The 3 Best Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants in 4 NE Wisconsin Cities

I’m going to go ahead and start this with my definition of a “Hole-in-the-Wall” restaurant. To me, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant is a place that is small with limited or no indoor seating. Typically a place where something about the restaurant is deceiving, AKA the food surpasses the expectations set by a usually lack-luster interior or exterior. A hole-in-the-wall to me has an infamous character, a place where not everyone within a 5 mile radius eats there, but everyone in a 5 mile radius HAS eaten there. Places that are either simply great quality, passionately patronized by droves of regulars, or carry a special history or reputation when discussed in conversation. I hope this list finds you well, and gives you a few spots to go next time you and you’re friends are on the road in an unfamiliar area, or you and your partner need a new spot in town to check out.

Green Bay

Al’s Hamburger Shop

Address: 131 S Washington St, Green Bay, WI 54301

Al’s is a Green Bay classic. In the heart of Downtown Green Bay and a few doors down from the Meyer Theater, Al’s has been serving up classic American fast food since 1934! That’s older than McDonald’s (Est. 1940)

Joe’s Texas BBQ

Address: 1800 S Ashland Ave, Green Bay, WI 54304

A quaint and long established eatery, Joe’s recently moved locations to be closer to Lambeau Field. They serve classic barbeque that surpasses the expectations of their small shop.

Taqueria Don Pancho

Address: 1807 N Irwin Ave, Green Bay, WI 54302

This “Hole in the Wall” is such a hidden gem, we haven’t heard from them online since 2016. Taqueria has very high reviews for their authentic Mexican Cuisine at very fair prices. Don’t be scared off by the exterior, the food gets high marks from their customers.

Appleton

Basil Cafe

Address: 1513 N Richmond St, Appleton, WI 54911

Basil Café is on the line as a “Hole-in-the-Wall” The location isn’t huge, but it’s big enough to accommodate, but the exterior makes the real deal feel like a mirage. From the outside, Basil appears to be basic, but once you step foot inside, you’re transported into another world! The food lives up to the expectation set by the interior. Highly regarded in the Appleton community.

Home Burger Bar

Address: 205 W College Ave, Appleton, WI 54911

Home Burger Bar is reminiscent of comfortable, delicious burger bars in larger cities like Madison and Milwaukee. Tucked in on College Ave Downtown Appleton, Home Burger Bar is clean, quirky, and delivers on their name sake, their burgers.

Mai’s Deli

Address: 104 S Memorial Dr, Appleton, WI 54911

Mai’s Deli is an awesome food shop with an awesome history. For years local immigrants sold their stuffed chicken wings essentially egg rolls but instead of the roll, the insides are stuffed into a chicken wing. Eventually, the family opened Mai’s Deli, and they’ve been consistently packed ever since. Very small, quaint location on the corner of College Ave and Memorial Drive. Mai’s Deli is a great spot for a tasty bite.

Oshkosh

Pete’s Garage

Address: 1514 Oregon St. Oshkosh WI

Pete’s has become somewhat of an unstoppable force in Oshkosh. The place barely has a chance to breath it’s often packed with warm faces, and happy customers.

Co-Owner Ryan at a Halloween event.

Leon’s

Address: 121 W Murdock Ave, Oshkosh, WI 54901

Leon’s covers the Northside of Oshkosh for it’s tasty fast food, and amazing custard needs. In fact, a custard machine from Leon’s was purchased by the Culver family for their first location. I don’t have a source for this, but I heard Craig Culver say this to the owner of Leon’s at an entrepreneurship event at UW Oshkosh (Craig Culver’s alma mater).

Ardy & Ed’s

Address: 2413 S Main St, Oshkosh, WI 54902

Ardy & Ed’s on the flip side, covers the Southside of Oshkosh’s needs. Ardy and Ed’s still has car hops on roller skates that serve their customers.

Sheboygan

Shulz’s Restaurant

Address: 1644 Calumet Dr, Sheboygan, WI 53081

Shulz’s has been around for DECADES! A truly classic American dining experience, and something that you have to see for yourself.

Chester’s Drive-In

Address: 1504 Eastern Ave, Plymouth, WI 53073

Not exactly in Sheboygan, Chester’s is a classic drive in with delicious American fast food and ice cream. The drive-in is over 40 years old.

Harry’s Diner

Address: 2504 Calumet Dr, Sheboygan

Harry’s Diner is a 1950 style diner open for breakfast and lunch. If you’re looking for a unique, quaint spot for breakfast in Sheboygan, Harry’s is a great place to start.

