Hayward is a quaint little fishing city in Wisconsin with a population of under 2,500.
And yet, this is not just some obscure, small town.
Surrounded by lakes, rolling hills, and terrains, Hayward offers fishing, kayaking, canoeing, hunting, golfing, snowboarding, mountain biking, horse riding, camping, fine dining, and so much more!
Yes, this Midwestern city offers a surprisingly diverse range of attractions and possibilities for committed travelers.
Here are 20 fascinating things you can do in Hayward, Wi.
Deerfoot Lodge & Resort
It all begins with a comfortable place to stay.
Deerfoot Lodge and Resort offers luxury accommodation and a delightful glimpse into the rest of the city.
It is strategically situated on the Chippewa (Lake) Flowage, offering scenic water views from every part of the resort.
Guests have access to the private beach, providing them the luxurious opportunity of enjoying the sun and the sand in solitude.
Hayward is on every seasoned camper’s wish list, and the resort caters to this crowd with multiple campfire pits.
Guests can also rent a boat from the resort and partake in some lakeside fishing.
If you are the kind to prefer living in your RV so you can get the best out of nature, head to Hayward KOA.
Camping and Hayward are often synonymous, and this well-equipped campground is sure to prove it.
The ground has its own community camping kitchen, so delicious food is always available after an enjoyable round of early morning fishing.
The grounds come with a pavilion for small events, a heated pool, a water slide, campfire pits with Friday S’more time, and special wagon rides on weekends.
It is mighty popular with families, especially during festivals and holidays.
It also has impressive attractions for adults, with mini-golf, an inflatable movie screen, and plenty of kayaking and canoeing opportunities.
Spider Lake Lodge Bed and Breakfast
Some tourists may prefer a cozy middle-ground, not exactly steeped in resort luxury and not quite ready for the uninhibited nature of a campground either.
The Spider Lake Lodge B&B provides this opportunity.
It is located right in the middle of the woods with a glorious rustic vibe.
Accommodation is available in comfortable log cabins and with access to a swimming beach.
While the lodge provides some means of amusement – like kayak/ canoe rentals and sunset campfires, the onus is on you to keep yourself busy and entertained.
Fortunately, Hayward has a lot more to offer for curious tourists.
Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Big Muskie
Now that your accommodation is settled, your next step would be to explore.
And when in Rome, do as Romans do.
So tourists head to the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame to visit Big Muskie and get inspired.
This “hall” is housed on 6 acres of land and involves 7 buildings totaling 25,000 square feet.
Out here, the Hayward community display fishing exhibits, a small museum, and Big Muskie.
A large freshwater fish is known as a “Muskie,” but this Big Muskie is a giant fish made of fiberglass.
It is also five-story tall.
So its lower jaw serves as an observation disk, and visitors throng in thousands every year to take in the sights.
Yes, Hayward takes its fishing very seriously, and Big Muskie makes no bones about celebrating it!
Golf Capital of Wisconsin
Hayward is not just about fishing, but it is also unapologetically about casual and professional golfing.
With 9 manicured golf courses spread across a 30-mile range, this city earns its nickname as the Golf Capital of Wisconsin.
Popular golf clubs include the Big Fish Golf Club and the Hayward Golf Club.
The latter also sponsors the Hayward Open, a two-day annual event organized at the start of summer.
So if you are in the mood to tee off or spot a budding Tiger Woods in Wisconsin, Hayward is the place for you.
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
At this point, you might feel influenced to delve more into nature.
If this is so, you can visit the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
This is a massive spread of 1.5 million acres of wooded land in Wisconsin, and the small city of Hayward has access to a notable portion of it.
This forest park offers a Mountain fire lookout tower to take in the glorious sights, a 40-acre Cathedral pine grove, and plenty of lake whiskers with fishing holes to celebrate its wilderness.
There are also conventional forest amusements, including camping, mountain biking, snow showing, cross-country skiing, and water sports like kayaking and canoeing.
Farmstead Creamery and Café – Barn-Housed Bakery
If all that running around with nature may have left you hungry and not necessarily craving fish.
The Farmstead Creamery and Café is a pleasantly surprising farm-to-table restaurant located inside an actual barn.
It offers delicious traditional cuisine, including salad, wood-fired pizza, pie, gelato, and plenty of sugary treats to keep you warm.
The treats from the French-certified chef are indeed special, making this one of Hayward’s most popular food joints.
Until the end of their trip, many tourists don't realize that Hayward is also a celebrated hunting town.
Well, it's hard to miss this in the Moccasin bar, with its unapologetic celebration of fishing and wildlife taxidermy!
This is also where locals boast about their hunting exploits amidst chips, inexpensive drinks, and super fast service.
The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
The city of Hayward teems with plenty of lakes and rivers.
The federal government also protects a significant portion of its rivers as part of the St.Croix National Scenic Riverway.
