15 Best Things to Do in Marathon County, WI

Marathon County, WI
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Marathon County is one of the best places in Wisconsin.

The county is the largest in the state, providing residents and tourists with a fantastic blend of nature and urban qualities.

The plethora of parks, wildlife preserves, and other natural areas mix beautifully with the county’s abundance of vibrant city life.

Many of the best places are located primarily in the county seat, Wausau, but that doesn’t mean the neighboring towns and cities don’t have anything to offer.

Without further ado, check out the best things to do in Marathon County, Wisconsin!

Enjoy Scenic Views at Rib Mountain State Park

View from Rib Mountain State Park's hiking trail
Gerald A. DeBoer / Shutterstock.com

Marathon County is home to Rib Mountain State Park, a billion-year-old outdoor area with breathtaking views and superb facilities.

Rib Mountain State Park features several amenities, including picnic areas and shelters, hiking trails, and reservable spaces such as an indoor gathering space and an amphitheater.

The park’s hiking area consists of eight unique trails, each with its own story and perks, with a total length of 13 miles.

Road sign of Rib Mountain State Park
Michael Tatman / Shutterstock.com

You can also hunt and trap in the open areas during the Wisconsin state parks hunting and trapping time frame.

At the top of the park, you’ll see the captivating sceneries of the Wausau area and the Wisconsin river as you inhale the fresh Wisconsin air.

Rib Mountain State Park is on State Park Road, southwest of Wausau.

Tall trees at Rib Mountain State Park
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Enjoy the Brisk Atmosphere at Monk Botanical Gardens

Monk Botanical Gardens is another premier tourist spot in Marathon County, well-known for its refreshing atmosphere and comprehensive collection of flowers and plants.

Founded in 2003, the land used for the 29-acre park was donated by Robert W. Monk, who dreamed of establishing an educational community garden.

Monk Botanical Gardens features several themed areas like the meditation garden and educational garden.

These areas are home to the park’s collection of beautiful and rare flowers and plants.

The park also has a treehouse and is dog-friendly as long as owners keep them leashed.

You must also pick up after your pets.

Stop by Monk Botanical Gardens at North 1st Avenue, Wausau, for a relaxing time with flowers and friends.

Meet Wisconsin’s Friendly Wildlife at McMillan Marsh State Wildlife Area

One of the best ways to spend your afternoon is to go on a relaxing hike.

One of the best places to take a breather in Marathon County is McMillan Marsh State Wildlife Area.

Located on County Road, Marshfield, Wisconsin, McMillan Marsh State Wildlife Area is a 6,500-acre nature preserve consisting of wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands.

The park offers many recreational activities like hiking, bird watching, gathering, and even cross-country skiing!

The habitats in the area are also home to Wisconsin’s diverse flora and fauna, and you are likely to meet a friendly animal in the vicinity.

Go on a Downhill Adventure at Granite Peak

Daytime view of Granite Peak
Aaron of L.A. Photography / Shutterstock.com

Are you looking for a great place to try downhill skiing and snowboarding?

Look no further than Granite Peak on Snowbird Avenue!

Granite Peak is Wisconsin’s premier ski area, with over 200 acres of terrain spread across 60 trails of pure downhill excitement.

They boast the fastest lift system in the entire Midwest, letting you cruise the altitudes with the only six-pack chairlift in Wisconsin.

Downhill skiing at Granite Peak
Michael Tatman / Shutterstock.com

Granite Peak is also home to the state’s longest vertical drop, with a staggering height of 700 feet!

Do you need a break after having immense fun?

Have a cup of hot chocolate or cold beer while basking in the warmth of their fire pits in the Historic Chalet Deck.

Ski lift chairs at Granite Peak
Aaron of L.A. Photography / Shutterstock.com

Quench Your Need for Speed at State Park Speedway

State Park Speedway is a must-stop for people who enjoy cars, racing, and the thrill of competition.

