Vilas County, Wisconsin Northwoods. Small towns. Big woods. Water everywhere, with more than 1,300 lakes within the county. The Wisconsin northwoods is an outdoor vacationer’s delight just about year-round. Tourism here is the No. 1 industry. The location is far from metropolitan areas – and worth the drive.
Wisconsin Northwoods: While this itinerary covers a full week at White Birch Village Resort, which is the typical summer stay, you might check out the possibility of a shorter stay. Also, for most activities other than those at the resort, call ahead for reservations and payment options. Some places do not accept credit cards.
Plan to arrive between 3 and 5 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday and check in to the White Birch Village Resort in Boulder Junction. Get settled in at one of the cozy but fully-appointed cabins. Have dinner with you – something simple like hot dogs to grill on your deck. Then do a little on-site investigating to see all that’s available. It’s a lot. Throughout your vacation, spend time at the resort – that’s a big reason you’re staying there – but also check out other local activities.
Ignore the clock. Wake up whenever you’d like – or perhaps whenever the kids would like. Wander over to the main lodge for complimentary morning coffee, then enjoy the Northwoods stillness. When the family is fueled up with breakfast, take an extended walk throughout the property. This is a day to stay at the resort, so enjoy the options. Keep in mind that Charlie the Chipmunk is hiding somewhere. If you find him, you get to choose his next hiding spot.
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Morning means breakfast and more resort options. For lunch, drive 8 miles to the Granary in Boulder Junction. It’s open 6 a.m.-3 p.m. every day.
Then head north, stopping on Main Street to take a look at the four seasons mural. It’s a year-long visual story of Boulder Junction.
Continue driving north on County Road M about 4 miles to Grassy Creek Ranch for horseback riding.
Your cabin is just 12 miles from the ranch. When you return, choose a late afternoon resort activity, have dinner at your vacation home, and then check out another resort activity to end your day.
Breakfast in your cabin again, then meet fishing guide Lyle Chapman in Lac du Flambeau for a morning on the water. It’s about 26 miles from your cabin via County Highway K and County Road H. Chapman has fished the chain of lakes here his entire life. Ask him about his childhood on the Chippewa reservation.
When the fishing is done, drive 5-6 miles southeast on County Road F toward Minocqua to Lake Placid Inn for lunch. It’s on the south end of Fence Lake.
After lunch, return to Lac du Flambeau to get to know the Ojibwe/Chippewa culture. Start at the George Brown Ojibwe Museum and go on to a couple related sites nearby.
Have dinner at the Blue Bayou Inn in Manitowish Waters, an unexpected slice of New Orleans in the Northwoods. It’s about 20 miles north of Lac du Flambeau on U.S. 51.
Return to your cabin for a good night’s rest.
Another day of adventure. After breakfast, drive 24 miles south to Northwoods Zip Line in Minocqua. The tour has been designed in and around northern Wisconsin’s trees, making it a definite canopy tour.
Lunch? Less than a mile away at Minocqua Pizza Company. Or head back to the cabin for lunch. Spend the rest of the day with activities at White Birch Village Resort.
After breakfast in your cabin, drive to Eagle River, the county seat. First stop: Northwoods Children’s Museum. This small but mighty center of education comes disguised as play. Beware: This place is jam-packed on cold, rainy days.
Lunch has to be at Soda Pops downtown. Burgers, grilled cheese, fish fry, and plenty of ice cream. Also visit the Warehouse next door.
Then get out on the water with a cruise aboard a pirate ship at Pirates Hideaway.
Your last full day of vacation means staying put at the resort for one last day of activity options and a good night’s sleep before the drive home on Saturday.