Summer’s over, but that doesn’t mean the fun ends in Wisconsin! Grab your car keys, a snack or two, and your GPS so you can hit the road to enjoy some of the prettiest drives around. When the leaves turn colors, it’s the perfect time to pile the kids in the car and go exploring so we’ve put together a list of our 15 favorite fall destinations in the state of Wisconsin, all within a 3-hour drive of Milwaukee!
15 Fall Road Trips for Milwaukee Families
- Marinette County Waterfall Tour – A 2.5 hour trip from Milwaukee, Marinette County has over 14 waterfalls to explore. You can hike, camp, or picnic the day away. You can also drive through 125 miles of scenery as you look at the color rich landscape.
- Upper Mississippi River Valley – A 3 hour drive from Milwaukee, the Mississippi River boasts nearly 250 miles of gorgeous fall scenery. Drive through small towns like Diamond Bluff, Nelson, and Ferryville. Stop at river barges like Lock and Dam Number 4 and take in the sights of the river and the forest behind it.
- Whitefish Dunes State Park – A 2.5 hour trip from Milwaukee, Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County offers hiking trails that situated in-between Lake Michigan and the forest. These walks entertain children with both sand and fall colors.
- Washington Island – located at the very tip of Door County, the island is the only year round working island. It’s also been in TripAdvisor and Travel + Leisure as one of the top destinations in the country to witness fall foliage. Once you get off the ferry, walk around and enjoy the scenery, eat some great food, or visit the Art and Nature Center.
- Kettle Moraine Pike Lake Unit – located about 50 minutes away from Milwaukee, it’s located just east of Hartford, WI. Connected to the south and north end of Kettle Moraine, walk through trails providing miles of beautiful scenery.
- Kettle Moraine Northern Unit – only 60 minutes away from Milwaukee, enjoy the same beautiful trails you see in other parts of Kettle Moraine. Bring your basketball or soccer ball and enjoy the parks there as well.
- Kettle Moraine – Kettle Moraine provides 115 miles of driving scenery filled with maple, oak and aspen fall colors. Don’t miss places like Mauthe Lake. Near the end of the stretch you’ll end up in Sheboygan County and you can visit the:
- Wade House – Located in Sheboygan County, The Wade House returns to a time of stagecoach travel and visit a community of European immigrants and Yankee pioneers. With activities like the Civil War weekend (end of September) or an interactive scavenger hunt, kids can have fun and learn about history. You can also take a ride in a stagecoach and enjoy all the colors up close.
- Governor Dodge Park – Situated 2 hours away, west of Madison, this park is beautiful during the summer, but it shines during the fall. Enjoy one of the many hiking trails and immerse yourself in some beautiful fall colors.
- Tower Hill State Park in Spring Green – 2 hours away, a little past Madison, Tower Hill State Park offers a park with plenty of colors. Walk up the tower to see the surrounding landscape. If you go October 20-22, go into Spring Green for their Fall Art Tour. Heading this way in September? Try to score some tickets to see a show “up the hill” at American Players Theatre.
- Holy Hill – 40 minutes from Milwaukee, this is probably one of the most popular destinations for a family during the fall. Situated on a hill, walk up the Basilica’s Tower to get a bird’s eye view of everything. The different color leaves provide for a colorful landscape. Afterwards, enjoy the gift shop or walk the grounds and through the leaves.
- Lyons Wildlife Area – 40 minutes southwest of Milwaukee, near Lake Geneva, enjoy these lowlands cool and warm grass. Home to many fowl and different types of animals, you can walk freely through the area and enjoy the colors of fall as well. Afterwards, drive to Lake Geneva (about two miles away) and walk through the town as it celebrates fall with its wide array of shops and restaurants.
- Old World Wisconsin – 45 minutes away from Milwaukee, Old World Wisconsin offers a multitude of events during the fall. From autumn harvesting, to historic beer brewing, it’s a great place to visit during the fall. Learn about history and take in the beautiful fall colors surrounding you.
- Devil’s Lake – Approximately 2 hours away from Milwaukee, Devil’s Lake offers plenty to see during fall. Walk on any numerous hiking trails for an amazing view at the bluff overlooking the lake or walk next to the lake and enjoy the scenery surrounding it. If it’s warm enough (for fall), make some sand castles on the beach. They even have a dog friendly beach area.
- Harrington State Park – Approximately 40 minutes away from Milwaukee. Harrington Beach is a family favorite, but walking through the park during Fall offers a whole new view. The trails take you through the woods and you can walk directly through the colorful trees. While it will too cold to swim, enjoy a picnic on the beach and admire the beautiful scenery surrounding you.
BONUS :: If you’re looking for something a bit further away, check out this huge post on a trip to Duluth! About a 6 hour drive from Milwauke, Duluth is accessible and oh so gorgeous in the fall and has tons for families to enjoy together.