Check out these 4 perfect day trip ideas from Milwaukee

Check out these 4 perfect day trip ideas from Milwaukee

Alisha Bube/Getty Images

By UpNorthNews Staff

June 8, 2024

Looking for the best day trips from Milwaukee to explore the beauty of Wisconsin and beyond? From charming lakeside towns to scenic parks and historic towns, these day trips are perfect for a quick escape from the city. Get ready to pack your bags and hit the road for some fun-filled getaways across Wisconsin. 

Discovering Lake Geneva’s Charms

Distance from Milwaukee: < 1.5 hours

Lake Geneva is a resort town, nestled along its namesake lake. The area offers gorgeous views and plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy year-round. The shimmering waters of Lake Geneva greet you, inviting you to partake in a plethora of water activities.

Whether you’re up for an invigorating paddleboarding session, a leisurely boating excursion, or even a dip in the lake’s refreshing waters, Lake Geneva caters to all your aquatic adventures. One of the hallmarks of Lake Geneva is the scenic boat tours. These tours provide stunning vistas of the lake. If you’re looking for a little getaway, Lake Geneva will offer a day of exploration, relaxation, and unforgettable memories awaits you in this charming resort town. 

Navigating the Waters of Lake Mendota

Distance from Milwaukee: 2 hours

Lake Mendota is known as Madison’s largest lake. The lake is a sanctuary for those looking to immerse themselves in Wisconsin’s natural beauty—and have a small escape for the day. Upon reaching the iconic Memorial Union Terrace, your journey into serenity begins.

Here, Outdoor UW provides the perfect starting point for your Lake Mendota exploration, offering boat rentals that cater to every preference, from kayaks and paddleboards to sailboats. If water isn’t your preference, there’s plenty of other activities to partake in: a scenic walk along the Lakeshore Path might just be the answer for you. Lake Mendota is a premier day trip destination from Milwaukee. 

Taking a Step Back in Time in Cedarburg

Distance from Milwaukee: 30 minutes

Cedarburg invites you to take a leisurely step back in time, wandering through streets from the 19th century with their impeccable preservation and historic charm. The town’s commitment to preserving its heritage is evident in every corner, from the beautiful facades of old buildings to the cobbled pathways that guide you through its history. Cedarburg’s local art scene is thriving with multiple art galleries peppering the area. And for those with a penchant for treasures from the past, there are plenty of antique shops to spend a few hours getting lost in.

A highlight of any visit to Cedarburg is the Cedar Creek Settlement. Nestled on the banks of Cedar Creek, this historic woolen mill has been lovingly transformed into a bustling center of commerce and entertainment. As you wander through its halls, you’ll find an eclectic mix of shops selling artisan crafts, specialty foods, and fine wines. Each store tells a part of Cedarburg’s Germanic history. Cedarburg offers a day trip experience that is both enriching and enchanting. 

Embracing Nature at Devil’s Lake State Park

Distance from Milwaukee: 2 hours

Devil’s Lake State Park is nestled in the scenic Baraboo Range, and is just two hours and some change from Milwaukee. This state park offers a plethora of outdoor activities set against the backdrop of Wisconsin’s stunning landscapes, making it an essential destination for those craving a nature-filled day trip. As you step into Devil’s Lake State Park, you’re surrounded by towering bluffs that stand over the tranquil waters. The park has over 30 miles of hiking trails, lakeshore picnic areas, swimming beaches, and opportunities to paddleboard or kayak.

For the rock climbing enthusiast, Devil’s Lake offers an unparalleled experience. The park’s cliffs, formed from ancient quartzite, provide a variety of routes that cater to climbers of all skill levels. Devil’s Lake State Park promises adventure, relaxation, and a deepened appreciation for the natural wonders that lie just beyond the city’s borders.

Read more: Save the season at the 9 best farmers markets in Wisconsin

This story was generated in part by AI and edited by The ‘Gander staff.


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