Honorable Mentions

The Booyah Shed – Green Bay

Mr. Taco – Downtown – Appleton

My Lee’s Egg Roll House – Appleton

Rhapsodies – Oshkosh

Notes

Hole-in-the-wall restaurants are interesting because they are always changing. For example, Joe’s Texas BBQ, just moved locations. Plus, sometimes new joints emerge or old ones lose their consistency. As Venture Wisconsin grow, and we learn more about Northeast Wisconsin, we will share the knowledge with you! What’s your favorite hole-in-the-wall? Do you agree with our definition? Let me know in the comments.

14 Off-the-Beaten-Path Wineries in Northeast Wisconsin

There’s over 25 wineries in Northeast Wisconsin! No surprise… We wanted to bring you some of the wineries that aren’t Downtown or right off a major route. These are the wineries that are tucked into the woods a little bit.

1. Stone’s Throw Winery – Bailey’s Harbor

3382 County Rd. E, Baileys Harbor

Photo Credit: Door County Today

2. Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery – Sturgeon Bay

5896 Bochek Road, Sturgeon Bay

3. Harbor Ridge Winery – Egg Harbor

4690 Rainbow Ridge Ct, Egg Harbor

4. Forgotten Fire Winery – Marinette

N2393 Schacht Road, Marinette

Photo Credit: Travel Wisconsin

5. Duck Creek Vineyard & Winery – Denmark

5046 County Rd R, Denmark

6. Cold Country Vines & Wines – Kewaunee

E3207 Nuclear Road, Kewaunee

7. Trout Springs Winery – Greenleaf

8150 River Road, Greenleaf

Photo Credit: Trout Springs Winery

8. Rushford Meadery & Winery – Omro

8389 Liberty School Rd, Omro

Photo Credit: All Events

9. Armstrong Apples, Orchard & Winery – Campbellsport

W853 County Road B, Campbellsport

Photo Credit: FDL Reporter

10. Woodland Trail & Winery – Lakewood

17153 Big Hill Rd, Lakewood

11. Silarian Winery – Reedsville

11715 Hilltop Road, Cato

12. Wild Hare Winery – Reedsville

11807 Hilltop Rd, Reedsville

13. Vines & Rushes Winery – Ripon

410 County Rd E, Ripon

14. The Blind Horse Winery – Kohler

6018 Superior Ave, Kohler

Photo Credit: Sheboygan Press

So what do you think? Are you surprised at how many local wine spots you’ve missed? Have you been to a few of these? What’s your favorite? Let us know if the comments! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Calling All Wino’s – 26 Wineries in Northeast Wisconsin to Sip On

If you love learning about wine, trying new wines, or spending an afternoon sippin’ with your buddies you have got to check out some of these amazing spots. We’ve compiled a list of 26 different wineries here in Northeast Wisconsin (yes, just Northeast – it’s nuts) for you to skim through and enjoy on your next Sunday Funday.

Door County

1.Door Peninsula WineryCarlsville
5806 Hwy 42, Carlsville WIDoor-Peninsula-Winery2. Stone’s Throw WineryBailey’s Harbor
3382 County Rd. E, Baileys Harbordoor-county-winery

3. Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market Fish Creek
9197 State Hwy 42, Fish Creek 

orchard-country-winery

4. Harbor Ridge WineryEgg Harbor
4690 Rainbow Ridge Ct, Egg Harborharborridge

5. Door 44 WinerySturgeon Bay
5464 County Road P, Sturgeon Baydoor446. Simon Creek Vineyard & WinerySturgeon Bay
5896 Bochek Road, Sturgeon BaySome-of-the-wines-from-Simon-Creek-Winery

