The American Midwest has the reputation of being landlocked. But Wisconsin—with shores hugging not one, but two Great Lakes—begs to differ. Up north, the Apostle Islands spiral off Wisconsin's mainland in Lake Superior, where those looking for something to do will find scenic cliff formations, windswept beaches, and sea caves ripe for sailing, hiking, and spotting wildlife.
A more metropolitan scene blossoms on Wisconsin’s southeast shores, where Milwaukee's skyline straddles Lake Michigan. Every summer, the lakefront buds with the sounds and sights of Summerfest, a two-week music festival with performers ranging from Neil Diamond to Britney Spears. During winter, phantom rumblings from the iconic, chrome-and-leather Hogs at the Harley Davidson museum are enough to keep warm by.
Thanks to ingenuity, even areas without Great Lakes have enough water to splash around in. Lake Delton is a man-made freshwater lake that edges up against the Wisconsin Dells, known most famously as the waterpark capital of America. At Noah's Ark, 51 waterslides boasting twists and drops begin in the sky and empty into shimmering pools. The Dells also boasts old-timey portrait shops and oddball attractions such as Top Secret, an upside-down replica of the White House.
But in Wisconsin, it's insufficient to ask, "What is there to do?" without also asking, "What is there to eat?" Any Wisconsin travel guide will offer up an definitive answer: cheese and beer. Baumgartner's Cheese Store is Wisconsin’s oldest, and can be found in the quaint Swiss town of Monroe, located just an hour outside the state capital, Madison. For beer, try the Miller Brewery in Milwaukee, where 150 years of brewing history is served with each ice-cold sip during guided tours, or the Sprecher Brewery, where the tour is all-ages and includes samples of the brand’s famous sodas for those under 21.