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Big Bay State Park

10 Coolest Places to Visit When in Northwood, Wisconsin (2023)

Wisconsin’s Northwood is known by three synonyms: Seclusion, Green, and Gorgeous. With woods making a backdrop for you, pine scents floating in the air, deep lakes reflecting panorama, Northwoods is a world apart from what normally the Badger State is. When cities like Milwaukee and Madison are within the south of Wisconsin, travellers often mistake to overlook the North region. Also, because it is thinly populated, its fair share of recognition and fame has not yet come to highlight. Northwoods have maintained their rawness and tranquillity thanks to their seclusion. Despite many tourists visiting here, Northwood is still far more peaceful than the other half of Wisconsin.

Reaching Northwoods can prove a bit of drive, but the journey and destination both are worth it. While winters here aren’t much different from the rest of the state, Summer, though, makes for an ultimate delightful vacation. Especially if you are an outdoor enthusiast and won’t mind doing some physical excursion here and there, Northwoods should be on your bucket list. And with all that said, check out our picks for all what/ where you can see, do and stay in Wisconsin’s Northwood.

10 Coolest Places To Visit When In Northwood, Wisconsin

Have a look:

1. Monk Botanical Gardens

The Monk Botanical Gardens are located in the beautiful city of Wasau. It is spread over 29 acres of woodland and is named after the late Robert W. Monk, who donated this land. There are multiple small and big gardens in the space. Strolling through the pathway, you will come across Kitchen Potager, a Meditation Garden, Wildflower Woods, Memory Plaza, and several raised garden beds. They also have fully accessible aerated ponds and beautiful treehouses that draws kids the most. The entire space is well served with easy walking trails that lead guests towards one or the other sections. This space also serves a purpose for fun gatherings and events, and meditation. Everything here will captivate you, from unusual plants to beautiful landscapes and serenity. You can visit their official website and book guided tours to get the most out of your trip.

2. Big Bay State Park

There isn’t a better feature to Northwood, Wisconsin, than the Big Bay State Park. This 2,350-acre park has everything from picturesque landscapes, sandstone bluffs, historic caves, miles of hiking and biking trails, and a beautiful Lake Superior beach. Looking around, you won’t find a single spot that isn’t offering something spectacular out of nature. The park operates throughout the year, offering fun depending upon seasons and weather. While regular entry to the park is free, Vehicles require an admission pass to enter. The route goes like this, take a ferry from Bayfield (20 minutes) and then travel another 5 miles towards the East on Highway H. During summer, guests here can indulge in swimming, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, cycling, picnicking, camping and RVing. Whereas during winter, the opportunities extend towards cross-country skiing, hunting and snowshoeing. If you aren’t into forest camping, there are multiple hotels, B&Bs and Inns nearby.

Big Bay State Park

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3. Wisconsin Concrete Park

The coolest place to visit when in Northwood, the Wisconsin Concrete Park indeed deserves your time. It is basically an open-air museum located on Highway 13, south of Philips. This concrete park is a hard-worked creation of Fred Smith, son of a German Immigrant. All the 230 figures you see in the park today are his creations. These sculptures are built of concrete, wood, wires and waste plastic. Every sculpture here is either mythical or inspired by real characters. Fred Smith initially built all these sculptures in his home garden, but later they were shifted to the park for display. The park also features a half-mile hiking trail and separate space for RVs and tour buses. For anyone who is interested in quirk and unusual stuff, the Wisconsin Concrete Park is a must-see in Northwoods for them.

4. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

If you ask the experts, there isn’t a better place than the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in the entire Northwoods. Even the entire Midwest doesn’t have something that can compete with the setting of this place. Apostle Islands are a group of 22 small islands located in Lake Superior. It is where the past meets the present, land meets water, and dreams meet reality. You can rent a kayak, book a water taxi, or hike a shuttle for reaching here. Because exploring the site on its own can get boring and out of the way, it is always ideal to go for guided tours. The region offers camping, sailing, kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, and hiking opportunities during summers. Whereas during winters, the scene changes bringing huge and mesmerising ice caves to life. It is when the lake water around the Islands freezes, turning the Redstone tunnels into accessible caves. While accessing the site in summer is easy, for winters, do check whether the authorities have marked caves as safe or not.

