Wisconsin Outdoor Activities – Leisure Group Trips
Groups can embark on water excursions, nature hikes and garden tours.
Blessed with diverse topography and natural wonders, Wisconsin offers plenty of outdoor activities for an outdoor adventure. The state’s varied environments include the vast shoreline of Lake Michigan, the rolling landscapes of the kettle moraine along the Mississippi River, and lush forests interspersed with streams and waterfalls. If your group wants to stay close to major cities, Wisconsin’s metropolitan areas are home to preserves, zoos, and water excursions that can allow you to explore the outdoors with minimal travel time.
Dell’s Boat Tours
In Wisconsin Dells, the classic activity is a relaxing trip along sculpted sandstone cliffs and narrow gorges along the Wisconsin River. Dell’s Boat Tours double-decker ships offer several options. From mid-April to early November, the 1-hour Lower Dells tour features unusual rock formations like Hawk’s Bill and Baby Grand Piano, while the 2-hour Upper Dells tour includes stops to wander the cool passages of Witches Gulch and witness the famous dog jump at Stand Rock. Another Dells must-do is a wild ride on the World War II amphibious vehicles that are the Original Wisconsin Ducks. This forest and water adventure is highlighted by descending Roller Coaster Hill and splashing into the Wisconsin River and Lake Delton.
South of Milwaukee in Sturtevant is Apple Holler, a 78-acre attraction that oversees farmland, orchards and a family restaurant dedicated to the delicious magic of apples. Groups can choose a take-out adventure to admire the property’s 30,000 trees and dozens of apple varieties, relax at the Apple Cider Cafe, or learn about American folklore on the Johnny Appleseed History Walk.
Step into Wisconsin’s past thousands of years with a group tour to Horicon Swamp, a 33,000-acre landscape of protected wetlands. Pontoon tours can accommodate up to 50 people and will cruise the interconnecting marshes to explain the importance of the environment as a nesting area for red ducks and great blue herons. The birdwatchers in your group will be delighted to spot the hundreds of species that congregate in this freshwater oasis, including egrets, pelicans and majestic bald eagles. Groups can also stop at the Horicon Marsh Education & Center for a variety of interpretive programs and scenic hillside views.
Manitowoc is a quaint coastal community with a rich shipbuilding heritage and a charming downtown neighborhood. The jewel in the city’s recreational crown is Neshotah Beach, a six-mile strip of dazzling water views and unspoiled coastline. If your group is interested in a short hike, nearby Point Beach State Forest offers 3,000 acres of shady woodland to explore and access to the Rawley Point Lighthouse. Built in 1894, this ‘skeletal style’ maritime monument stands 113 feet tall and can lure sailors for miles with one of the brightest lanterns on the Great Lakes.
Outdoor enthusiasts will want to hike the trails and see the waterfalls at Amnicon Falls State Park in Douglas County. Home of Wisconsin’s tallest waterfall can pair your group with a tour guide to explain how the falls were created from ancient earthquakes and lava flows that resulted in deep ridges and fractures spectacular on the surface of the earth.
Cruise on Lake Geneva
Dubbed “The Newport of the West” for its lavish Victorian estates and waterfront views, the Lake Geneva city and surrounding Walworth County attract visitors from across the country who want to admire the sophisticated Victorian architecture, stroll through the charming downtown streets and embark on a waterfront cruise. Cruise on Lake Geneva offers narrated excursions aboard the Grand Belle Geneva, which will pass the estates once owned by the Wrigleys of gum fame, Samuel Allerton (the founder of Chicago’s stockyards) and meat magnate Edward Swift. Other cruises include a visit to the 1888 Black tip area, once home to a wealthy brewer, and the US Mailboat Cruise (where you can see a postman quickly get off the ship and deliver mail to waterfront homes before re-boarding). Lake Geneva Cruise Line can accommodate groups of various sizes and offers discounted group rates in addition to dining excursions such as the Sunday Brunch Buffet and Jazz Dinner Cruise.
Interested in other outdoor activities in Walworth County? Walworth County: Lake Geneva and beyond offer several sample itineraries that highlight local state parks, farms, and nature preserves for groups to visit. The “Nature Calls” tour includes several local botanical gardens such as Northwind Perennial Farm and Congdon Gardens, in addition to the 21-mile Lake Geneva Shore Trail, which winds around the lake and offers beautiful views of various lakeside mansions. some water. Visitors can also embark on an agritourism adventure with the ‘Down on the Farm’ itinerary, which can include cooking demonstrations at Pearce’s Farm Stand and wagon rides at the Royal Oak Farm Orchard.
With 11 historic lighthouses, scenic drives that hug 300 miles of coastline and acres of lush orchards, Gate County is a destination full of outdoor activities. Orient your group to the peninsula with a coach ride on the Door County Coastal Byway, which stretches 66 miles past Sturgeon Bay, the cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, and magnificent views of Lake Michigan. Then, visit one of the area’s signature cherry orchards or vineyards. Many offer guided tours and packaged meals, and you can buy locally made jams, jellies and pies to take home. Groups can also charter a cruise to pass by coastal caves, 19th-century lighthouses, and historic marinas. Destination Door County can help your group rent a boat or tour to access these areas.
See what else the Badger State has to offer with the 2022 Circle Wisconsin Group Tour Planner!