Looking for activity ideas near Minocqua, Wisconsin October 21-26.
October 13, 2019 7:37 PM   Subscribe

We are two people in our 50s headed up to the north woods for a 15th anniversary cabin getaway trip. Not our first time, but we'd like to hear from others about places/things/experiences that are either in Minocqua, Wisconsin (Booth Lake vicinity) or within a day trip from Minocqua that could be fun or interesting to experience.

The end of October WI weather can be dicey but we really enjoyed a pontoon boat tour the last time we were there end of October a couple of years ago. Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is enormous and we'd like to hear about any particular places of interest for flat-path non-professional day hikers, either in that forest or other state natural areas. We accidentally found ourselves on the shores of Lake Superior last time and hadn't planned it, but this time we might go back if there's something specific worth seeing/experiencing up thaddaway. We are trying to keep both sunny/temperate weather-geared activities and and also cold/rainy/snowy (((pleasenopleasenopleaseno))) weather in mind.

Other attractions/oddities we've seen that we've previously seen and enjoyed...
National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame/Hayward
Jurustic Park/Marshfield
Fred Smith's Concrete Park/Phillips
World's Largest Talking Loon/Mercer
Paul Bunyon and Babe/Minocqua

If you got a week-long chance to go play around in northern Wisconsin where would you head?
posted by mcbeth to Travel & Transportation around Minocqua, WI (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So, this is my favorite area, and I spend as much time there as possible! Have you walked the Bearskin Trail? It's an old rail track, so meets your specifications for flat and non-professional hiker friendly. You can catch the north end near Torpy Park right in Minocqua. If you are into biking, the bike trail between Boulder Junction and Manitowish Waters is nice, and lots of place zdx to stop. Indoors...hmmm, I usually just hang out inside the cabin by a fire when the weather is bad. :) The museum downtown is small but fun too. Maybe a show at the Campanile Center?

If you want to venture farther afield, check out waterfalls of the Black River in the UP. Really fun, and you can make it minimal hiking or do a bit more if you wish!
posted by TheFantasticNumberFour at 8:40 PM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I’m a big fan of Spang’s in St Germain. Red sauce Italian in an old church.
posted by rachelpapers at 5:52 AM on October 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Greetings from the Northwoods! I'm currently here for a long weekend - just south of Minocqua. Peak color was supposedly this past weekend, but despite the wind and the snow (!!!) the leaves are still hanging on the birches, so you should get some spectacular fall color. Agreeing with TheFantasticNumberFour the Bearskin trail is close by, and nice and flat (except for one hill by Blue Lake). It's also great for bike riding, if you want to rent bikes. Also agree with the bike trails between Boulder Junciton and Manitowish Waters. The waterfalls in the UP are also good, though a few of the trails may be a little rugged - I think they have signs posted for the more strenuous hikes. I, a very out of shape middle-aged lady, was able to do most of them.

Easy, pretty hiking can be had just south of Minocqua at the American Legion State Forest. The pontoon rental looked like it was still open this past weekend, so you could putter around the Minocqua Chain of Lakes.

If you are up for a drive, Bayfield WI is a cute little town on Lake Superior, about a 2.5 hour drive from Minocqua.

The weather looks kind of rainy this coming weekend, but no snow! I'm also a sit-by-the-fire and read kinda gal when the weather is bad.

There's the Penny Museum in Minocqua; An Oktoberfest benefit (with a polka band!); Ghost Tours in Wausau; and a Potato Celebration. Rhinelander has a train museum (with a model railroad layout of Rhinelander in the basement and a logging camp recreation.

You could also visit a different Supper Club each night: Norwood Pines, White Stag, Marty's Place North, Al-Gen's, Shady Sue's. If you are tired of supper club food, I can also recommend Anthony's Ristorante in Woodruff (a bit spendy, but delicious) for Italian.
posted by sarajane at 8:05 AM on October 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

If you're willing to take a little extra time and you're going to Bayfield, you can take the ferry to Madeline Island. I think it adds a half hour or so to the trip. I like Minocqua. I have always assumed the little town in American Gods was based on it for no better reason than a friend separately came to the same conclusion.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 8:28 PM on October 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think you might be cutting it close, but if you head to Bayfield, you can also do a cruise of the Apostle Islands to check out the sea caves. The tours shut down right around nowish in October and are subject to cancellation depending on the weather/roughness of the lake, but very cool if it works out.

Also potential, but check dates, are the chairlift rides at Rib Mountain in Wausau (an hourish south of Minocqua) to see the fall foliage from the canopy.

A little bit of schlep driving-wise, but you'll be a bit under two hours from the Porcupine Mountains and Lake of the Clouds in the UP. Gorgeous vistas of foliage (depending on peak timing) and vistas generally, as well as some pretty easy trails to explore woods and waterfalls.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 7:11 AM on October 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I grew up in Rhinelander, WI, not too far from Minocqua! Rhinelander has recently redone their whole downtown to make it more tourist friendly, with cute shops and cafes and stuff. Last time I was home, it was still under construction but I hear it’s done now. You should check it out. (The house I grew up in was about a half a mile away from the Al-Gen Supper Club recommended upthread and can confirm that it’s delicious. It’s my favorite place to go when I go home.)

Rhinelander is also the Home of the Hodag and there are fun artist painted Hodag statues (sort of like CowParade but Hodags) all over town. I think the original one might still be mounted in the Nicolet college taxidermy exhibit, but I haven’t been there since I was small.
posted by Weeping_angel at 11:35 AM on October 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

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