Scenic Drive through Northern Wisconsin | Midwest Living

Scenic Drive through Northern Wisconsin

An autumn tour reveals tree-lined main streets, solitary beaches, and sunsets that splash pink and orange across the horizon.


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Views Forever Changing

Woods and water surround you as you travel across northeast Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula and along Lake Superior. Late August brings cooler breezes and first hints of fall color to interior forests, along with apples ripening in area orchards. Thanks to the tempering lake breezes, autumn takes its time arriving and lingers on the lakeshore.

From the community of Ashland, the largest in this region, small towns and villages settled beside wild lakes and rivers reflect their fur-trading, lumbering and fishing heritage. Along tree-lined main streets, residents direct you to local historical museums and host tradition-rich festivals. Byways and highways lead into the woodsy wilderness of 860,000-acre Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, where Ojibwas and Sioux once hunted.

As the route gently curves around the peninsula's Lake Superior shore, views are forever changing. You pass through postage-stamp-sized towns with intriguing names such as Port Wing and Cornucopia. Take time to walk solitary beaches and marvel at sunsets that splash pink and orange across the horizon.

At the peninsula's tip, Bayfield, a New England-like village that rolls down the hills to Lake Superior, is the gateway to the 22 Apostle Islands offshore. Intriguing shops, fine restaurants and historic inns warmly welcome visitors to this town, a tradition for generations of vacationers.


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