370 MILES FROM MILWAUKEE
Located off the coast of Bayfield, in Lake Superior, this collection of 21 islands is beloved by tourists near and far for its historic lighthouses and sandstone sea caves. Adventurous visitors can paddle between the islands on kayaks.
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2. The Dells
120 MILES FROM MILWAUKEE
Sure, there’s no shortage of cheesy stuff in this tourist hub, but if you’re not into waterparks, rollercoasters and “attractions,” there’s still plenty of natural beauty. The region’s name draws from the sandstone formations along the Wisconsin River, and Mirror Lake State Park is one of the state’s most scenic.
325 MILES FROM MILWAUKEE
You could spend months exploring the nooks and crannies of this national forest, which sprawls across more than 1.5 million acres in the northern half of the state. Or you could just focus on exploring a small section, like the area immediately around the Mountain Fire Lookout Tower, near Mountain. The 100-foot-tall tower was built in 1935 and offers stunning views of the surrounding woods.
4. Elkhart Lake
60 MILES FROM MILWAUKEE
It may not be quite as well-known for its resorts as Lake Geneva (at least among the Illinois riff raff looking for summer retreats in Wisconsin). But there are still plenty of luxe hotels and vacation rentals in this charming lakeside town. And it also happens to be close to a particularly scenic segment of the Ice Age Trail.