Taking a Quick Ride

short drive trips around the state of Wisconsin

Sam Clark

We wanted to find the best destinations for a quick weekend road trip around Wisconsin, whether it’s for the gorgeous natural beauty, an interesting educational experience or just a wacky, weird attraction. So we asked you to give us suggestions on Facebook and here’s what you came up with ...


Hayward, WI

Hayward is home to the Freshwater Fishing Hall Of Fame and Museum – or as many know it as, The Musky Museum. The grounds are home to a massive musky-shaped structure and an equally massive 88,000 gallon pond for fishing. At the museum, you can learn all about the sport of freshwater fishing and peruse the many records that fishermen and women have hooked over the years.

Directions from EC: North on Highway 53, then west on Highway 63.
Travel Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Phillips, WI

Located in Phillips, Wisconsin, Fred Smith’s Concrete Park proves that cement isn’t just for sidewalks.  The park features over 200 figurines made out of wire, cement, and various junk art materials.  It’s free to the public, and is such a big deal that the town throws an annual Concrete Park Celebration in mid-August featuring events like a tuba band and a biographical puppet show of Fred Smith.

Directions from EC: West on Highway 29, then north on Highway 13
Travel Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Spooner, WI

“Here comes the dinner train” might be a strange and intimidating phrase used to get a stubborn child to eat, but it might as well be the slogan for Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad. The Spooner-based company offers scenic rail dining in their historic trains with options available for the entire family. The company also has bed and breakfast train rides, complete with a five-course dinner, and a night spent in an vintage 1950’s sleeper car.

Directions from EC: North on Highway 53
Travel Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Nelson, WI

If you live in Wisconsin, there’s a 79% you came here for the cheese.  Even if you’re among the minority, The Nelson Cheese Factory in Nelson is still a great place to experience and rekindle your love with the dairy delicacy.  The factory itself no longer makes cheese, but it has adequately compensated by offering cheeses from around Wisconsin and the world, as well as a gourmet menu of fresh soups, salads, sandwiches, and pizzas.

Directions from EC: West on Wisconsin Trunk 85, then south on Highway 25
Travel Time: 1 hour

Sumpter, WI

You’ll probably have to see this one to believe it. Back in the 1980s, a former demolition expert named Tom Every succeeded in building the world’s largest scrap metal sculpture, measuring 50 feet tall and 120 feet wide. The behemoth is located along Highway 12 in Sumpter, Wisconsin, and is just one of many Every sculptures found in the park. Other eye-catchers are gigantic insects, a bellows-driven barbeque train called “Epicurean,” and a 70-piece orchestra of birds. Yep.

Directions from EC: South on I-94, then south on Highway 12
Travel Time: 2 hour, 30 minutes

Alma, WI

Buena Vista Park is located 500 feet above Alma, and offers the best view of the Mississippi River aside from a photoshopped postcard.  Describes by Better Homes & Gardens magazine as “one of the river valley’s finest natural balconies,” Buena Vista Park offers breathtaking views and accommodations for the entire family, including picnic tables, grills, and a small children’s playground.

Directions from EC: South on Highway 37
Travel Time: 1 hour