Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wisconsin Family Vacation Favorites

It's been one week since we returned from our Great Wisconsin Family Road Trip.  We traveled across the southern half of the state and up the peninsula over the course of six full days and I decided the best way to share about our trip is to share our family's favorite cheese, frozen custard, beer, meal, attraction and destination.

Wisconsin Family Vacation Favorite Cheese, Custard, Beer, Meal, Attraction and Destination

Favorite Cheese: Arena Cheese, Inc., Arena


Best Cheese in Wisconsin - Arena Cheese, Inc. Arena, Wisconsin

When traveling through Wisconsin, you have to take advantage of fresh cheese being made daily across the state.  Our family saw it as our own special mission to find the freshest, squeakiest cheese curds by literally buying cheese at one to two places a day.  Our family made an unanimous decision that Arena Cheese, Inc. in Arena, Wisconsin had the best cheese curds of our trip.  Arena Cheese makes cheese daily and you can even watch them making the cheese during certain times a day (they recommend that the best time to observe is between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. weekdays).  They had a wide variety of cheese curd flavors and all of them were squeaky fresh.  Be sure to get some co-jack cheese while you are there too, as they are home to this American cheese favorite.

Favorite Frozen Custard or Ice Cream: Zesty's Frozen Custard, Green Bay


Best Frozen Custard in Wisconsin Zesty's in Green Bay

Besides looking for cheese while visiting America's Dairyland, you also need to indulge in ice cream, or even better, frozen custard.  The best frozen custard we had on our trip was hands-down Zesty's Frozen Custard in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The frozen custard was rich, smooth and exactly what we were longing for.  Zesty's makes their frozen custard in the store at least every three hours so you always get a fresh and creamy treat.  Our family had their vanilla and chocolate frozen custard plain in cones, as well as a scramble, like the one pictured above.  I had the Ooey Gooey Cookie Dough Scramble with chocolate frozen custard, real cookie dough, hot fudge & caramel.  It was amazing!

Favorite Beer: New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus


Best Beer in Wisconsin New Glarus Brewing Company

Another thing that Wisconsin is known for is beer.  There are big and small breweries scattered across the state but one that is known across Wisconsin, and especially in all neighboring states is New Glarus Brewing Company.  New Glarus Brewing's beers are sold exclusively in Wisconsin so for people across the border like ourselves, it is a must buy.  What put us over the top with New Glarus Brewing was being able to visit their brewery in New Glarus, Wisconsin.  The facility sits on top of a hill south of town and looks like a Bavarian village, paying homage to their community's Swiss heritage.  You can go on a self-guided tour through the brewery and a museum is coming soon.  My husband and I also enjoyed participating in their tasting room and from that experience I learned that besides their well known Spotted Cow beer, I also like their Totally Naked and Stone Soup.  At the brewery there are also a lot of walking trails, picnic tables and sitting areas for people to sit down and enjoy a nice cold beer.

Favorite Meal: Fish Boil at Pelletier's, Fish Creek



One stop on our vacation was Door County.  We had several suggestions of things to do and places to eat, and the Fish Boil at Pelletier's in Fish Creek lived up and beyond our expectations.  The "Master Boiler" Matthew at Pelletier's is the third-generation carrying on his family's legacy of preparing fish boils for locals and tourists.  The fish boils began when settlers started coming to the area and the fish boil was an easy way to feed a big group of fishermen, farmers and lumbermen.  Fish boils today are done on a daily basis at Pelletier's and consist of locally caught whitefish cut into steaks, potatoes and onions.  The ingredients are boiled in a large stainless steel kettle over a wood fire.  Salt is the only seasoning and is primarily used to increase the boiling temperature of the water.  The boil begins with the potatoes and onions and then when they have about 10 more minutes to cook, the Master Boiler adds the fish.  When everything is cooked, the Master Boiler throws fuel oil into the fire beneath the kettle resulting in a burst of flames that forces the water to "boil over".  Our whole family loved this meal.  I couldn't believe how much our kids couldn't get enough of the fish!  And of course each meal is served with a slice of Door County Cherry Pie for dessert.

