15 Day Trips From Milwaukee

The city of Milwaukee is located on Lake Michigan’s western shore. This region is known to deep dive into the country’s past. 

Get to know more about America’s history or just grab a beer at one of the breweries, Milwaukee offers lots to explore. Not only does this city offer plenty of tourist destinations in itself, but it also has a lot of day trips around the city that you can explore. 

Here are some of the best day trips from Milwaukee:

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago

Situated just an hour and a half away from Milwaukee, this bustling city of Chicago makes for a fantastic day trip. Taking the train is a better way of reaching this city, as it is known for its traffic.

Chicago is home to plenty of attractions, upscale shopping areas, museums, a great dining scene and much more.

Must-visit sites include Millennium Park, Willis Tower, and the Bean. Other fun destinations include the Chicago Children’s Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Don’t forget to try the famous deep-dish pizza when here!

Distance: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Ideal for: Big-city fun

Kenosha, Wisconsin

kenosha

Located just 45 minutes away, Kenosha is a lovely place to visit. Start by taking the Electric Streetcar Circulator which makes a two-mile loop along the shoreline of Kenosha and through the city’s downtown.

After that, head on to the newly restored 1887 North Point Lighthouse, which is open 1 pm – 4 pm. After that, you can head to Kenosha Public Museum which is home to various diverse historic exhibits.

Kenosha also has a lovely sandy beach which bordered by a long concrete pier.

Distance: 45 minutes

Ideal for: Relaxed getaway

Cedarburg, Wisconsin

Cedarburg

This historical getaway is located just half an hour away from Milwaukee. For visitors who enjoy a dip in the past, this quaint little village is perfect.

Take a step back in history and check out the buildings designed in the like the 1855 Greek Revival Grist Mill and the 1920s filling station. 

Also, take your chance on the  1876 bridge made of planks and wooden pegs while passing through stone cottages and stop by for some crepes and coffee.

Once a woolen mill, it is now called the Cedar Creek Settlement which has hops, cafes and Cedar Creek Winery.

Also check out the fests which happen here like the Winter Festival in February, Strawberry Festival in June, Wine & Harvest Festival in September and Oktoberfest in October.

Distance: 30 minutes

Ideal for: History lovers

Horicon Marsh, Wisconsin

Horicon Marsh

If you love bird watching, then there is no better place to do it than Horicon Marsh. Located just an hour away from Milwaukee, this is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States.

A part national wildlife refuge and part state wildlife area, many migrating ducks and geese stop here.

Visit Horicon Marsh in September or October to see thousands of ducks and Canada geese stop in this Wisconsin marsh on their way south. A Horicon Marsh Bird Festival also happens in May where you can go on bird hikes and bus tours and see bird-banding demonstrations.

Distance: 1 hour

Ideal for: Bird lovers

Old World Wisconsin, Wisconsin

Old World

Step back in time at this open-air, 576-acre museum set in the 19th century. It is always the 19th Century here in Old World Wisconsin.

There are costumed interpreters that inhabit the building and mimic the homelands of the first settlers to set foot in the area. There are separate settlements where they portray the real people who lived and worked in the — Danish, Norwegian, German, Finnish, African-American and Yankee families.

You can also send your children here for summer camps or workshops. Many events are held all-year-round like the Halloween Dinner Theatre and a Christmas program.

Distance: 48 minutes

Ideal for: History enthusiasts

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva has long been a favorite with rich Chicagoans for 150 years and today it has gained popularity among everyone.

This summer beach resort is just an hour away from Milwaukee and makes for an excellent day trip destination. If you want to just lounge about, then you can stay at Lake Geneva, walk and admire the historic mansions built by the Wrigleys, Rockefellers, and Swifts.

Lake Geneva Cruise Line is also a great experience as they give narrated tours from May from October, including the one-hour Geneva Bay Tour.

After being out in the water all day, head downtown for some shopping at the quaint boutiques or spend the day at Riviera beach.

Distance: 55 minutes

Ideal for: Family fun 

Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin

Fort Atkinson

Fort Atkinson can make for an exciting day trip from Milwaukee. Located just an hour west of Milwaukee, Fort Atkinson has been home to professional Fireside Dinner Theatre since 1963. 

If you love live music, then this is a great town to visit. Visitors can also spend their time window shopping and grabbing some snacks at the Simple Life Country Store

Outdoor lovers can head to the nature trails by Rock River for some hiking fun. History lovers can visit the National Dairy Shrine and Hoard Historical Museum, named for the father of Wisconsin’s dairy industry. 

