While Milwaukee is a fantastic city with tons to do, there are also a bunch of great day trips from Milwaukee that you can take to get out and explore other parts of Wisconsin.
These Milwaukee day trips have everything you could ever want. They range from outdoor activities and hiking to exploring nearby cities, both big and small. This way you will find the perfect day trip from Milwaukee for you!
1. Lapham Peak
Lapham Peak is just about 30 minutes or so west of Milwaukee and makes for an excellent day trip for someone who likes outdoor activities. They have miles of hiking trails and that will instantly transport you out of the city and into nature.
One of the main attractions is the observation tower that sits atop Lapham Peak and gives it its name. Wisconsin is definitely not known for mountains, so enjoy the view from the 1,233 feet high “peak,” the tallest point in Waukesha County. You will get a beautiful view of the area known as Lake Country surrounding Lapham Peak.
Whether you are a hiker, want to bird watch, or go for a trail run, Lapham peak is one of the best day trips from Milwaukee if you do not want to drive too far.
Pro Trip: Visit in fall when the leaves are changing colors!
If you are looking to explore another city in Wisconsin, you will drive about an hour and 15 minutes west to get to the state’s capital, Madison.
Madison is a young, vibrant city with tons of life. It’s nestled between two lakes, Monona and Mendota, on an isthmus and has both the Wisconsin Capitol and the largest college in Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This means there is always something happening in Madison making it a great day trip from Milwaukee.
There are tons of restaurants, shops, bars, concerts, and even outdoor activities in this lively city.
Pro Tip: Check out the Dane County Farmers’ Market on a Saturday Morning around the Capitol. It’s America’s largest producers-only farmers’ market and happens every Saturday between April and November.
For another Milwaukee day trip, head down to Chicago. As one of America’s largest and most diverse cities, it offers countless activities, and there is something for everyone.
Chicago is really close to Milwaukee, making it an easy day trip. If you are driving, its only about 2 hours, give or take some traffic. However, you’l have to pay for parking which isn’t cheap!
Taking the bus is an easy way to get to Chicago from Milwaukee as is taking the train. Obviously, the bus is cheaper, but the train is more comfortable. Whichever transportation method you choose, you’re bound to have a wonderful day trip to Chicago.
If you are looking for what to do in Chicago during your day trip, check out this local’s guide to 24 Hours in Chicago on The Savvy Globetrotter.
Pro Tip: Go visit some local neighborhoods in Chicago instead of just staying in the downtown Loop area. You’ll find cheaper prices, better food, and a more authentic travel experience.
4. Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva is just under an hour drive from Milwaukee, making it a super popular Milwaukee day trip. It’s also only about an hour and a half from Chicago, so it’s very popular for a day trip from Chicago too.
With its gorgeous lake and quaint downtown, Lake Geneva is known as a quick getaway destination from Milwaukee. There are plenty of shops to browse and restaurants to eat at. You can also go swimming in the lake or out on a boat if you’re lucky enough to have one…or a friend who has one.
One of the more interesting things in Lake Geneva is the U.S. Mailboat. For over 100 years, they have been delivering mail by boat to the properties around Lake Geneva. Every year they host tryouts for teenagers in the area to become mail carriers. As the boat approaches the pier, they jump off, mail in hand, deliver it, and jump back onto the boat before it fully pulls away!
So far we’ve explored day trips south and west of Milwaukee, so let’s head north! Cedarburg is only about 30 minutes north of Milwaukee and is home to a lovely downtown with wineries, local shops, and amazing restaurants.
You can easily spend an afternoon shopping in Cedarburg, drinking at the Cedar Creek Winery, and eating at any of the great restaurants. However, Cedarburg also hosts a number of festivals throughout the year, even into winter!
Pro Tip: If you time your day trip right, you can check out Cedarburg’s summer Strawberry Festival or Oktoberfest!
6. Green Bay
Sticking to Milwaukee day trips north, you can head even further north to Green Bay. Green Bay is only an hour and 45 minutes from Milwaukee and is most famous for its football team, the Green Bay Packers.
