The northern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest is just 45 minutes north of Milwaukee. The Henry Reuss Ice Age Visitor Center is your first stop when you arrive in the forest. The forest naturalists can guide you to the Mauthe Lake Recreation Area, Long Lake Recreation Area and offer many educational opportunities. The center is a great place to view exhibits about the frozen history of Wisconsin and the gifts left by the glaciers. Pick up a map of the trails and nearby places to explore.
Your adventures continues in southern Fond du Lac County at Horicon Marsh, the site of both a national and state wildlife refuge. This extinct glacial lake is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. Learn the story of Horicon Marsh at the Explorium as you watch, listen and touch the changes of the marsh over time. Take a Horicon Marsh Boat Tour at Blue Heron Landing in Horicon or rent a canoe or kayak to explore on your own. The northern two thirds of Horicon Marsh is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. Wildlife observation, photography, hiking, fishing, bicycling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and deer and upland game hunting all take place in the changing seasons on the marsh.
Fondy Sports Park (April thru October) is tons of fun for every age. Go-karts, mini-golf, bumper boats, road karts, battling cages and a rock climbing wall will keep you busy for an entire afternoon. The Fondy Aqua Park includes water slides, a fresh water pond & huge sandy beach and rentals of stand up paddle boards, kayaks and paddle boats.
After dinner explore the shore of Lake Winnebago by bike or on foot with 6 recreational trails over 50 miles. In winter you can cross country ski or snowmobile.
Head north of Stockbridge to Calumet County Park with over 5 miles of trails, a playground, campgrounds, marina and shore fishing. For winter fun check out the huge tubing hill! To see why High Cliff State Park is on everyone’s outdoor adventure list you’ll have to see it for yourself. With miles of scenic trails, historic markers, camping and swimming you can spend a day or a week enjoying this Lake Winnebago treasure. The Niagara Escarpment stretches from Wisconsin thru parts of Canada to Niagara Falls in New York and is often just called “The Ledge.” At Ledge View Nature Center south of Chilton you can go cave crawling. Bring a flashlight to explore this underworld phenomenon called “Carolyn’s Caverns.” To make sure you catch a fish head out to Evergreen Valley Fish Farm to reel in a perch or a bluegill from one of three man-made ponds (open by appointment only).
Before you continue north check out Brillion Nature Center and Wildlife Area. The natural marsh, pond and forest make this a birding paradise. With over 6 miles of trails it is on every bird watchers list. As you had north around the lake you’ll discover the Heckrodt Wetland Reserve in Menasha. With 76 acres of urban nature reserve you’ll hike through habitats of forested wetland, cattail marsh, created prairie, open field and upland forest. In winter you can snowshoe and cross country ski in the Reserve. Head to Oshkosh for Disc Golf at Red Arrow Park or Winnebago County Community Park. In winter many of the local parks offer ice skating rinks and sledding hills. For a walk on the quiet side visit Omro and stroll across the charming walking bridges. Your options for sleeping very from campgrounds to cottages to bed & breakfast inns to beautiful hotels.
If you like to spend some outdoor time on the golf course this area offers a variety of experiences. In Oshkosh enjoy the Far Vu Golf Course located in a peaceful country setting away from noise and distraction. In Fond du Lac The Rolling Meadows Golf Course and Whispering Springs Golf Club both offer a chance to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. To spend the day on the water take a lesson at Wind Power Windsurfing & Kiting Center. Make a reservation for one of the local experts to guide you on how to take a thrilling ride on a kiteboard on Lake Winnebago. After all this adventure you’ll need to kick back at Sunset on the Water Grill & Bar and watch the experts take on “big air.”