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Your guide to Minocqua
Welcome to Minocqua
It takes just one look at a map to understand why they call this region Wisconsin’s Lake Country. In fact, Minocqua is situated on a tiny peninsula jutting into a lake ringed with beautiful boathouses, and you can fish right off the public pier downtown. Minocqua, and the nearby communities of Woodruff and Arbor Vitae, offer an ideal getaway for people who love both summer and winter outdoor activities. Walleye and bass are plentiful in these waters, and there are so many small lakes around that you could find your own, spending the morning with no one but the birds to keep you company. Hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails wind their way around the lakes, and when the snows descend, the trails are marked with tracks from cross-country skis, snowshoes, and snowmobiles.
The town of Minocqua itself is a charming basecamp, with plenty of shops, breweries, and restaurants to entertain you between adventures. (The Friday night fish fries in this region are legendary.) The 36-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe is not the only remnant of this area’s logging past — lumberjack shows take place in Woodruff all summer.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Minocqua?
The population of Minocqua quadruples in summer, which should tell you a little bit about the considerable appeal of Wisconsin’s lake country. All those lakes keep the July and August weather from being oppressively hot, though the weather does tend toward the muggy. (Thanks to the lakes, you’ll also want to bring lots of bug spray.) The fishing season begins in late spring and goes through early fall, when the temperatures dip into chilly territory. October turns the entire countryside brilliant shades of orange and red — perfect for hikes and scenic drives. The snows start in late October and peak in December and January, when the temperature often drops below zero degrees Fahrenheit. But those are also the perfect conditions for cozying up in one of the area’s cabin rentals and activities such as cross-country skiing, snowmobile riding, and the city’s favorite winter sport: snowshoe baseball.
What are the top things to do in Minocqua?
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest
The Wisconsin state authorities have counted 900 lakes in this 236,000-acre park, located just a few miles from downtown Minocqua. There are plentiful trails for you to meander on, sandy beach spots with picnic areas, and a nature center at Crystal Lake Campground that offers displays and educational talks. You’ll also find dozens of campsites, including a few primitive backcountry spots that require a canoe to get to. Keep in mind that you’ll need a state park admission sticker for your car.
Hanging out in the water
If you aren’t driving to Minocqua with your own boat in tow, never fear: There are a number of rental shops that will hook you up with everything you need to hang out on the water, from tubes and stand-up paddle boards to pontoons for slow cruises. You could set your canoe into the water and spend the day exploring the chain of Minocqua Lakes. Anglers here set their sights on walleye, bigmouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, and muskie. If you visit in winter, the fishing doesn’t stop — it simply moves onto the ice.
Minocqua Winter Park
This nonprofit hub for snow sports, which combines a municipal park with trails through private lands, is a popular destination for all manner of winter fun. In addition to the 54 miles of trails dedicated to cross-country skiing, you’ll find groomed paths for fat-tire bikes and snowshoes, hills for tubing down, and a lake for ice-skating, as well as fire pits and refreshments.