Some 2,300 lakes surround this vacation hub. When you get off the water, head downtown to explore nearly 100 shops, antiques stores and restaurants. Check out our picks for what to do, where to eat and where to stay in Minocqua.

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. But 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 $5 permit required. Rent bikes at Z-Best Bikes.

Fred Scheer's Lumberjack Show In nearby Woodruff, watch speed carving, axe throwing and more.

Fred Scheer's Lumberjack Show. Minocqua, Wisconsin.
Fred Scheer's Lumberjack Show

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.

Min-Aqua Bats Waterski Show. Minocqua, Wisconsin.
Min-Aqua Bats Waterski Show

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.

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.

Shopping Nearly 100 shops, antiques stores and restaurants welcome travelers downtown.

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.

Where to eat

Hoggie Doggie's Wash down "HO-made" french fries and a Chicago-style hot dog with a loaded peanut butter cup ice cream sundae.

Jacobi's Just south of Minocqua in Hazelhurst, settle into cozy surroundings for garlic tenderloin.

Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty Breakfasts include flapjacks and buttermilk doughnuts.

Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty. Minocqua, Wisconsin.
Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty

The Thirsty Whale Watch a ski show from the deck of this boathouse-turned-restaurant.

Where to stay

The Beacons of Minocqua This serene resort features condos, log cabins and an indoor pool.

The Waters of Minocqua A waterpark and arcade make this accessible resort super kid friendly.

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