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Eight Ways to Make the Most of Late Autumn in the Northwoods

A forest trail is lightly dusted with snow.

Where did time go? It feels like only yesterday that we were marveling at the fact that Labor Day soon would be upon us. Now we are walking down the sidewalk, over slick fallen leaves, as we head into late October. In fact, just last weekend, the Northwoods received its first dusting of snow for the season. Cranberry harvest, apple harvest, and peak foliage may be behind us for the year, but don’t miss out on your Northwoods experience. This is still a wonderful time to stay and play in northern Wisconsin. Here are eight ways to make the most of your trip Up North as the weather cools down.

  1. Take a long walk along one of our many gorgeous trails. In a couple of months, the Bearskin State Trail in Minocqua, the Hiawatha Trail in Tomahawk, and the Three Eagle Trail in Eagle River and Three Lakes will be buzzing with snowmobiles, but for now, the only sound you’ll hear as you walk along the way is the crunch of leaves and gravel under your feet. These open, flat, and well-maintained trails also drain rain well, making them great choices for the unpredictable weather that late fall brings.
  2. Cozy up with a good book—or a good friend—at your favorite Northwoods coffee shop. If you’re looking for the perfect coffee shop for you, read about nine coffee shops that capture everything you love about the Northwoods, right here.
  3. Go wine tasting. There’s no need to hop on a plane and travel to Mediterranean climes to enjoy good wine. From masters of growing cold-climate grapes to meaderies, northern Wisconsin has several wineries that will impress you with their quality wines and excellent service. Find out where they are—right over here.
  4. Embark on a microbrewery tour. In addition to wine, this region also boasts many excellent breweries. This tour takes you and a designated driver on an easy car trip through the Northwoods region.
  5. Have fun indoors. Play a mini-round at Minoc-Woods Indoor Mini Golf in downtown Minocqua or use your brainpower to set yourself free at The Key to Escape in Minocqua or Rhinelander or The Escape Room in Eagle River. Reserve your stay at The Waters of Minocqua, where the indoor waterslides, pools, and hot tubs and the arcade will provide you with many hours of entertainment without having to set foot outside.
  6. Grab your bags and go shopping! Northern Wisconsin has many downtown business districts offering fashion finds, antiques, art galleries, outfitters for your outdoor adventures, and other unique items—all with the quintessential rustic charm you love about this region. Rhinelander, Minocqua, Eagle River, Manitowish Waters, and Boulder Junction are beautiful Northwoods towns with shopping districts that you will love.
  7. Take your pick of one of our fantastic fall festivals. In our opinion, there’s nothing quite like a fall festival Up North, and there are several choices almost every weekend until winter hits. This weekend alone, you can enjoy the petting zoo, corn maze, scavenger hunt, scarecrow contest, pumpkin bowling, apple slingshot, face painting, and other children’s activities at Hanson’s Garden Village Fall Fest in Rhinelander, or you can opt to hop on a ferry from Bayfield to the largest of the Apostle Islands for a vintage car show, cider and soap making, a pie-eating contest, pumpkin decorating, quality street vendors, and a kids’ costume parade at the Madeline Island Family Fall Fest.
  8. Savor the silver screen. With a chill in the air, it’s a perfect time to head inside and settle into your seat to see a variety of shorts and full-length films and documentaries at the Big Water Film Festival, held in the Bay Theater in downtown Ashland from November 6 to 9.

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