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Your 2024 Wisconsin Getaway Guide

by Staff
Anaway Place in Richland Center; Photo courtesy of Anaway Place

The Fox Cities

The Fox Cities are ideal for a couple’s trip, with luxurious spas, natural escapes, fine dining and more. Head to Appleton for a stay at the CopperLeaf Boutique Hotel & Spa. The upscale destination offers rooms with fireplaces and jacuzzis, plus you’re only walking distance from all the restaurants, bars, shops and nightlife downtown. The connected Spa BenMarNicos offers couple’s massages, facials and many more treatments. For a fun afternoon activity, head to Eclectic Candle Co. or Nana’s Apothecary – two Appleton stores – and try out candle-making. Looking for dinner? Stroll to the river where you’ll find Fratello’s Waterfront Restaurant – every winter, the restaurant puts up private, heated “river domes” on its patio. Afterward, consider a stop at the legendary Cleo’s Brown Beam Tavern nearby, where you can sample their most popular drink, the Dirty Snowball (think frozen, blended White Russian). Last but not least, the Fox Cities have plenty to offer for outdoor activity. High Cliff State Park, on the less populated eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, has trails for hiking and biking, limestone cliffs and beautiful views from the 40-foot observation tower. 

Richland Center

Head to Wisconsin’s breathtaking Driftless Area for a visit to Richland Center. Amid the rolling hills and abundant natural beauty, you’ll find dozens of destinations worth a visit. There are many tranquil cottages and cabins available around the area – some local favorites include Michael’s Farm Stay, Ridge and Valley Hospitality, Little Cabins on the Pine and Anaway Place. Besides miles of trails for hiking and biking, the area is also home to Eagle Cave, Wisconsin’s largest onyx cave. From September to May, groups camp in the underground and explore its over 3,000 feet of passages. Consider a stop by Wild Hills Winery, as well, where you’ll find artisanal vintages and ciders grown on the hillside. Plus, the winery hosts live music every Friday. When the weather warms up, the Driftless Music Gardens amphitheater is another musical destination, with acts playing on a stage in the middle of a beautiful, forested vista. 

Sheboygan

On the shore of Lake Michigan, Sheboygan is one of Wisconsin’s most-popular year-round destinations. In the warm-weather months, its waterfront is teeming – you’ll find beautiful beaches, pontoon boat rentals, fishing holes, kayaking and much more. But in the colder season, the city is no less vibrant. It has a booming arts and culture scene, with the nationally renowned John Michael Kohler Arts Center and its Art Preserve, highlighting the work of contemporary American artists. Sheboygan’s also home to the James Tellen Woodland Sculpture Garden, a collection of over 30 striking figures carved by a Wisconsin artist. History buffs should consider stops at the Sheboygan County Historical Museum, Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin, or the Wreck of the Lottie Cooper, a re-assembled 19th-century shipwreck discovered at the bottom of Lake Michigan. Parents will enjoy a stop at the Above & Beyond Children’s Museum, packed with exhibitions kids love, and Bookworm Gardens, a delightful garden with displays inspired by children’s books. 

Whitewater

Whitewater is a treat for the nature lover. Nestled in the southern portion of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, you’ll find four lakes, four segments of the Ice Age Trail, and roughly 22 parks. Natureland County Park offers five trails through different terrain next to Whitewater Lake, and the UW-Whitewater Nature Preserve provides five loops through 100 acres of preserved prairie. The nearby John Muir and Emma Carlin trails are regionally known and used bike trail systems. Satisfy cravings at the restaurants and eateries in the historic downtown. For a caffeine fix, check out Sweet Spot Cafe. And for dinner, try Fanatico for authentic Italian. When you’re ready for a nightcap, Whitewater has two breweries, Second Salem Brewing Co. and 841 Brewhouse, and a winery, Staller Estate Winery. You may not know it, but Whitewater is considered a “Second Salem,” due to its rich Spiritualism history. Consider timing a trip for October, when you can book a “Spirit Tour.” Looking for more intimate events? Pop over to beautiful Cravath Lakefront Park for the Whitewater City Market on Tuesday evenings and the Concerts in the Park series on Thursday evenings. 

Photo courtesy of Staller Estate Winery

1. Explore the Renovated Potawatomi Casino Hotel

If you haven’t been to Potawatomi Casino Hotel in the past year, you’re missing out. The Milwaukee destination has undergone a major renovation, investing $190 million in improvements, new restaurants, updated gaming areas and more. The remodeled third floor has a new gaming and VIP area, and downstairs, the casino opened a sportsbook. There’s a new dining hall, Cream City Coffee Co., and Rock & Brews, a restaurant from KISS legends Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. Of course, the casino hotel still has its classic gaming offerings, with over 3,000 slot machines and 60 tables, and luxurious accommodations if you’d like to spend the night. 

Photo courtesy of Potawatomi Casino Hotel

2. Relax at The Geneva Inn

On the shore of Geneva Lake, this inn has an unbeatable view of the water. There are plenty of package options available, including a Wisconsin Package, which includes a cheese tray and four Wisconsin-brewed beers delivered to your room. Accommodations include balconies, soaking tubs and more. Plus, the on-site Grandview Restaurant serves seasonal cuisine, including prime steaks and fresh seafood. 

3. Shop at Door County Rock and Gem 

With locations in Fish Creek and North Ephraim, this shop offers a unique experience in beautiful Door County. You’ll find crystals, geodes, fossils, jewelry and more – and the expert staff will help you discover rare, striking pieces. It’s great for home decorators, collectors and more. 

Photo courtesy of Door County Rock and Gem

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s January issue.

Find it on newsstands or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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