Here, the water offers plenty of opportunity for amusement.
This includes boating, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, family activities like camping and picnicking along its banks, solitary activities like fishing in major holes, and hunting for deer.
The riverfront also offers horseback riding in selected areas.
As you can see, that is quite a lot of sport to keep even the most restless traveler entertained!
Jack Link’s Aquatic and Activity Center
Can a fishing town be without swimming pools?
The Jack Link’s Aquatic and Activity Center is the local hub, where local children learn to swim comfortably and larger muskies.
The pools are also clean and Muskie-free so that tourists can take a dip for a refreshing change.
Birkie Trail System
The Birkie Trail System in Wisconsin stretches along 100+ diverse kilometers, luring professional and amateur athletes to partake in its exploits.
This is the place to spot superstar bikers, hikers, trekkers, skiers, and more, at almost any time of the year.
So if you want to give your limbs a good workout during your holiday in Wisconsin, get on the Birkie Trail System and take yourself for a wild ride!
Wilderness Walk Zoo and Recreation Park
If you are visiting Hayward with children in tow, you need extra to keep your children entertained.
The park offers a petting zoo, which allows you to connect with farm animals and feed curious deer.
It also offers picnic spots and playgrounds, with a few enjoyable restaurants serving up delicious food.
Your kids will love it, and you will certainly appreciate the rest of your day.
Scheer's Lumberjack Village
Scheer’s Lumberjack Village is a homage to all things timber.
So it clearly lives up to Hayward’s reputation as a fishing and hunting town.
But despite the droll name, it also offers a fun family spot with mild adventure.
The lumberjack show runs twice every day and humorously showcases the city’s history.
There is also a mini-golf ground with 18 holes for adults seeking tee time.
Adults and children always have boating opportunities typically expected in a lake town.
This is the place to visit if you want a family vacation day.
Cable Natural History Museum
The Cable Natural History Museum is the closest thing to an aquarium mixed with a zoo.
It houses reptiles, amphibians, and many interesting birds of prey.
With their innate curiosity to know, children will certainly love this museum.
It has virtual tours for animals not available in the museum and a naturalist learning program for adults.
Sherman and Ruth Weiss Community Library
As a tourist, the last place you may feel inclined to visit is a small town library.
But this community library has a few magic tricks up its sleeve.
This includes outdoor movie night, the closest thing to a drive-in in this millennium.
The library is also situated in a very picturesque location, where adults and children can enjoy some quiet reading amidst the bounty of nature.
Joyful Journey Alpacas and Yarn Harmony Gifts
Joyful Journey is an Alpaca farm situated in the heart of Hayward, Wisconsin.
If you’ve had enough of fish, or deer, head to this farm for a hilarious tryst with their Alpacas.
They are trained and hence safe with children.
Adults can also use this time to browse the associated Yarn-Harmony gift shop.
Located in a central location, tourists are bound to familiarize themselves with Hayward’s downtown area during a weekend visit, and the results are not too bad.
The downtown at Hayward is an eclectic mix of vintage and designer boutiques, charming antique shops, and of course, fishing equipment.
This is also the place to get a fuss-free plate of fish and chips quickly.
The artist community in this fishing city is very active and frequently organizes not-for-profit events, including Art Crawls.
On these special dates, tourists will get to see the work of local artists at the local Hayward farmer’s market, at the community library, and the lumberjack village.
Most include individual work and sometimes include collective pieces up for auction.
Don’t write this off yet, and you might find yourself the proud owner of gorgeous black and white photography of this quaint but very picturesque town!
Hayward has its own local county fair in the Sawyer county Fair that runs every summer in August.
If you land in Hayward in July, you can also partake in the celebration of the neighboring town with the Washburn County Fair.
As you would expect, both fairs showcase all the must-have small town attractions.
This includes an exhaustive list of amusement rides, live music, agriculture displays, animal exhibits, funnel cakes, delicious food, barbeque and campfires during summer, and lots of bonhomie among locals and tourists.
Don't miss this if you are visiting Hayward either in July or August.
Quiet Lake Crawl
At the end of your trip, you are likely to be experiencing some withdrawal symptoms as you go back to the noisy city life.
Just before you do this, consider getting an hour’s worth of quiet contemplation time, perhaps visiting Hayward’s “quiet lakes .”
They do not allow any form of water sports and hence provide a more solitary atmosphere.
You can experience this at Teal Lake, Ghost Lake, and Lost Land Lake in Hayward.
Try this for yourself, and you may find it easier to go home with a deep sense of peace, the kind that nature gifts through its sheer bounty.
Hayward, Wisconsin, is a considerable city with a small-town feel.
It is popular with fishers, hunters, runners, bikers, and all forms of outdoor lovers.
As with most tourist towns, it is best to plan your trip, setting aside a long weekend to visit Hayward’s finer attractions.
Don’t forget to book reservations in advance and confirm your visit on an actual day.