15 Fall Road Trips for Milwaukee Families

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fall road trip

Summer’s over, but that doesn’t mean the fun ends in Wisconsin. It’s prime time for fall road trips! 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. We’ve put together a list of our 15 favorite fall destinations in the state of Wisconsin. All are within a 3-hour drive of Milwaukee! 

Note: The team at Milwaukee Mom is working hard to remain your go-to spot for parenting resources in the Greater Milwaukee Area. While we will do our best to be as up-to-date as possible, please be aware that we are still dealing with changes related to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please consult your local public health authority for social distancing recommendations and call ahead to confirm hours and offerings of any business or organization listed. 

15 Fall Road Trips for Milwaukee Families

  1. 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. Click here to learn more.
  2. Upper Mississippi River Valley – This fall road trip is a longer drive (3 hours!), but worth it! 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. BONUS: Click here for a WINE TOUR in the area! 
  3. Whitefish Dunes State Park – A 2.5 hour trip from Milwaukee, Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County offers hiking trails situated between Lake Michigan and the forest. These walks entertain children with both sand and fall colors. Click here to learn more.
  4. Washington Island – located at the very tip of Door County, this is the only year-round working island of the 30 in Door County. 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. Check out their website!
  5. Kettle Moraine Pike Lake Unit – located about 50 minutes away from Milwaukee just east of Hartford, WI. Connected to the south and north end of Kettle Moraine, walk through trails providing miles of beautiful scenery. Click here to learn more!
  6. 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. Click here to learn more!
  7. Kettle Moraine – If you’re interested in the beauty of a fall road trip more than the destination, 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’ll find so much more to do! Click here to learn more!
  8. Wade House – Located in Sheboygan County, The Wade House returns to a time of stagecoach travel. Visit a community of European immigrants and Yankee pioneers. In-person activities are reservation-based in August, September, and October. Wade House information.
  9. 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. Hours and information here.
  10. 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, hike bluff trails, and enjoy river views. Click here to learn more! 
  11. Holy Hill – 40 minutes from Milwaukee, this is probably one of the most popular destinations for a family during the fall.  On top of the hill, walk up the Basilica’s Tower to get a bird’s eye view of everything. The dappled foliage provides a colorful landscape. Afterward, enjoy the gift shop or walk the grounds and through the leaves. To find out more information on mass times and hours, click here.
  12. Lyons Wildlife Area – 40 minutes southwest of Milwaukee near Lake Geneva, enjoy these lowland’s 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. Afterward, drive to Lake Geneva (about two miles away) and walk through the town as it celebrates fall with its vast array of shops and restaurants. To learn more, click here!
  13. 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 the history and take in the beautiful fall colors surrounding you. In-person special programs are reservation-based for 2020. To find hours and activities, click here!
  14. 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 a fantastic 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 sandcastles on the beach. They even have a dog-friendly beach area. To find hours and a map, click here!
  15. 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 be too cold to swim, enjoy a picnic on the beach and admire the beautiful scenery surrounding you. An MKE mom favorite, click here to find out more information!

Buckle up those seat belts and hit the road to enjoy the gorgeous fall scenery!

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