Located on North Mountain Road in Wausau, State Park Speedway is home to Marathon County’s exciting racing events that keep you on the edge of your seat.

The speedway features a ¼-mile racing oval where racing legends like Dick Trickle, Dave Marcis, Mark Martin, and more have competed.

The track also hosts many events, like its signature Flip Merwin Memorial Race, an event in memory of former snowmobile racer Flip Merwin.

You can also check out other facilities in the area, including a bar, a playground, a gift shop, and a VIP deck.

Go Bowling at Dale’s Weston Lanes

Bowling is one of those activities that never gets old.

Playing a classic bowling game is a great way to spend a night out with friends, especially when you’re at Dale’s Weston Lanes.

Dale’s Weston Lanes is Wisconsin’s second-largest bowling center, featuring 60 full synthetic lanes spread across three alleys.

With this number of lanes, you won’t have to worry about coming to the center and not being able to play.

Aside from bowling lanes, the center also has several facilities, including a billiard hall, a pro shop, and a bar and grill, so you’ll never run out of things to do.

Come and enjoy a drink or two and bowl with friends at Dale’s Weston Lanes at 5902 Schofield Avenue, Weston.

Immerse Yourself in Nature at the Dells of the Eau Claire County Park

Rock formations at Dells of the Eau Claire County Park
Jeremy's N Photography / Shutterstock.com

Dells of the Eau Claire County Park is a 190-acre nature space considered one of Marathon County’s exceptional destinations.

The minute you enter the area, you’ll see scenic views of the river and the refreshing breeze it brings.

This river is responsible for shaping the ancient rock formations surrounding the park.

You can find a natural reservoir upstream, which makes it one of the best natural pools you’ll ever experience.

Bridge at Dells of the Eau Claire County Park
Robert Vandenbeg / Shutterstock.com

You can also go camping as the park provides shelters that can house up to 70 people with amenities like picnic tables, a kitchen area, and more.

Other facilities include a playground, walking and hiking trails, and several open spaces for hanging out with family and friends.

Dells of the Eau Claire County Park is at County Highway Y, Aniwa, Wisconsin.

River at Dells of the Eau Claire County Park
Michael Tatman / Shutterstock.com

Experience the Ferrous World of Jurustic Park and Hobbit House

Jurustic Park and Hobbit House offer visitors a unique experience incomparable to other places.

Situated on Old Sugar Bush Lane in Marshfield, Jurustic Park and Hobbit House is an outdoor sculpture park founded by Clyde Wynia.

The park is the location of a fantasy world where creatures whose flesh and bones are made of iron and other ferrous metals live.

However, it doesn’t stop there, as Clyde himself makes the experience more immersive by creating stories to build the iron world.

Besides the metal sculptures, the park has a shop featuring handcrafted jewelry and a Hobbit House.

If you want a unique experience unlike any other, visit Jurustic Park and Hobbit House.

Try Hatchet Throwing at Blades & Boards

Some people haven’t experienced the thrill and excitement of hatchet throwing.

If you’re one of those people, you should check out Blades & Boards.

Located on Rib Mountain Drive, Blades & Boards is the go-to place in Marathon County if you want to try an unconventional activity.

Are you having second thoughts because of their dangerous nature?

You don’t need to worry about wild axes flying, as they have well-trained axe masters that will teach you to throw hatchets safely and effectively.

They cater to people of all ages and skill levels, so bring your kids if you want!

The best part is bringing your food to the center to recharge with some snacks as you practice your aim.

Stand in the Center of the Northern Hemisphere at the 45 x 90 Geographical Marker

The grounds of 45 x 90 Geographical Marker
Gstalnaker, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 45 x 90 Geographical Marker on Meridian Road, Athens, Wisconsin, is a one-of-a-kind destination in Marathon County.

What makes this place unique anyway?

Well, this location marks the intersection of the 45th Parallel of Latitude and the 90th Meridian of Longitude.

On Earth, there are only four of these hemispheric points, so visiting one is a big deal.

