Spring Break in The Dairy State – 5 Best Wisconsin Staycations

If you’re still in school (or have kids who are), you know that the small talk around this time of year starts to turn from what’s happening with the weather to where you’re going to escape from it come March or April. There’s always an obscene amount of people going to Florida, a big group of kids going to Mexico together, and even a few classmates touring colleges or graduate schools, depending on your age.

You might also be familiar, then, with the sudden, strange dread of being asked that big question when you’re plans are… well… aren’t. Maybe you or your family’s finances are limited this year, or maybe you can’t get off of work. Whatever the reason, staying in Wisconsin over Spring Break doesn’t have to suck. It is still a break, after all. Whether you have just a few free days or the entire week to kill, I’ve put together a few ideas to make this year’s staycation you’re best Spring Break yet! (Well, almost).

Staycation #1: Milwaukee

Photo by Jessi Esselman

Whether it’s your hometown or just your home airport, MKE is one of America’s largest cities (Did you know its population is larger than Miami‘s?!) and is jam-packed with things see and do. Even if the Marquette Interchange is a part of your daily commute, you could probably surprise yourself with how much of the city you still have yet to explore.

Breakfast/Brunch: Hubbard Park Lodge, Sweet Diner

Lunch: Milwaukee Public Market, SafeHouse Milwaukee

Dinner: Milwaukee Ale House, Twisted Fisherman

Museums: Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery World, Harley-Davidson Museum, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

Attractions: Mitchell Park Domes, Milwaukee Food & City Tours, Milwaukee Admirals,Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Wave

Accommodations: Hotel Metro,Iron Horse Hotel, The Pfister

Trails: Lakeshore State Park, Oak Leaf Trail, Hank Aaron State Trail

Staycation #2: Wisconsin Dells

You’re probably familiar with the Waterpark Capital of the World, but did you know that this summer attraction is actually a year-round destination for people of all ages? Even though the Tommy Bartlett Show hasn’t started yet (my favorite thing to see in the Dells, but I’m biased), there is still a ton to do at the confluence of Wisconsin’s driftless region and northwoods in early spring!

Breakfast/Brunch: BJ’s Restaurant, Paul Bunyan’s Northwoods Cook Shanty

Lunch: MACS Macaroni and Cheese Shop, Dells Pizza Lab

Dinner: High Rock Cafe, Moosejaw Pizza

Accommodation/Waterparks: Kalahari, Great Wolf Lodge, Wilderness, Chula Vista, Mount Olympus

Attractions: Bigfoot Zipline Tours,Elusive Escape Rooms, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

Nature: Rocky Arbor State Park, Chapel Gorge Trail

Staycation #3: Madison

To say historic stuff happens here would be an understatement, and it’s a valuable experience for every Wisconsinite to visit their state’s capitol at least once. Arguably the largest city in the country (world?) on an isthmus, there’s never a shortage of great views or outdoor activities here, including early spring.

Breakfast/Brunch: Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery, Bassett Street Brunch Club, Crema Cafe

Lunch: Marigold Kitchen, Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry

Dinner: The Old Fashioned, Camp Trippalindee

Landmarks/Museums: Wisconsin State Capitol, Wisconsin Historical Museum, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, UW-Madison Geology Museum, Madison Children’s Museum

Activities: Wisconsin Athletics, Henry Vilas Zoo

Accommodations: The Edgewater, Madison Concourse Hotel & Governor’s Club

Nature: Capital City State Trail, Governor Nelson State Park, UW-Madison Arboretum Trail

Staycation #4: Green Bay

Milwaukee’s a business city, Madison’s a government city, Green Bay is a… football city? The namesake of Wisconsin’s legendary franchise has much more to offer than football, though a tour of Lambeau Field should always be at the top of any Green Bay travel itinerary. The city’s downtown is a hidden gem and the actual Green Bay bay is breathtaking!

Breakfast/Brunch: The Cannery Public Market, The Creamery

Lunch: Mackinaws Grill & Spirits, White Dog Black Cat Cafe

Dinner: 1919 Kitchen & Tap, Chefusion

Tours: Lambeau Field Stadium Tour, Segway the Fox Tours

Accommodations: Tundra Lodge Resort, Lodge Kohler

Nature: Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Baird Creek Preserve, UW-Green Bay Arboretum Trails

Staycation #5: Lake Geneva

It has been a resort town for Chicago residents since the 19th Century, and with good reason. Located less than two hours away from Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison, Lake Geneva is home to the second deepest lake in the state and is replete with both architectural wonders and natural places to explore. The communities surrounding Geneva Lake are each unique, but together make for an eclectic vacation destination.

Breakfast/Brunch: Daddy Maxwell’s Diner, Joni’s Diner

Lunch: Gordy’s, Popeye’s Galley and Grog

Dinner: The Boat House Bar & Grill, Cafe Calamari

Activities: Lake Geneva Canopy Tours, Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

Accommodations: Grand Geneva Resort, The Ridge Hotel

Nature: Big Foot Beach State Park, Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy

Regardless of where you’re headed for Spring Break, I hope you have a fun and safe trip! I’d love to hear what you have planned in the comments below.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. I agree Wisconsin Dells is a great spring break idea with the kids. Great suggestion on Madison too we haven’t tried that yet. Thanks!

    1. The Wisconsin Dells was one of my favorite places to visit as a kid, but I’m sure you will love Madison, too!

  2. When I hear (or read) Wisconsin, I can’t help but think FRIED CHEESE CURDS! Which Wisconsin staycation do you recommend for that? 🙂 Sage Scott, the Everyday Wanderer

    1. Hey, Sage! Thankfully, that Wisconsin staple food is available throughout the state, but Milwaukee and Madison definitely have some great options for fried cheese curds!

  3. Lake Geneva is my favorite. I’ve been a few times and its such a neat town. Definitely recommend this location if you’ve never been.

  4. We are going to try to make it up there next year! We had to reschedule our trip to WI this year because of work!

    1. I hope it works out next year! 🙂

  5. Love all these recommendations. The only one we haven’t been to is Green Bay. Gotta change that!

    1. I only recently explored Green Bay (beyond Lambeau) and it is such a hidden gem!

  6. I have heard a lot about Lake Geneva recently. I have to visit!

  7. Lots of great stuff! We went on a summer vacation to Wisconsin last year and now I’m thinking with everything you’ve included here we need to make a return trip!

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