As the summer draws to a close, the weather in Wisconsin is turning crisp, fresh, new. Without getting too corny, let me tell you that Wisconsin is the place to be if you like autumn weather, fall foliage, and great family-friendly attractions. Head to America's Dairyland for a unique yet affordable fall getaway among the oak trees, amusement parks, and dairy farms of the stunning Midwest.
Morgan Falls/St. Peter's Dome - Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
This gorgeous site of untouched forest spans a beautiful 5,000 acres with a view overlooking Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. Rocky outcroppings, cliffs, caves, brooks and streams, and Morgan Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in Wisconsin. Hike the short trail from the forest's edge to this 70 foot beauty and then hike on to St. Peter's Dome, also known as Old Baldy, from which you get your excellent views of the surrounding forest and also the Great Lake beyond. This is a fabulous destination for fall travelers as the changing leaves create one of the most beautiful paintings known to creation.
Aside from cheese, Wisconsin is known nationwide as a large supplier of cranberries. As the berry is harvested in the fall, this makes the perfect time to travel along the Cranberry Highway to see bog farmers pulling in their crop or even stop and visit to mash some for yourself. The Wisconsin Discover Cranberry Center and Museum in Warrens is one of the top spots to stop with interactive exhibits on the state's history with cranberries and even visit a test kitchen to taste some unique cranberry creations for yourself. The city of Warrens also supports the Warrens Cranberry Festival every year or you can visit Cran-A-Rama in Manitowish Waters, Stone Lake Cranberry Festival, or Cranberry Fest in Eagle River.
What's a autumn vacation without a little scenic drive? Take your travel group on a ride through the forests and valleys of Wisconsin, along the Mississippi River or to the Great Lakes in the east. The nationally acclaimed Door County Coastal Byway is one of the crowd favorites when it comes to scenic drives, taking you 66 miles through some of the most brilliantly colored birch, maple, oak, and sumac trees you've ever seen. Kettle Morain, on the other hand, is a scenic drive with history. Cut millennia ago by glaciers, the evidence of the last ice age is evident in the unique landscape known as a "kettle." Come through in October and see the magnificently decorated dells, valleys, and grassy knolls as you glide by in the comfort of your own car.
The Wisconsin Dells has to be one of the state's most popular destinations by far. Billed as the Waterpark Capital of the World, the Dells is not only great in summer but also in the fall when the weather is changing and people are energized with renewed vigor. When it gets too cold, skip out on the waterparks and head to Timbavati Wildlife Park, Mr. Marvel's Wondertorium at Wintergreen Resort, Ripley's Believe It or Not!, or the undeniably unique and popular House on the Rock. The Dells have over 100 fabulous attractions and so much variety, not to mention it's full of down home Midwestern charm, that your group will never be bored.
The state of Wisconsin is known as the cheese capital of the world. Their Green Bay fans are called Cheese Heads for crying out loud! So it's nearly impossible - or blasphemous - to consider going to Wisconsin without visiting a cheese factory or dairy farm. Emmi Roth Kase USA is a unique farm originally established in Switzerland over a century ago and currently operating under Swiss direction. Observe the cheese-making process on self-guided tours and sample one of the five or so new products the company makes every year. Other excellent stops include Cedar Grove Cheese, Carr Valley Cheese, and Widmer's Cheese Cellars where aging cheese is an art and a specialty.
Located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Bay Beach Amusement Park is the ultimate option for affordable fun as prices are ridiculously low, asking just 25 cents for ride tickets. Housing 16 exciting and nostalgic carnival themed rides, Bay Beach is a local favorite for easy entertainment. If you're looking for something more thrilling, Mt. Olympus may be more your style. This giant park, located in Wisconsin Dells, is a one stop destination for indoor and outdoor fun, both in the water or soaring high above the ground on a rocket roller coaster. With eight go-kart tracks, six roller coasters, 37 waterslides, and a new addition of an underground wooden roller coaster, Hades 360.
Cave of the Mounds
No matter what temperature it is outside, underground cave systems keep it a nice cool, climate controlled temperature for easy touring. Cave of the Mounds is one of the state's most popular and most beautiful underground caves, so amazing in fact that it was named a national natural landmark. Not only can you tour the underground cave system but you can have fun above ground at the park featuring an 1880s restored barn alongside interpretive and informational prairie and woodland trails. Also check out the park's Museum Rock Shop and Gemstone Mine & Fossil Dig where you can pan for treasure.
Old World Wisconsin
Travel back in time to the late 19th century when prairie pilgrims and farmers delighted in the rugged terrain of Old World Wisconsin. At this intricate living history park, your travel group can observe recreations of an 1880s village, watch demonstrations of 19th century cooking or handicrafts, tour the stables and farms to get a picture of life, and much more. Participate in hands on activities yourself or visit the one-room schoolhouse which once taught students of all ages. There's no limit to what kinds of fun you will discover in Old World Wisconsin!