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What to see & do in Wisconsin’s Northwoods

Visit this charming northern Wisconsin destination for unbeatable outdoor recreation, fun events and attractions, and scenic natural beauty.

girls playing in lake in Minocqua Wisconsin
Credit: Minocqua Visitors Bureau

Visitors to Minocqua, Hazelhurst, Woodruff, and Arbor Vitae in northern Wisconsin will find no shortage of outdoor activities, stunning natural beauty, and exciting events and attractions. Here’s a closer look at  some of the Minocqua Area’s top attractions.

Discover lakes and waterways

Minocqua and the surrounding area are home to more than 2,300 lakes—the largest concentration of freshwater on the planet—so there are endless opportunities for fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding, not to mention beaches where vacationers can enjoy the northern Wisconsin scenery. One of the biggest attractions (literally and figuratively) is the world-famous Minocqua Chain of Lakes, which includes seven lakes consisting of nearly 6,000 acres (24 square km) of water and is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and other watersports.

Explore the Bearskin State Trail

The Minocqua Area is also home to one of the Northwoods’ most popular trails. The Bearskin State Trail follows a former railroad line for more than 20 miles (32km) from downtown Minocqua south through Hazelhurst until it reaches Tomahawk. Along the way, the scenic route passes over more than a dozen railroad trestles, and the trail is a great spot for walkers, joggers, and bikers to take in the sights and sounds of northern Wisconsin.

Find unique attractions & events

In addition to the trails and lakes, Minocqua and the surrounding area is home to some truly unique attractions and events, too. Wildwood Wildlife Park Zoo & Safari is the state’s second-largest zoo and is home to more than 1,700 animals, including giraffes, snow leopards, zebras, monkeys, and wildebeest. Northwoods Zip Line offers tours of the Northwoods canopy year-round on more than a dozen zip lines, including a 1,000-foot (305-meter) zip over a serene wilderness lake.

At Scheer’s Lumberjack Shows in Woodruff, held from June through August, participatnts compete in activities featured on ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games and in the Lumberjack World Championships like logrolling, power sawing, pole climbing, axe throwing, and more. Take a seat in the bleachers on the shores of Lake Minocqua for a performance of the Min-Aqua Bats Water Ski Show, the longest continually running amateur water ski show in the country.

Every September, downtown Minocqua hosts its celebration of everything beef—Beef-A-Rama has been held in Minocqua annually for more than 60 years and includes a fun run, a craft show, a beef cook-off, and other fun competitions.

Seasonal activities

While summer is the busiest time in Minocqua, visitors can find Northwoods fun all year long. In winter, the area is a popular snowmobiling destination, and Minocqua Winter Park is home to more than 100km of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. Fall color viewing and hiking are great reasons to visit later in the year.