Additionally, the 45 x 90 Geographical Marker is the only accessible one out of the four points, as two are located in oceans, and one is in a mountainous region in China.

The icing on the cake is a commemorative coin given to those who sign a visitor book at the Visitors Center at 219 Jefferson St, Wausau, WI.

Visit the 45 x 90 Geographical Marker and experience standing in the center of the world!

Admire the Contemporary Art Exhibits at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Arts

Nested in the heart of downtown Wausau is the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Arts.

The Wausau Museum of Contemporary Arts features exhibits by nationally and internationally known artists.

Their goal is to increase interest in contemporary art in Northern Wisconsin by providing the community with exhibits that challenge and excite viewers.

They have hosted many events showcasing the fantastic and intricate artworks of artists like Craig Blietz, Carmelo Blandino, Joyce Polance, and others.

The museum is also home to the Annual National Juried Exhibition, in which works of talented contemporary artists are exhibited and judged by prestigious jurors.

The Wausau Museum of Contemporary Arts is located at 309 McClellan St, Wausau.

Go for a Wagon Ride at Seehafer Farm Creamery

Seehafer Farm Creamery is a family-owned dairy food store and ice cream parlor opened in 2014 by Ken and Karen Seehafer.

Located in Marshfield, Seehafer Creamery spans 900 acres, home to 300 cows and other farm animals.

They sell various products, including Wisconsin cheese, curd, homemade ice cream, homegrown ground beef, free-range eggs, and other local goodies.

You’ll get the chance to meet the resident animals of the farm.

You can also try out their wagon, sleigh rides, and corn maze for extra fun!

Stop by Seehafer Farm Creamery and try the delicious dairy products Marathon County can offer.

Marvel at Nature-Inspired Artworks at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

Exterior of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
User:Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum showcases the beauty of Mother Nature and the beautiful crafts and artworks inspired by her.

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum won the National Medal in 2017, the nation’s most prestigious museum award.

The museum boasts contemporary art guided by the natural world.

It houses the internationally acclaimed Birds in Art show, an exhibition showcasing contemporary interpretations of our beaked and winged friends.

Front entrance to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
User:Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Aside from that, the museum exhibits many contemporary artworks, such as Echoes of Extinction, where extinct or endangered birds are visualized via sculptures.

They also offer other amenities like an outdoor sculpture exhibition and an interactive art park for kids.

To experience the beauty of art guided by nature, visit Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum at North 12th Street in Wausau.

Grab Marathon County’s Best Burger at Straight Home Bar & Grill

Straight Home Bar & Grill is a small-town tavern in Eland, Wisconsin, but don’t let its humble nature fool you.

Founded in 2017, Straight Home Bar & Grill sells the most delicious handmade foods in Marathon County.

They have won the vote for Best Burgers in the area for four straight years and were a finalist for Best Bar Food!

Their menu comprises classic and hearty American recipes like burgers, cheese sandwiches, breaded and grilled fish, and more.

Visit Straight Home Bar & Grill and try their fabulous burgers and beer-battered fish.

Enjoy Dinner with a Lakefront View at Pinewood Supper Club

If fancy dinners with breathtaking views are your thing, you should try Pinewood Supper Club.

Pinewood Supper Club is nestled on the shores of Half Moon Lake and offers terrific menu items perfect for an exquisite dining experience.

At first, their menu seems to consist of seafood, but they serve various elegant dishes like steak and pasta.

The restaurant’s interior provides a rustic vibe with its lodge-like decor and ambiance.

The lakefront view of Half Moon Lake makes for a fantastic dining experience.

Visit Pinewood Supper Club at Half Moon Lake Drive, Mosinee, Wisconsin, for the most fantastic dinner you’ll have in Marathon County.

Final Thoughts

Many great places in Wisconsin are in Marathon County.

What makes this place great is its abundance of sites to explore and things to experience.

Additionally, these experiences accommodate both indoor and outdoor people.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Marathon County, Wisconsin!

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