25 Best Things to Do in Hayward, WI

Hayward, WI
Kimberly Boyles / shutterstock.com

Hayward is a quaint little fishing city in Wisconsin with a population of 2,539 as of the 2021 census.

Surrounded by lakes, rolling hills, and terrains, Hayward offers opportunities for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, hunting, golfing, snowboarding, mountain biking, horse riding, camping, fine dining, and so much more!

Additionally, this Midwestern city offers a surprisingly diverse range of attractions where you can surely have a lot of fun.

Interested to know more about this stunning place?  

Here are the 25 best things you can do in Hayward, Wisconsin:

Drop by the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and See Big Muskie

Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame
Aaron J Hill / Shutterstock.com

Tourists head to the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame to visit Big Muskie and get inspired.

This “hall” is housed on six acres of land and involves seven buildings with 25,000 square feet.

View of Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame
Downspec, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This Big Muskie is a giant fish made of fiberglass.

Its lower jaw serves as an observation disk, and visitors throng in thousands every year to take in the sights.

A family posing infront of the salmon statue at Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame
Downspec, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Savor Wine Selections by Out of the Woods Winery

If you’re looking for craft wines to take home, give to someone or celebrate a special occasion, visit Out of the Woods Winery for great wine choices.

The winery is located on Main Street and is owned and operated by the MacLaughlin Family.

You can choose from an array of local Wisconsin wines, ciders, and meads to suit your preference and taste.

Stop by from Wednesday to Saturday and check out their stock of white and fruit wines ready to purchase by the bottle.

You can also try their tap for the week, like the New Port Barrel Cider, Irish Whiskey Barrel Aged Cider, and others.

On your visit, drop by the gallery, which features the Artists Choice Exhibit with works by 27 local artists.

In partnership with Art Beat of Hayward, the gallery also houses the creations of painter Patricia MacLaughlin.

You can also catch live music in the afternoons while you enjoy your drinks at Out of the Woods Winery.

Book Your Stay at Deerfoot Lodge & Resort

It all begins with a comfortable place to stay.

Deerfoot Lodge and Resort offers luxury accommodations 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 with the luxurious opportunity of enjoying the sun and the sand.

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 lakeside fishing.

Watch Great Performances at The Park Center

The Park Center, located on US Highway 63, serves as a performing arts center for Hayward, Cable, and Northwoods communities.

The center was formerly a movie theater built in Whitten Park; it was opened in 1948 and has been part of the city’s local entertainment for over 60 years.

At the center, you can catch various theatre, dance, musical performances, and other shows, like visual arts, films, and multicultural events.

Aside from the great shows, be sure to check out The Park Theater Art Gallery, which features current art exhibits by local artists.

You’ll see The Park Center’s decorative modernism theme highlighted through these creative pieces.

Enjoy Camping at Hayward KOA Holiday

If you prefer living in your RV to get the best out of nature, head to Hayward KOA Holiday.

Camping and Hayward are often synonymous, and this well-equipped campground will prove it.

This place has its community camping kitchen, so delicious food is always available after an enjoyable round of early morning fishing.

Additionally, Hayward KOA Holiday has 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 also has impressive attractions for adults, with mini-golf, an inflatable movie screen, and plenty of kayaking and canoeing opportunities.

Catch the Excitement at the Lumberjack World Championships

People actively participating in Lumberjack World Championships
Paul M. Walsh, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A much-awaited annual event in the city, the Lumberjack World Championships brings out the best lumberjacks and lumberjills, showcasing their skills, strength, and wit.

The three-day event has been around for over 60 years and is held at the famous lumberjack Bowl every third weekend of July.

See the crowds roar and cheer Yo-Ho! for competitors across the country.

Watch contestants take the Log Rolling challenge, running on top of logs to topple their opponents as the record gets smaller.

Get excited and cheer for your bet for the Boom Running category with competitors sprinting through floating logs.

You’ll be amazed as lumberjacks race head to head for Speed Pole Climbing on 60’ and 90’ poles.

You can also catch jaw-dropping chopping skills in standing, springboard, underhand, and standing block chop categories.

Watch the Axe-Throwing competition and see who hits the bullseye, and don’t miss the heart-pounding Sawing competition with the contestants ready to show their crosscut saws and impressive chainsaws.

Aside from watching the competitions, you can also sign up and join the Lumberjack World Championships five-kilometer race and tour downtown Hayward.

Relax and Stay at Spider Lake Lodge Bed and Breakfast

The Spider Lake Lodge B&B provides is located right in the woods with a glorious rustic vibe.

Accommodation is available in comfortable log cabins and with access to a swimming beach.

Enjoy a Sumptuous Dinner at The Ranch Supper Club

Treat yourself to sumptuous fares for a superb dinner at The Ranch Supper Club.

Right on Ranch Road, you can drop by from Thursday to Sunday to enjoy the delicious selections on their menu and the cozy ambiance perfect for a relaxing evening.

The original restaurant opened in 1931 and was named The Aladdin, which was a famous stop for timber business tycoons, loggers, and Chicago gangsters.

After several changes in management over the decades, current owners Haley and Nathan Bochler maintain the restaurant’s branding for Honest Cocktails, Quality Meats, and First-Rate Service.

