It’s easy to enjoy a day spent at a Wisconsin waterfall, but the adventure doesn’t have to stop there. Many of our state’s spectacular falls are conveniently located near other family-friendly 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.
Big Smokey Falls – Keshena
The powerful Big Smokey Falls provide some of the best whitewater rafting in the state, making it a thrilling weekend trip for a group of adrenaline chasers. The falls are somewhat remote, so plan on camping in the River Forest Campground, only a 15-minute drive from the falls.
Next up is the main event: your rafting adventure. This is one of the state’s most popular locations to raft, so plan on reserving ahead. Book a guided trip like those offered by Shotgun Eddy’s that explore additional locations as well. After rafting, trade the thrills for relaxation with a hike around the Big Smokey Falls. 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 from each other, they’re 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 many cozy cabins in Sturgeon Bay. 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 stand with some of the world’s best, then head to Superior’s Big Manitou. The falls’ 165-foot height will leave you awestruck, and the excellent 10 miles of trails in the surrounding area offer plenty of adventure. Easily make a day out of your trip to see the falls, and you’ll 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 — Superior and Northern Wisconsin offer plenty to do. Catch another scenic waterfall just 25 minutes from Big Manitou at Amnicon Falls State Park, play a round at Nemadji Golf Course or one of the many other courses in the area, or grab a pizza and locally brewed beer at Thirsty Pagan Brewing.
Cascade Falls – Osceola
This picturesque waterfall is a great itinerary add 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 a refreshing 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, local ingredients. After filling up, head to the start of the trail to Cascade Falls, only a few minutes away. After a hike and stepped descent, you’ll reach the falls. They’re picture-perfect, flowing over a gorgeous rock overhang.
Looking to experience more of Wisconsin's natural wonders? Check out these picnic-perfect waterfalls.