If you're an autumn enthusiast, then think of Wisconsin as your fall wonderland. For a brief period each year, between September and November, the state puts on its best colors and tiny towns and big cities alike celebrate the magical season. Whether you like to experience fall on a scenic, foliage-spotting drive, on a hike through a brightly-hued forest, sipping cider on a farm, picking pumpkins and apples, or even watching football, Wisconsin has it. If you're looking for the ultimate autumn adventure, then check out this trip to some of Wisconsin's best fall activities.
Named to honor the world-famous Danish architect Jens Jensen, the Jens Jensen Winding Road is commonly referred to simply as “The Winding Road in Door County.” Located near the end of Highway 42, it’s an absolute must for the entire family, whether you're behind the wheel or in the passenger seat. With a seemingly endless amount of road snaking through the forest, you will have plenty of time to pull over and snap that perfect photo. Fall is a popular time to enjoy the road and the colors, so plan ahead and expect to find lots of other visitors enjoying the drive as well.
Deemed one of the best places to eat in all of Door County, Al Johnson’s has been a popular tourist attraction for more than 50 years. Founded by Al, who started as both ‘chief cook and bottle washer,' Al Johnson’s has some of the best pancakes and Swedish meatballs in America. With servers dressed in traditional Scandinavian attire and the Swedish-inspired decor, you’ll feel as if you were teleported to another country entirely. There's a gift shop with loads of Scandinavian and Wisconsin goodies, as well.
Oh, and did we mention the goats on the roof? They're adorable, and they love to graze on the grass atop the butik (or store, as we say in America). It's kitschy, cute, and kind of unforgettable!
Located on 100 acres of orchards and vineyards in Door Country just off Highway 42, Orchard Country Winery & Market offers spectacular wine tours and tastings and is staffed with friendly and knowledgable employees. In addition to the wine tastings, you can go apple picking in the fall. The interior of the shop is both fresh and bright, and offers a wide range of goodies for you to take home. Be sure to pick up the famous caramel apple topping, or one of the many best-selling salsas, pickles, preserves, or dried fruit (which, incidentally, is an awesome road trip snack).
Open year-round from 6 AM to 11 PM, Potawatomi State Park gives you a true taste of what Wisconsin has to offer. It has a handful of hiking trails, including the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Tower Trail, and Hemlock Trail, you can easily spend the entire day exploring. The Potawatomi campground is both quiet and clean, making it the perfect getaway from the busy modern world. Be sure to take a canoe, kayak, or paddle boat for a spin on the water, or rent a few bikes for the day if you prefer. If you're short on time, the one thing to see is the observation tower and the old ski hill overlook; they feature some incredible views that won't disappoint during Wisconsin's fall season.
Looking for yet another excellent winery to explore on your trip? Wisconsin’s oldest licensed winery, founded in 1967, is the perfect place to get your wine tasting fix. The Von Stiehl Winery is known for its knowledgeable and friendly staff, and with dozens of different wines to try (from cabernet sauvignons to brandy-fortified cherry wine made with locally-grown fruit), the entire group will find a taste they love. If you want to make the day special, you can try tastings with both chocolate and cheese. What's more, the buildings on-site are gorgeous; many were built during the late 1800s. Overall, it's a perfect setting for a relaxing autumn afternoon.
For a lot of people in Wisconsin and across the country, fall is marked by the start of football season. Few teams evoke such fan passion as the Green Bay Packers. Head inside Lambeau Field's Atrium, and check out the 15,000 square foot, two-level Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame; it's certainly not to be missed by any football or sports fan.
Showcasing one of the most storied sports franchises in history, the Hall of Fame contains an impressive amount of sports memorabilia, interactive displays and a nearly endless amount of statistics and team facts. The exhibits are both high quality and informative-- even for those who don’t consider themselves Cheeseheads or football fanatics. Whether you spend 30 minutes or four hours exploring the Hall, you will most certainly walk away with an appreciation for one of the NFL’s most iconic teams.
Mulberry Lane Farm began as a children’s petting farm, but it has quickly become THE Wisconsin destination for a wide variety of special events and family fun. The entire family will be able to milk a cow, catch a chicken, kiss a pig and more. In addition to some high-quality animal bonding time, there are plenty of picnic areas for you to have lunch with or without animals by your side. Visiting in the fall? Be sure to go pumpkin picking for the perfect gourd or two to carve back at home. Closed for much of early September, the farm is open from 9:30 AM - 4 PM on weekends, and from 10 AM - 3 PM during the week in October.
High Cliff State Park contains a wide variety of hiking trails, which give way to some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Wisconsin. Beyond the hiking trails, there are spots to bike and horseback ride, as well as a grassy hill for some much-needed rest or a picnic with the entire family. Containing over 1,187 acres of pure beauty, High Cliff is the only state-owned recreation area located on Lake Winnebago. With Indian effigy mounds to explore, incredible views of the limestone cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, awesome autumn camping, and more, it's the perfect place to immerse yourself in the season.
Located In Chilton, Wisconsin, Meuer Farm is a fourth-generation active farm with a mission of “ farming, educating and conserving.” You'll learn a lot from a visit here, and with a wide range of activities, it’s a perfect stop for the entire family. While famous for strawberry picking, it also offers a handful of ethically farmed meats to try, a corn maze (the perfect fall activity), honeymaking, and much more. It's especially nice to visit during the autumn, when educational hayrides give a look into harvest season. The farm offers pumpkin picking, loads of kids activities, and snacks at the Jumping Cow Cafe. Best yet, after spending just a few hours on the farm, you will walk away with a world-class understanding of the latest sustainable farming and conservation methods, making it both an entertaining and educational journey.
If you're looking to make autumn memories to last a lifetime, there's no better place than driving through the beautiful state of Wisconsin. Whether it's snapping that perfect picture on the winding road, enjoying a wine and cheese pairing, or taking the family to find the perfect pumpkin, Wisconsin is the best place to fully soak in the season. Pack your scarves and grab a pumpkin spice latte, because fall will be here and gone before you know it!
Let us share the real Wisconsin with you--where generations of families travel to make memories and locals share hidden gems. In Wisconsin, you're always welcome, because when you’re having fun we’re having fun.