7. Red Oak WinerySturgeon Bay
3017 Enterprise Dr., Sturgeon BayWebsite-Header-Red-wine-grapes-1170x680

Kewaunee County

8. Von Stiehl Winery Algoma
115 Navarino St., Algomavon-stiehl-winery

9. Parallel 44Kewaunee
N2185 Sleepy Hollow Road, Kewaunee
bottles-and-glasses

10. Cold Country Vines & WinesKewaunee
E3207 Nuclear Road, Kewaunee

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Marinette County

11. Forgotten Fire WineryMarinette

N2393 Schacht Road, Marinette9b6ace55-df0f-4dbb-abf6-91ed19a4c427-forgotten-fire

Brown County

12. Duck Creek Vineyard & WineryDenmark
5046 County Rd R, Denmarkduck-creek-west-wines

13. Captains Walk WineryGreen Bay
345 S. Adams Street, Green Bay
capt

14. Mona Rose WineryGreen Bay
2696 South Packerland Dr., Green Bay
monarose

15. Trout Springs WineryGreenleaf
8150 River Road, Greenleaf
9930056

16. LedgeStone VineyardsGreenleaf
6381 WI-57, Greenleaf
thursday-night-music

Outagamie County

17. Kerrigan Brothers WineryFreedom
N2797 St HWY 55, Freedom

google_place_photo

Winnebago County

18. Rushford Meadery & WineryOmro
8389 Liberty School Rd, Omro
rushford

19. Vines & Rushes Winery – Ripon
410 County Rd E, Ripon

WineryBuilding-1

Fond Du Lac County

20. Armstrong Apples, Orchard, and WineryCampbellsport
W853 County Road B, Campbellsport
sitemgr_photo_181222

Sheboygan County

21. SoLu Estate Winery & Meadery – Cascade
W8269 County Road F, Cascade
sitemgr_photo_164094

22. The Blind Horse WineryKohler
6018 Superior Ave, Kohler
130-blindhorse-3

Oconto County

23. Woodland Trail WineryLakewood
17153 Big Hill Rd, Lakewood
Woodland-Trail-Winery-Exterio-IMG_5547

Manitowoc County

24. Silarian WineryCato
11715 Hilltop Road, Cato
sialrian

25. Wild Hare VineyardReedsville
11807 Hilltop Rd, Reedsville
Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 1.04.16 PM

Waupaca County

26. Winemakers DaughterManawa
327 S Bridge St, Manawa
SONY DSC

Phew – you made it through the list. Be sure to share this blog with your wine-loving friends and comment below about your experiences and favorite Wisconsin wineries.

Enjoy! 

6 Things You Didn’t Know About EAA Air Venture

EAA Air Venture just celebrated it’s 50th year in Oshkosh, and the EAA brand and their flagship week long event have become an international brand that’s put Oshkosh on the map on a level akin to Oshkosh B’gosh. We’ve been hearing a lot recently about the massive economic impact of the event on Northeast Wisconsin. We’ve been watching the online word of mouth for the event build, and we’ve learned some things about EAA Air Venture you may not have known.

1. In July, outside of Wisconsin, the word “Oshkosh” literally means, “EAA Air Venture”

The event, and it’s seemingly obscure location in our amazing, quaint city of Oshkosh, has become a nickname for the event itself. Many people from around the country and around the world who have been coming to the event for a few years Tweet things like., “Oshkosh starts today.” People in their lives know this to mean, they are headed to EAA Air Venture

There were Tweets of people quoting their dads referring to EAA Air Venture as simply “Oshkosh.” If you say “I’m headed to Oshkosh” in any state that isn’t Wisconsin, and July is near, you can assume they’re going to EAA Air Venture.

Tweets about the 2019 event from around the world.

2. It’s the most attended aviation event in the world

EAA Air Venture has consistently brought in more than 500,000 visitors over the past few years. What makes EAA so popular? The event brings together programming and excitement for all ages and all aviation stripes. Since EAA is Experimental Aircraft Association, they bring in everything from commercial aviation, to historical, drones, model airplanes, personal aircraft, and even home built air craft.

EAA 2015. Credit: Wikipedia

3. The event started as a “fly-in” in Milwaukee

Although 2019 marked 50 years of the Air Venture event which came to Oshkosh in 1969, the event was seeded in Milwaukee in 1953, and it was called “EAA fly-in”. The event even moved to Illinois before settling in Oshkosh (I know… It hurts.)

A welcome sign at EAA. Credit: EAA.org

4. The fly-in manual before landing is 30 pages

Know as a NOTAM or Notice to Airman, the manual to read before flying in to Wittman Regional Airport is 30 pages long. They are landing over 10,000 aircraft over the span of the one week event, causing the air traffic control tower to be known as the “busiest in the world”.

A feature volunteer at EAA. Credit: EAA.org

5. The event attracts aviation loving celebrities

This year, 2019, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins was a speaker at the event. Other aviation loving celebrities such as Harrison Ford have made stops into Oshkosh for Air Venture in the past.

Harrison Ford. Credit: Celebrity Diagnosis

6. Thousands of volunteers make the event happen

In 2018, there were over 5,000 volunteers. The event regularly uses more than 4,000 volunteers to make the show happen.

The air traffic control tower at EAA. Credit: ArtifactsJournal.com

These are some interesting things we found in our research! EAA Air Venture’s 50th year was an amazing show as always. A bonus, more commonly known Air Venture fact is the economic impact of the event, over $100,000,000 in Northeast Wisconsin. What was the most surprising fact to you? Did I miss any?

