Minocqua is a small, but beautiful city surrounded by glass-surfaced lakes and serene forests. That is until the small population explodes in the summer months when Minocqua hums with the sounds of laughter and boat engines on the 2,000+ bodies of water in the region!
While summer brings in the most tourism, there are plenty of Minocqua things to do and popular attractions during the fall, winter, and spring.
Where is Minocqua? Close to the Michigan border, Minocqua is in Northern Wisconsin near Lake Superior in Oneida County – a corner of the world rich with natural beauty. Read on for my 20 best things to do in Minocqua, and head there for your next great outdoor getaway!
Fun & Best Things to do in Minocqua, Wisconsin
1. Explore the Wildwood Wildlife Park Zoo & Nature Center
Address: 10094 WI-70, Minocqua, WI
During the summer season, the Wildwood Wildlife Park Zoo and Nature Center is one of the most interesting things to do with kids in Minocqua, Wisconsin. This kid-friendly 168-acre zoo and safari park houses over a thousand animals representing over 200 species.
Wildwood is the second largest zoo in Wisconsin and is conveniently located in Oneida County. One of my favorite things about Wildwood is the tram ride that goes through the safari section of the park. You get up close and personal with ostriches, zebras, and many other safari animals.
The guided tours from the knowledgeable staff and the gift shop are also excellent.
Kids especially love feeding parakeets and giraffes. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day from 10 am onwards, enjoy hand-feeding some of the incredible wild animals that call Wildwood home.
Some of the other animals here include:
- Whitetailed deer
- Birds of the world
- Birds of prey
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin
2. Watch the Sunset on a Pontoon Cruise
Address: 8579 US-51, Minocqua, WI
A Minocqua pontoon cruise is an unforgettable way to take in the beautiful scenes of the lakes and forests in Minocqua.
Pontoons are flat-bottomed boats that give you a unique vantage point of the idyllic landscapes around the Minocqua area.
The pontoon cruises last between one hour to three hours depending on your time slot. Minocqua Pontoon Cruises is open from early May to late October but slots in July and August fill up fast since this is the busiest time of the year.
The best part? You can choose which time slot works best for your family or rent a private pontoon for just you and the gang.
Morning boat rides include loon and eagle spotting, while sunset tours are the prime time for photography. Other options include noon, afternoon, and flexible one-hour rides.
See Related: Best Things to do in Tomah, Wisconsin
3. Enjoy a Meal at the Thirsty Whale
Address: 453 E Park Avenue, Minocqua, WI
The Thirsty Whale is a pub-style restaurant located right on the shores of Minocqua Lake, close to the Minocqua Chamber.
The food is great pub fare, and the views make this place one of my favorite restaurants in town. Visitors look forward to enjoying a plate of nachos or the Minocqua Philly on the patio while overlooking the nearby lake and trees.
Enjoy a lively night out at the bar. The Thirsty Whale sells cocktails, wines, house beers, and rotating craft beers.
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4. Visit Snowmy Kromer
Address: Along Highway 51 near the Let’s Minocqua Visitors Center
Snowmy Kromer is a must-see for Minocqua winter activities, and one of the town’s top attractions. Snowmy Kromer is a giant snowman created in the 1960s by locals. Snowmy Kromer towers 30 feet high while his base is 24 feet wide.
The giant snowman makes for some fun photos to mark your wintertime getaway to the Northwoods.
Snowy Kromer wears one of only two sizes 96 Kromer hats in the world. Wintertime is not truly in full swing until you spot this towering mascot of Minocqua.
He’s also a great giant partner to the World’s Largest Penny in nearby Woodruff, Wisconsin!
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5. Spot a Ghost at the Norwood Pines Supper Club
Address: 10171 Hwy 70, Minocqua, WI
The Norwood Pines Supper Club is one of Northern Wisconsin’s oldest supper clubs. Hidden amongst the trees in a secluded lakeside setting, the Norwood Pines Supper Club has a notorious history. Once a bordello frequented by gangsters, the grounds today are rumored to be frequented by the spirit of Edgar who died in the club.
This notorious past is hard to spot since the supper club serves luxurious meals amidst a fine-dining atmosphere. On Friday nights, enjoy all-you-can-eat fish fries that come with a side of the classic Norwood Pines’ original corn fritters.
Friday fish options available include:
- Deep-fried cod
- Broiled cod
- Cajun baked cod
- Deep-fried lake perch
Menu items like barbecue ribs and seared Ahi tuna are favorites of myself, locals, and tourists visiting. This historic home has rustic wooden beams on the ceilings and wood panels lining the walls.
If weather permits, request to sit on the newly renovated porch for impressive views of the estate where you might spot a white-tailed deer.
