You’re in need of a vacation. Not just any vacation — a luxury one. Thoughts immediately drift to European cities and tropical beaches across the globe. But Wisconsin?
You already know (if you don’t, just nod along) that Wisconsin has glacial lakes, rugged hills, lush forests, and pastoral farm land, where all that dairy comes from. But you may not know that there is a luxury option to enjoying America’s very, very American state…
First, plan for the season
Wisconsin experiences all four seasons to the fullest. And we mean the fullest. Have you been there in winter? So, before you go, make sure you know what weather to expect. The summers can be humid and buggy. Wisconsinites say the most pleasant times to visit are spring and fall. Well, remember that for next year… bring bug spray.
In the summer, you should stay by the water so you can participate in sailing, white water rafting, kayaking, and just getting in the water a lot. (During the winter, stay closer to the mountains so you can go snow tubing, sledding and skiing. Check out more ideas for winter vacation here.)
Wisconsin actually has some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts in the United States. There’s the The Osthoff Resort on Elkhart Lake in the eastern part of the State, the famous American Club in Kohler (yes, where they make the toilets — not at the hotel though, to be clear) and The Charmant in La Crosse, one block from the Mississippi River, which flows from the North Pole to Buenos Aires (I think — don’t quote me, actually). There’s the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa on Lake Geneva, and in metropolitan Milwaukee, you can’t go wrong with the oddly insecure sounding Kimpton Journeyman Hotel.
But back to the water…
Wisconsin has over 15,000 lakes, including two Great Lakes: Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. There are, by definition, smaller lakes throughout the state, so if you’re looking for a more private or less busy spot, smaller lakes are just the ticket — all 14,998 or so of them.
Lakes aren’t the only water you should experience. Nicknamed the Waterpark Capital of the World, Wisconsin Dells has, somewhat obsessively, 20 different indoor and outdoor waterparks, the most in the world in one town. Wisconsin Dells is, therefore, a great family vacation destination. In case that hadn’t hit you.
Local cuisine ain’t just cheese!
When visiting Wisconsin, you have to dive into the local culinary scene headfirst. The state is famous for its bratwurst, beer cheese and fried cheese curds. So, there is no escaping the cheese, after all, but that’s not a bad thing! When in Rome, eh?
Enlightened travelers and locals say the culinary scene is the best-kept secret. You have to try the German restaurants and wineries. There’s a lot of German heritage here. But you can also find excellent French restaurants, like L’Etoile in Madison, the state capital, great Spanish tapas, and some extraordinary contemporary American restaurants dotted throughout the state. The Sanford, which they call “New American,” clearly distancing themselves from boring Old American food, in Milwaukee, is generally regarded as the best restaurant in Wisconsin.
Most of all, just be adventurous! Wisconsin is a surprising state — certainly not glamorous but also not overhyped. It’s not as inundated with travelers as, say, the northeast coast of the country during summer. It’s friendly, it’s fun. And, yeah, the food is great!