Five Reasons Hartman Creek State Park Should Be Your Next Adventure

Hartman Creek is the most versatile state park I have been too within an hour of Appleton! During the two hours I spent there exploring and watching all the different activities going on there I was truly in shock with how much potential this park has to so many people. So, the whole point of writing this is to give you the insight you need to get out there and experience this truly awe-inspiring place! I had the opportunity to visit with my girlfriend this fall, and our journey was great.

IMG_9363

Hiking

At Hartman Creek the beauty of their hiking trails is spectacular! I had the personal opportunity to hike these awesome trails. My favorite ran right along the water, and gave us an amazing view of Allen lake and the number of trails is enough for you to hike all day if that’s what you desire to do. But I highly suggest going in the fall, the true beauty of all the fall colors on your hike is amazing. Just looking across the lake and seeing the trees filled with oranges and reds is sure to drop your jaw in awe.

Fishing

Hartman Creek has some amazing fishing! We know that’s the truth because Hartman Creek was once a fish hatchery before it was even a state park! Fun fact! Plus, all the lakes around it are all spring fed. That makes for great fishing! You can expect to catch largemouth bass, perch (my favorite), blue gill, and other types of panfish. There are four lakes to choose from at Hartman Creek: Lake Allen, Lake Hartman, Lake Grebe, and Lake Middle. Along with that if you don’t have fishing gear you can rent it for free right at Hartman Creek! If you end up going to Hartman Creek don’t forget your fishing License.

IMG_9308

Winter Activities

Winter is just as much fun at Hartman Creek as the fall and summer are. You have winter activities like cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat tire biking trails! When snowshoeing you have free reign to venture off the trials or stay right on path. There are six miles of cross-country skiing trails and three and a half miles of snowshoeing trails! That’s a lot of winter wonderland to explore!

IMG_9440

IMG_9592-2Kayaking/Canoeing

Kayakers can launch from Manomin Lake and paddle through Pope Lake, and Marl Lake. Don’t forget to stop and look at the crystal clear water and all the amazing red and orange colors from the trees surrounding each lake.  Then you can stop and have a lunch break at Whispering Pines picnic area!

IMG_9455

Swimming

Hartman Creek provides an amazing 300 foot sand beach which is great to bring your family to or go on a date! What’s even better is that the beach is right next to a three acre, multi use area which is perfect for social games like spike ball and bags or just having grill outs and getting together with family and friends for the weekend! Along with that if you’re from further out of town, they have plenty of camping sites for tents and Trailers!

From hiking to swimming and all the things in between you can clearly see how amazing Hartman Creek is. Not only a great stop during the spring and summer, but a place to explore all year long. So why not head out to Hartman Creek for an adventure?

Outdoor Spotlight: 1000 Islands Nature Center

1000 Islands is an awesome nature spot in the Fox Cities. Located right off of downtown Kaukauna, you can find 7.2 miles of hiking trails. Including 1 mile of trails along the Fox River!

1000 Islands shoreline fox river picture
The Fox River at 1000 Islands. Source: FoxCities.org

The land is set aside for the public to enjoy. According to the Conservancy, the land is set aside, “with the idea of teaching good conservation practices and preservation of natural resources.” We at Venture Wisconsin support this sentiment! Our goal is to show you that awesome places like this exist, and to convince you that they are worth visiting!

Activities: Hiking, sight seeing, wildlife viewing, classes, snow shoeing, fishing, canoeing, and any classic outdoor activities (frisbee, catch, picnics, etc.) are welcome. If you’re running out of ideas of outdoor activities, we made you a list of a few!

What else? There is an amazing nature center, full of awesome displays and information about our local natural history, and other cool things!

1000 Islands Nature Center
Inside 1000 Islands Nature Center.

1000 Islands is open year round, and unfortunately, no pets allowed. Seriously though! Go visit! Leave yourself some time to hike. It’s worth it. What’s your favorite way to enjoy the outdoors?

Looking for something more?? Something you didn’t already know?! We did our first Neature Feature episode at 1000 Islands! Oh, also, they rent different items to enjoy the outdoors in a new way!

Check out our Neature Feature episode below on 1000 Islands. (Recorded February 2018)

“There is nothing to do around here!” Many people, mostly young people, complain of the Fox Cities. At Venture Wisconsin we’re taking it upon ourselves to lay out all the awesome things to do, as well as create awesome things to do across Northeast Wisconsin. This is why we spotlight outdoor areas to explore via our Neature Feature series, and our Instagram account.

