Wisconsin South Shore Fall Things to Do
Autumn is the perfect season for folks in Wisconsin to get out and about and enjoy the many recreational opportunities offered by Lake Superior’s South Shore. Whether you’re looking for a chance to experience lakeside Wisconsin’s spectacular natural wonders or to enjoy a quiet weekend out with family, there’s something for everyone along the south banks of Lake Superior.
Spectacular Trails to Hike
Wisconsin’s South Shore is particularly blessed with an abundance of rugged natural beauty. Celebrate the crisp and clear autumn air and enjoy a nature hike at one of these locations:
Of the 22 Apostle Islands located just off the Bayfield Peninsula, Madeline is the largest and the only one privately owned. A ferry brings tourists to the island throughout most of the year (the passage freezes up in January), and there are many recreational opportunities. The Wilderness Preserve consists of 2600 acres with a variety of hiking trails winding through stands of cedar, hemlock, and birch.
The South Shore is blessed with a number of beautiful waterfalls. Those that occur along the Amnicon River are surely some of the most striking. Enjoy an autumn picnic near the river, or hike some of this park’s most challenging trails.
Osaugie Waterfront Trail
The Osaugie Waterfront Trail may not be as challenging as some of the other hiking trails on the South Shore, but it is filled with historical points of interest. The 5-mile trail leads hikers and bikers (it’s covered with asphalt) along one of Lake Superior’s busiest waterfronts and most impressive historical maritime buildings.
Breathtaking Colors of Autumn to Enjoy
A quiet drive in the country, enjoying the bright colors of the autumn season, seems like such an old-fashioned thing to do. But just give it a try on a sunny weekend. You’ll be surprised how quickly the anxieties and cares of the daily grind disappear when you’re surrounded by Wisconsin’s glorious autumn hues. The Wisconsin Lake Superior Byway (http://www.lakesuperiorbyway.org/) covers 70 miles of exquisite terrain, skirting the shoreline of the Bayfield Peninsula. Make a weekend of it, and check out some of these places along the way:
Bayfield’s Apple Orchards
The Bayfield Peninsula can boast of over a dozen working apple orchards. Some offer tours, cider sampling, and family-oriented autumn activities.
Fascinating Museum Collections
The Bayfield Maritime Museum exhibits items and installations from over 150 years of maritime activity on Lake Superior. Don’t miss the Bayfield Heritage Museum while you’re in town, and check their schedule for autumn “Ghost Walks,” held during the evening hours and featuring ghostly lore from yesteryear.
Charming Villages to Explore
For aficionados and aficionadas of artisan and curio shops, local markets, and small town chic, the South Shore of Lake Superior offers an array of towns and villages to explore.
The village of Cornucopia (fondly referred to by locals as “Cornie”) may be tiny, but it has a lot of charm. You’ll find a marina and bed-and-breakfast here, a small museum featuring local history, several cute shops, and a town park with its own artesian well.
As one of the larger towns of the Bayfield Peninsula, Bayfield hosts a number of annual festivals. In autumn the Apple Festival draws many visitors to town. Check out the many arts and crafts establishments here, as well as small restaurants and cafes featuring delicious local cuisine.
Ashland is a small town – the population is under 9,000 – but it is rich in maritime history. After enjoying its many small shops and boutiques, make time to visit the Ashland Historical Museum and the Ashland City Hall, the architecture of which is a perfect example of the “Romanesque Revival” of the late nineteenth century.