Wisconsin is a state for drivers. Scenic byways, unusual attractions and tempting roadside stops make driving in the Dairy State unforgettable. With more than 112,000 miles of roads, streets and highways, there are plenty of great driving options in Wisconsin. In fact, there are so many fantastic possibilities; it can be hard to know where to start. Here are a few suggestions to get your hood pointed in the right direction. Grab your sunglasses and camera, top off the tank and get ready for some fun!
Where to go:
Route: A Northwoods Tour
Distance: 26 miles
This drive will take you through a beautiful and timeless area of Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Start your day in Hodag Country – Rhinelander. Keep an eye out for the Hodag, a mythical creature that’s rumored to wander the woods around here. Grab a hearty breakfast at one of the cozy restaurants in town and head out of town on Highway 47. You’ll follow the path of the Wisconsin River – a travel route that long predates European settlement of these parts. Continuing on, you’ll pass through part of the vast Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. This incredible public area covers 351 square miles and includes 930 lakes and 250 miles of rivers and creeks. If you feel like a hike, pull over and stretch your legs on the McNaughton Trail, which rings beautiful McNaughton Lake, a small water body filled with panfish and Northern Pike. The end of your trek will take you into Woodruff, a quaint town of about 2,000 people that’s home to the world’s largest penny.
Route: Style and Spice
Distance: 15 miles
Middleton is a city for shoppers. Start your day in stylish Greenway Station, a lifestyle shopping center featuring more than 30 shops and restaurants. It’s a pleasant place to start your day. Stroll covered walkways and check out the center’s fountain. Back in the car, take U.S. 12 and exit at Parmenter Street. Check out the upscale garden offerings at The Bruce Company and check out award winning cheeses at Carr Valley Cheese Co. Drive downtown on Parmenter and pay homage to America’s favorite condiment at the National Mustard Museum. This quirky museum is filled with mustards to taste and purchase. After sampling the museum’s sweet and spicy offerings, wander the eclectic shops that line the streets of Middleton’s historic downtown. Continue your day by driving out to Gov. Nelson State Park, which you can access via County M. This beautiful place is home to woods, prairie and Native American mounds. After strolling the trails, take the car back to Middleton where you can relax at one of the community’s nearly 70 restaurants.
Stevens Point Area
Route name: The Art of Brewing
Distance: 54 miles
First off: if you enjoy beer, make sure to get a driver for this route. There are a lot of tempting beers offered by these members of the Central Wisconsin Craft Collective and for beer lovers they are awfully hard to pass up. Start the day in Plover, home to O’so Brewing Company. Try their Hopdinger – it’s one of 40 beers you’ll find on tap. Take County B east to Central Waters Brewing Company in Amherst. Dark beer lovers should order the Mudpuppy Porter. Leaving Amherst, head north to the Kozy Yak Brewery in Rosholt – they have new beers every month. Finally, be sure to check out Fresar Winery.
Leaving Rosholt, drive west to Stevens Point. Pay a visit to the Stevens Point Brewery, one of the nation’s oldest brewers. The brewery produces many unique styles but be sure to taste the Point Special Lager, the brewery’s flagship brew since 1857.
Route name: Museums and More
Distance: 16 miles
This driving route in West Bend starts with beautiful manmade art and ends with a natural masterpiece. Begin your day at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the largest collection of Wisconsin art ever assembled. Plan to spend a little time at the museum – the building is a work of art and it houses the largest collection of Milwaukee-born painter Carl Von Marr. Leaving the museum, stroll the Riverwalk that borders the Milwaukee River and discover more than 20 outdoor sculptures by local, national and international artists. After grabbing lunch in downtown West Bend – there are lots of great dining options – head north to the Kettle Moraine State Forest. This 30,000-acre natural treasure stretches for 30 miles across terrain sculpted by receding glaciers. It’s a perfect place to hike and bird watch. You’ll find parking areas near West Bend off of County H.