13 Drive-Ins to Explore Within 1 hour of Lake Winnebago

Ardy & Ed's in Oshkosh

As my girlfriend and I were eating burgers and chicken tenders that had been delivered to our car via a highschool student in roller blades at Ardy and Ed’s Drive-In in Oshkosh, it had never occurred to either of us that the Fox Cities has so many Drive-Ins with so much history. So I asked around and did some research to see how many I could find within 45 minutes of Lake Winnebago. I included drive-in food, ice cream, and theaters, and there are 11! Check them out before many of them close for the winter, or check them out next season. Let me know if I missed any in the comments!

Zesty’s Custard

Zesty’s is now three locations strong in Green Bay, Depere, and Howard, WI. Quality food and custard and being as local as possible are Zesty’s focuses. Even their custard machines were made in Wisconsin. Interestingly enough the machines came from Leon’s Custard, which is also on our list.

JD’s

Jd’s is an Appleton fast food staple. Still a leader on price, JD’s is more of a drive thru than a drive in, but they are JD’s Drive-In. They are open year round, and I recommend their shakes.

Ardy & Eds

Arty and Eds is located on the south end of Oshkosh on your way to Fond Du Lac. Servers bring your meals on roller blades right to your car! Not only does Arty and Ed’s give you the experience of the 50’s drive-in, but they provide a quality meal to boot.

Leon’s

On the north side of Oshkosh is the other side of the drive-in coin, Leon’s. Much like Arty and Eds, Leon’s waiters come to your vehicle to take your order. Take away the roller blades and add some the best frozen custard in Wisconsin since 1947 and you get Leons!

The Well

The Well in Winneconne is built right into the community. It has been around since 1954, and features a large array of entrees that you might not expect at the traditional American drive-in, such as gyros and pizza. The Well is a neat little place to set your sights on this summer season.

Dick’s

Like many of these historic local drive-ins, Dick’s has a strong following in its community of Kaukauna. A classic burger joint, Dicks also has many homemade ice cream treats!

Frogg’s Ice Cream

Frogg’s has great soft serve ice cream. Located just past High Cliff State Park near Appleton, Frogg’s in Sherwood makes a great pit stop after your next hike.

Charlie’s

Hortonville’s own carhop drive-in. Charlies has been around since 1982, and before that it was an A&W owned by the same family since 1965! Head on down at the beginning of next years season for their Elvis Tribute Week.

charlies
Charlie’s in Hortonville. Credit: Charlie’s

Gilles Frozen Custard

Delicious custard out of Fond Du Lac. Gilles was started and is owned by the same family since 1949. If my math is correct, Gilles is the third oldest drive-in in the area after Leon’s and Ardy & Ed’s in Oshkosh!

Mullin’s Drive In

Mullin’s has been searving since 1934 according to their sign. A unique drive-in to its area in Fox Lake, WI. Currently closed for the season they specialize in floats, malts, and shakes. I love this addition because people don’t think to travel to Fox Lake from the Winnebago area, but Mullins is less than an hour away from Oshkosh and about 30 minutes from Fond Du Lac. A great place to explore next season!

Chester’s

Another spot that nearing other communities. On the east side of Lake Winnebago in Plymouth, Chester’s is a drive-in that has a multitude of offerings including hot dogs, burgers, bbq, root beer by the gallon, and frozen treats. Although on the “other” side of the lake for many Winnebago inhabitants, we highly recommend going to check them out. Make a trip to Kohler-Andae State Park and make a stop at Chester’s.

Tom’s

Tom’s comes across as a national chain, but you can’t say they aren’t local. Starting out of Appleton in 1960, Tom’s is now an eight restaurant chain and did not get this far for no reason!

Dairy Cove

This northern ice cream sanctuary is located near Shawano Lake in Cecil, WI. Widely recognized for their ice creams, Dairy Cove is a must pit-stop for many cabin goers from the Fox Cities and beyond. We highly recommend checking them out for a nice ice cream date.

 

Northeast Wiconsin loves drive-ins! I wanted to give some coverage to some of the many historic drive-ins we have here, and since Food Network didn’t give us any recognition… Venture Wisconsin did. This post only covers the drive-ins within an hour of Lake Winnebago, but I can think of at least three more if you include the north woods and Door County. Are you a local drive-in fan? Tell me your favorite drive-ins, and if you are looking for things to do in Northeast Wisconsin, get out and check out the other ones this season!

