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Don’t Badger Us as You Explore These 21 Hidden Wonders of Wisconsin

To the untrained eye, Wisconsin may be seen as a land of cheese curds, beer, and bratwurst, but a closer look at the Badger State reveals a (figurative) gold mine of hidden gems waiting to be explored. From scenic caves to unique roadside attractions to sparkling waterfalls, Wisconsin presents something for residents and visitors of all ages.

Apostle Islands Ice Caves
Apostle Islands Ice Caves I photo credit: Bryan Neuswanger / Shutterstock

Apostle Islands Ice Caves

Carved by the relentless forces of Lake Superior, these stunning caves transform into a breathtaking ice cathedral during the winter. Intricate icicles dangle like chandeliers from the cave ceilings, while frosty pillars rise majestically from the cave floor. Each visit unveils new wonders for adventurers who journey across the frozen lake.

Cave of the Mounds

Journey into the depths of an ancient limestone underground world where delicate stalactites and shimmering stalagmites create a breathtaking spectacle of beauty. Travelers can take guided tours through narrow passageways adorned with intricate formations to gain a unique perspective of the wonders beneath the earth’s surface.

Door County Maritime Museum Tower

Perched on the shores of Lake Michigan, this majestic 10-story tower stands as a beacon of history, offering panoramic views of the water, where historic shipwrecks and majestic lighthouses dot the horizon. As you ascend the tower’s spiral staircase, each step reveals glimpses of Wisconsin lore through captivating exhibits and artifacts.

Taliesin Preservation

This beautiful Wisconsin hidden gem in Spring Green celebrates the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright, one of America’s great architects. For enthusiasts of architecture and design, Taliesin Preservation is a pilgrimage worth making. It’s a testament to Wright’s vision and genius and offers visitors a glimpse into his innovative design principles with intimate details around every corner.

Little Manitou Falls-Wisconsin
Little Manitou Falls | photo via dundie2010

Little Manitou Falls

Nestled within northern Wisconsin, this enchanting waterfall is a smaller counterpart to Big Manitou Falls, yet still exudes a serene charm that captivates all who venture here to connect with the outdoors. The cascade plunges gracefully over rugged rock formations, creating a mesmerizing spectacle that transports visitors to an indescribable realm of natural beauty and wonder.

Devil’s Lake State Park

While it’s not the most hidden of hidden gems, East Bluff Trail is a less crowded trail within the park where visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the crystal-clear lake and surrounding bluffs. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy everything from rock climbing quartzite formations to swimming, kayaking, and more in a true sanctuary for the soul.

Driftless Area

For those who love uncovering Midwest treasures, the Driftless Area in southwest Wisconsin (which includes other neighboring states) is a true outdoor haven. The area itself is characterized by unique and rugged terrain of rolling hills, steep bluffs, and winding rivers, allowing for birdwatching, hiking, biking, and plenty more outdoor adventures.

High Cliff State Park

Those looking to escape into nature can travel to the eastern shores of Lake Winnebago, where High Cliff boasts diverse landscapes and stunning views from 40 feet up. Birdwatchers can search for rare species, fishermen can cast for lively catches, and history buffs can trek the Indian Mound Trail to ancient effigy mounds, providing a glimpse into the region’s Native American history.

Ten Chimneys-Wisconsin
Ten Chimneys | photo via stephenbstarr

Ten Chimneys

Once the private estate of Broadway legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, Ten Chimneys just outside Milwaukee offers a unique glimpse into the lives of two icons. Engaging tours and special events allow visitors to gain insight into their legendary careers and enduring influence on the performing arts.

Stonefield Historic Site

Situated amidst Wisconsin’s Driftless Area, Stonefield is a captivating site. Formerly the estate of Wisconsin’s governor, Nelson Dewey, Stonefield preserves the heritage of 19th-century rural life. Visitors can explore a historic farmhouse, view exhibits showcasing early farming techniques, and wander through gardens and orchards as they journey back to Wisconsin’s agricultural roots

Apostle Islands Lakeshore Trail

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a popular Wisconsin destination, but the trail offers a way for residents and visitors to explore the lesser-known sections of the lakeshore. Along the trail, visitors can pass by sandy beaches, sea caves, and pristine wilderness — a true adventure for seasoned hikers and casual explorers alike.

