A Wisconsin Honeymoon Full of Lakeside Views and Cozy Gems

Waterfront resorts, intimate cabins and views for days make Wisconsin a hidden gem.
Looking south over Lincoln Memorial Drive at the Milwaukee Skyline
Photo: Jon Mattrisch | Getty
Beth Ann Mayer - The Knot Contributor.
Beth Ann Mayer
Beth Ann Mayer - The Knot Contributor.
Beth Ann Mayer
The Knot Contributor
  • Beth Ann writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, including venues, honeymoons and planning advice.
  • Beth Ann is a lifestyle freelance writer, with bylines on healthline.com and parents.com.
  • Prior to freelancing, Beth Ann was a writer and editor for Long Island Pulse Magazine.
Updated Apr 30, 2024
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Considering a Wisconsin honeymoon? Sure, far-flung voyages and warm-weather locales often take center stage when honeymooners are considering options for their first vacation together as a married couple. But this US honeymoon destination is an underrated escape that's closer to home.

There are plenty of cozy cabins and outdoor activities, such as beautiful state parks perfect for hiking or launching a kayak. Indoor water parks offer fun options, regardless of the weather. And newlyweds can get culture fixes at performing arts centers and art museums.

Plan your romantic Wisconsin getaway with this guide.

Wisconsin Honeymoon Tips in this Article:

    Cana Island Lighthouse, Door County, Wisconsin
    Photo: JamesBrey | Getty

    Best Time to Honeymoon in Wisconsin

    Unless you're looking for sub-zero temperatures, you'll want to pick a season with milder weather. The best time to visit for a romantic getaway is in September or October, when temperatures are typically in the 60s and 70s. The fall foliage usually peaks in mid-October, so if that's something you're looking forward to, plan for around then.

    Best weather: May to October.
    Festival highlights: The Wisconsin State Fair, held in August, offers a classic fair experience with agricultural exhibits, live music and local food. Summerfest in Milwaukee, touted as one of the world's largest music festivals, takes place in late June to early July. Autumn brings Oktoberfest celebrations in La Crosse and Appleton—perfect for enjoying craft beers and local culture.

    Wisconsin Honeymoon Planning Tips

    Wisconsin is a quick road trip for those who live in Chicago and other Midwestern cities. The state is just over two hours via plane from New York City, making it an attractive romantic weekend getaway for New Yorkers looking for a mini-moon experience. Couples flying in from Dallas should expect a roughly four-hour journey. West Coast newlyweds will have the longest flight at about six hours.

    Wisconsin's beauty cannot be understated. It includes miles and miles of coastline and views of two Great Lakes, Michigan and Superior. Farmlands stretch on for acres, offering glimpses of cows grazing and boundless green space. Resort-style towns, like Lake Geneva and Door County, boast high-end accommodations, often at a much lower price tag than popular spots on the East and West Coasts. Other small towns are charming and have intimate places to stay, like cozy cabins.

    Before buying plane tickets, know that Wisconsin winters are not for the faint of heart. The snow belt of Vilas County averages more than 100 inches of snow each year, and northeast and central Wisconsin towns get between 40 and 50 inches. The temperatures, which are often below freezing, ensure it doesn't melt quickly. If you're honeymooning in the fall, winter or early spring and crave warmth, Wisconsin is not your best bet.

    Entry requirements: You won't need your passport for a honeymoon in Wisconsin, but bring your IDs.
    Location: Wisconsin is located in the north-central United States, bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, and Michigan to the northeast.
    Currency: USD.
    Flight time to Destination: Flights from New York City to Milwaukee are approximately 2 hours.
    Getting around: Wisconsin can be navigated via a mix of rental cars, which are ideal for exploring rural and scenic areas at your own pace, and public transportation available in larger cities like Milwaukee and Madison. Bicycling is also a popular option in urban areas and around the scenic trails throughout the state.

    Pro tip: Find a honeymoon planning agent on The Knot Marketplace for Wisconsin honeymoon expertise, reviews, testimonials and more.

    Best Wisconsin Honeymoon Hotels and Resorts

    Wisconsin offers a variety of honeymoon accommodations, from luxurious hotels to cozy honeymoon cabins in the Northwoods. Here are our top picks.

    A view of buildings and a river in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Photo: James Meyer | Shutterstock

    Inn at Wawanissee Point

    Newlyweds looking for charming accommodations that don't skimp on modern luxury will love this adults-only bed and breakfast. Set on 42 acres of land and located just 20 minutes from the Wisconsin Dells, the Inn at Wawanissee Point boasts four country-style rooms. Some have fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and private balconies. The staff serves breakfast in the sunroom with views of the Lake Wisconsin valley. In the evening, honeymooners can enjoy wine-and-cheese socials.

    5.0 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Dorner's Big Bear Hideaway

    Retreat to cozy cabins beneath a canopy of pines at Big Bear Hideaway in Boulder Junction, one of the most romantic resorts around. Take in Northwoods sunrises and sunsets just the two of you, or head to the resort's fire pit. There's also a sauna made for resting weary legs. Many of the rustic-chic cabins come with fully stocked kitchens, fireplaces and wood stoves. Downtown Boulder Junction is within walking distance.

