Wausau is a picturesque city in Marathon County with abundance of heavenly natural beauty. The towering mountains, serene lakes, mesmerising rivers, dense and vast greenery, diverse wildlife, scenic parks, and enchanting waterfalls of the region provide access to numerous outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, swimming, skiing, ice-skating, wildlife viewing, rock climbing, mountain biking, camping, fishing, kayaking, snowboarding, and plenty more. The Wisconsin River meanders through the spectacular landscapes of this city. It also has an impressive list of award-winning museums and art galleries. Numerous vibrant festivals are hosted here all year round. Wausau is the perfect four-season vacation destination for you to experience nature.
Here’s a list of the best things to do while vacationing here…
Granite Peak Ski Area
Encompassing over 200 acres, this renowned ski resort is located in Rib Mountain state park. It features a 700-foot vertical drop and over 70 runs. The terrain is suitable for skiers of all skill levels. Enjoy magical views of the snow covered, winter landscapes from the high speed chairlifts. Founded in 1937, this resort is a prime tourist attraction in Wisconsin with visitors from across the world. Pocket-friendly deals are offered every Friday nights. Gorge on delicious food and beer at the chalets while enjoying the live musical performances. Rental skis and snowboards are available here. This is one of the best places to ski and snowboard in this region. Bring along your friends and family and have an unforgettable experience.
Rib Mountain State Park
This park features dense foliage, extraordinary panaromic views, a popular ski area, nature trails, and plenty more. Enjoy an invigorating hike on the trails that traverse the picturesque landscape of the park. Climb to the top of the observation tower and feast your eyes to the unparalleled views of Wausau and the mesmerising river that meanders through this charming city. Bring along a nice picnic to enjoy against the stunning backdrops. Various entertaining events are organised at the park’s amphitheatre. Owing to its splendid natural beauty, this park is a popular destination for weddings. The Granite Peak Ski Area is also located on this mountain. Go on an adventure at this park to experience nature and create fond memories to cherish.
Monk Botanical Gardens
This popular tourist attraction is renowned for its scenic, landscaped gardens. Encompassing 30 acres, it features a vegetable and kitchen garden, a meditation garden, a treehouse, library, gazebos, a memory garden, event lawns, densely forested areas, nature trails, a serene pond, and more. It is a perfect place for experiencing nature, meditating, hiking, geocaching, and picnicking. You can view monarch butterflies and chimney swifts at these gardens. It also features an observation tower offering enchanting bird’s eye views of the site’s vast greenery. Take a break from the mundane life and come here to relax and revitalize.
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
This award winning art gallery is a top cultural attraction of Wisconsin. Its distinctive feature is that all its exhibits are avian themed. It won a national award medal in 2017, which is the highest honour given to museums in the United States. The museum consists of a sculpture garden, rotating exhibitions in multiple galleries, and a special interactive gallery for children. Outstanding artistic works by both national and international artists are displayed at its galleries. Various events, workshops, and educational programs are organised consistently throughout the year. Admission to the museum is absolutely free.
Nine Mile County Forest Recreation Area
In summers, this is a popular site for hiking, biking, and camping. Winters here provide great opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Miles of trails meander through the densely forested region. Spend a night here camping to experience the region’s vast wilderness or enjoy a scenic hike on the verdant trails. You can view song birds, squirrels, bears, porcupines, and more. The snowy landscapes in winters are a heavenly sight. The area features broad and well-maintained skiing and snowshoeing trails that can accommodate persons of any skill level. Rental skis, snowshoes, boots are available on the site.
Wausau Whitewater Park
Go on a water adventure on the mesmerising Wisconsin river. This excursion offers breath-taking wilderness views featuring dense foliage and the rushing river. Spend your day canoeing and kayaking at this riverside park. It is suitable for all ages and training sessions are provided. You are bound to have an amazing time here.
Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art
This museum features extraordinary, thought-provoking artistic works by both national and international artists. They organise various events, programs, and performances through all four seasons. Visit this museum and explore the captivating pieces of art.
Central Wisconsin’s Water Ski Shows
These water ski shows are performed over three months from June to August every year. They feature mind-blowing performances presented by a team of professional water skiers and every year there is a new theme to the show. Dating back to 1997, this annual event is a significant part of the local culture of Wausau. The venues include Lake Wausau and Lake Dubay. The shows are absolutely free for all. Plan your visit and be prepared to be stunned.
