Summer Trips for Students

Katie Wetterau, Writer

As we count down the days left of school, students begin to think of how much free time they will now have on their hands. Yet, as we pack up our books and pens, it’s difficult to decide what to do with that time.
Whether you enjoy hiking outdoors or being in the lively bustle of the city, here are some places to explore in Wisconsin during the summer months.

MILWAUKEE 1.5 hours away

  • Black Cat Alley is a one-block alleyway filled with installations of painted murals. The alleyway consists of 21 large murals painted by 24 artists located around the globe. 
  • Want to see more art? The Milwaukee Art Museum is home to nearly 25,000 works of art and exhibits (tickets range from $0-$22 depending on age and other factors). 
  • While still in the heart of the city, stop at the Milwaukee Public Market for a quick, locally-sourced snack. The market offers baked goods, cheese, meats, fresh produce, and prepared food at many of the vendors.
  • While taking a stroll down the Milwaukee Riverwalk, stop at the North Point Lighthouse a few minutes away from the shore line of lake Michigan.
  • Moving away from the shore, from 6-9pm on Thursdays, you can enjoy Jazz in the Park at the Cathedral Square Park with free admission.

Price range: $0-$22 (without spending money)



MADISON 1.5 hours away

  • Exclusively on Saturdays, anyone is welcome to stop by Dane County Farmers Market which has a large assortment of vendors. 
  • While still in the center of Madison, take part in self-guided tour through the contemporary Madison Museum of Contemporary art or the more historical Chazen Museum of Art, that both have free admission.
  •  If you’re interested in viewing more art, the Madison Mural Ally offers a colorful display of graphics and imagery from creators around the country. 
  • House on the Rock The unique establishment offers 20 different themed exhibits, including, the infinity room and the world’s largest indoor carousel.
  • Olbrich Botanical Gardens. These gardens feature 16 acres of Wisconsin’s distinctive vegetation. For a small fee of $6, visit the tropical Bolz Conservatory, filled with exotic plants, orchids, birds, and a waterfall.  
  • After exploring Madison, take a lunch (or dinner!) break at Memorial Union Terrace. Customers can enjoy the view of the lake and the occasional outdoor movie or live music performance.
  •  If you’re still feeling hungry, stop in at Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery for a sweet treat with plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. 


Door County 1.5 hours away

  •  If you want to be by the water, stop at the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, North Pierhead Light. The fully-functioning lighthouse is open to visitors along the pier of the lighthouse, and is a great spot for photography and fishing along the rocks.
  • Cave Point County Park is a must-see when going to Door County. Hike down the rock formations that the caves are carved from, or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, jump from the cliffs into the chilly water below (at your own risk). Take a small adventure with the Door County Kayak & E- Bike Tours / Rentals. Visitors can go on a shipwreck kayak tour, ebike and Hiking tours and explore the coves along the water.  Prices do very and they can get a little bit expensive (around $99+) But overall a very cool experience.

Trails in Door County include…

  •  Whitefish Dunes State Park; great place to walk along Rocky Shore lines of Lake Michigan while witnessing sand dunes. 
  • Pennsylvania state park is another Door County must see. The main stops at the state park will be the Eagle Tower, Sven’s Bluff, and the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. There will be other smaller stops along the trails and excursions depending on your interests. If you’re looking for a Scenic Drive and easy walking path, Ellison Bluff State Natural Area is the perfect thing to do.  You can drive down the tree Canopy Road that sneaks into a little Park perched on a Overlook out to Green Bay. You can walk down to pay the paths on to a high cliff overlooking to bay. 

La point 6 hours away

  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a remote place to explore Bayfield Wisconsin. Since there is no way for transportation on land visitors will have to kayak, boat, Water Taxi or take the Apostle Island Cruise to get to the location (Prices vary for this option). The islands consist of 22 forms of land with walking trails on most. WARNING! Before adventuring out to the Apostle Islands please be sure to check the updated weather advisory and be prepared with the proper equipment
  •  If you’re looking for a safer option, near the islands and connected to land Big Bay State Park is great place to hike and explore. The park has Sandstone Bluffs and caves with a 1.5 mile Long Beach and great hiking trails.

Wisconsin Dells  1 hour 40 min

  • If you are looking for a closer island to explore, like the apostle islands;witches gulch in the wisconsin dells. Witches Gulch is a walking path made through a narrow curving canyon carved by wind and water and filled with vegetation such as fern plants. Their beautiful shadowy passages and hidden whirlpool chambers make it a fun place to tour.  You do have to purchase a ticket because it is a guided tour through the island along with the price of the ferry ride there. (idk what i am saying here) also you can ealy frind more locations to vist whale there.  Price range: $9- $30 plus spending money

Blue Mounds 2 hours

  • Cave of the mounds in blue mounds wisconsin if also a amazing place to see the beauty of our earth.  The cave is an natural limestone underground is promoted as the “jewel box” of major American caves because of its beauty and its mineral formations called speleothems.

Price range: $10.95- $18.95 plus spending money


Baraboo 1 hour 50 min

  • Devils lake is a beautiful hiking trail and a great way to get outside. The trail has two large sand beaches,picnic areas and over 29 miles of hiking & mountain bike trails. They offer kayak, canoe and paddleboat and stand-up board rentals too. Price range: $0-$35 depending on rentals