Cave Point County Park

Nestled along the rugged shores of Lake Michigan, this coastal sanctuary captivates visitors with its dramatic limestone cliffs, sculpted by the relentless forces of wind and water. Explorers can wander along winding trails, enjoying panoramic views of turquoise waters, and explore towering sea caves where the echoes of crashing waves reverberate against ancient stone.

Horicon Marsh-Wisconsin
Horicon Marsh | photo via nikktoons91

Horicon Marsh

The largest freshwater cattail marsh in the nation is nestled in eastern Wisconsin and offers a glimpse into a world teeming with diverse wildlife and breathtaking scenery. This natural oasis beckons visitors of all ages to embark on their own adventures as they paddle through winding waterways, enjoying views of pristine habitats and glimpses of migratory birds.

Crystal Cave

As you’ve read, Wisconsin has many caves to explore and the longest one is located near Spring Valley. This subterranean marvel captivates adventurers with its glittering formations and mysterious depths and is almost a portal to another world. Visitors can take guided tours to explore impressive rock formations and gain relief from the summer heat.

Amnicon Falls State Park

Amnicon Falls State Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts, offering a myriad of delights to discover along the meandering Amnicon River. Travelers can journey to the heart of the park where a series of stunning waterfalls cascade over ancient volcanic rock formations, creating a mesmerizing display of natural beauty.

Copper Falls State Park

Carved by the rushing waters of the Bad River, this majestic park showcases stunning waterfalls, including the breathtaking Copper Falls. Visitors can bask in the beauty of the falls and wind their way along trails through lush forests or enjoy fishing, biking, and picnicking. The park is also a wonderland in winter, offering chances for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.

Jurustic Park

This whimsical and unique outdoor sculpture park transports visitors to a land before time when dinosaurs roamed the land. Visitors of all ages can enjoy this one-of-a-kind attraction that features towering metal sculptures of T-Rexes, spiky Stegosauruses, and other ancient creatures that evoke a sense of wonder and imagination. The park also features a Hobbit House with blown-glass jewelry.

Wisconsin Concrete Park-Wisconsin
Wisconsin Concrete Park | photo via kohlerfoundation

Wisconsin Concrete Park

Created by the self-taught artist and retired lumberjack Fred Smith, this outdoor sculpture park is adorned with over 200 concrete and glass sculptures. The creations — made from locally sourced materials — depict a diverse range of subjects, from historical figures and religious icons to whimsical animals and everyday scenes. It’s the perfect destination for art enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.

Smith Rapids Covered Bridge

Smith Rapids Covered Bridge is a charming relic of a bygone era, spanning 130 feet over the waters of the South Fork of the Flambeau River. Visitors are invited to journey back to simpler times as they bask in the romance and nostalgia of wooden trusses, shingled roofs, and rustic charm. It remains a beloved landmark amid Wisconsin’s scenic natural landscape.

Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame

Established in 1960, this iconic museum is a mecca for anglers worldwide who come to celebrate the history of freshwater fishing, notable figures, and memorable catches. Anglers of all ages will be in awe of the “Shrine to Anglers,” with its massive 143-foot-long fiberglass muskellunge, and enjoy a vast collection of fishing artifacts, including vintage tackle, boats, and taxidermied trophy fish.

Witches Gulch

Nestled within the stunning and scenic Wisconsin Dells, Witches Gulch evokes tales of witches and wizards weaving spells in its shadowy depths. But it’s a natural wonder of captivating beauty and mystery — a narrow gorge that enchants visitors with its towering sandstone cliffs, moss-covered rock formations, and trickling waterfalls that feels like stepping into another world.

Witches Gulch-SS
Witches Gulch I photo credit: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock

Come and Explore the Wonders of Wisconsin

Whether you’re brave enough to explore the enchanting gorge of Witches Gulch, cross Lake Superior to explore the Apostle Island ice caves, or lose yourself in the beauty of a state park, Wisconsin is overflowing with hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Come explore the Badger State and see its hidden wonders for yourself — just make sure you treat yourself to some cheese curds during your visit.