Outdoor Recreation Travel Itinerary

Adventures and Fun Activities for All

Wisconsin makes adventure easy with millions of acres of forest, more than 2,700 miles of hiking trails, 15,000 inland lakes (including the World’s Largest Chain of Lakes), 43,000 miles of river and two Great Lakes. From whitewater rafting to blue-water boating, backpacking and hiking, Wisconsin offers water and land adventures to challenge and delight everyone. So on this tour, pack your gear because we’re going to have some fun!

Ariel view of Miller ParkOutdoor Recreation Tour: DAY 1

Fly into or make a quick drive to Milwaukee. Stop at the Harley-Davidson Museum for a tour of America’s roughest, toughest brand. Milwaukee is the birthplace of the iconic motorcycle company. Spend the afternoon at Bradford Beach, Milwaukee’s largest public beach, where you can enjoy sand volleyball and a cocktail from the beachfront tiki bar. After some fun in the sun, rent a bicycle and pedal over to the Oak Leaf Trail, a 114-mile gem of off-road paved trails and park drives. At night, take in a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game at Miller Park. Celebrate in true Wisconsin style by tailgating before the game in the parking lot with some brats and burgers. Spend the night in Milwaukee – the Brewhouse Inn and Suites is a unique new hotel located at the historic Pabst Brewery.

Sunset on Lake Monona and Monona TerraceOutdoor Recreation Tour: DAY 2

Travel west to Madison. Once in town, rent kayaks or paddleboats from Wingra Boats and meander your way around beautiful Lake Wingra. Or, rent a stand up paddleboard and test out the latest trend in paddle sports. Next, head to dry land and take a nature hike at the UW-Arboretum or along the Dane County portion of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, a thousand-mile-long trail located entirely within Wisconsin that offers some of the best scenery in the state. Spend the night at Madison’s HotelRED, a trendy boutique hotel. Other great options include the Courtyard by Marriott, the Homewood Suites by Hilton and the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. Enjoy nightlife, dining and entertainment on Madison’s State Street and Capitol Square.

Milwaukee to Madison: 80 miles (130 km)

girl on waterslideOutdoor Recreation Tour: DAY 3

Hit the road and head to the Wisconsin Dells, the “Waterpark Capital of the World.” The activities here are endless. From boat tours or miniature golf, to waterpark rides or horseback riding, you’ll stay busy. For dinner, stop in at Moosejaw Pizza & Dells Brewing Co., where you can enjoy excellent food. Spend the night at any of the resorts, or, if you’re feeling outdoorsy, camp the night away!

Madison to Wisconsin Dells: 59 miles (95 km)

Bicyclist on trailOutdoor Recreation Tour: DAY 4

Rise and shine! Pack up and head to Elroy where you can trade your car for a bike and travel the 400 State Trail, a bike path that was developed 20 years ago from an abandoned Chicago Northwestern Railroad bed. The trail, which runs parallel with the Baraboo River, offers beautiful scenery, plentiful wildlife and rolling farmland. In the afternoon, bike the Elroy Sparta Trail. You’ll find three tunnels along the way where you have to get off your bike and walk through the once-used train tunnel. Along the way, experience Amish culture, quaint little shops and spend the night at a cute bed and breakfast. You won’t be disappointed in the Trail-Side Bed and Breakfast in nearby Wilton.

Wisconsin Dells to Elroy: 33 miles (53 km)

man whitewater kayakingOutdoor Recreation Tour: DAY 5

From Elroy, drive northeast to Wausau and spend some time hiking the trails at Rib Mountain State Park. Rib Mountain is one of the oldest geologic formations on Earth. Make sure you climb to the top of the 60-foot observation tower – it’s about 800 feet above the surrounding terrain and offers breathtaking views. Next, get ready for some wild whitewater rafting. Wausau Kayak/Canoe Corporation provides recreational athletes with an open-water experience they won’t soon forget. From freestyle, to down river and slalom kayaking, it’s immensely fun. Spend the night at the Jefferson Street Inn where you’ll appreciate the hotel’s relaxing luxury after such an adrenaline-filled day. For a quintessential Wisconsin dining experience, stop in at the Pinewood Supper Club.

Elroy to Wausau: 125 miles (200 km)

Children posing in front of fiberglass muskieOutdoor Recreation Tour: DAY 6

Drive to Hayward, the muskie capital of Wisconsin, where you can fish magnificent, crystal clear lakes. Experience Premiere Adventure Club (PAC). PAC tailors your agenda to your interests and offers a wide range of activities with guides and experts leading the way. From riding an ATV or hunting and fishing, to waterskiing, tubing or wakeboarding, PAC offers an adventure with your name on it. After a day of activity, check out the world’s largest fiberglass sculpture, also known as the world’s largest fish – a fearsome muskie. This muskie is the centerpiece of the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, the international headquarters for education, recognition and promotion of fresh water sport fishing. The Northwoods is also home to the magnificent Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, which covers more than 1.5 million acres. Park access is available in nearby Cable, less than 30 minutes from Hayward. In the evening, rest your head at the McCormick House where you can enjoy a Victorian mansion with ultra-modern comforts. Enjoy a classic Wisconsin fish fry at The Waterfront.

Wausau to Hayward: 190 miles (305 km)

vertical waterfallOutdoor Recreation Tour: DAY 7

It might be your last day, but the fun isn’t over yet. Travel to St. Croix Falls where you can hike along the Gandy Dancer State Trail. This user-friendly trail offers easy access and lots of places to explore. Then, experience the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway along the Namekagon River. If you're heading southwest, stop in Osceola to view Cascade Falls, a 30-foot waterfall along Route 30. Make a stop at the Polk County Information Center; the friendly staff here can set you up on the Osceola & St. Croix Railway train, where you can enjoy memories of days gone by. Hope to see you back in Wisconsin again soon!

Hayward to Osceola: 95 miles (153 km)


In the spirit of Wisconsin’s deep heritage of environmental stewardship, the Department of Tourism’s Travel Green Wisconsin program promotes smart, environmentally-friendly business practices. The program was the first state-sponsored sustainable travel certification of its kind in the nation, and has become a model for sustainable travel efforts both nationally and internationally.