By Kevin Revolinski
Sisters, founders and co-captains Larenda Casey and Eleasha Bailey have sailed the Wisconsin pontoon tradition in a different direction: a floating boutique called Dock ‘N Shop. Find them mooring in various places on the Chain O Lakes in Manitowish Waters. The “boatique” sells beachy and Northwoods-themed apparel like hoodies, sundresses and accessories for women, men and children.
fans will love Wildwood Wildlife Park in Minocqua. The petting zoo
offers contact with some of the stars of Wisconsin’s forests—woodchucks, skunks, opossums—as well as creatures a bit more exotic—kangaroos, giraffes and leopards. You can also help serve lunch to some of the residents. This may be the only place where it is advisable to feed a bear.
Tuck in with some Shepherd’s Pie or a Friday night fish fry at the Dublin Sports Bar & Grill, an Irish-themed bar and grill on North Twin Lake in Conover. An expansive outdoor dining deck overlooks the water. In summer listen to live music under the pines or pull up in your boat to watch a movie on the bar’s giant outdoor screen.
Up North is ideal for stargazing thanks to the absence of big cities and ambient light. Madeline Island’s Big Bay State Park faces northeast out over the waters of Lake Superior, with the closest city lights behind it 19 miles to the south in Ashland. The sky can be as clear as the waters, and this is a sure bet for seeing the Milky Way like it was just beyond your fingertips. The park also offers camping and some paddling opportunities. Bring your camera tripod for some star photos.
a three-for-one on the Willow Flowage Scenic Waters
Area. Ninety-five percent of the land around these designated Scenic Waters on the Tomahawk River is undeveloped. Paddle around the 106 islands and along 73 miles of shoreline where eagles compete with anglers for the daily catch. The lake is well stocked with walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, and large and smallmouth bass. Camping is free at 37 first-come, first-served rustic sites.
Waterskiing is a Wisconsin pasttime but the professionals take it to another level—often with a pyramid! Since 1950 the Min-Aqua Bats have entertained on Lake Minocqua. Stop in at The Aqua Bowl for free shows on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday evenings throughout summer. Alternatively, the Plum Ski-ters Water Ski Show is on Wednesday and Saturday nights off State House Point Road on the north shore of Plum Lake in Sayner.
Two National Scenic Trails—the Ice Age Trail and North Country Trail—pass through northern Wisconsin, and hiking abounds in protected Northwoods lands. For a waterfall and a scenic overlook, check out Morgan Falls and St. Peter’s Dome, just south of Ashland in the Chequamegon National Forest. The former is a 70-foot chute of water tumbling into a gorge; the latter is an exposed rock outcrop high above the forest with a view that reaches to Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. One trail connects the two and round-trip it’s 3.8 miles.
Get your adrenaline rushing like the water itself. Forming part of the border between Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Menominee River offers some of the best whitewater rapids in the Midwest. Piers Gorge, the star of the show, kicks up Class IV or greater rapids. Wildman Adventure Resort runs guided rafting trips that accommodate eight to 10 people, or you can sign on for the three- to four-person Wild Ride rafts.
Visit Rhinelander for seven historical sites in one destination. Once a center for the timber industry, it’s no surprise that the home of mythical Hodag features a replica of a logging camp. Also see a fire museum, boating and outboard motor museum, a restored Soo Line train depot, an antique sawmill and schoolhouse, and a Civilian Conservation Corps barracks. This entire Pioneer Park Historical Complex is located along Oneida Avenue.
Lake Superior beaches are beautiful but the water can be chilly. The sheltered Chequamegon Bay, however, is often an exception. Maslowski Beach in Ashland offers a shallow, sandy swimming area with a playground and changing rooms. Bring your bike and ride along the Waterfront Trail which passes the beach and continues along Lake Superior’s shore. Maslowski Beach is also a popular stop for thirsty travelers: an artesian well in a small kiosk releases a steady stream to fill your water bottles.
Kevin Revolinski is a Wisconsin outdoors writer and author of FalconGuides’ “Paddling Wisconsin,” a guidebook to the best paddling throughout the Badger State.
The Lakeshore Living publications are published by Nei-Turner Media Group, a full-service agency located in Lake Geneva, WI. Our four publications cover the picturesque lake communities of Lake Geneva, Madison, Lake Country and Northwoods.
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