We all know that Wisconsin Dells is the “Capital of Waterparks.” If you didn’t, you do now. I did not know when I was researching the area. But, don’t worry if you’re not a fan of them, because there are plenty of other fun things to do in the Dells. I spent four long amazing days in the Dells with a friend doing outdoor activities the entire time…and not one of them was at a park with water! You’ve got to see how two grown women had fun with these 10 things to do in WI Dells. I hosted Arrowhead in Wisconsin Dells for four awesome nights and had a media pass for all excursions. All opinions here are my very own.
These top 10 things to do in WI Dells will have you talking about it for days!
Don’t get me wrong here, waterparks are the bomb, and I’m not knocking them down. If my grandson were with me, we’d be all over it. But on this trip, it was me and a friend of mine, Lori. We had a cabin in the woods that was our home away from home, and it felt nice to be away from the touristy area of the Dells.
Related: Multigenerational Road Trip to Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels(Opens in a new browser tab)
Top 10 Things To Do In WI Dells Besides Waterparks
I know waterparks are huge in the Dells, but I’m here to tell you there are way more things to do there than hanging out in the touristy waterparks. I’ll elaborate on some of them below, so be sure to read this post in its entirety.
- Smell the Lavender
- Crane Foundation
- Book a cabin at Arrowhead RV Campground
- Visit wineries
- Zip the Wilderness
- Eat at Bella’s Coffee
- See the sights on the train
- Boat tour and reap the history
- Take Flight
- Hike it
Wisconsin Dells sits along the Wisconsin River and is filled with natural beauty, history, and some of the best scenic views I’ve ever seen. This was my first time in Wisconsin, and I’m so excited that I get to cross off this state on my travel map. I only have a few more states to visit before my map is full!
In the early part of July, Lori and I went on some amazing adventures all over the Dells. Here they are.
1. New Life Lavender & Cherry Farm
At New Life Lavender & Cherry Farm, you can take a self-guided tour for $5 to see their 20-acres of land, including 25 varieties of lavender, a beautiful wildflower garden, a secret garden, and snap a selfie in the lavender garden as we did. There is a bench and instructions on how to take the perfect selfie. There’s also a shop full of lavender products and a snack bar where you can grab a lavender sweet such as lavender cherry pie with homemade lavender ice cream –that’s what I had. You can pick your own lavender, but that’s only at certain times of the year. I’d call first if that’s your intention.
2. The International Crane Foundation
Get away from the touristy area of the Dells and take a drive on a scenic road to the International Crane Foundation, where they house at least one of every crane in the world. Nowhere else can you see all the cranes in the world than here. Be sure to watch the 15-minute film about the life of a crane before starting your self-guided tour around the premises. You’ll definitely have a deeper appreciation for them – well, I did.
Oh, I saw a dude using his binoculars for close-up views of the cranes that were far away. It’s not a bad idea to pack yours if you have a pair.
3. Plan Your Vacation At Arrowhead RV Campground
Bring your RV or rent a cabin at Arrowhead RV Campground in the Dells. The campground is not too far from town, and it’s a nice drive down a scenic road and provides a sense of fresh air while staying there. There’s a pool to use, playground, hiking trails; you name it. There are even fun games for kids to play, and they do community activities on weekends.
Visit The Wineries Close By
Even though Wisconsin is a beer-drinking state, there are several wineries near and outside of town. And most have a nice view to marvel over.
We found a nice winery not too far from downtown called Broken Bottle Winery. I’ve noticed in this area that most places charge for wine tastings – something I’m not used to paying for in Texas, but that’s okay. Fawn Creek Winery on 13th Avenue is another nice place, and it offers complimentary wine tastings with music on the deck every Saturday and Sunday.
5. Zip Line
Ziplining is an adventure in itself. Have you done it? Zipping across tops of trees and over canyons and lakes is my absolute favorite outdoor adventure to do. Check out my t-shirt! If you’re up for the adventure, Wilderness Canyon Zipline Tour is the place to try it. There’s another one in town as well. Oh, and this was Lori’s first time to zipline. She said she was hooked but would do it again. Out of the things to do in WI Dells, this was my favorite. I’m a zipline junkie and I love it!!
6. Bella Goose Coffee
Of course, there is a slew of places to grab a bite to eat, but we found Bella Goose Coffee to be the best for breakfast. We had the best avocado toast ever!! We both ordered it.
7. Riverside & Great Northern Railroad
Take A Train Ride Through The Wisconsin Dells on the Riverside and Great Northern Railroad excursion is for the whole family and anyone who wants to see the scenic rim of Wisconsin! Before heading out on the train, the conductor talks about the area’s history and how the railroad came to be. Then you’ll climb aboard the train and take a ride through beautiful scenic Wisconsin Dells.
8. Upper Dells Boat Tours
Things to do in Wisconsin Dells have to include a boat tour –it’s a must. And, the Upper Dells Boat Tour is the most popular excursion among visitors. You’ll see spectacular scenery and hear the story of the history of Wisconsin Dells.
The gorgeous scenery of the Wisconsin River, sandstone cliffs, and beautiful rock formations made it clear that the history of Dells lives on. History buffs will find a spectacular journey on this boat tour.
9. Take Flight Simulator
This is indoor, but everything I saw was mostly outdoors! Similar to an Omni Theater if you’re familiar with those. You actually feel like you’re in a helicopter flying over these places. I saw all seasons in the Dells, and autumn was my favorite. That might be the only time I see fall colors that much!
10. Hike, Walk, Run
Visiting Wisconsin for the first time for this Texan was a true experience, and I will forever cherish the memories with my friend Lori. BUT…that’s not all. Before we went to the Dells, Lori and I visited Sturgeon Bay in Door Country for four full days. See what kind of fun we got into there and the adorable cabin we stayed in >>> Cabins Near Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay.