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While Summer Will Look Different This Year, Still Many Opportunities To See The State

Travel Writer Shares Ideas To Explore Wisconsin Despite COVID-19 Canceling Many Summer Traditions

Wyalusing State Park
Wyalusing State Park. kenneth casper (CC-BY)

Summer in Wisconsin will look a little different this year as events across the state have been canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But that’s not a reason to keep yourself from enjoying a variety of activities the state has to offer — that also leave some room to social distance, said Gary Knowles, a travel writer and president of the Midwest Travel Writers Association.

One piece of advice, Knowles said, wherever your destination, check that it’s open before you hit the road, as many places are still in flux.

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Leisurely Walks

Green Bay Packers Heritage Trail

“This walking trail goes right through downtown Green Bay, and a lot of the important sites in terms of Packer history are right down there,” Knowles said.

Starting at the Neville Public Museum, the Packers Heritage Trail passes notable spots in Packers’ history like Curly Lambeau’s birthplace, City Stadium and St. Willebrord Catholic Church, where Vince Lombardi reportedly went to church every Sunday before the game. Fourteen plaques line the walk, telling the Green Bay Packers’ story.

Statue of former Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi stands outside of Lambeau Field
Statue of former Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi stands outside of Lambeau Field. Mike Roemer/AP Photo

The Welsh Hills Trail

A short trail, measuring in at just about a mile, the Welsh Hills Trail connects the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center in Spring Green to Unity Chapel, offering visitors a view of Taliesen and the surrounding landscape. A restaurant on-site offers carry out, and there are picnic tables if visitors want to have lunch, Knowles said.

“If you’re out there on a nice sunny day … there are spectacular views of the Wisconsin River and Taliesin itself,” he said.

Taliesin in Spring Green
Taliesin in Spring Green. Beth J. Harpaz/AP Photo

Scenic Drive

Highway 42, Door County

“Probably the most beautiful little curvy driving road in the state … it takes you from Gills Rock out to the shoreline where the Washington Island Ferry comes in,” Knowles said.

Designed by landscape architect Jen Jensen, the many curves in the road are intentional. Jensen believed in the harmonious connection between people and nature, and that environmental design has the power to affect people’s moods, he said.

“I don’t know anybody that’s ever driven that great little road that doesn’t say, ‘Wow, is that neat,’” Knowles said.

Highway 42 in Door County
Highway 42 in Door County. John Carrel (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Hidden Gem State Parks


One of Wisconsin’s oldest state parks, Wyalusing is perched above the Mississippi River in the southwestern corner of the state. It’s home to Native American burial mounds and many hiking and canoe trails.

“It overlooks the confluence of the Wisconsin and the Mississippi River and it’s just a gem of a site,” Knowles said. “They have some great hiking trails and you can easily … keep your distance from other hikers that you may run into there.”

Wyalusing State Park
Wyalusing State Park. Ron M (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Nelson Dewey State Park

A short trip from Wyalusing, Nelson Dewey State Park is named after Wisconsin’s first governor and overlooks the Mississippi River from a 500-foot bluff. Along with hiking and camping opportunities, the park also holds the Dewey home.

“It’s got really great views … and I would venture to say it’s much more of a hidden gem than even good old Wyalusing is,” Knowles said.

Nelson Dewey State Park
Nelson Dewey State Park. Amy Bayer (CC BY-ND 2.0)