The suns out and summer is here! That can only mean one thing, it’s time to break out the swim suits, paddles, and get some friends together on an awesome Wisconsin water adventure! Wisconsin has countless spots to hit up, be it on a kayak, canoe, tube, SUP or raft, nothing beats the heat like a day out paddling out on the water. We’ve put together your ultimate list of Wisconsin water adventures you need to go too! Check them out below and share with your friends!
Lower St. Croix River – Maps
The St. Croix River is a 170 mile tributary of the Mississippi River. The lower section of the river forms the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin before feeding into the Mississippi River. St. Croix was one of the original eight rivers to be protected by the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. That being, a trip down the St. Croix is scenic, secluded, and packed with nature.
St. Croix traverses many different landscapes including sand bars and rock cliffs. It is particularly scenic going through the St. Croix Dalles–massive basalt cliffs and rock gorges formed by glaciers years ago. When you come to the St. Croix River, make sure you check out Riverwood Canoe and Kayak. They offer a wide variety of rentals and cater to all experience levels. The river itself is very slow flowing, so your journey will be more of a relaxed float than a rigorous journey.
Apostle Islands – Maps
The Apostle Islands, located off northern Wisconsin in Lake Superior, are a group of 22 islands that leave you with some of the best paddling around. This is a quintessential Wisconsin water adventure as you’re able to paddle within and through the many sea caves scattered throughout. Lake Superior offers wide stone beaches off the shores of the islands.
The water is so clear and shallow that you can skip rocks, wade out to find them and skip them again (and sometimes again, depending on your rock-skipping abilities). In addition to the beaches, the Apostle Islands are also home to beautiful sea caves on Sand Island and Devils Island. Paddling through the sea caves is an experience unlike anything else! Look no further than Lost Creek Adventures when you’re ready to experience this majestic Adventure. They offer a wide variety of day trips as well as camping trips in and around all the different features the islands have to offer.
Wisconsin River – Maps
The Wisconsin River is another tributary of the Mississippi River that runs through central Wisconsin before veering West to its confluence with the Mississippi River at the Minnesota border. In the lower section of the river, from Sauk City, WI, to its confluence with the Mississippi River, there are no dams or man-made obstructions in the river, allowing for 93 miles of uninterrupted river flow. With countless sand beaches along the way to pull off for a break, its easy to spend a whole day out on the river.
In this long stretch of river, wildlife is abundant, you could come across white-tail deer, otters, beavers, sandhill cranes, eagles, hawks, and several species of fish. Much of the recreation on the Wisconsin River is in the lower section where fishing, canoeing, tubing, and camping are all very popular. When you make it out to the Wisconsin, make sure to check out Wisconsin River Outings for all your canoeing, kayaking, and camping needs!
Peshtigo River – Maps
The Peshtigo River is a 136-mile tributary of Green Bay in Northeastern Wisconsin. The river is known throughout the midwest for a four mile stretch of continuous intermediate and advanced whitewater nicknamed the Roaring Rapids. Along with the rapids, the scenery along the river is breathtaking, leaving you with views throughout.
The Roaring Rapids are a magnet for advanced-level paddlers looking for a challenge. The Peshtigo River is a great river for whitewater enthusiasts of all skill levels because it offers a wide variety of rapids, with class II-IV in the spring and class II-III in summer! While there are several different outfitters to choose from of the Peshtigo River, Wildman Adventure Resort is the go to spot for when you go. They have nine different outdoor adventures, from camping, to rafting, to lodging, all along the Peshtigo River.
Lake Geneva – Maps
Lake Michigan Surfing – Maps
That’s right, head over to Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, for an unreal Wisconsin water Adventure! Because of its location and geography, this area on the Great Lake leaves you with some of the best waves around. You’ll can explore the countless miles of beach in search of the best waves, making that an Adventure in itself. It’s perfect with a group, as you can kick back, relax, camp out on the beach until the waves are perfect, and spend a day out on the water.
If surfing isn’t your style, the Lakes are also an ideal destination for stand up paddle boarding. Hitting up the Great Lakes for an adventure is a must, and a good change of pace from others. When you go, stop by EOS Surf & Outdoor Shop for all you adventure needs. Experts on the water, they have surfboards, skimboards, SUP’s, kayaks, and wetsuit rentals for you to hit the water and catch some waves!
Milwaukee – Maps
Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin, known for its breweries, baseball stadium, and river walk. If you’re looking for a different kind of adventure, or if you’re looking to escape the city in a new way, look no further than the Milwaukee River! There isn’t a better way to truly experience the city as you paddle through it with the skyline front and center.
The Milwaukee Kayak Co. has all of your river needs covered, from kayaks to canoes to SUPs. The river in the city is very calm, perfect for a daytime outing to see the city from a new vantage point. There are several different options when it comes to the Milwaukee River–you can rent and paddle at your leisure or you can go on an organized tour of the city. Both are great options to see the city in a new light!
Menominee River – Maps
The Menominee River is a river in northeastern Wisconsin. The river and its tributary, the Brule River, form the southern part of the border between Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula before draining into Green Bay. Several reservoirs have been created along the course of the river, creating some of the deepest and cleanest lakes in the area.
Much of the land surrounding the Menominee River is strictly for recreational use and has been restricted for commercial and residential development, meaning the shores are lined with trees and wildlife not docks and houses. Filled with great whitewater rapids, the Menominee is a great river for thrill seekers. Even if you’re not comfortable in the water, Wildman Adventure Resort have got you covered for all your adventure needs, including a zip line course through the trees and along the Menominee River.
Upper St. Croix/Namekagon River – Maps
The upper St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers meet near the town of Grantsburg, and produces amazing scenic floats for all to experience the true beauty of Wisconsin. With the St. Croix being named a National Scenic Riverway, you’re left with almost untouched Wisconsin scenery. Rapids along the river getting ranging from class I-II, you’re able to have a relaxed float with some excitement along the way.
The Namekagon is one of Wisconsin’s premier rivers to paddle. Specifically, multiple day trips. Numerous islands along the river, relatively relaxed float, engulfed in Wisconsin wilderness, and with countless campsites scattered throughout, its made for multiple day outings. Make sure and stop by Wild River Outfitters when you’re ready to hit up the Upper St. Croix and Namekagon. Full Service canoe/kayak rentals and they have multiple trips along the Upper St. Croix and multiple day trips that start on the Namekagon and flow into the St Croix!
There you have it, your ultimate guide to the amazing water Adventures in Wisconsin. Make this a memorable year out on the water. Hitting the rivers and lakes allow you to experience Wisconsin in a way like no other. Hit up some friends, make some plans, and get ready to on an adventure.