There are 3,200 reasons for this area's reputation as an ideal lake getaway—that's the number of lakes in Vilas and Oneida counties. And there are 1,000 rooms, condos and cabins lining pine-shaded shores. We didn't even count the supper clubs, cafes, shops, shows and other attractions. Despite the expanding resort scene, you can still find natural lakes so quiet that the plunk of a lure echoes from shore to shore. Towns like Minocqua are the quintessential resort-area destination—the one most people dream of when they're stuck in a cubicle on a sunny day.
What to do
Bearskin State Trail This popular bike trail starts in Minocqua and heads south for 18 miles along Bearskin Creek. Daily $4 permit required (dnr.wi.gov/org). Rent bikes at Z-Best Bikes (z-bestbikes.com).
Min-Aqua Bats Waterski Show Even older kids will dig this flashy extravaganza, which lures visitors three nights a week throughout the summer to the lakeside vacation hub. (715) 356-4549; min-aquabats.com
Minocqua Pontoon Cruises A relaxing way to see Minocqua is a pontoon cruise. Morning nature cruises, lunch cruises and sunset cruises are among the tours offered. (715) 892-7777; minocquapontooncruises.com
Northwoods Children's Museum With 23 hands-on exhibits and events, families are sure to have fun. Little ones can explore an ambulance, dress-up attic, mock campground and fire tower, plus paint T-shirts with a squirt gun. (715) 479-4623; northwoodschildrensmuseum.com
Scheers Lumberjack Show In nearby Woodruff, watch speed carving, axe-throwing and more. (715) 356-4050; scheerslumberjackshow.com
Shopping Nearly 100 shops, antiques stores and restaurants welcome travelers downtown. (715) 356-5266; minocqua.org
Wildwood Wildlife Park Wander with the wildlife at this park, home to more than 500 animals and birds. You can feed pigs, goats, sheep and even bears; cuddle bunnies; let budgie birds perch on your arm; and peer into tall grass for fawns. (715) 356-5588; wildwoodwildlifepark.com
Where to eat
Jacobi’s Just south of Minocqua in Hazelhurst, settle into cozy surroundings for garlic tenderloin. jacobisofhazelhurst.com
Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty Breakfasts include flapjacks and buttermilk doughnuts. (715) 356-6270; paulbunyans.com
Where to stay
The Beacons of Minocqua This serene resort features condos, log cabins and an indoor pool. (800) 236-3225; thebeacons.com
For information: Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce (715) 356-5266; minocqua.org