Begin your meal with tasty appetizers like Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Stuffed Dates or seafood starters like Steamed Mussels or Shrimp Cocktail.

Enjoy sumptuous Signature Steaks made only with the finest USDA choice beef cuts and served sizzling hot on a platter with their original Ranch Seasoning recipe.

Choose from The Ranch Steak, Filet, Ribeye, or Bone-in New York Strip and level up with your choice of Walnut Bleu Cheese Butter, Sautéed Mushrooms, Thick-cut Fried Onion Rings, and more.

You can also add servings of Lobster Tail served with drawn butter or deep-fried or broiled Shrimp or Scallops.

If you want seafood, they have Walleye, Salmon, Shrimp, Lobster Tail, and Seafood Trio, which includes scallops, shrimp, and cod; all seafood plates are served with rice or potato.

The Ranch Supper Club also offers delectable Friday Fish Fry and Saturday Prime Rib, mouthwatering sandwich selections, and salad options.

Have a Friendly Tee Off at the Golf Capital of Wisconsin

With nine manicured golf courses spread across a 30-mile range, this city earns its nickname as the Golf Capital of Wisconsin.

Famous 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 want to tee off or spot a budding Tiger Woods in Wisconsin, Hayward is the place for you.

Enjoy Good Food at Farmstead Creamery and Café

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 inside a 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.

Have Some Drinks at the Moccasin Bar

Until the end of their trip, many tourists don't realize that Hayward is also a famous 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.

Explore the 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!

Visit the Wilderness Walk Zoo and Recreation Park

If you are visiting Hayward with children in tow, you need extra to keep your children entertained.

Wilderness Walk Zoo and Recreation Park offers a petting zoo, which allows you to connect with farm animals and feed deer.

It also offers picnic spots and playgrounds, with a few lovely restaurants serving delicious food.

Your kids will love it, and you will undoubtedly appreciate the rest of your day.

Check Out the Scheer's Lumberjack Village

Scheer’s Lumberjack Village is a homage to all things timber.

So it 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 daily 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.

Drop by the Sherman and Ruth Weiss Community Library

As a tourist, the last place you may feel inclined to visit is a small town library.

But Sherman and Ruth Weiss 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 very picturesque, where adults and children can enjoy some quiet reading amidst nature.

Stroll around Downtown Hayward

Tourists can 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 fishing equipment.

This is also the place to get a fuss-free plate of fish and chips quickly.

Find Lovely Artwork at Art Crawl

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 see the work of local artists at the local Hayward farmer’s market, the community library, and the Lumberjack Village.

Most include individual work and sometimes have collective pieces up for auction.

Have Fun at County Fairs

Hayward has its local county fair, 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 visit Hayward in July or August.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See the Nature at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Visit the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, a forest with a massive spread of 1.5 million acres of wooded land.

Deer in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Rachael Liska / Shutterstock.com

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, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and water sports like kayaking and canoeing.

Picturesque view of Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
heatherlopezphotography / Shutterstock.com

Enjoy Water Activities at the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

Signage of St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

Here at St.Croix National Scenic Riverway in St. Croix Falls, the water offers plenty of opportunity for amusement.

Picnic area at St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

This includes boating, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, family activities like camping and picnicking along its banks, solitary activities like fishing in significant holes, and deer hunting.

The riverfront also offers horseback riding in selected areas.

View of St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Take a Dip at Jack Link’s Aquatic and Activity Center

The Jack Link’s Aquatic and Activity Center is a stunning local hub, where local children learn to swim comfortably and more giant muskies.

The pools are also clean and Muskie-free, so tourists can take a dip for a refreshing change.

Take the Kids to the Cable Natural History Museum

The Cable Natural History Museum is closest 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 undoubtedly love this museum.

It has virtual tours for animals not available in the museum and a naturalist learning program for adults.

Join Mountain Bikers at the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival

If you’re a mountain bike enthusiast, you can’t miss Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival in Cable, a few hours' drive from Hayward.

This event started in 1983 with just 27 cyclists and has grown to become one of the country’s esteemed off-road MTB events.

The idea of a bike race across the American Birkebeiner ski trail from Hayward’s Main Street to Lakewoods Resort in Cable was created by Mike Cooper, Dan Hunt, Tom Kelly, Phil Rasmussen, and Phil VanValkenberg.

Every year in Mid-September, thousands of MTB enthusiasts race their way through northwest Wisconsin’s big wooded area.

If you’re an experienced athlete, you can sign up for the Chequamegon 40, a 40-mile race traversing the ski trail, scenic forest roads, and snowmobile.

You can also choose the Short & Fat race, which also features the same challenges of the 40-mile category but is packed in the 16-mile track.

Even your little off-roaders can join in the fun at the Little Loggers race; they’ll enjoy the 15-minute loop course to help them learn some mountain biking basics.

But the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival is more than just about races because there are also fun things your family can enjoy, like live music entertainment, craft beers to try, and loads of good food from food trucks.

Final Thoughts

Hayward, Wisconsin, is a large city with a small-town feel.

It is popular with anglers, hunters, runners, bikers, and 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 and confirm your visit on an actual day.

Happy travels!

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