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Contact: Susanne Thiede-Barnet, 608-242-8895
Get Your Family On the Water
You don’t need to own a boat to enjoy the Midwest’s best waterways
(April 27, 2010)—Wisconsin is home to thousands of lakes, rivers and streams. For boat owners, summertime in Wisconsin is paradise. But you don’t need a boat to enjoy the waterscapes of Wisconsin. No need to worry about pulling a boat trailer or worrying about whether or not your outboard is going to start today. Here are some easy options for options for getting the family out on the water this summer.
The Little Everglades of the North
The Horicon Marsh in southeast Wisconsin’s Dodge County is beloved by birdwatchers the world over. And for good reason—nearly 300 species of birds spend time on the marsh each year. White pelicans, rare shorebirds, a huge variety of waterfowl and truly impressive flights of geese are common sights.
A great way for families to experience the Horicon Marsh is a guided pontoon boat tour from Horicon Marsh Boat Tours. Tour options include sightseeing tours, birdwatching tours and sunset cruises. Expert pilots offer a lifetime of experience navigating the marsh and provide interesting information about the plants and animals you’ll see. The winding river channels and dense cattail beds really are reminiscent of the Florida Everglades. Although the Horicon Marsh offers no chance of gator sightings, it’s a whole lot closer to home.
But the easiest way for getting the family on the water is the floating boardwalk, located along the Horicon TernPike Auto Tour, in the northwest corner of the Marsh. The boardwalk takes you out onto the marsh for a “water-level” view of the plants, animals and birds. There’s nothing quite like it in Wisconsin.
Take the Ferry
The charming river town of Cassville, along the Wisconsin Great River Road is known for is home to one of the few operating car ferries on the Upper Mississippi River. The first ferry operating out of Cassville dates back to 1833, making the Cassville ferry the oldest operating ferry service in Wisconsin.
The ferry runs seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. During May, September and October, it runs from Friday to Sunday only. Kids will love the trip across the Mississippi River to Turkey River in Iowa.
Take a Northwoods Cruise
The Rhinelander area is home to Wisconsin River Cruises, offering sightseeing and sunset dinner cruises on the Wilderness Queen. The cruises take you along the Wisconsin River south of Rhinelander.
You’ll journey past densely wooded riverbanks and islands full of birds and wildlife. Bald eagles are common on this stretch of the river, and sunset cruisers are often treated to the sight of white-tailed deer coming to the riverside for a drink of water. If you’re looking for an convenient and relaxing way to enjoy some time on the water in the Northwoods, this is the way to go.
Best Beaches on Earth
Maybe boating isn’t what you’re looking for. Beaches are another great way to enjoy the water. Luckily, the best beaches on earth are only a short drive away for most Midwesterners.
When people think of the world’s best beaches, they instantly think of Hawaii or the Caribbean. But, the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to some of the cleanest, most pristine sandy beaches in the world.
The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park not only protects one of the largest old-growth hardwood forests in North America, it is also home to 21 miles of sandy, Lake Superior beaches. Although the water isn’t bathwater-warm, you’ll still find outstanding beachcombing, aqua-blue waters, wonderful scenery, campfires on the beach and the best stargazing on the planet.
Flambeau River Paddling
For a family paddling trip, Rusk County offers lots of options. The Chippewa River is the king of Northwoods rivers, big and brawny, with deep bends that hold monster musky. The Jump River is clean and free-running, unhindered by dams, coursing between rocky banks. The Thornapple River is truly wild, twisting and turning through remote forests and wetlands.
But for family paddling, nothing beats the Flambeau River. The Flambeau is among the most beautiful of all of Wisconsin’s rivers. With a number of well-documented and mapped paddling routes, you can select the perfect trip in relation to the ages of your traveling party and their paddling experience. As the river flows towards Ladysmith, paddlers will find a number of places to camp. Lodging in Rusk County is very affordable as well.
A series of detailed paddling maps is available for the Flambeau River as well as a floating map with selected routes on several Rusk County waterways.
For more information on the Horicon Marsh and lodging options in the area, visit www.dodgecounty.com.
Find complete information for traveling along Wisconsin’s only National Scenic Byway at www.wigreatriverroad.org.
Learn more about visiting the Porcupine Mountains at www.porcupinemountains.com.
Get more information on Rusk County’s rivers at www.ruskcountywi.com.
For more information on these boat tours and beaches and more great waterscapes in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, contact Susanne Thiede-Barnet at 608-242-8895 or [email protected].