15 Touristy Things to do in The Fox Cities

If you live in the Fox Cities or are driving through, many people don’t give the Fox Cities credit for all the reasonably priced activities in the area! We composed a list of the more established things to do in Appleton, Menasha, Neenah, Oshkosh, and surrounding area that would interest tourists and locals alike.

1. Paper Discovery Center

The Fox River is Paper Valley! Many large corporations like Kimberly-Clark for example originated in the Fox Cites. In memory of this history, the Paper Discovery Center was developed right off the Fox River and Downtown Appleton. If you are visiting or live in the Fox Valley and want something unique to see, to bring your kid, or show a friend who is visiting, this is a unique spot.

2. Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass

Head to Neenah for a unique museum experience! If you are looking for things to do in Neenah, this is one of the big attractions that is certainly a new experience. The museum has different exhibits all the time!

3. Appleton History Museum

With revolving exhibits, and the constantly evolving exhibits of Appleton’s history and Houdini, this is a great activity in the Fox Cities for any age!

4. Building for Kids

If you are looking for something to do in the Fox Cities for kids, this is the crown jewel. The Building for Kids features interactive, educational fun! Multiple stories of construction, factories, grocery stores, airplanes, play land, and more! Check it out in Appleton!

Kids learning at Building for Kids in Appleton
Kids playing at the interactive Building for Kids in Appleton. Credit: FoxCities.org

5. Hearthstone House

The Hearthstone House is a gemstone in any city. Hearthstone is the first home independently powered by hydroelectric power using the Edison System. We talk about it here as well. It is always cool to have a first in innovation, and Appleton back in the late 1800s had a lot of promise as a city. Visit the Hearthstone House to learn more about Appleton history.

6. Fox River Mall

A big local hang out spot in the Fox Cites, the Fox River Mall attracts people from all over Wisconsin. So if you are visiting for EAA, Mile of Music, or any local event, check out the mall if that is your cup of tea.

7. Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

The Performing Arts Center (PAC) is a world class venue that brings tons of unique shows to the Fox Cities. World class shows like Mamma Mia, The Lion King, and The Book of Mormon come to the PAC in cycles, and it is worth checking out if you can get the opportunity.

8. Oshkosh Grand Opera House

Much like the PAC, the Grand Opera House in Oshkosh is historic and world class. Slightly smaller shows frequent “The Grand,” but there are plenty of unique and reasonably priced shows to make it worth checking out the historic theater.

9. Weis Earth Science Museum and Barlow Planetarium

If you go to the local community college you will find more than local students saving money. You will find the Weis Earth Science Museum and the Barlow Planetarium where you can find unique science exhibits and awesome seasonal light shows!

10. EAA Aviation Museum

EAA stands for Experimental Aircraft Association, and they put on the largest airshow in the country for a week! Every summer over 100,000 people come to Oshkosh for the EAA Airventure event, so you can imagine the museum is pretty special.

Inside the EAA Hangar
Part of the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, WI

11. Paine Arts Center and Gardens

With rotating art exhibits and outdoor gardens and events, “The Paine” is a great place for tourists to experience Northeast Wisconsin in a unique way! Here you will find their events and exhibits

12. Menominee Park and Zoo

Menominee Park is Oshkosh’s crown jewel as far as parks go. A huge spot of land with a lot of lake shore on Lake Winnebago. Plenty to do including the beach, trails, huge playgrounds and massive trees. The park also includes a zoo! If that’s not enough you can also rent kayaks or water bikes.

13. Take a Party Bike Ride with The Social Station

Mega bikes or party bikes are vehicles that are pedaled by a group of people. Very unique and new to the area, The Social Station offers tours, pub crawls, and exercise expeditions to anyone in Appleton! Book here.

Party Bike Group
A group after a group ride on The Social Station.

14. Oshkosh Public Museum

Across the street from The Paine Arts Center is a historic Oshkosh home near the Fox River. There exists the Oshkosh public museum with awesome changing exhibits. The Oshkosh Public Museum is a one of many reasonably priced things to do in the Fox Cities for tourists and locals alike.

15. Take a Segway Tour

Segways are cool!.. Right? Book a segway tour and learn about the local history and hotspots in Neenah, Appleton, or Oshkosh. Click here to book a tour!

Conclusion

The Fox Cities has many awesome resources for the public, including many outdoor things to do. For now, this will get you started for planning your next visit to Appleton, Oshkosh, or Neenah! If you want to find events, outdoor treasures, and other things to do in Appleton and the Fox Cities, follow our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channel. Thank you for reading and let us know in the comments if you ended up trying any of these.

