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Wisconsin: Visit America’s Dairyland

Wisconsin is dominated by two of the Great Lakes, stretching to the state’s borders in the north and east, as well as the extensive farmlands and lush forests that cover most of the state’s area, except in the bustling, metropolitan southeast. Be it the cranberry harvest, vacation by the river or in one of the large cities like Milwaukee: Wisconsin has a lot in store for its visitors.

The state’s name actually derives from the Native American tribes of the region speaking the Algonquian language. From the Wisconsin River the word made its way to the state, though varying in its spelling. In the 17th century, French fur traders settled in the area before the Wisconsin territory was taken over by the United States in 1783. The British remained in control until the War of 1812 finally ended their rule.

Wisconsin saw a large stream of immigrants especially of German and Scandinavian descent. Farming, mining, and lumbering provided the spine of the region’s economy and still today this heritage is all but visible throughout the state, even though of course industrialization and modern-day tourism have made a lasting impression on Wisconsin as well. Since 1848, Wisconsin has been a fully sovereign state.

Wisconsin, located in the Midwest, borders with two of the five Great Lakes, namely Lakes Superior and Michigan. With the Montreal River in the north and the Mississippi in the west, two major streams run along Wisconsin’s boundaries. Neither in terms of population nor size can Wisconsin be considered extremely big or small. It ranks in the mid-regions in both categories, compared to the other 49 states. Wisconsin is a generally flat state, with the highest elevation (Timms Hill) at a mere 1,950 feet, and the lowest, Lake Michigan, at 579 feet.

Nevertheless, there are several distinct geographical regions within the state’s borders. In north, the Lake Superior Lowland prevails, a belt of land bordering to the Northern Highland with its extensive forests and lakes. Timms Hill is located here. The Central Plain in the heart of Wisconsin is made up of characteristic sandstone formations. The Eastern Ridges and Lowlands region in the southeast is the most densely populated area within the state. The Western Upland in the southwest is made up of forests and farmland alike and borders with the Mississippi River. Many facets present itself in this Midwestern State and make for a fascinating visit.

National Parks

Wisconsin, with its many glacier lakes and extensive woodlands, houses several national parks and protected areas. In the very north, for instance, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with its many islands and the Lake Superior shoreline, provides great recreation opportunities. Hunting is a popular domain especially on the Apostle islands where game such as white-tail deer, black bear, grouse, and other smaller species can be found. The lighthouses at the Superior coast are a prime attraction of the region. Camping and fishing are popular. Local towns offering amenities include Bayfield and Washburn.

The Ice Age Trail bears witness of a past era, roughly 15,000 years ago, when the region was entirely covered by frost and snow. The many lakes, river valleys, gently rolling hills, and ridges of the area still tell the story of the ice age. All in all 1,200 miles of trails were established in 1980, where visitors can roam on the traces of mammoths, saber tooth cats, and cave lions.

Finally, the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway protects 250 miles of this stream in the northeastern part of the state. The upper part of the river is a well-known fishing ground for smallmouth bass, in other parts of the St. Croix walleye, pike, sturgeon, and catfish can be found. The entire length of the stream is being used for canoeing, fishing, camping, and hunting.

Central Plain / Wisconsin Rapids

Central Wisconsin offers a blend of many things the state is loved for. Fields and farms provide a colorful spectacle, especially each fall. This is all the more true for the Cranberry Highway, along which in September and October the bright red of the cranberry harvest contrasts beautifully with the yellow, ochre, and brown leaves of the trees. The Cranberry Highway stretches from Wisconsin Rapids to Warrens, and between Pittsville and Nekoosa, and makes for a stunning ride. Along the way, there are many ways to get a first-hand experience of the cranberry harvest.

Eastern Ridges and Lowlands

In this southeastern portion of Wisconsin, most of the state’s residents are living. The cities and metropolitan regions here include Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine, and Appleton.

Milwaukee is one of the most thriving cities in the American Midwest. Professional sports, huge convention facilities, the thrilling Entertainment District, the Downtown Theater District, and many other attractions are responsible for an ever-growing flow of visitors. At the same time, spending time in Milwaukee remains affordable - the more than 3,000 hotel rooms provide accommodation for all budgets.

Green Bay in Packer Country is a metropolitan area full of tradition. It was established as early as 1634 at the Lake Michigan shore. Most notably for its famed sports team the Green Bay Packers, the city offers many historic sites, cultural attractions, and culinary delights. Fine restaurants and blues clubs, the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, Heritage Hill State Historical Park, and the National Railroad Museum and many more sights and sites provide a colorful visit.

Western Upland

This rugged and hilly region stretches along the eastern shore of the Mississippi river. The many rivers of the region carve very deeply into the stony landscape. It is not uncommon that even smaller creeks lie some hundred feet deeper than the surrounding hills. In the flat regions, farmland still prevails, whereas the hills are covered with lush forests. Towns of the region that are worth visiting include La Crosse, Beloit, Monroe, Platteville, and Sparta. They all provide sound bases for an exploration of the many-faceted Western Upland region.

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