Distance: 55 minutes

Ideal for: Family day out

Ten Chimneys, Wisconsin

Ten Chimneys

Home of  Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, Ten Chimneys is a quaint town which lies 25 miles west of Milwaukee. This is the couple that dominated the Broadway stage in the 20th century.

Also known as “the Fabulous Lunts,”. They used to spend their summers at their beloved country house in Genessee Depot, 25 miles west of Milwaukee.

Today the Ten Chimneys is a National Historic Landmark. The house contains all the couple’s favorite mementos and favorite which are a part of the modest but highly idiosyncratic estate. 

Visitors can tour the estate and enjoy the lovely things it has to offer.

Distance: 36 minutes

Ideal for: Broadway lovers

Kohler, Wisconsin

Kohler

Kohler Wisconsin makes for a fantastic day trip destination and it has something to offer to everyone. Located just an hour away from Milwaukee, there are lots to do here as well.

For those interested in design, you can head to the Kohler Design Center which is open for daily tours during the week. There is a museum here as well.

If relaxation is on your mind, then Kohler is also home to the  Kohler Waters Spa which is one of fewer than 70 five-star spas found worldwide. The town is also known for many golf-courses that it has to offer.

To finish off the day, you can try Kohler’s Blind Horse Restaurant & Winery, which bills itself as a Napa-style establishment.

Distance: 1 hour

Ideal for: design lovers

Door County, Wisconsin

Door County

Also referred to as Cape Cod of the Midwest, Door County is a great destination for a day trip from Milwaukee.

The county is the largest in the entire state and is home to a number of charming communities, including Ephraim, Sister Bay, and Baileys Harbor.

Visitors can spend their day shopping or eating in Fish Creek, taking the ferry to Washington Island. Other tourist attractions include hiking at Peninsula State Park, taking the farm tour by the Door County Creamery, or having fun at the many wineries and breweries. 

The Blue Ox can be a great place for Dive Bar connoisseurs and now is a kitschy watering hole.

Distance: 2 hours and 23 minutes

Ideal for: Family fun

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Elkhart Lake

Located in Sheboygan County, this charming town of Elkhart Lake lies near the Kettle Moraine State Forest and the Ice Age Trail.

A great place to just relax and enjoy lovely cuisine, there are many restaurants that you can visit. Try the bistro-style Lake Street Café and the inventive Paddock Club.

Racing enthusiasts can head to  Road America, a famous European-style track in the area. The lake also provides for a lot of activities like water sports, fishing, swimming, and more. This is the deepest lake in the state and is also known for its unbelievable turquoise spring-fed water.

Distance: 1 hour and 2 minutes

Ideal for: Family getaway

Madison, Wisconsin

Madison

Located just an hour and a half away from Milwaukee, Madison is the capital of Wisconsin. Take time to roam around the beautiful campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tour the Capitol building or check out the farmers market.

This charming place often tops the indexes of the best places to live in the United States. There are many museums, art galleries and concert halls that visitors can explore. 

There are also many biking trails and lovely parks where day-trippers can spend their evening before heading back to Milwaukee. 

Distance: 1 hour and 19 minutes

Ideal for: Family getaway

Green Bay, Wisconsin

Green Bay

Located just around 2 hours by car, Packers fan will love Green Bay. Visitors can explore the Green Bay Botanical Garden, the National Railroad Museum, and Lambeau Field.

Day-trippers can stop by at the stadium, after which you can head to the adjacent  Hinterland Brewery and Restaurant in the Titletown District. They offer some great local crafted beer.

You can also tour the brewery on a Saturday afternoon.

Distance: 2 hours 

Ideal for: Sports fans

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Dells offers a great day-trip opportunity. It is the water-park capital of the world and is located just 2 hours away from Milwaukee by car.

Visitors can have a great time at Noah’s Ark Water Park, which is the largest water park in the country and has more than 50 waterslides. If you are interested in outdoor activities then you should consider the ropes course, zip-lining, horseback riding, or the signature Duck boat tours.

Distance: 1 hour and 59 minutes 

Ideal for: Family fun

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Sheboygan

A great stopover while visiting Kohler, Sheboygan is just 10 minutes away from the village and an hour’s drive from Milwaukee.

This city sits on Lake Michigan and boasts a pretty lighthouse plus waterfront activities like kayaking, fishing, and even surfing. There is a shipwreck on the lakefront, which adults and kids alike enjoy. 

Also visit the Old World Creamery, where you can sample some incredible cheese, check out cheese shops too!

Distance: 58 minutes 

Ideal for: Relaxing getaway

Conclusion

There are plenty of attractions from and in Milwaukee itself to keep all kinds of visitors entertained. From the bustling city of Chicago to the pristine Lake Geneva – the fun never ends!

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