Broadway for Saturday afternoon people-watching.
Summer travelers can pick from scores of summer festivals that fill Milwaukee’s parks and festival grounds—ethnic, music, neighborhood or one’s just full of local pride—or tour the Urban Ecology Center and learn the incredible story of how one woman’s work to take back Riverside Park turned it into a celebrated environmental community center along the Milwaukee River.
The Hawks View Cottages are tucked into the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River in Fountain City. Stay there and take a day trip up the Great River Road where charming river towns are full of local artisans in shops like The Commercial in Alma. Eat in the quaintest of cafes, like gourmet pizza at the Stone Barn located in the countryside outside Nelson.
In spring and fall, the backwaters offer Tundra Swan sightings sometimes in the thousands. Local groups, like Wings Over Alma, guide trips on the Chippewa Valley Motor Car into the depths of otherwise unreachable Tiffany Bottoms Natural Area. Check their website for a summer schedule.
Bear Paw Resort in White Lake is the go-to spot for easy access to the wild and scenic Wolf River for kayaking, canoeing and rafting. The resort rents kayaks and gives classes to all levels on how to ride the currents.
Known in the area for their great homemade pizza, the Bear Paw also offers cozy cabins with creature comforts and some custom made for rustic dwellers with no electricity or running water!