This Badger State destination caters to the young and young at heart. Dubbed the “Waterpark Capital of the World,” Wisconsin Dells has the most indoor and outdoor water parks per capita than anywhere else on Earth. Pair that with quirky museums, zipline tracks and three state parks, and you’ve got a recipe for the ultimate family vacation.
The World’s Water Park Capital
Wisconsin Dells delivers thrill after thrill with more than 200 waterslides. Speed down the Scorpion’s Tail and Black Anaconda at Noah’s Ark, the largest water park in America with three miles of waterslides. The Wilderness Resort is the size of 12 football fields, with four indoor and four outdoor waterparks. Raft rides, bumper boats and extreme plunge slides are sure to keep the adrenaline going all day long. When you’re ready to relax, head to the Polynesian Water Park Resort to lounge in saunas, hot tubs and lazy rivers. Other noteworthy water parks in the area include Kalahari Resort, Chula Vista and Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park.
Wet and Wild Sports
It’s not just the water parks that offer outdoor excitement. Go kayaking along the Wisconsin River or try stand-up paddleboarding in Mirror Lake State Park. In Lake Delton, rent a boat from Dells Watersports, then set off in search of northern pike, bass and walleye.
Loving the Lower River
The Lower Wisconsin River is another angling hot spot, with panfish, muskie and white striped bass ready for the taking. Just learning how to fish? Practice your skills at the B&H Trout Fishing and Bait Shop and at the family-friendly ponds in Beaver Springs Fishing Park.
Trails to Mind-boggling Bluffs
The area’s star attractions include the 500-foot quartzite bluffs in Devil’s Lake State Park. The dramatic rock formations draw millions of visitors each year and can easily be reached by following popular routes like East Bluff, Balanced Rock and Devil’s Doorway. There are about 30 miles of trails in total, with most showcasing long-range vistas and sandy beaches.
Mirror, Mirror in the Park
More outdoor adventures await in Mirror Lake State Park. Marked by stunning sandstone cliffs, this 2,000-acre expanse offers fantastic hiking, bird-watching and cross-country skiing opportunities. Less than 50 miles south is Cave of the Mounds, a National Natural Landmark brimming with colorful crystal formations. Join a guided tour to learn how the limestone cave was formed over millions of years.
Your Destination for Family Fun
From laser tag venues to bowling alleys, you’ll find all sorts of entertainment outlets in the heart of the Dells. Get your heart pumping as you fly between treetops at Dells Zipline Adventures or challenge your family to a race at Big Chief’s Go-Karts. The city also has a variety of hands-on museums. Pan for gemstones and keep you what you find at the Dells Mining Co., peek at an unusual collection of oddities at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and test the laws of physics at the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory. Be sure to carve out some time for Wizard Quest, an interactive fantasy game with secret passageways and riddles to solve.
Let the Good Times Roll
Raise a glass and toast with Wisconsinites at the Dells Rare Barrel Affair. Held every May at the Swan Barn Door, this festival lets you sample barrel-aged beer from local brewers. Thirsty for more? Check out Dells on Tap and the Dells Craft Beer Walk in October to sip the Midwest’s finest seasonal microbrews. The Fall Wine Walk is held in the same month, giving you a chance to sample white and red varietals with delicious food pairings. You can also see over a thousand classic rides and mingle with fellow car enthusiasts at the Automotion Classic Car Show and enjoy a street carnival during Wo-Zha-Wa Days, a three-day festival kicking off the autumn season.
The rugged cliffs, peculiar rock formations and mysterious caves of the Wisconsin Dells were pretty much a secret until Henry Hamilton Bennett came along. A soldier turned photographer, Bennett began capturing local landscapes when he returned home from the Civil War in 1865. Over the years, his pictures became successful marketing pieces and drew countless tourists to the area. The Dells probably wouldn’t have become the vacation destination they are today without Bennett and his work. Stop by the H.H. Bennett Studio and Museum to tour his original studio and impressive photo gallery of surrounding landscapes. You can also pick up some of his prints in the gift shop.
For More Information
Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau
Wisconsin Department of Tourism