    5.0 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Milwaukee Marriott Downtown

    Milwaukee Marriott Downtown is within walking distance of several local attractions, including Lake Michigan and the Historic Third Ward. An on-site restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner and serves craft beer, cocktails and approachable comfort food. The large rooms have king- or queen-size beds.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    The Country House Resort

    This adults-only waterfront escape in Door County makes for a popular honeymoon resort. The Country House Resort in Sister Bay has spacious suites with whirlpool tubs and fireplaces, setting the stage for a romantic evening. It's five miles from Peninsula State Park, and couples craving some time on the green will love its proximity to Pirate's Cove Adventure.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Courtyard Marriott La Crosse

    Courtyard Marriott La Crosse is set in the downtown area along the Mississippi River and is known for its amiable service from check-in to departure. Some rooms have riverfront views, and an on-site bistro has breakfast, cocktails and dinner. The hotel also boasts an indoor pool and hot tub.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Pro tip: If you're looking for Wisconsin honeymoon accommodations that may provide more privacy or lower prices, think about staying at a romantic Airbnb or VRBO.

    Wisconsin Honeymoon Itinerary Ideas

    Couples will find plenty of romantic activities in Wisconsin. Enjoy leisurely boat rides on lakes, romantic strolls through the Botanical Gardens or scenic drives through the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Here are a few things to absolutely add to your list of things to do together on your romantic honeymoon.

    Autumn view of the Bavarian-style bridge entrance at the ever-popular Seven Bridges trail in Grant Park
    Photo: Christopher Zaborsky | Getty

    Door County

    Sometimes referred to as the "Cape Cod of the Midwest," Door County is situated on the coast of Lake Michigan and attracts locals and tourists alike from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

    Washington Island is a quick jaunt from the mainland and includes the rocky shores of Schoolhouse Beach. Back on the mainland, Peninsula State Park boasts nearly 4,000 acres of waterfront views, as well as hiking and biking trails. When night falls, head to Sister Bay for dinner with a breathtaking view.

    Wisconsin Dells

    This southern Wisconsin city is a playground for people of all ages—it's known as the Water Park Capital of the World. Noah's Ark Water Park, hailed as the largest indoor water park in the nation, has tons of slides and a drive-in theater.

    For some tranquility, head to Rocky Arbor State Park. It's small in size (144 acres), but goes big on pine-tree views. Cold Water Canyon Golf Course is equal parts challenging and beautiful, featuring miles of lush green space and link-style hills to challenge players on the back nine.

    Lake Geneva

    Sometimes called the Newport of the Midwest, Lake Geneva is a resort town in southeast Wisconsin. The lakeside Shore Path is full of turn-of-the-century mansions that would make even Gatsby swoon. Honeymooners can travel back to the Gilded Age at Black Point Estate and Gardens, the Queen Anne-style home once belonging to Chicago beer tycoon Conrad Seipp. There are also plenty of opportunities to go kayaking and canoeing.


    Situated on the western shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is a haven for beer enthusiasts. Eagle Park Brewing, 1840 Brewing Company and Third Space Brewing are some local favorites. The Historic Third Ward is known for its unique shops, art museums and galleries, like Lily Pad Gallery West. You'll also find an array of eateries, from fine-dining establishments to pubs and taverns.

    Motorcyclists will want to make a pit stop at the Harley-Davidson Museum, which takes guests on a century-long trip down memory lane.


    Bayfield's population is less than 500, making it the smallest city in Wisconsin. But it's big on stunning views of Lake Superior. Bayfield is the gateway to the Apostle Islands. The 21 islands, with their beaches and stunning sandstone-rock formations, are considered Lake Superior's crown jewels. Madeline Island is the largest and an ideal spot for canoeing and kayaking.

    Green Bay

    Football fanatics won't want to punt on the opportunity to visit the home of the Green Bay Packers. The team won the first two Super Bowls, earning it the nickname Title Town, USA. Fans can tour Lambeau Field and the Packers Hall of Fame year-round. Green Bay Botanical Garden is a lovely spot for an afternoon stroll.


    Wisconsin's capital, Madison, is home to two stops on the Frank Lloyd Wright Tour, a must-do for couples who appreciate architecture. Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center and First Unitarian Society Meeting House are the two, and couples can take tours.

    Newlyweds can also visit the state capitol building and explore the serene Olbrich Botanical Gardens, where wildflowers and tropical plants are enough to brighten anyone's day.

    Eau Claire

    Eau Claire is a must-visit for couples hoping to take in the arts. Each year, it hosts numerous art shows and music festivals, including Blue Ox Music Festival in June and Country Jam USA in July. Beer enthusiasts will want to invest in an Eau Claire Brew Pass—you can actually win prizes for drinking your brews of choice (yes, really).

    La Crosse

    The city of La Crosse boasts waterfront views of the Mississippi and plenty of arts and culture. It's home to the Weber Center for the Performing Arts, where guests can take in performances by cover artists and bands. Outside, Grandad Bluff is 590 feet, offering a bird's-eye view of the city and river below. The neoclassical Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is another favorite place to visit.

    Pro tip: Hot air balloon rides, spa treatments and tickets to museums are fantastic Wisconsin honeymoon experiences to add to your gift registry.

    What to Pack for a Wisconsin Honeymoon

    View of winding road surrounded by autumn forest in Wisconsin
    Photo: Nejdet Duzen | Getty

    Wisconsin honeymoons are often full of outdoor activities, so you'll want to pack for the elements. Your packing checklist should include sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses will protect you from the sun, and a waterproof jacket and umbrella are essential for rainy days.

    The temperatures can vary, so pack layers like light T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, cardigans and sweatshirts. It's a good idea to pack both pants and shorts during the spring, summer and fall. Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots will keep feet protected in parks and on trails. Bathing suits are a must if you plan to take a dip in the hotel pool or hot tub.

    If you're braving a Wisconsin winter, cozy wool socks, a knit hat, a warm down coat, a scarf, a hat, gloves and waterproof boots are all essential items to have in your honeymoon luggage.

    Brittany Barber contributed to this article.

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