These summer getaways are worth the time and travel

Wisconsin State Farmer
Swimmers enjoy the cool waters of the Amnicon River as they cascade over the falls.


Looking for a getaway that’s worth the drive? Why not check out this summer’s best bets for spending your precious vacation days.

Amnicon Falls, 4279 County Hwy. U, South Range

This state park may not have the tallest waterfalls, but this northern Wisconsin gem has a series of falls that drop into the Amnicon River. The falls can be views from a covered foot bridge or a series of trails along the river, or – if you’re sure-footed – from the rocky shore of the river.

The Horton footbridge is among the attractions at Amnicon Falls State Park, with the 55-foot long structure spanning the Lower Falls. The Lower Falls is also a popular attraction for swimmers that enjoy splashing in the pools below the cascading waters.

Visitors enjoy the cool shade among the canyon walls at Parfrey's Glen State Natural Area near Merrimac, WI.


Parfrey’s Glen, 1377 County Hwy. DL, Merrimac, WI

Devil’s Lake is among the most popular and most-visited parks in Wisconsin. However, many visitors are unaware of Parfrey’s Glen – a spectacular gorge tucked away inside the park deep in the southern flank of the Baraboo Hills.

Parfrey's Glen is the state’s first State Natural Area and is so unobtrusive that visitors often drive past the small parking lot on County Hwy. DL. Because it’s a state natural area, a park sticker is also required. Upon entering the glen – after a half mile hike on a marked trail – visitors will behold the carved sandstone walls and boulders of quartzite. The moss-covered walls are moist from seepage, cool and shaded and support a variety of flora.

Parfrey's Glen Creek, a fast, cold, hardwater stream flows over a six-foot drop creating the Parfrey’s Glen waterfall.. Parfrey's Glen is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1952. The area also includes a picnic area near the parking lot.

A swimmer appears suspended in time as he jumps off the cliff into the Eau Claire River at Dells of the Eau Claire Park.


Dells of the Eau Claire Park, P2150 County Hwy. Y, Aniwa, WI

Located off County Hwy. Y in the Town of Plover, this is one of the special jewels in the Marathon County park system. The Dells of the Eau Claire Park surrounds fantastic geological features created by the Eau Claire River. Ancient volcanic rock palisades and potholes carved in the rock by the falling water create a unique place at the dells and gorge. The river bisects this 190-acre park.

A dam upstream from the falls creates an impoundment, which provides for a swimming beach. With 27 campsites and the adjacent Ice Age Trail, this park offers visitors a number of nature trails right on the banks of the Eau Claire River along with swimming beach, spectacular waterfalls and rapids.

The beautiful rock formations are a magnet for summertime nature enthusiasts. Who can resist climbing among the water-worn rocks or cooling off in one of the many swimming holes?

The park includes an enclosed shelter, trails, playground equipment, picnic tables and a group campsite area and beach. Camping is available from May 1 to October 31.

Cyclists enjoy many trails across the state of Wisconsin including those that criss-cross county and state parks or the state trail system.


County Parks offer big biking fun

Wisconsin is already home to more than 60 state parks, trails and recreational areas, but the state’s numerous county parks shouldn’t be overlooked for cycling enthusiasts both novice and expert alike. With summer in the air, it’s time to hop on a bike, kick up the dirt, and explore all the majestic beauty Wisconsin has to offer!

According to Travel Wisconsin, the following parks include some of the best, most scenic bike trails.

Glacier Hills County Park is located in Washington County just a short drive north of Milwaukee. The park sits on 140 acres of pristine moraine formed by glaciers more than 10,000 years ago. The park borders Friess Lake and offers prairie views, abundant tree growth and more than 120 varieties of birds along its five different scenic trails. Glacier Hills Park’s winding paths and hilly terrain are perfect for mountain bike enthusiasts.

Blackhawk Memorial County Park is nestled alongside the Pecatonica River in Layfayette County and offer more than 120 acres of secluded trails, camping sites, canoeing opportunities and plentiful fishing. It’s rural, off-the-beaten path, is a hidden gem that offers lots of scenic beauty including the nearby Sugar River State Trail, Pecatonica Trail and Cheese Country Recreational Trail.

Price County in northern Wisconsin which boasts more than 170 lakes, hundreds of miles of motorized and non-motorized trails, and six county parks including Tuscobia Trailhead County Park. Originally constructed in 1899 as part of the “Omaha” line railroad, The Tuscobia State trail spans 74 miles and covers three different counties.

The diverse trail system consists of upland ridges and lowland marshes and allows cyclists to connect to both the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. This scenic trail links seven communities, making it easy for bicyclists to find food and amenities along the way.

Radio controlled airplanes are lined up along the flight line at Wellnitz Field take to the skies.


Warbirds and Classics over the Midwest

This annual gathering of radio controlled airplane enthusiasts has grown since its inception. Big radio controlled airplanes from all over the US and Canada take to the skies over rural Fond du Lac with jets flying up to 200 MPH and some giant scale models with wingspans of more than 15 feet. 

This year's event takes place Aug. 17-20 at Wellnitz Field, N4841 Hickory Rd. Fond du Lac. Admission charged per car. Food and drink is available along with the chance to win raffle prizes which include airplane kits.

Cranberry Festival

Warrens is the "Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin" and hosts the world's largest cranberry festival. This year’s event is scheduled for Sept. 22-24.

Attendance at the first Festival in 1973, was 3,500 with 75 booths. Since then it has grown from a small community festival to an international event with more than 120,000 visitors each year and over 1,300 booths.

The Festival was started to raise funds to improve the quality of life in the Village of Warrens and to celebrate the cranberry industry in Wisconsin.

The weekend event features music, food, shopping and more.