Enjoy the heart and soul of the Midwest in Wisconsin! Each of these small towns will show you a little bit of the best that Wisconsin has to offer. Explore the lakes, fields, and streets of these small towns to see how charming the state of Wisconsin can be. Here’s our pick of 10 most beautiful small towns in Wisconsin.
This lovely little town is located on the shore of Lake Michigan, not too far from Milwaukee. It was once a wool mill town, but today it thrives on tourism. And it certainly does a good job of appealing to travelers! Nice 19th-Century homes line many of the streets, lending an antique charm to the area. There are plenty of local activities to explore, like the Cedar Creek Winery, the historic covered bridge, and the Ozaukee Interurban Trail. Besides this, there are plenty of museums to explore during colder weather, which makes the town an ideal place to stay all year round.
Lake Geneva is one of those places that appeals to pretty much anyone. In the winter, it’s a blast to enjoy the cold-weather sports like skiing and skating. In the summer, you can hike or zip line. In the spring, take a boat out on the lake. If you’re not into the outdoor activities, you can enjoy a cozy fire or head to the spa. Or, just to shopping and get some good food at any of the local restaurants. This place is simply beautiful, and it’s easy to see why so many people spend year after year returning to Lake Geneva for relaxation and adventure.
Once a village for farmers, lumberjacks, and fishermen, this delightful town offers the best of the humble life plus the luxury of comfortable living. Taking a stroll through Fish Creek will bring you back to an era when tree-lined streets and a slower pace were simply a way of life. Enjoy the great outdoors by the lake, go fishing, and tromp through the wilderness. Or, get a little fancier and take a tour. Whatever you do, you’ll have ample opportunity to enjoy the beautiful views that this area offers!
Bayfield is the perfect place to live or vacation if you enjoy visiting Apostle Islands. For readers not from Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands are a chain of islands in Lake Superior that offer more than enough adventure for anyone—hidden caves, wrecks, and opportunities for sailing are all on the table when you stay in Bayfield and visit the islands! Of course, Bayfield itself is pretty awesome, too. This artsy town is filled with a multitude of ways that artists have captured the scenic surroundings in canvas, paper, and clay.
This picturesque little town was founded by immigrants from Sweden. The town is characterized by bluffs, farms, and red barns. The best part, however, is the tiny little downtown area, which is filled with delightful European-style shops. The shops are bustling with life and activity; people come from miles around the shop the art that comes from Stockholm. Creativity is a living and breathing entity in Stockholm, or so it seems. Hardly anyone who visits can resist buying a piece of beautiful art!
This town was built in the 19th Century by Swiss immigrants and named after a place in their home country. The town is set against a beautiful rural backdrop, but its most distinctive characteristic of the town it its charming Swiss architecture and culture. Even the businesses seem European; there is a bakery, a butcher shop, and a brewery that are all reminiscent of the Swiss way of life. And much of the food served at the restaurants is Swiss, too! This makes it a fun place for travelers to go and experience European culture—without the expensive plane ticket!
Mineral Point is one of Wisconsin’s oldest cities. It was founded in 1827 as a mining town, producing lead and zinc. The architecture in the town is reflective of its heritage. You can see many lovely old block buildings, including the stunning First Methodist Church. Visitors can tour some of the historic homes, and many old buildings contain businesses such as independent breweries and galleries. Shop for local handmade pottery, beautiful jewelry, or fresh fudge! There is plenty to enjoy here, in the place where Wisconsin began.
Ashland is the quintessential “Small Town, USA.” It even has the typical Band Shell, an outdoor domed stage, complete with American flag mural. The Midwest flavor, lakeside location, and brownstone buildings seem to faintly remind small-town natives of their own childhoods. The best of Ashland is the outdoor excursions, from camping to boating to fishing. In fact, Ashland has two campgrounds, both of which are relatively inexpensive and have all the commodities. If you’re looking for a great place to take the kids camping, Ashland is it.
As most Norwegians are, the residents of Ephraim are fiercely proud of their heritage. In fact, they’ve done an excellent job of preserving it to share with you! There are over 30 historic sites in the area, from Anderson Dock to the old Moravian Church. If you’re interested in the history of American immigration, Ephraim is a great place to start! Within a backdrop of beautiful green scenery, the history of Ephraim comes alive through tours, museums, and preserved buildings.
This town is so named because the nearby lake actually looks like the shape of an elk’s heart. The English name is a translation of the original Potawatomi name. Don’t ask me how the Natives figured out the shape of the lake hundreds of years ago without GPS and satellite images, but in any case, the name has stuck over the centuries. Besides the lovely lakeside views, Elkhart has a lot to offer. Most famously, the Elkhart Road Races are immensely popular with locals and out-of-towners alike.