Planning a trip? Learn more about Appleton through the Fox
Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau at foxcities.org.
For Chicagoans, Door County is the summer and fall
destination de rigueur. But there's another northern Wisconsin
destination option with a lake and lots of small town charm:
The town is nestled at the north end of Lake Winnebago,
about 30 miles southwest of Green Bay. When I visited we hiked, we
shopped, we ate and we relaxed, all without the pressure of crowds
and tourist-unfriendly prices that come with a visit to its better
known neighbor to the northeast.
Among the unexpected highlights: a visit to the Bergstrom Mahler
Museum and a stroll through the Saturday morning
Appleton Farmers Market.
You don't need to stay long at the Bergstrom Mahler
Museum, home to an incredible collection of gorgeous glass
paperweights. Since it's free, you won't even mind if the kids need
to leave after 30 minutes. Take them out the back way and let them
run across the expansive lawn down toward the lake. Then make a
quick stop at the surprisingly affordable gift shop to buy some
glass earrings, ornaments or other treats for yourself.
Plan to spend most of Saturday morning at the farmers
market. It takes over downtown Appleton and is filled with more
than 140 booths selling everything from corn to cheese curds, with
enough games and activities and exotic prepared foods to keep kids'
hands busy and bellies full.
There's plenty of nature here, too, including hiking the Red
Bird Trail at High Cliff State Park and learning to milk a cow
at Mulberry Lane
Farms (it's not as easy as it looks). Or you can take a walk
along the Fox River at the 1,000 Islands
Environmental Center. But don't come to Appleton expecting to
spend time on or in the water unless you bring your own boat.
Sadly, Lake Winnebago does not have any vendors offering boat
rides, renting canoes or otherwise helping tourists get out on the
There's plenty of big-city-like entertainment in the small town.
Don't miss a baseball game at the affordable and always fun Wisconsin Timber
Rattlers' Stadium, if the Milwaukee Brewers Class A minor
league team happens to be in town when you visit. The antics are
more fun than the game and there's a huge sandbox "beach" for
kids to play in when they get bored.
If you want the kids to learn something during your vacation,
take them to the University of Wisconsin's
Barlow Planetarium and Weiss Earth Science
Museum. They're a little outside of Appleton in nearby Menasha,
but worth a stop on your way out of town.
Appleton for affordable family fun in a larger map
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.
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