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There is much to be said about the great state of Wisconsin, where the midwestern spirit of familiarity and open-hearted caring is alive and well. Wisconsin is where the beer is cold, and the cheese is plentiful. From the frozen tundras of Lambeau field to the big-city, small-town vibe of Milwaukee – and everywhere in between – Wisconsin is a state that feels comfortable.

The Badger state sits right in the middle of America and ranks right in the middle of the pack in terms of population. There is hardly anything more middle-America than Wisconsin. It would be tempting to equate this middle American sensibility with a commonness, but Dairyland, USA, is more than cheese curds and snowplows.

The state is as beautiful and topographically diverse as any in the upper midwest. And Wisconsin remains a secretly beautiful spot to visit for the outdoor lovers at heart!

Here are some must-see National Parks when visiting the 30th state in the Union:

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: Referred to as the “Jewels of Lake Superior,” this National Lakeshore preserves one of the most exciting and popular destinations in the upper midwest. There are almost endless activities to engage in on and off the shore of this Great Lake. See the gigantic mainland ice caves, or have an adventure! You can camp, boat, kayak – almost any outdoor activity can be found in this sportsman’s paradise. Perhaps a leisurely cruise around the lake and islands is what the heart desires? Look no further than Apostle Islands. 

Photo Courtesy NPS

Ice Age National Scenic Trail: Tens of thousands of years ago, much of North America, like the rest of the earth, was covered in ice. To be specific, much of North America was covered by a massive glacier, and mammoths and saber-toothed tigers roamed that ancient, frozen land. Some of the most important natural evidence left behind from that period can be found in none other than the state of Wisconsin! The National Park that protects the nearly 1,200 miles of Ice Age National Scenic Trail traces the outline of a great glacier that once covered the state and from which the stunning collection of valleys, ridges, and waterways sprung. Hikers from all over flock to this National Park to bask in the quiet beauty of its historic landscape.

Photo Courtesy NPS

Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway: Thankfully for adventure lovers in the upper midwest, a “river runs through” this particular part of the Badger State. The convergence of the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers form this water-lovers playground collectively preserved as the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Boasting over 200 miles of clean, clear water, this scenic riverway is a paradise for boaters, kayakers, rafters, and fishermen and women alike. Toss a tent in your canoe or paddle boat and camp under the gorgeous canopy of dense forests through which the rivers run. If one is feeling very adventurous, head on over to the Fairy Falls day-use area, where the terrain’s deep ravines and high bluffs make it a daunting and slightly treacherous locale. But mindfulness and simple safety measures can mitigate the dangers and make for an enjoyable, beautiful day in this National Park gem!

As is abundantly evident, the state of Wisconsin has so much to offer for nature enthusiasts, so stop in any one of these spectacular National Parks when traveling across the great American midwest!

Photo Courtesy NPS
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