It's hard to beat the Wisconsin outdoors during the summer time. There are thousands of lakes begging you to swim, boat, canoe, kayak and water ski; hundreds of lush forests pleading you to hike, bike, camp, and explore; and tons of rentable cabins and cottages waiting to become your cozy weekend home.
But after Memorial Day and the Fourth of July have passed, there's only one more opportunity for a built-in three-day weekend Wisconsin getaway. Labor Day will be upon us the first Monday in September. Check out these last-chance vacations, and don't let the holiday slip away!
Black River State Forest
Southwestern Wisconsin’s Black River State Forest provides a bit of everything, giving weekend relaxers and outdoor enthusiasts something to agree upon. A 68,000-acre forest on the fringes of the state’s Driftless Area, the forest is a favorite spot of mountain bikers and backpackers, but also groups looking to enjoy a leisurely camping session or plan a cabin retreat.
Canoe or kayak down the Black River and its surrounding creeks, swim and enjoy the beach at Wazee Lake, or take in some drumming and dancing at the Ho-Chunk Pow-Wow happening all weekend in Black River Falls. Plan a stop at Sand Creek Brewing Company to pick up some lagers and hard lemonades.
High Cliff State Park
Forty-five minutes outside of Green Bay you’ll find scenic High Cliff State Park, a Wisconsin treasure where geologic and cultural history collide, providing hardcore campers and knowledge-seeking daytrippers with healthy reasons to explore.
Marked by its "high cliffs" that are a part of the Niagara Escarpment, the area plunges visitors into the past with its 400 million-plus-year-old features and provides a glimpse into past human life over multiple centuries. Hike down the park’s Indian Mound, Lime Kiln, and Red Bird trails and see towering limestone ridges, limestone quarries, effigy mounds, the historic Chief Red Bird statue and incredible views of Lake Winnebago.
Sometime during the weekend, take a short drive around the northern edge of the lake to unwind to the swingin' sounds of the Fox Jazz Fest in nearby Neenah.
Big Foot Beach State Park
Few cities in America balance charm with grandiosity like Lake Geneva. Its beachfront lodging, shopping and dynamic natural setting have entrenched it in Wisconsin’s tourism industry for decades and have made it a go-to place for generations of in-state and out-of-state visitors.
Yet despite its former infamous residents (ahem, Al Capone) and luxurious cache, the Lake Geneva area is an excellent outdoorsy getaway destination, with Big Foot Beach State Park leading the way in offering excellent hiking, swimming and camping. Plus, this Labor Day weekend is the Walworth County Fair, where food and fun are sure to be aplenty.