Top 12 Touristy Things to do in Door County

Graffiti House in Ephraim, Door County

Door County is a tourism hot spot for Wisconsin. One of the most unique ecosystems in the state and one of the largest tourism centers in the Midwest. In Door County there are many “go to spots” that capture much of the tourism as well as many hidden gems that many tourist and even some locals miss. Here we compiled a list of the must see spots and activities that sum up a typical first timers trip to Door County.

Visit a Farmers Market

Door County has many small towns that multiply with the visitors and snow birds who spend their summers on the peninsula. Just about all of these small towns put on a farmers market at different times, so there is never a shortage of cute locals, crafts, and foods to visit. Farmers markets in Door County are a must. Here is a link to most of the farmers markets in Door County.

Anderson’s Dock in Ephraim

On Anderson’s Dock in Ephraim is the the iconic dock house full of graffiti. It is a highly Instagrammed tourist gathering in Door County, and very interesting.

Get a Burger and Ice Cream at Wilson’s in Ephraim

Until this past year Ephraim was a “dry town.” Alcohol was not allowed to be sold in the small Wisconsin town, and out of that circumstance Wilson’s, a classic 1950’s soda bar thrived. Wilson’s often has lines out the door for ice cream during summer weekends. Definitely a tourist hot spot worth checking out on your visit through the county!

Take a Kayak Tour

Being a peninsula, Door County has hundreds of miles of shore line to explore. Shorelines with sites including limestone bluffs, ship wrecks, harbors, islands, and 11 lighthouses to explore. There are multiple options for rentals and guided tours across the whole county to enjoy.

Kayak over looking Sturgeon Bay

Visit Peninsula State Park

Peninsula is beautiful, and Wisconsin’s second state park. Door County’s most popular state park. There you can find hundreds of campsites, limestone bluffs along the trails, and a beach equipped with kayak rentals. In a few years expect a handicapped accessible observation tower!

Get some Ice Cream at Last Lick

Just outside of Peninsula State Park is a small ice cream joint that is located on Fish Creek in Fish Creek. Enjoy delicious ice cream and feed the ducks that inhabit the site. Definitely a fun stop before or after Peninsula State Park.

Shop at the Fish Creek Outlets

The Fish Creek Outlets and shopping in general in Door County is a popular tourist activity for the area. The shops feature unique and high end stores that you won’t find outside of metropolitan areas.

Visit Cave Point County Park

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Cave Point County Park

The touristy parts of Door County will always take your to the West side of the peninsula or the side on the Bay of Green Bay. This is because the water is calmer and warmer. Cave Point and Whitefish Dunes are the exception. Mainly Cave Point brings tons of visitors to jump off the cliffs (not safely, and not advised), check out the shallow limestone caves, and the flat rock beach. Next time you go to cave point give the state park next door some love, they have a great visitor’s center. If you are looking for hidden gems, the East side is where you want to be.

Take the Ferry to Washington Island

Washington Island is the oldest Icelandic settlement in the US. (Of course… A small island). There is a small community as well as some public parks and trails and a lavender farm. A popular visit for tourists. Our favorite part of taking the ferry to Washington island is that is gets you one ferry away from Rock Island State Park!

Pick Some Cherries

Door County is famous for their cherries, so if you are there in the mid to late summer, be sure to pick some! Door County provides one third of Wisconsin’s cherries and apples because of the limestone soil the trees thrive.

Fish Salmon on a Charter Boat

Salmon were introduced by the DNR a few decades ago, and now Door County has one of the best salmon fishing in the world. Many charters run throughout the county from southern door county to Sturgeon Bay to Bailey’s Harbor and north. If you are ready to spend a few dollars and possibly wake up early you won’t be disappointed.

Sip at a Local Winery

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Girl Tasting Wine

Wine is probably the number one Door County export after nature in general. Although we don’t recommend you fact check that last statement, if you are looking for something fun and popular to do in Door County, a wine tasting at one of the many wineries is recommended!

 

If you have ever been to Door County you probably know we missed a few tourist favorites, so you’ll just have to ask the locals! If you are looking for some more secretive spots in Door County, check out this post. We hope this post helped you. If you tried one of these or think our list is lacking, share your expertise in the comments as to what is should be included.

 

8 Outdoor Things to do in Door County that the Tourists Don’t Know About

In 2016, I was a kayak tour guide for the summer. I lived among the locals for 3 months, and while there, I decided that I would find unknown or underappreciated gems in the county. Although this is a good list of some of the hidden gems in Door County, I had to leave a couple secret beaches out for the locals to continue to enjoy. So it looks like you’ll have to do some more digging if you want more true hidden gems. For now, enjoy these secrets of Door County that most tourists never find.