6. Go Ziplining Through the Trees with Northwoods Zipline
Address: 7849 US-51, Minocqua, WI
Northwoods Zipline is Wisconsin’s largest zipline canopy and is one of the best things to do in Minocqua. Over two and a half hours, you’ll feel the rush of adrenaline over 9 ziplines and 5 adventure bridges above the tree canopy.
My favorite part? The 1,000-foot zipline over one of the gorgeous Minocqua lakes. This is a year-round activity, but nothing beats the views of soaring overtop the colorful leaves in the fall.
Northwoods Zipline offers ziplines for kids of all ages. Children aged three and over can enjoy this wilderness adventure activity. There is also a tree-top obstacle course with ziplines and fun bridges, swings, and climbs.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Hayward, Wisconsin
7. Take ATV Tours
Address: 1457 Little Muskie Cir, Arbor Vitae, WI
Explore Minocqua and other areas of the Northwoods on an ATV tour with A&M UTV Rentals, LLC. Choose between a 2021 Kawaski Teryx 4LE or a 2021 Yamaha Wolverine X4 850 and ride through over 200 miles of trails.
Let the scenic landscapes surround you as you zoom through the natural wonderland around northern Wisconsin’s lakes and forests. Rentals are for a maximum of eight hours per day. You must be over the age of 25 with a valid driver’s license to rent one of the UTVs.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
8. Taste Local Brews at the Minocqua Brewing Company
Address: 329 Front St, Minocqua, WI
Housed in a historical 1929 Free Masons building, the Minocqua Brewing Company is a craft brewery with a powerful message and history. They started as a brewing company in the early 2000s but, like many other local businesses, faced challenges throughout the pandemic due to legislature around restaurant capacity.
All of their house beers have a political message and are labeled #progressivebeer. For those who lean blue, try a Biden Beer, Bernie Brew, or the Vice Presidential Stout. Enjoy Sunday brunch or live music on the patio. I recommend trying their burrito.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
9. Dress Like a Cow at Beef-A-Rama
Address: Torpy Park 806 US-51, Minocqua, WI
For more than 50 years, Minocqua has hosted the annual Beef-A-Rama on the last week of September. Tourists flock to this small lakeside town to take part in one of the best Minocqua Wisconsin events by dressing in cow attire.
Wander through more than 70 stalls selling artisan goods as live music and the delectable smells of beef drift through the air. There is an annual roasting competition, 10K and 5K Rump Roast Run and Walk, and a beef-eating contest!
See Related: Best Small Towns in Wisconsin to Visit
10. Bike along Bearskin State Trail
The Bearskin State Trail is hands down one of the best things to do in Minocqua for anyone searching for peaceful wildlife areas.
Bearskin State Trail is 18.4-miles of scenic landscapes along a former railway that used to transport logs in the 1800s. The trail is mostly flat making it suitable for families of all ages.
This is an easy trail to bike, walk, or run on that passes by lakes, creeks, and forests brimming with spruce, oak, birch, maple, elm, and pine trees.
You are likely to see some wildlife on your ride. I often spot birds and white-tailed deer amidst the trees.
The trail stops at several landmarks where you can learn about the history of the former railroad corridor.
See Related: Best Travel Trailers for Couples
11. Go Camping in the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest
Address: 4125 County Highway M, Boulder Junction, WI
The Northern Highland American Legion State Forest is 236,000 acres spreading throughout three of Wisconsin’s northern counties.
There are remote campsites where friends and families can spend time in nature. Choose between modern, rustic, primitive, and group campsites. Some campsites have shower facilities and electricity while others do not.
Lounge on beaches at the edge of the still waters or take a self-guided hike on the extensive trail systems. The state forest has picnic areas and a nature center with educational exhibits and displays.
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12. Go Bowling at Island City Lanes and Lounge
Address: 8085 US Highway 51 S, Minocqua, WI
The Island City Lanes and Lounge are jam-packed with fun-filled activities including a 12-lane bowling alley. Dance to music on the jukebox hit the bullseye on the dartboard, and be sure to wipe your fingers of wing sauce before hitting a strike.
Island City Lanes boasts one of the biggest bars in town making it ideal for adults. However, it also has a game room that keeps kids entertained too. If bad weather ruins your plans, I highly recommend Island City Lanes and Lounge as a welcomed backup.
13. Watch a Waterski Show
Address: 422 W Park Avenue, Minocqua, WI
Enjoy water sports? Then you’ll wanna check out the Min-Aqua Bats! The Min-Aqua Bats put on free water ski shows throughout the summer season, donations are collected during intermission to fund their team.
These Minocqua local teens perform tricks and delightful moves on the water of Lake Minocqua. Watch the water ski club juggle as they ride, splash into the water as they wipe out, and ride some wicked waves.
Hungry? Head to the Thirsty Whale (number 3 on my list of best things to do in Minocqua) and grab a meal while you watch the show.
