The Dells and Baraboo

I won’t pretend to know a lot about south central Wisconsin, although I love visiting the area.  There are tons of lures for any tourist, whether from the Badger State or elsewhere, one seeking first-rate entertainment, landscapes, shopping  and thrills.  And in no time, you can enjoy a good  sample-size, a collection of varying activities, to satiate the desires of every member of your party.

And as much as I enjoyed the trip, and I have written plenty of posts about my adventure, I’ve omitted the area’s most populous city: Madison.  That’ll have to wait for another excursion, and, of course, a new set of posts.  For now, I’ll recap this getaway’s highlights in a formal piece.

I’ll categorize this post in three separate segments, starting off with state parks.  Then I’ll mention a few breweries, which we had visited during downtime.  Lastly, I’ll include three fun activities, certainly excellent ways to pass your time, in Wisconsin Dells.

Let’s start off with state parks.  One of the biggest reasons for visiting the area, being a short two and a half hour drive from Green Bay,  was its scenic landscape.  And with picturesque spots, you’ll find state parks.  We visited four, but I’ll only list three.  The fourth, being a rather dull excursion, hardly what I expected from the park, turned out to be a brief stay.

So, park number one: that would be Mirror Lake State Park.  We hiked a few trails, and watched kayaks saunter through sandstone passages. 

I’d say, mainly because it’s very near Wisconsin Dells, with 46 miles of hiking trails,

a campground and a very small beach,

plus 15 miles of biking trails, this place can serve as an activity laden lodging – maybe a cheaper alternative versus the resorts in the Dells.

Our second spot, being closer to Baraboo, is a small, secluded and stunning parcel of land. 

It’s known as Pewits Nest State Natural Area.  There aren’t many activities here, basically just a 0.9 mile hiking trail. 

But you can surmise a sandstone gorge from its ridge, surmising the briskly moving water tumbling towards a forested plain.

The last park on my list, a short drive from Baraboo,  was my favorite – it seems to be everybody’s.    It’s known as Devil’s Lake State Park, which is named for a landlocked lake with sandy beaches.  The Native Americans believed these waters to be spiritual.

The park, itself, boasts 40 miles of hiking trails, some bring you to the top of a 500 foot  quartzite hill –

allowing for an excellent view of the lake.  The beaches have all the amenities of a public beach, and a nearby grassy expanse, one dotted with trees, acts as a lakeside picnic area.

Next are my beer adventures. I’ll start my brewery portion, a segment featuring three area establishments, by saying all three were very cool.

My first choice is near Wisconsin’s most popular state park.  You should know the park; I just listed it above. 

Yeah, Tumbled Rock Brewing Company, a fashionable place to enjoy a beer, resides at the feet of the Baraboo Hills – and right next door to Devil’s Lake State Park.  The brews are delicious, and the beer garden is supurb.

The place offers five permanent taps, along with a whopping ten seasonal brews.   Its menu has a full slate, and the pizzas, which are reasonably priced, are delicious.

The next on my list, an excellent rustic woodland  hangout, actually, it lies near the heart of Wisconsin Dells, would be Moose Jaw Pizza and Brewing Company. 

It may seem like a very commercial place, and it is.  But still, the atmosphere is super cool, the beer is pretty good and the pizzas….just WOW!

My third spot on this list, and my favorite, as I was dying to visit it, due to reading some promotional liturature before the trip began, is Al. Ringling Brewing Company.  It literally sits in a brick building, one attached to Al’s redstone mansion, and sports a Ringling family beer. 

Along with that, twenty taps accompany the Ringling Original.  Add pub eats, with a taproom sporting circus wagon decor,

and this fun place, situated near the original winter home of the Ringling Bros. Circus, will prove to be the Greatest Brewery on Earth…well, it’s one of my favorites at least.

And now, for my grand finale, I’ll sum up a few activities in Wisconsin Dells.  Note: the Dells’ biggest draws are water parks.  We didn’t visit any, but, proving there’s much more in this buzzing tourist hub, we engaged in some other travel related endeavors.

First, we just cruised the downtown.  And if you can imagine a business,

a fun tourism establishment, odds are you’ll find it here –

some you wouldn’t have ever dreamt of.

Secondly, and just as fun, would be Pirate’s Cove mini golf course.  I believe there are five separate 18- hole courses, some with panoramic views of the city, in this fun-filled center.  With the courses ranging in difficulty, we started with an easy one, reading tidbits on pirates past, one pirate actually left his nagging wife for an easier life.. .any ways, I’m way off course…we finished up on a more difficult set.  I really didn’t want to spend all day golfing, and we didn’t, but it was a lot of fun.

Finally, moving towards our final activity, and, I don’t want to brag, but this was solely my choice. Anyways,  if you consider the terrain around the Dells, an amphibious vehicle, one that can course through forests, or may be hum down a river, or, better yet, cruise Lake Delton, would suit the landscape fine.

A retired WWII vehicle, nicknamed the duck, fits that bill.  This motored transport is fun to ride.  Whether splashing into the water at full speed, or taking tight turns at pulse-pounding rates,

you’ll love this hour long ride.

And that’s it! I think I’ve summed everything up quite well. Anyways, the summer has just begun, so go on out, bring the fam and just enjoy yourself for a blissful summer week. Since you might need a destination, keep this place in mind.

Safe Travels!

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