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Embrace Midwestern Charm as You Discover These 18 Small Towns in Wisconsin

With two Great Lakes surrounding its northern and eastern shores, there’s plenty for residents and visitors alike to explore and enjoy in Wisconsin.

Along those shores and in many other spots, are quaint hidden gems brimming with historic sites, eclectic shops, fun festivals, and a wealth of outdoor activities. These small towns make for fun trips and allow travelers of all ages to appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of the Badger State.

Bayfield | photo via jimnetzband


Nestled along the shores of Lake Superior, Bayfield serves as the gateway to the Apostle Islands, offering opportunities for sailing, kayaking, and exploring the islands’ pristine wilderness. Aside from its natural beauty, Bayfield hosts popular events including its annual Apple Festival each October and a vibrant summer farmers’ market, creating a welcoming atmosphere for all visitors.

Mineral Point

Tucked into the Southwest Wisconsin hills, Mineral Point is renowned for its rich mining heritage — evident in well-preserved limestone buildings and quaint streetscapes. Curious travelers can enjoy guided tours of Pendarvis, a restored Cornish mining settlement to glimpse into the past or soak up culture at Shake Rag Alley, a vibrant arts and education center.


Cedarburg is a delightful escape, offering a mix of exciting festivals and shopping and dining options in historic buildings. Festival-goers can enjoy the Cedarburg Artists Guild’s annual plein-air painting competition and the Cedarburg Winter Festival and history buffs can visit the Cedarburg History Museum and the Cedar Creek Settlement, a restored 19th-century mill-turned-shopping and dining destination.

Fish Creek

Surrounded by the natural beauty of Peninsula State Park and the shimmering waters of Green Bay, Fish Creek offers a serene retreat for relaxation and adventure. From hiking and biking to kayaking and paddleboarding, outdoor enthusiasts can find plenty to do. Visitors can also enjoy Fish Creek’s picturesque waterfront — lined with quaint shops, art galleries, and cozy eateries.


Situated along the shores of Eagle Harbor, Ephraim is cherished by enthusiasts of Midwest charm. The town’s captivating cultural scene allows visitors to explore art galleries, museums, and live music performances and the quaint waterfront is perfect for grabbing a bite to eat, finding treasures at local boutiques, and enjoying breathtaking views.

Ephraim | photo via the_traisping_texan

Sister Bay

Located on the shores of Green Bay, Sister Bay is a charming town and a hub for boating, fishing, and waterfront dining, while its sandy beaches provide perfect spots for sunbathing and swimming. Annual events like Fall Fest in October showcase Sister Bay’s creative spirit and hospitality, making it a fun stop in Door County.

New Glarus

Tucked just outside Madison, New Glarus is a slice of Switzerland in the heart of Wisconsin, offering Old World Charm, Midwest hospitality, and award-winning craft breweries. While New Glarus’ variety of delicious craft brews aren’t to be missed, visitors will also love meandering quaint streets lined with colorful Swiss chalet-style buildings, exploring charming shops along the way.

Lake Geneva

With its sparkling lake, historic downtown, and an array of recreational activities, Lake Geneva beckons adventurers seeking a delightful blend of small-town charm and scenic beauty. Visitors can enjoy scenic views along its charming lakeside promenade, and indulge in local delights while shopping downtown.

Spring Green

Spring Green is an idyllic town and a delightful escape for explorers of all stripes. Nestled along the Wisconsin River, the town is famously the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Taliesin estate and the renowned American Players Theatre, which showcases world-class theater productions. Away from town, the surrounding countryside provides ample opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Elkhart Lake

For racing enthusiasts of all ages, Elkhart Lake is the small town to visit in Wisconsin. Road racing here dates back to the 1950s and Road America, just a few miles south, hosts hundreds of events each year. Outdoor enthusiasts can soak up the sun on sandy beaches, paddleboard or kayak on crystal-clear waters, or enjoy leisurely cruises aboard a historic wooden boat.

Stockholm | photo via emilykrumm


Founded by Swedish immigrants in the 1850s, Stockholm is proud of its Scandinavian heritage and celebrates it with fun annual events such as the Stockholm Art Fair. Travelers can also soak in the serene beauty of Lake Pepin with a scenic drive along the Great River Road.

Fun Fact: Stockholm, Wisconsin, was ranked the coziest place in the US in 2024!

Cedar Grove

Nestled in the serene countryside of eastern Wisconsin, Cedar Grove offers eager outdoor enthusiasts access to Lake Michigan. The Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary runs along its coastline. Festival-goers won’t want to miss the Holland Fest, which celebrates the town’s Dutch Heritage and plenty of Dutch-related festivities.

Mount Horeb-Wisconsin
Mount Horeb | photo via theonlyvimal

Mount Horeb

It’s called the “Mustard Capital of the World” or the “Troll Capital of the World,” but Mount Horeb is a unique town with lots to offer. Visitors can admire the whimsical troll statues and decorations throughout its streets, reflecting the town’s Norweigan heritage. The troll theme extends the annual Thirsty Troll Brew Fest and Art Fair, which showcase the town’s creative spirit.

Sturgeon Bay

Nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, Sturgeon Bay is a picturesque town with a rich maritime history. The town’s scenic waterfront is dotted with marinas, boat launches, and parks, providing ample opportunities for fun on the water. Sturgeon Bay’s cultural scene is vibrant and home to the Steel Bridge Songfest, which has been a venue for legendary performers.


As the home of the Circus Museum and the former headquarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus, Baraboo is an energetic town that’s definitely worth exploring. The annual Big Top Parade and Circus Celebration pays homage to the town’s circus heritage and nearby Devil’s Lake State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts of all types.


Sitting on the Lake Michigan shoreline, Algoma is a festival-goer dream with plenty of appealing and fun events. Shanty Days in August features everything from street fairs to car shows to wine tasting, and the Soar on the Shore Kite and Beach Festival is another can’t-miss (and free) event with kites and crafts. 

Egg Harbor

With its scenic waterfront, Egg Harbor is the perfect retreat to enjoy stunning sunsets, fun on the water, and a wealth of community activities. Egg Harbor’s picturesque harbor is dotted with sailboats and fishing charters, and a quaint downtown and scenic sandy beaches are the cherry on top for a memorable visit to this Midwest town.


Tucked along the shores of Chequamegon Bay on Lake Superior, Washburn is a stunningly beautiful city that serves as an amazing tranquil retreat. Visitors can enjoy a little bit of everything along the waterfront, including unique shopping and dining spots and scenic views from city marinas.

Washburn | photo via peacocknproud

Take a Trip and Explore Wisconsin’s Wonderful Small Towns

Whether you’re a longtime Wisconsinite looking to explore more of your home state or a curious traveler eager to discover new places, Wisconsin’s small towns are tranquil, scenic places that present something for every visitor. Take a trip for yourself and discover the beauty of the Badger State in a serene and wonderful Wisconsin small town.