Door County Land Trusts

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Land Trust in Ephraim! Credit: Door County Land Trust

Starting with the Land Trusts is crucial. These are truly hidden gems! There are 14 land trusts in Door County, which are just pieces of land set aside for the public to enjoy that keep the native nature and wildlife in tact. These are all unique ecosystems with diffhttps://wordpress.com/post/venturewisconsin.blog/1690erent sights and trails to see. The Land Trusts are run by a non-governmental organization which is why they are under advertised.

Cana Island Light House

One of Door County’s 11 lighthouses (the third most lighthouses in any US county.) Being off the beaten path and on an island on the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula, Cana Island is not as well advertised of an attraction. If you want a unique Door County experience, walk across the land bridge and explore the Cana Island light house!

Newport State Park

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Newport Nightsky. Photo by Denny Moutray

It’s hard to call a state park a hidden gem, but of the FIVE state parks in Door County, Newport State Park is the least know among tourists. A mile or two off the beaten path, Newport is actually IDA certified as a Dark Skies Park and Wisconsin’s only wilderness-designated state park. What that means is that Newport is a huge nature reserve that has very limited infrastructure, so that visitors can get a genuine nature experience!

Mink River Estuary

The Mink River almost cuts through the northern tip of the Door Peninsula. Located just West of Newport State park, the river is spring fed and runs into Rawley’s Bay. A Ramsar certified Wetlands of International Importance. Click the link and ctrl+f “Door County Coastal Wetlands.” The Mink River can be toured via your own kayak or canoe or rented from local companies. The Mink river is home to a large variety of birds and mammals, and is very pristine. SECRET: A hidden gem within a hidden gem is the grass beach and the only public place where you can access the Mink from land! Click the link for approximate directions!

Europe Beach

Another hidden gem on the East side of the peninsula, Europe Bay, Europe Lake, and Europe Beach are basically attached to Newport State Park on the north end. If you visit, you will find an intense and well maintained beach that overlooks the vast Lake Michigan. You will also find peace and quiet. This beach is much less visited, so if you visit the area, especially during the week, you may be visiting it alone. At least with many less people than say, Peninsula State Park’s beach. As for Europe Lake, it joins Clark Lake and Kangaroo Lake as the three impounded lakes of Door County. What’s an impounded lake? You’ll have to visit the nature centers and ask! Mention Venture Wisconsin if you ask. 🙂

Garrett Bay

I would argue Garrett Bay is in the top 3 for hidden gems on this list. It is a small, quick stop that has something for everybody. Just a mile-ish off the main path (Hwy 42), Garrett Bay has a public boat launch where you can skip perfectly flat rocks at the stone beach, launch you kayak, or just look across the bay at the Deathdoor Bluff. If you do bring a kayak or book a tour of the bay with a local kayak tour company, you will find the Fleetwing Shipwreck right off the shore and an amazing view of Door Bluff County Park and the rest of Door County to once you get around the corner. (If you read this far and are wondering which corner, it’s around the left corner.)

Door Bluff County Park

Right next to Garrett Bay, Door Bluff County Park is the hidden gem version of Ellison Bluff County Park. (Another kind of hidden gem you should check out.) The cliffs of limestone become more prominent as you travel north on the peninsula. So naturally Peninsula State Park is not the only spot where you can catch a beautiful bluff. Drive to the flat stone beach at Garrett Bay, skip some stones, and drive 2 minutes to the park to see trails less traveled and a unique perspective of Lake Michigan.

Pick Thimbleberries

Thimble berries are unique to the great lakes region, and are relatively unknown within the general public as they are not sold at many market places. These sweet red berries are widespread in the norther half of Door County. If you are a visitor, a common place you will find them and didn’t even know it is Whitefish Dunes State Park along the hiking trails! Note: They are very soft, so don’t be concerned if you think they are too ripe.

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This is what Thimbleberries look like!

This article should be titled, “The Lake Michigan side of Door County.” Most of the larger towns, shops, and attractions are on the Green Bay side of the Door Peninisula, so don’t be afraid to explore the East side and use these suggestions as an excuse! I hope you like this list and at least check out a few of these awesome things to do outside while you visit one of the Midwest’s favorite touring regions! If I missed any or you try them out, and want to share your tips and experiences with others looking for the less traveled trails of  let me know in the comments.