Scenic road through the Wisconsin countryside.

7 Most Scenic Road Trips To Take In Wisconsin

Home to more than 15,000 inland lakes, two great lakes, and some of the most beautiful natural sights, Wisconsin is a stunning state. Whether it is the hustle and bustle of Madison City or the peaceful environment along Lake Michigan, there is no end to the amazing attractions sprawled throughout the state. With so much to see, the state is home to some of the most picturesque road journeys in the country. Boasting mountains, cities, and even lakes, these routes offer a treasure trove of scenery that is second to none.

Marinette County Waterfall Tour

A beautiful waterfall in Marinette County, Wisconsin.
A beautiful waterfall in Marinette County, Wisconsin.

Often referred to as the state’s “Waterfall Capital,” Marinette County is an abode of stunning falls. Snaking through the county along this 125-mile route, you’ll find more than a dozen unique waterfalls with lovely surroundings. So, enjoy stunning sights such as the Veteran’s Falls, Long Slide Falls, Dave’s Falls, and many others which are all within a short trek from the route. With great roads and plain terrain throughout most of the journey, you can cover multiple waterfalls within the span of a day. In addition to the falls, this route is encompassed by crystal-clear rivers, picnic spots, and wildlife-spotting opportunities for a relaxing 3-5 hour journey. All you need to do is pack your hiking boots, fill up the tank, and get ready to witness an array of flowing waterfalls.

Great River Road National Scenic Byway (Highway 35)

Great River Road Overlook at Alma, Wisconsin
Great River Road Overlook at Alma, Wisconsin.

Spanning 10 states with a total distance of more than 2,000 miles, the Great River Road is a massive route that can take days to cover. Thankfully, nestled within Wisconsin is a relaxing 250-mile part that covers rivers, historic towns, beautiful forests, and more. Start your road trip by getting on Highway 35 at Prescott and you’re in for a bang. Running parallel to the Mississippi River, you’ll be surrounded by amazing waterside views and lovely greenery. Stop by at one of the 30+ river towns dotted throughout the highway to enjoy a meal, the local art, or even some wine (passengers only). Or, spend some time at one of the many fishing spots along the Mississippi River to catch and cook your own meal! No matter what you plan on doing, this amazing route is one of the most scenic road trips to take in Wisconsin.

Kettle Moraine Scenic Route

Aerial view of Kettle Moraine State forest in Winter, Wisconsin.
Aerial view of Kettle Moraine State forest in winter.

Spanning 115 miles through southeastern Wisconsin, Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive offers a visual treat! Traversing through many scenic attractions, this route connects two units of the beautiful Kettle Moraine State Forest. So, enjoy a range of recreational activities within the forest such as hiking, biking, skiing, and more. If you have more than a day’s time, you can also set up camp and enjoy the natural scenery of Wisconsin for an extended trip. On the other hand, history lovers can also enjoy the trip as it is dotted with unique attractions. For example, the Old World Wisconsin Museum is a fan favorite showcasing the lives of early settlers in the state. All in all, this path provides a sense of harmony coveted by natural beauty for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Lake Superior National Scenic Byway

Lake Superior in Wisconsin.
Sand Island Lighthouse in Wisconsin on Lake Superior.

Aptly named the Lake Superior National Scenic Byway, this waterside route covers 70 miles along Lake Superior’s coast. Testament to this, it boasts a wellspring of remarkable coastal sights that are rarely seen elsewhere. Enjoy a range of sandy beaches where you can stop for some swimming and fun in the water. For a touch of history, the drive goes through many historic fishing villages which provide harbors, museums, and other attractions to enjoy. In addition to this, you can easily access The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and Gaylord Nelson Wilderness Area on this road trip. Featuring scenic islands, an endless array of wildlife, and many recreational opportunities, there is no end to the fun you can have. With so much to offer, the Lake Superior National Scenic Byway is the perfect day trip against the backdrop of Lake Superior’s charm.

Door County Coastal National Scenic Byway

lighthouse in Sturgeon Bay Door County Wisconsin during fall and autumn colors.
Lighthouse in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin.

One of the shorter road trips on this list, the Door County Coastal National Scenic Byway is a quaint 66-mile loop. While being short, this route is overflowing with some of the most alluring sights in the state. Starting at the town of Sturgeon Bay, the entire road is enveloped by water on both sides providing an endless array of coastal views. Enjoy breathtaking scenes of Lake Michigan and the Bay of Green Bay where you’ll find hundreds of people enjoying some time out in the sun. Recreation opportunities are also plentiful with an abundance of beaches and parks nestled throughout the path. For example, stop by George Pinney Park which offers an amazing fishing pier and boat launches for some time in the water. If one round of this route isn’t enough, you can always go back around the loop and take in the myriad of coastal towns spread throughout.

Cranberry Highway

cranberry bog at harvest, Wisconsin
Cranberry bog at harvest in the Cranberry-growing region of Wisconsin.

Any berry lover’s dream, the Cranberry Highway is a trove of everything cranberry. Beginning at Wisconsin Rapids, this 50-mile route stretches through century-old cranberry beds in Wisconsin’s cranberry-growing region. Make the trip during harvest and you’ll be encompassed by bright red cranberry fields providing a picturesque environment. However, that’s not all. The route also covers spots such as the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center and the Cranberry Museum. Spend some time here to learn about the intricate cranberry growing past and have some delightful berry snacks. While cranberries are the main attraction, you can also enjoy natural sights like the Sandhill Wildlife Area which boasts stunning marshes.

Lake Michigan Maritime Tour

Lake Michigan in Wisconsin.

Coastal charm is the perfect definition for the Lake Michigan Maritime Tour, a haven of Lake Michigan’s waterside sights. The route follows State Highway 42 for more than 40 miles along the great lake’s shoreline. Thanks to this, you’ll be met with plenty of fishing villages and beaches which are perfect for a summer road trip. The road also passes through von Stiehl, Wisconsin’s oldest licensed winery. So, grab some wine for the passengers and enjoy the state’s most exquisite tastes. No matter what you end up doing, the rolling hills and friendly people are sure to make this a scenic road trip!

From the stunning great lakes to an endless abode of cranberry fields, Wisconsin boasts some of the most scenic Road Trips in the country. These trips offer amazing views, unique attractions, and ideal amenities so you can sit back and enjoy the drive. Moreover, with both short and long routes, you can enjoy a road trip no matter how much time you have!


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