By Dan Rose
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
It’s easy to enjoy a day spent at a Wisconsin waterfall, but the fun doesn’t have to stop there! A number of our state’s spectacular falls are conveniently located near other attractions and activities, making a visit to the falls the perfect way to start your next day trip or weekend adventure. Take your waterfall trip to the next level with our tips on where to stay, what to eat, and how to keep on exploring Wisconsin’s outdoors.
This picturesque waterfall is a great day trip option thanks to how close it is to several other attractions. Start your day by getting to Osceola early for a mid-morning kayak or canoe trip on the St. Croix river. Riverwood Canoe and Kayak will rent you gear and shuttle you up to Interstate park. The return journey down the river is beautiful and takes two to three hours.
When you’re finished kayaking, head into town and catch a late lunch at The Watershed Café. Their seasonal outdoor seating overlooks the St. Croix river and their menu is focused around sustainable, locally sourced ingredients. After filling up, it’s time to make your way to the start of the trail to Cascade Falls, only a few minutes away. The trip to the falls is relatively easy, but be ready for quite a few steps. The reward is worth it though, as these falls feature a gorgeous overhang that you can walk behind when water levels aren’t too high.
This powerful and complex waterfall provides some of the best whitewater rafting in the state, making it a great weekend trip for an adrenaline junkie. The falls are somewhat remote, so plan on camping in the River Forest Campground, only a 15-minute drive from falls.
Next up is the main event: your rafting adventure. Given that this is one of the state’s most popular locations to raft, booking ahead of time is recommended. Consider a guided trip if you’ve never rafted before, like those offered by Shotgun Eddy’s that explore additional locations as well. If you finish the day early and still have energy left, take a hike around the Great Smokey Falls themselves. For a well-earned dinner, head north from the River Forest Campground to Maiden Lake Supper Club for an authentic Wisconsin experience.
Wequiock Falls and Fonferek Falls are both located south of Green Bay and are reliably active during the spring. Only twenty miles apart frrom each other, they are close to main roads and make for excellent stop off points as you drive. After you’ve explored the falls, spend a night in one of Sturgeon Bay’s many cozy cabins. Cliff Dwellers Resort is a great option, offering a lake view and quick access to Potawatomi State Park.
If you’re looking for a waterfall that can truly stand with some of the world’s best, then Superior’s Big Manitou is for you. Big Manitou’s 165 foot height will truly leave you awestruck, and what it delivers better than most falls is the excellent 10 miles of trails in the surrounding area. This means you can easily make a day out of your trip to see the falls, and may even find yourself drawn back the following morning to catch an impressive sunrise from the overlook.
This waterfall is best enjoyed as part of a longer trip, as Superior and Northern Wisconsin will offer you plenty to do. You can catch another great waterfall just 25 minutes from Big Manitou at Amnicon Falls State Park, play a round at Nemadji Golf Course or one of the other great courses in the area, or grab a pizza and locally brewed beer at Thirsty Pagan Brewing.