5. Tomahawk

If you are into hiking and walking through nature, then do visit Tomahawk when in Northwood. Tomahawk is a small city known for its 1000 miles of hiking trails. Whereas some of them are covered in woods, others mark their way along the rail track, finally meandering into a beach. Most of the trails are either full of mud or have granite layering, making it easy to walk and cycle. While you are in the city of Tomahawk, also visit the Kelley Castle. Lastly, when you are done with all that physical stress of walking and touring, ultimately relax at Super 8 by Wyndham Tomahawk. Soaking into their hot water tub or heated pool will take away all your muscular strain within no time. Super 8 by Wyndham also serves some of the must-try continental breakfast.

6. Escanaba Hiking Trail

Another Northwood hiking option takes the visitors towards the Escanaba Hiking Trail. It is the most scenic and well-groomed trail in Wisconsin’s Northwood, however challenging as well. Though it isn’t filled with tough and impossible routes, the pathway at places turns out very narrow and delicate. The trail winds through rolling hills, scenic lakes, and sky-touching timber woodlands. Every mile at Escanaba opens up panorama and beauty of nature, whatever it is. During winter, the same hiking trails turn into cross-country ski trail ideal for intermediate to experienced skiers.

7. Northwoods Zip Line

Northwoods Zip Line at Minocqua offers the ultimate adventure you are looking for. It turns humans simply into drones, flying in the air, capturing the woodlands underneath. The Zip Line here operates 1,000 ft over a wilderness lake offering adventure and fun all along. However, Ziplining isn’t the activity alone. Here one can also indulge in river kayaking, Argo ATV, Aerial trek, Canopy tours, Rapling, and more. They have passionate and knowledge staff and guides who ensure safety, entertainment, and a memorable experience for all. All the adventures here are designed for kids and adults, focusing on the comfort and strength of both. Booking for all kinds of adventures is available online on their official website.

8. Snowmobile Hall of Fame

Northwoods are known for their summers, though winter here isn’t any far from fun and enjoyment. If you happen to visit this region from December through February, then do visit the Snowmobile Hall of Fame. It is an outdoor recreational spot that offers world-class snowmobiling opportunities. Trails for the same passes through lush woodlands that remains full with fresh and natural snow during winters. Guest can either become a part of snowmobile racing or observe the events as an audience. Once done with that, you can also visit the fascinating museum on location and learn about the history of snowmobiling. While the outdoor adventures go through the week, their museum operates from Thursday to Saturday only.

9. Pioneer Park Historical Complex

The Pioneer Park Historical Complex is an open-air museum in the city of Rhinelander. The entire complex is home to a Logging Museum, an Old Schoolhouse, the Antique Outboard motor & boating Museum, a Fire Museum, Antique Saw Mill, CCC Barracks and a Restored SOO LINE Depot. All the building and structures you see here today belong their existence to the late 19th century. Here, some of the highlights include a 1000-square foot model railroad display and restored train cars. They also have volunteers at each section demonstrating how life at this historic home was back in time. Pioneer Park Historical Complex is meant for both kids and adults, and admissions here are absolutely free. You can easily engage for one to three hours at this place.

10. Northern Wisconsin Resorts

Not everyone is a fan of physical adventure during holidays, and if you are one of those, the Northern Wisconsin Resorts are the ideal location. This north region of the state has several 2-to-5-star resorts along with lodges, camps, and cottages. Some of the great options here include:

  • Rainbow’s End Resort Camp (With each room on the bank of the lake)
  • The Shallow Resort (A property on a private shore and dock)
  • The Hotel Marshfield (A luxurious boutique hotel)
  • Gordon Lodge (A resort with private waterfront)
  • The Northernaire Resort (With condos, vacation homes and cabins)
  • Konkapot Lodge (A beautiful holiday home amidst woodlands)

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