14. Lounge at the Perfect Property
One of my favorite things to do in Minocqua, Wisconsin is to take in the beauty of nature and hit the reset button. Get some much-needed rest and relaxation at some of the best Minocqua hotels.
Within walking distance of downtown Minocqua, the Best Western Plus Concord Inn is a 3-star hotel perfect for families and couples. All of the comfortable Northwood-style rooms feature spacious rooms with free WiFi and complimentary breakfast.
The Best Western Plus Concord Inn has an indoor pool ideal for relaxing after winter activities or summertime fun.
The Waters of Minocqua is a place to stay and a fun activity for the whole family. This 3-star resort is fitted with a 10,000 square foot water park and arcade. Play no matter the weather in indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
Northwood decorations like hanging antler chandeliers and brick fireplaces adorn the hotel. Rooms here are spacious and come with private balconies.
Loonsight is a private house ideal for families or groups of friends looking for a secluded getaway in Minocqua.
Loonsight has four bedrooms and three bathrooms for a maximum of eight guests. The property is dog-friendly so bring along your furry best friend.
I love Loonsight because it has a fully-equipped kitchen and boathouse.
Sip a coffee on the patio overlooking Lake Tomahawk Lake, then head to the boathouse for a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. Spend evenings cozying up by the fire or sitting by the water looking at the stars.
15. Go Snowmobiling Through Serene Landscapes
Address: 8579 US-51, Minocqua, WI
Minocqua tourism explodes during the summer season, but there is plenty of great fun to be had in Minocqua during the wintertime. Snowmobiling is a popular winter attraction and many of the hotels in the area have direct access to the trail systems from their properties.
Adventure Snowmobile Tours offers guided morning, afternoon, or full-day snowmobile tours. You can also take private tours or tailored tours suited for beginner or advanced riders.
Once you have got the hang of it, rent a snowmobile for a couple of days and explore the well-maintained snowmobile trails throughout the Minocqua and Northwoods areas.
16. Go Fishing
With more than 2,000 lakes in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, it is no wonder that fishing is one of the best things to do in Minocqua.
There are ample opportunities for fishing walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, muskie, and more. Some lakes are catch-and-release, while others let you take home and cook your catch.
Visitors in the summer can fish from the shore or from fishing boats. Visit Minocqua in the wintertime and try ice-fishing!
17. Golf at the Minocqua Country Club
Address: 9299 Country Club Rd, Minocqua, WI
Wondering what to do in Minocqua with those golf clubs in the trunk? The Minocqua Country Club is rated the fourth-best private golf course in Wisconsin by Golfweek Magazine. It is a members-only golf club however, memberships range from family memberships to social memberships with rounds of golf included.
There are six tee choices across the 18-holes surrounded by trees and spectacular views. The club has a private dock on Lake Minocqua that gives you access to the club if you choose to ride a boat there rather than drive.
Enjoy other outdoor sports with two tennis courts and bocci ball games. The Minocqua Country Club hosts Bridge and Mahjong games.
My favorite feature is the restaurant with options that range from casual finger foods to elegant gourmet meals.
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18. Check Out a Lumberjack Show
Address: 1126 1st Ave, Woodruff, WI
Have you ever wondered what forest Olympics are? At the Fred Scheers Lumberjack Shows, you will find out. Sit at the edge of your seat as you watch lumberjacks run across logs on the water.
Ax throwing and sawing competitions keep you routing for your favorite lumberjacks, while comedy routines will have you laughing.
Families with kids should opt for the matinee showing since the little ones are called onto the stage and given a chance to try out their lumberjack skills.
In a private arena in Woodruff, shows are performed from June to late September five times per week rain or shine. Kids under the age of three are free.
19. Ski at the Minocqua Winter Park & Nordic Center
Address: 7588 Squirrel Hill Rd, Minocqua, WI
The Minocqua Winter Park is a not-for-profit town park with over 6,000 acres of land. This park is one of the best places in Minocqua to ski in the wintertime. Ski lessons and a nearby pro shop to rent equipment are right at hand.
This winter wonderland is home to over 54 miles of groomed trails for fat-tire biking. Take your dog with you and try Skijoring, a type of skiing where your dog pulls you.
Other winter sports enjoyed here include:
- Cross-country skiing
- Ice skating
- Snow tubing
Check out the Minocqua Winter Park events schedule for races and special events. Once you have had your fun, warm up in the chalet, near the fire pit, or have a cup of tea at the Tea House.
20. Try Hunting
With so much federal and state land, Minocqua is an ideal place for hunting. Practice archery, trapping, and shooting wild game. Escape into the forests and try your hand at different hunting techniques.
Some of the animals hunted and trapped here include:
- White-tailed deer
- Wild turkeys
The most popular animal to hunt is the white-tailed deer between September to December.