Anyone from Wisconsin can tell you that the Packers are a vital part of Wisconsin culture. They are Wisconsin’s most popular sports team, and we guarantee that if you strike up a conversation about the Packers in any bar, you will instantly make a new friend. Assuming of course that you are a Packers fan…
With Green Bay being so close to Milwaukee, it makes for an easy day trip, whether there is a Packers game or not. However, if you are traveling to Green Bay from Milwaukee for the day on a game day, remember that the traffic will be worse and anything around Lambeau Field will be packed. Wisconsinites don’t mess around for Packers games.
If you are visiting Green Bay, there are lots of things to do, but most of it revolves around the Packers. You can visit the Packers Hall of Fame, tour Lambeau Field, or check out the nearby Titletown District, which has a 40 yard dash, football field, playground, and even a sledding area in winter. If you are traveling with kids, this will be sure to keep them occupied!
Green Bay also has great bars, restaurants, and breweries, so you won’t be at a loss of things to do here.
Pro Tip: Try to experience a Packers game if you can swing it. If you don’t want to drive, lots of bars in Milwaukee have buses that go up to Lambeau Field for game days. You leave in the morning from Milwaukee, tailgate before the game, see the game, and then head back to Milwaukee. As a bonus, you get to drink on the bus! This is a little pricier but takes all the logistics out of your Milwaukee to Green Bay day trip.
7. Devil’s Lake
In just under 2 hours from Milwaukee, you can drive and be at one of the most beautiful parks in the entire state of Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake. It’s a great day trip from Milwaukee for nature lovers and anyone who likes adventure.
The highlight of Devil’s Lake is the distinctive rock formations found along the lake. If you are willing to hike up to the top, you are rewarded with remarkable views of the lake and surrounding areas.
It is Wisconsin’s busiest state park with about 3 million visitors every year. Knowing that, make sure to plan your day trip from Milwaukee accordingly. You can always leave Milwaukee early and get there in the morning before the bigger crowds do. Once you’re done hiking, relax at the beach before heading back to Milwaukee.
Pro Tip: Once again, try to time it just right with the leaves changing colors in the fall for some dramatic views!
8. Wisconsin Dells
Located super close to Devil’s Lake is Wisconsin Dells, also known as The Waterpark Capital of the World. You may be laughing and saying, “Really? The waterpark capital of the world in the middle of Wisconsin? Yeah right….”
Well, that is actually a fact. Wisconsin Dells hosts the largest concentration of indoor and outdoor waterparks in the world!
This is why the Wisconsin Dells makes for a wonderful day trip from Milwaukee no matter what time of year. In the hot months of summer, head to Noah’s Ark, the biggest waterpark in America, and in winter, take a trip to any of the indoor waterpark resorts the Dells has to offer.
This day trip from Milwaukee is more for those with children because Baraboo was once home to the Ringling Brothers Circus. It was actually their headquarters from 1884 to 1917, as well as many other circuses. Today, it’s home to the Circus World Museum.
If you, or your children, are really into the circus, you could also check out the International Clown Hall of Fame in Baraboo.
And if you are not really into clowns, you can check out Driftless Glen Distillery for some of their award-winning spirits.
At just about an hour and 45 minutes away, Baraboo is fairly close to Milwaukee too, making a day trip very doable. It’s also not far from Wisconsin Dells or Devil’s Lake, so you could double up these Milwaukee day trips if you really wanted to!
10. Six Flags
Last but not least is Six Flags Great America. This is the perfect Milwaukee day trip if you are a thrill seeker and want a huge adrenaline rush from rollercoasters.
Six Flags Great America is not the cheapest day trip from Milwaukee, but it’s a fun one. It’s only about 45 minutes south, between Milwaukee and Chicago, in Gurnee, Illinois, so it’s relatively close too.
Be prepared to stand in line for rides as the amusement park gets busy, particularly during the summer. Six Flags is also the most expensive day trip on this list, so you will have to shell out some money to go.
Pro Tip: Pack some snacks in your car. You can get your hand stamped, leave, eat, and re-enter once you’re done. This will save you some money. If it’s summer, make sure to bring a cooler. Otherwise, your food and drinks in your car will probably get pretty hot.
Milwaukee is an incredible city with so much to offer visitors and locals, but don’t forget all the great places to visit that you can see in one day. These are just some of the excellent day trips from Milwaukee, so get out there and explore!