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Your guide to Wisconsin Dells
Mention the Dells to any Midwesterner, and they’re likely to reply with a personal story about a family vacation to the so-called waterpark capital of the world. Named for the town of Wisconsin Dells and nearby Lake Delton, the Wisconsin Dells region is hugely popular with families in Chicago, Wisconsin, and surrounding states, especially in the hot summer months. But because this is the Midwest (home to the six-month winter), the Dells operate year-round with indoor water parks, too. In recent years, the area has diversified to include a wide variety of recreation and family-friendly fun: ziplining, ropes courses, laser tag, trampoline parks, and more. There’s plenty to do if waterparks aren’t your thing, but you’d be remiss not to pack your swimsuit.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Wisconsin Dells?
The Dells really come alive in summertime, when temperatures rise into the 80s Fahrenheit and occasionally up to the 90s. (While Wisconsin Dells holds the record for the highest-ever temperature in the state — 114 degrees, back in 1936 — it’s unlikely to happen again soon.) Winters are brutally cold, so a warm winter coat is a must. Temperatures drop down to single-digits, and if there’s any wind, it’s common for local governments to issue cold-weather advisories discouraging outdoor recreation. Spring and fall weather can fluctuate drastically between mild, sunny days and surprise snow showers. If you’re planning to stay in one of the area’s cabins during those less-predictable months, keep a close eye on the forecast.
What are the top things to do in Wisconsin Dells?
Completed just a few years ago, the Dells Riverwalk is a wide, welcoming path hugging the Wisconsin River. Popular with bikers, strollers, and runners, it stretches a short half-mile from downtown Wisconsin Dells to where it meets the marina at Crandalls Bay.
Glockenspiel and Bavarian Village
For a glimpse of Wisconsin’s Central European heritage, head to the Glockenspiel tucked behind the cheese shop. Every hour, the old-fashioned clock plays its tune, followed by a telling of the Pied Piper story acted out by traditional moving figures. Its little plaza is populated with quaint food and gift shops resembling traditional Bavarian architecture.
You could easily spend an afternoon in nearby Baraboo, nicknamed the Circus City. Founded in the 1880s, Baraboo maintains a circus museum the International Crane Foundation, and the Forevertron, which is the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world. It’s also the closest city to the beautiful Devil’s Lake State Park.