The Getaway
Must-See Destinations Only Available in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a hotbed of strange and unusual attractions. Be it a Hall of Fame for clowns or bizarre, oversized statues of fish and soup kettles; you're bound to find a host of weird and amazing things to see. In a country that feels as though every state has its own biggest ball of twine, the back roads of Wisconsin prove that The Badger State has every angle covered. In fact, there are so many weird and wonderful things to do in Wisconsin; you might never want to leave until you've seen them all.


01 Experience the House on the Rock: The World’s Weirdest Place

House on the Rock Photo credit: allistair on Visual Hunt CC BY

When you see photographs of this strange, architectural phenomenon, you'll find it hard to believe it's real. For more than 60 years, the House on the Rock has been baffling and unusual its visitors. It’s even inspired cult authors like Neil Gaiman, whose work “American Gods” features a chapter dedicated exclusively to the home. With instrument rooms full of orchestras that seemingly play music themselves; mannequin angels, hanging from the ceiling above the world's biggest carousel; and sculptures of fighting giant sea monsters bigger than the Statue of Liberty, you might even think there wouldn't be room left. On the contrary, you can spend hours here. And you might have to. After all, the epic infinity skywalk seemingly goes on forever.

Tip: While you’re in Wisconsin, you might as well check out the punny local “Rock in a House” too - it’s exactly as it sounds.


02 Meander Around the National Mustard Museum

national mustard museum Photo credit: BobbbyLight on Visualhunt CC BY

Previously featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Wisconsin's National Mustard Museum is a Weird America must-see. Dedicated to the nation's favorite condiment, this kitschy treasure of a museum in Middleton has more than 5,000 mustards on display with hundreds of them even there to sample at the tasting bar. Whether you love mustard or just really want to know why there's an entire museum dedicated it, it's definitely worth the visit. And people say Wisconsin isn't hot, pft!


03 Dive deep into the Cave of the Mounds

Stalactites inside Cave of the Mounds, a natural limestone cave located near Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, United States bjphotographs / Getty Images

Not only is Wisconsin full of anomalies on the surface, but it also has its fair share of them under the ground, too. Cave of the Mounds is a natural limestone cave that feels like it goes on forever. With colorful rock formations exuding from its walls, the Cave of the Mounds is a treasure trove of bizarre and fascinating rock formations you have to see to believe. Since its discovery, Cave of the Mounds has gained in popularity with tourists and with that, now has dramatic lighting that brings even more magic to this incredible experience.


04 Get Ocean Ready and Head for Schoolhouse Beach

schoolhouse beach wisconsin davelogan / Getty Images

If you close your eyes and picture a beach, what do you see? While it's probably not what lies on the pebbled sands of Schoolhouse Beach, it will be the second you visit. Found on the isolated Washinton Island on the banks of Lake Michigan, Schoolhouse Beach is one of only five of its kind in the world. Whether you go just to skim stones or bring a picnic and swimsuit to make a day of it, Schoolhouse Beach is a true hidden gem of a place.


05 Venture into the Most Fun Town in America

wisconsin dells atlantic-kid / Getty Images

Wisconsin Dells has been a veritable tourist hotspot for more than 150 years. Young families love it, groups of friends love it, and older folks love it. The Dells has something and somewhere for everyone all throughout the year. Whether you're into cheesy attractions or unique memories, you'll find them in Wisconsin Dells. Some of the coolest things to do there include taking in the stunning Wisconsin River from one of the town's many cruise ships, jump on a jet boat, explore Lost Canyon on a horse-drawn coach, and even see the White House turned upside-down - literally. Wisconsin Dells is full of unusual and interesting attractions to fill in your days.


06 Explore the Apostle Island Sea Caves

apostle island ice caves HoogzPhoto / Getty Images

Whether you take the boat tour or rent a kayak yourself, the Apostle Islands and their caves are more experiences unique to Wisconsin. The Apostle Islands consist of 22 of Lake Superior's islands, and they've built up a grand reputation of being one of the most stunning natural wonders in the country. During the summer, the sea caves are completely accessible. However, by winter, each is overtaken by a great freeze, not unlike a scene from Game of Thrones. Once the ice is set, you can take a tour across to the islands on foot and explore the marvelous icy grottos.


07 See a Movie at the Golden Rondelle

S. C. Johnson buildings in Racine Wisconsin with design flair. The Golden Rondelle was designed by Taliesin Associated Architects.

From the outside, the Golden Rondelle Theater appears to be a UFO that's crashed head-first into a complex. It's actually a remnant of the 1964 New York World's Fair that somehow wound up in Wisconsin. You'll find it as part of the tour of the S.C. Johnson Headquarters. On the whole, this entire campus is a must-see for architecture buffs with strange, towering complexes, indoor lidos, and sculptures honoring Wisconsin's First Nations. The 1.5-hour public tour is free, but reservations are needed, and the tours are only held Thursday-Sunday. Regardless, the theater still screens the Oscar-winning documentary that first played there.


08 Escape Your Fear of Clowns

Exterior brick building, Banner celebrating 130 years of Ringling Brothers Heritage

No matter how the worldwide fear of clowns got started, all they want to do is bring joy to people. In Wisconsin, they still do. The International Clown Hall of Fame is in Baraboo, a town that, itself, has an expansive circus history. Whether you're afraid of clowns or love them, wandering this small museum will introduce you to history's greatest clowns, some historical clowning memorabilia, and all the clown paraphernalia you never knew you needed.


09 Cruise Along the Scenic Wisconsin Great River Road

wisconsin great river road James Brey / Getty Images

Wisconsin's only scenic byway takes you along the banks of the Mississippi River. Driving the 250-mile route will take you through some of Wisconsin's most remote and beautiful river towns and villages, many of which have been there since the 1600s. On your drive, you'll pass historic places, weird roadside attractions, and the everyday beauty of the Wisconsin countryside. Everywhere along the road has its own stories to tell and people to meet. It's truly one of America's finest drives.


10 Enter a Shrine to Cheese

Mars Cheese Castle has been an iconic road stop and "cheese landmark" on interstate 94 between Milwaukee and Chicago for generations going back to 1947

As if you could visit Wisconsin without including at least one cheese-related experience. Despite the way it sounds, the Mars Cheese Castle is unfortunately not a castle made of cheese. It is, however, a giant castle that's filled with every kind of cheese you could possibly imagine. Stop by for some souvenir cheese to head home with and grab a grilled cheese on the way! Additionally, Mars Cheese Castle also has meats, freshly baked goods, popcorn, and so much more. Perhaps it should even become the Wisconsin State Castle.


Scroll Down

for the Next Article

The Getaway Badge
Sign up to receive insider info and deals that will help you travel smarter.