Favorite Attraction:  Circus World, Baraboo


Best Wisconsin Family Attraction - Circus World in Baraboo
Mr. K, Miss L, Miss A and Miss R sitting in one of the restored Circus wagons
Baraboo, Wisconsin is home to the Ringling Brothers and their heritage takes center stage at Circus World.  Our family had a great time at Circus World, walking around all of their exhibits, checking out all of the restored wagons, trains, instruments, costumes and more, as well as sitting down to watch several of their shows, including the Big Top Tent Circus!  We were amazed at all the activities and exhibits to explore.  We could have stayed there all day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and never would have had to look around for something to do.  Our kids have never been to a circus and the circus at Circus World was very well done with very talented animals, illusionists, artists and clowns.  The kids loved the clowns!  We even stayed longer than planned to just go to a comedy show hosted by the clowns.  Circus World is a must stop for any family vacation in Wisconsin.

Favorite Destination:  Wisconsin Dells


Best Family Destination in Wisconsin - Wisconsin Dells
Going on a Wisconsin Duck Tour
The Wisconsin Dells has a countless number of ways to have family fun and became our family's favorite destination of our trip.  When in Wisconsin Dells, the Waterpark Capitol of the World, you obviously need to spend at least a day at a waterpark.  Many hotels have their own waterpark and/or tickets to larger waterparks.  We spent an entire day at Noah's Ark Waterpark, America's Largest Waterpark, and never saw the entire park!  There were many areas perfect for the height of our children so we found plenty of places to have fun as an entire family.  While in the Wisconsin Dells we also really enjoyed going on a Duck Tour, as seen above.  The Duck can travel on land and water and includes many scenic views of the Dells, the Wisconsin River and Lake Delton.  Our tour guide Rachel was full of stories, history, information and jokes and made our tour a lot of fun.  Besides waterparks and duck tours, there are lots of comedy, magic, and water shows you can see, and Circus World in Baraboo is less than a half-hour away!

We had a great time on our family vacation in Wisconsin and I hope after reading through this list you're inspired to start planning yours!  Have you ever been to Wisconsin before?  What are some of your favorites?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

14 comments:

  1. Looks like a wonderful vacation! Our daughter recently moved to Madison, WI so we will hopefully make some fun memories there too.

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    1. That's great! And a nice thing about Madison is that it's pretty centrally located so you can get to just about everywhere in a few hours or less.

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  2. Fun! I have never seen a fish boil before, but we love shrimp boils so I'm sure we'd love it! Now I want to try all of the cheese and ice cream too! We are thinking of going to Wisconsin in November so this is great!

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    1. Let me know if you stop at any of these places! The fish boil was a hit for the whole family - entertainment and it was delicious!

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  3. You definitely hit some of our Wisconsin hotspots. Glad you enjoyed my state.

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    1. We enjoyed it so much we said we need to make a return trip!

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  4. Val, this post is going to help me plan a trip to Wisconsin! So many good places to visit.

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    1. Happy to help! Hope you have as much fun in Wisconsin as we did.

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  5. Sounds like the perfect southern Wisconsin vacation! Of all the trips we've taken to Wisconsin, we've never been to Circus World or Door County. You made me want to plan both sometime soon.

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    1. Two great places to visit! You could spend a whole vacation in Door County relaxing along Green Bay or Lake Michigan, exploring all the little towns, eating lots of delicious food, discovering all of the small towns, etc. And besides Circus World in Baraboo you can check out historical homes of some of the Ringling Brothers and they have some great parks to explore.

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  6. We love exploring new places in Wisconsin and your post has made me want to add more! We've had Door County on my bucket list for ages -- time to make that happen!

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    1. Door County is definitely worth a stop! We could have stayed there for days exploring!

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