Getaway to the Northwoods of Wisconsin

Get Away in the Northwoods of Wisconsin

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This week I’m sharing a special treat for all my Midwest fans. My friend Tanya from Traveling Tanya is sharing a wonderful getaway in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. As Wisconsin is a state I’ve only visited a few times, I loved learning more about the area she travels to often. After this post, I’m definitely ready to plan a trip myself!

Looking for more fun Midwest weekend getaways? Check out these 5 fun and unique weekend ideas in Indiana.

From Tanya … Looking for a quiet retreat to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Then look no further than the Northwoods of Wisconsin!

My family has been vacationing in Sayner, Wisconsin for as long as I can remember. I can recall countless trips as a child when my grandparents took me and my brother to their cabin on Plum Lake for a week. While my grandparents have passed on, the legacy they started lives on.

Beautiful lake in Wisconsin

My parents now own the family cabin on the lake in Wisconsin. And my own children are creating special memories with their grandparents in the Northwoods.

(You can learn how our family started enjoying this area of the Northwoods many decades ago in a guest post by my dad!)


Located in Northern Wisconsin, many affectionately refer to this area as Up North.  If you haven’t heard of Sayner, and I’m guessing you haven’t, it is a tiny town of just 207 residents (as of the 2010 census). It covers just over 1.8 square miles at the very northernmost part of Wisconsin, about 20 miles from the Michigan border. Bet you didn’t know that Sayner, Wisconsin was the birthplace of the snowmobile!

Snowmobile sign in Sayner, Wisconsin

There is a sense of peace and tranquility in this part of the country. Sayner is perfect for a getaway with the family, your significant other, or on your own. Deer can be spotted daily in our wooded yard or along the many trails and tree-lined streets. Be careful driving at night on these winding roads as deer tend not to adhere to the crosswalks!

Fishing, canoeing, and swimming are fun lake activities our family enjoys during the warmer months. Fall is especially glorious as you take in beautiful lake views and nature’s colorful palette. Inside the cabin, we spend quality family time playing games (Uno, Monopoly, and Triominos are some family favorites) or doing a puzzle by the fire. The fireplace is also a nice setting to read a book, roast marshmallows or just take a nap. For some reason, even naps are better Up North!

While Sayner is a small town, it still boasts some unique shopping, lodging, and restaurants. A few of our favorite stores include PastimesTraditions, and the Eliason Lumber and Hardware store. A trip to the Northwoods isn’t complete without visiting the Sayner Pub for pizza and an adult beverage or two.  We also like to head up the road to the neighboring town of St. Germain to dine at Whitetail Inn or head to the 19th Hole Sports Bar for a more casual meal.

We always have family to stay with, but for travelers in need of lodging, I recommend a Sayner staple, Froelich’s Sayner Lodge. The lodge and several lakeside cabins are available for rent from the end of May through September each year and provide a genuine Northwoods experience. Whitetail Inn is another great option for lodging just outside of Sayner.

With two teenage girls shopping is usually high on our priority list when vacationing in Wisconsin! In addition to fun at the cabin, we usually spend a few days visiting some of our other favorite Northwoods towns.

Boulder Junction in the Northwoods of Wisconsin

Boulder Junction

Quaint and upscale best describes the small Northwoods town of Boulder Junction. We love to browse through the unique shops including the Blueberry PatchAlder Lake Cranberry Gift Shop, and Boulder Junction Trading Company.

When in Boulder Junction I love to stock up on Wisconsin wineThree Lakes and Door County are two of my favorites. You must try some cranberry wine or some kind of tasty cranberry treat when in Wisconsin. Over 60% of all cranberries in the U.S. are harvested in Wisconsin, and a trip to a cranberry bog is another fun outing.

Three lakes wine in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin

When the weather is nice, Mad Dog Jakes is where we stop for a scoop of ice cream…or two! For lunch, consider Headwaters Restaurant and Tavern. The atmosphere has a cozy cabin feel and the Buck Skins (deep-fried potato skins with sour cream) are very tasty.


A fun dining option in Minocqua can be found at The Boathouse, overlooking Minocqua Lake. When the weather is nice, plan to enjoy cocktails on the outside deck.

One of our must-see shopping areas is Gaslight Square, a quaint indoor shopping gallery with a variety of stores. You can find “punny” signs, local wines, home décor, antiques, and fine fashions. Other favorite shops along the main strip include Imaginuity for unique toys and games, Monkey Business for clothes, A Step Up for Northwoods decor, and Ruby’s Chef Shop for any kitchen gadget imaginable.

No trip to Minocqua is complete without a trip to the Olde Minocqua Boardwalk Shoppes. The Cheese Board is my favorite as I love sampling their varieties of Wisconsin cheese, and we always go home with an assortment of yummy snacks.

When in Wisconsin, I recommend getting ice cream, preferably on a daily basis! Visit the lady at the Boardwalk Ice Cream and Fudge Shop to check out her latest array of fudge and indulge in a tasty frozen treat.

Another staple in Minocqua is the Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty. Look for the big blue ox out front and get your fill of pancakes and other home cooking specialties served family-style.

Eagle River

You should also venture into Eagle River where I love to enjoy warm beverages and gigantic cinnamon rolls at my favorite café, Blend.

Delicious treats in Eagle River, Wisconsin

Of course, more shopping options abound, and there are plenty of unique stores to browse in Eagle River. A few of our favorites include Grandma’s Toybox for toys, puzzles, and brain teasers, Eagle Craft & Hobby for all things crafty, Glik’s for clothing, and Eagle Baking Company for more tasty baked goods.

Friendship House Family Restaurant is a perfect spot for lunch to ensure your food comsumption includes something besides sugar! The menu is extensive and everyone is sure to find something to please their palate. From cream of broccoli soup to cheeseburgers to chicken wraps to liver and onions, the menu is diverse.

There are also two ice cream and candy stores on the strip in Eagle River so feel free to continue indulging your sweet tooth. You are on vacation, after all!

Venture Up North

We always have a fabulous time visiting Sayner and the neighboring towns, and we look forward to returning each year. If you have never been Up North, it’s time to add this beautiful and serene destination to your travel wish list! If you need a virtual tour guide for the Northwoods, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at

Note from Pam: Wine, fudge, shopping, and beautiful lake views? Count me in! The Northwoods of Wisconsin sounds like the perfect destination to truly get away from it all.

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Are you looking for a fun new place to explore? How about the Northwoods of Wisconsin? With beautiful lakes, quaint small towns and delicious foods, it's the perfect getaway! #getaways #midwesttravel #midwestfun
Are you looking for a fun new place to explore? How about the Northwoods of Wisconsin? With beautiful lakes, quaint small towns and delicious foods, it's the perfect getaway! #getaways #midwesttravel #midwestfun