9 Top-Rated Wisconsin Small-Towns That One Must Visit (2024)
Wisconsin is not only about the big Metropolitans but also the small towns and villages neatly tucked between them. While you drive from one Wisconsin city to another, you will find several small neighborhoods to stop. These neighborhoods may be one of the popular tourist towns or a touristy enough hidden village. Yet, residents of these small towns are living dream-like life amidst nature and its natural beauty. Some towns will take you deep into the lush woodlands, while some will introduce you to Lake Michigan’s coastline. But wherever it takes, you are going to love the process at the end of the day.
Either choose the quaint town of Janesville or the small village of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, impresses vacationers in all possible ways. So, why wait? Oil your car, get your backpack ready, and pack your picnic basket.
9 Top-Rated Wisconsin Small-Towns That One Must Visit
It is time to drive through Wisconsin’s concrete and muddy roads and explore the beauty of its small yet appealing towns.
1. Chippewa Falls
Favorite amongst both locals and tourists, Chippewa Falls, is a small town you will fall in love with. Chippewa can hold you for days more than your plan with the vibes of the village and amenities of a city. Also known as Northwood’s favorite, the town has an abundance of nature to explore. For example, the Irvine Park Zoo, a century-old zoo housing some greatest animals, including the beautiful white Bengal tiger. You may have seen several tigers in your life, but a mere view of these white beauties will leave you spellbound.
Some Of The Other Popular Places To Visit In Chippewa Falls:
- Lake Wissota State Park
- Old Abe State Trail
- Hickory Ridge Mountain Biking Trail
- Autumn Harvest Winery
- Sheeley House Saloon (popularly known as a Haunted House)
- Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
2. Fish Creek
Fish Creek is a small artsy community located in Door County. It is known for its two famous products, including the White Fish and tons of Cherries. It is also home to one of the last remaining clockmakers in Wisconsin. And as you walk through the lanes where you can find an art exhibition every few minutes. Further, once done with them, there are a handful of historic buildings and museums you cannot afford to miss. Also, before going back, do add Fish Creek’s entrance, the Peninsula State Park, into your itinerary.
Some Of The Other Popular Places To Visit In The Fish Creek:
- Historic Alexander Noble House
- Peninsula School of Art
- Door County Rock and Gem
- Edgewood Orchard Galleries
- Eagle Bluff Lighthouse
Located on the shores of Lake Superior, Bayfield is a small Wisconsin town you cannot afford to miss. The main draw here is the scenic lake views and abundance of water adventure opportunities. Although it is one of the smallest towns in Wisconsin, there’s so much to do. If you happen to be here during winters, do not miss seeing the Winter Icicles at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Of several snow-capped places you may have been to; this will surely top the chart for them all. Bayfield is also popular for its cherry orchards, and when here, you can tour these sweet pathways. Also, do not go back before tasting some of the hot and fresh berry and cherry pies. The entire town of Bayfield is walkable, while tourists also choose cycling and biking as a mode of commute.
Some Of The Other Popular Places To Visit Are In Bayfield:
- Meyers Beach Sea Caves
- Bayfield Maritime Museum
- Hauser’s Superior View Orchard
- Eckel’s Pottery and Finecrafts Gallery
- Old Bayfield County Courthouse
4. Elkhart Lake
Elkhart Lake is truly a rural getaway in Wisconsin. Somewhere in the middle of Kettle Moraine State Forest, the small village is known for its water activities, all thanks to its centerpiece lake. You can kayak or rent a paddleboat, or if you want some leisure, go for Pontoon tours. When at Elkhart Lake, you can also visit some of the acclaimed Road America racetracks and enjoy a session. There are several great resorts to cozy B & B options for staying back, all of which offer a wonderful experience. Travelers who are here with families can spend their afternoon at the Fireman’s Park and Beach under the bright sun, enjoying the front’s views.