The Grand Theatre
This renowned theatre presents outstanding plays, musicals, dance performances, comedies, film screenings, concerts, and various other entertaining shows all year round. The building’s grand architecture is aesthetically very pleasing. It is located at the site of a former opera house which dated back to the late 19th century and the current theatre was built in 1987. It is a great place for a wonderful evening’s entertainment.
Sylvan Hill Park
Encompassing 70 acres, this park features 3 miles of nature trails for hiking and mountain biking, a tubing hill, picnic areas, and spectacular views of sprawling greenery. Spend a relaxing day here with your friends and family and enjoy a delicious picnic while admiring the natural beauty of the park. Go for an early morning workout and breathe in the beautiful, fresh air. In winters, it provides fantastic opportunities for downhill tubing and cross-country skiing. Enjoy breath-taking views at this park throughout the year.
Dells of the Eau Claire Park
Located on the banks of the Eau Claire river, this 190-acre park features ancient rock formations, charming waterfalls, swimming holes, hiking trails, picnic areas, dense foliage, campsites, a playground, fire rings, and more. It offers plenty opportunities for swimming, camping, hiking, rock climbing, picnicking. The Ice Age Trail also traverses this park. Experience nature, dive in for a refreshing swim, hike the verdant trails, and end your day with a lovely picnic.
Yawkey House Museum
This historic building dates back to the early twentieth century and was once said to be the most expensive house in the city. Home to the Yawkey family, it was donated to the Marathon County Historical Society in the 1950s. Today, the house has been maintained to accurately represent how it would have looked like if the family was still residing there. It features the original furniture and crockery, a beautiful landscaped garden, local memorabilia, and more. Take a tour of the house and learn about the lifestyle of region’s elite during that period.
Bluegill Bay County Park
This park features a vast array of birds, Lake Wausau, picnic areas, vast spreading greenery, barbeque grills, volleyball courts, and more. Watch the mesmerising view of the sunrise, go fishing on the lake, hike on the verdant trails, view colourful birds, and enjoy a nice lakeside picnic. You can also spot turkeys and deer at the site.
Sunny Vale County Park
Known for its astounding natural beauty, this 300-acre park is frequented by visitors in all seasons. The Big Rib river meanders through this scenic park offering paradisiacal views. The park also features a serene lake, endless greenery, picnic areas with barbeque grills, hiking trails, volleyball courts, and more. In summers, go for a hike, swim in the lake, catch fish, play a game of softball or volleyball, and enjoy a picnic. Try out snow biking and snowshoeing in the enchanting snowy landscape of the park in winters.
Red Eye Brewing Company
This place is renowned for its craft beer and delectable food. They source most of their ingredients from regional farms and is one of the most popular restaurants in Wausau. Try out their chicken wings, pizzas, Wisconsin burger, tater tots, wraps, and beer. Their menu is very pocket-friendly.
International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival
This festival takes place in September in every even year. Majority of the ginseng production in the USA is attributable to Wisconsin, hence, this root forms a significant part of the local culture here. This vibrant festival features musical concerts, dance performances, ginseng themed activities, cooking classes, health runs, educational programs, delicious ginseng based food, and plenty more. Catch a glimpse of the local culture at this festival.
Badger State Games
This is a biannual sporting event for amateur sportspersons. The summer season games feature 5K runs, archery, baseball, lacrosse, volleyball, weightlifting, kayaking, swimming, bowling, softball, and more. Winter games include ski jumping, snowshoe running, figure skating, ice hockey, disc golf, snowmobiling, martial arts, and several others. Get tickets and enjoy a great game.
45×90 Geographical Marker
Located at the centre of the western half of the north hemisphere, this geographical point is equidistant from the north pole and the equator. Its coordinates are 45°0′0″N 90°0′0″W. This site is a 25 minutes’ drive from Wausau and is a popular tourist attraction.
Logger’s Landing Indoor Waterpark
Beat the heat and spend a relaxing day at this popular waterpark. It features multiple pools, enormous water slides, a lazy river, a jacuzzi, a water playground, bucket dumps, a restaurant, and plenty more. It is a 15 minutes’ drive from Wausau and is located inside the premises of the Grand Lodge Hotel.
This park encompasses nearly 80 acres and offers picnic areas with barbeque grills, over 30 campsites, playgrounds, a splash pad, tennis courts, sports fields, basketball courts, nature trails, and plenty more. You can have an amazing time at the park’s ice skating rink which is open in winters. Rental skates are available on the site. Go hiking on the scenic trails, enjoy a game of tennis, make some delicious burgers on the grills, and camp here at night,. This parks offers plenty opportunities for outdoor recreation.