New Glarus, Wisconsin: Enjoying beer at an outdoor beer garden

7 of the Most Welcoming Towns in Wisconsin

Wisconsin, lovingly known as America's Dairyland for its dairy production, is a lovely midwestern state with coastlines on two of the Great Lakes. Wisconsin is beautiful no matter the time of year, boasting a variety of activities ranging from winter skiing to cherry blossom viewing to summertime camping. Of course, it is also a great spot for foodies, with plenty of locations with a focus on dairy products such as cheese curds. When planning a trip to Wisconsin, some of its most welcoming towns stand out, offering a getaway unlike any other, with inviting spots and a lively community and culture.

Sister Bay

Street view in Sister Bay, Wisconsin
Street view in Sister Bay, Wisconsin, via Nejdet Duzen /

Sister Bay is one of the most unforgettable small towns in Wisconsin, home to 1,900 feet of picturesque waterfront. Popular destinations include Sister Bay Beach and Waterfront Park, which welcome visitors to enjoy a refreshing swim, relax on the shore, or watch a spectacular sunset. Sail Door County also offers cruises along the shimmering waters of Sister Bay Marina, perfect for a romantic getaway. Travelers may delve into the town's past with a trip to the Corner of the Past Historical Museum, which features an 1875 renovated farmhouse, log cabins, and cottages. There are also plenty of events and festivals that help visitors integrate into the community, such as the Door County Short Film Fest, the Festival of Fine Arts, and the Door County Christkindlmarkt.

Elkhart Lake

Overview of the Gather on the Green vintage car show on the grounds of The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Overview of the Gather on the Green vintage car show on the grounds of The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, via ajkelly /

The town of Elkhart Lake houses a lake of the same name, which happens to be one of the most beautiful lakes in Wisconsin. Biking and hiking trails border the shoreline of the lake, making it the ideal destination for a getaway spent enjoying the great outdoors. The Tiki Bar is a lovely location to sip fresh brews and connect with locals, while the Theater at the Shore Club offers the chance for locals and visitors alike to sing, dance, and laugh together. Travelers may also find relaxation on and off the shoreline, whether they choose to take a dip in the water or visit the Aspira Spa, finding rejuvenation of all kinds at Elkhart Lake.

Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay Town canal view in Door County of Wisconsin
Sturgeon Bay Town canal view in Door County of Wisconsin

Sturgeon Bay is an off-the-beaten-path Wisconsin town in Door County, not to mention an angler's delight. Visitors may enjoy a trip to the Door County Maritime Museum to learn all about the Navy ships of WWII, followed by a trip to the Miller Art Museum, which houses several unique galleries and exhibitions. Cave Point County Park is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, featuring sparkling ice formations in winter and views of Lake Michigan and limestone cliff sides throughout the year. Popular events and festivals amongst travelers and locals include the Fire and Ice Festival and St. Patrick's Day in Sturgeon Bay.


The Big Top Parade in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
The Big Top Parade in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Editorial credit: Aaron of L.A. Photography /

Baraboo is one of Wisconsin's most gorgeous towns, resting between the towering Baraboo Bluffs which stand 800 feet above the Wisconsin River. Nearby, visitors may find outdoor destinations such as Pewit's Nest Gorge and Balanced Rock, the nature preserve of Baxter's Hollow, and Devil's Lake State Park, chock full of hiking trails, campsites, and fishing spots ready for exploration. The 1.6 billion-year-old Ice Age Trail reveals the legacy of the Ice Age in Wisconsin, formed by continental glaciation. The town is also home to the Ringling Brothers performance group and the Circus World Museum, making it an excellent destination for the whole family.

New Glarus

New Glarus, Wisconsin
ew Glarus, Wisconsin- Image Credit Erwin Widmer via Shutterstock

New Glarus is one of the most picturesque Wisconsin towns, featuring a Swiss-inspired architectural style dating back to the 1800s and creating a similar atmosphere as a traditional Swiss town. Oktoberfest is one of the best times of the year to visit and sip some local brews, though there are plenty of events to enjoy throughout the year, such as the Beer Bacon and Cheese Festival or the Polka Festival. Visitors may also enjoy strolling, biking, or cross-country skiing along the Sugar River State Trail, enjoying views of the flowing Sugar River.

Chippewa Falls

Aerial photograph of the Chippewa River Dam with Lake Wissota in the distance in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
Aerial photograph of the Chippewa River Dam with Lake Wissota in the distance in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

Chippewa Falls is one of the most quaint small towns in Wisconsin, home to beautiful outdoor destinations such as Lake Wissota and the Chippewa River. Both the state park and river are great locations for fishing, hiking, canoeing, and camping. Irvine Park is another top destination, housing recreational facilities, a zoo, and even an annual Christmas Lights spectacle. Travelers may also enjoy a day at Lake Wissota Golf & Events, partaking in a round of 18 holes with views of the lovely Lake Wissota. For those in search of an adrenaline rush, Skydive Wissota is the place to be, offering the opportunity to skydive through the air with an aerial view of Chippewa Falls and all of its beauty.


A picture of Pewaukee's Lakefront taken from the lake.
A picture of Pewaukee's Lakefront taken from the lake

Pewaukee sits about 17 miles west of the city of Milwaukee and along the shores of Lake Pewaukee. Pewaukee Lakefront Park is a great spot for a morning stroll, a day well spent at the beach, or a dip in the crystal clear waters. It is also well known as one of the best places to fish in Wisconsin, while inland sailing and boating are also popular activities. It is just 40 minutes from Kettle Moraine State Forest, which offers year-round recreation ranging from fall hikes to views of glacial landforms, home to 30,000 acres of hills and prairies.

Enjoy a Trip to Wisconsin!

Wisconsin is welcoming no matter where visitors choose to travel, but its small towns offer some of the warmest and friendliest communities. Whether the colors of a breathtaking sunrise from the Sturgeon Bay Lighthouse draw you in or the still and serene Pewaukee Lake piques your interest, there is an endless array of activities in which to partake and adventures waiting to be discovered with any trip to the welcoming small towns of Wisconsin.

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