Some Of The Other Popular Places To Visit In Elkhart Lake:
- Jeanette Moioffer Park or June Vollrath Park
- Aspira Spa
- Throttle stop Car Museum and Dealership
- Off the Rail Cozy café
- Lola’s on the Lake
5. Sturgeon Bay
The best and most popular town in Wisconsin, Sturgeon Bay is something you cannot afford to miss. Located in the Door country, Sturgeon is known for its surrounding of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Fishing is one of the popular and central activities here, and thus, you can taste some super authentic and tasty fish dishes here. The town is also blessed with an abundance of nature, being Potawatomi State Park one popular spot. If you ever happen to be here, do not miss the chance to watch the glorious sunset that turns half of the water in shades of red.
Some Of The Other Popular Places To Visit In Sturgeon Bay:
- Whitefish Dunes State Park
- Heritage Village at the Creek
- Door County Maritime Museum
- The Garden Door
- Inn at Cedar Crossing
6. Lake Geneva
The most popular tourist destination in Wisconsin, Lake Geneva, needs no formal introduction. Even the ones who are unfamiliar with Wisconsin as a State have Lake Geneva in their itinerary. From Chicago’s rich-built lavish mansions to Queen Anne-style Estates, you can explore some great architecture here. Also, with the perfect blend of woodland and lake, Lake Geneva offers endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. You can go for Lake Geneva River Cruise or explore the woodlands via the popular Canopy Tours. However, if you are planning to spend your vacation in full leisure and luxury, then choose to stay at the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa. A weekend here with a world-class spa, unmatched Lake Geneva views, and horse-riding experience is worth it.
Some Of The Other Popular Places To Visit In Lake Geneva:
- Safari Lake Geneva
- Kishwaukee Nature Conservancy
- Dancing Horses
- Black Point Estate and Gardens
- Tristan Crist Magic Theatre
- Lake Geneva Pie Co
7. Stevens Point
Stevens Point is a town in Wisconsin that smells like Cranberry. Yes, you read that right. From September through early November, Stevens Point is all about stunning cranberry orchards, splashing shades of red all around. Besides that, the town is also known for its historical side, culture, natural beauty, and art. You can plan a weekend getaway in Steven Point and explore its rich outdoor scenes. Choose to walk or rent a bike and tour the Green Circle Trail right along the Wisconsin River. You can also drive through Wisconsin’s Cranberry Highway, ideally during the season.
Some Of The Other Popular Places To Visit In Stevens Point:
- Schmeeckle Reserve
- Stevens Point Farmers Market
- Sunset Point Winery
- Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum
- Basement Brewhaus
The most loved Midwestern destination, Hayward is a go-to place for every American. It is located in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, and since it features several lakes, water sports here are quite popular. From Chippewa Flowage, the third largest lake in Wisconsin, to Nelson Lake and Round Lake, you can have options varying from best to the top-notch. The town of Hayward is also famous for its golf courses and skiing tracks. Before visiting the town, all you need to pack is a lot of excitement, a few days in hand, and a heart that craves adventure. Be it summer or winter; you are going to have absolute fun in Hayward.
Some Of The Other Popular Places To Visit In Hayward:
- American Birkebeiner Ski Race
- Park Theater
- Out of the Woods Winery
- Angry Minnow Brew Pub and Restaurant
- The Chippewa Inn
- Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame
9. New Glarus
New Glarus is a village in Southwestern Wisconsin and is also known as Little Switzerland. The moment you enter the village, it will feel like you are back in the 13th and 14th centuries. Everything here is laid back, preserved, and mainly in raw form. So, for the days when you feel the burden of contemporary lifestyle, a trip to New Glarus infuses a sense of calmness and refreshment again. New Glarus is also known for its small breweries and fun festivals that go around throughout the year. Especially the food festivals including Swiss Volksfest and Oktoberfest are literally the best offering of the village.
Some Of The Other Popular Places To Visit In New Glarus:
- Chalet of the Golden Fleece Museums
- Puempel’s Olde Taverns
- Hawk’s Mill WineHaus
- New Glarus Brewing Companys
- Sugar River State Trail