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Discover Wisconsin: Summer vacation ideas in Wis.
Petting baby calves, touring family farms and participating in farm-to-table feasts are just a few of the activities available in Wisconsin. Others include visiting one of the 47 state parks, exploring the Driftless region, visiting holy shrines and dining at a wide variety of restaurants ranging from fine cuisine and supper clubs to mom and pop diners. (Photo supplied)
Not quite sure where your summer travels will take you? We're here to save the day. Because when it comes to memory-making (and affordable!) summer trips, Wisconsin delivers in spades. Whether it's an overdue couple's getaway you're after or a fun-filled family vacation, here are 10 trip ideas worth exploring:

1. Go someplace on the

beaten path...

There are plenty of reasons why so many folks just can't get enough of Wisconsin's most iconic destinations. If you're in search of a place that offers both stunning nature and bustling waterparks, round up the whole family and hit up Wisconsin Dells. Prefer to slow things down a bit? Go find out why so many people obsess over the peninsula of Door County.

2. Now go someplace off the beaten path.

Some of my absolute favorite trips here in Wisconsin have been to destinations that others wouldn't necessarily deem "touristy." There's just nothing quite like diving into an authentically Wisconsin town and learning from the locals what makes it unique. Expect the unexpected in a city like Beloit. Or hop off the interstate to discover Wisconsin's western gateway at Tomah.

3. Take in one of Wisconsin's 47 state parks.

From waterfalls to rock-climbing and stunning trails to scenic bluffs, there are 47 dazzling state parks scattered across the state of Wisconsin - each with their own historic backstory and unique menu of recreational opportunities. Wisconsin's State Parks are an obvious draw for campers (and those planning a trip on a budget).

4. Frank Lloyd Wright Trail

Perhaps the world's most legendary, prolific and controversial architects, Frank Lloyd Wright left his fingerprints all over southern Wisconsin. In fact, architecture buffs and art enthusiasts from around the world have been known to make their way to Wisconsin just to stand in in the same revered homes designed by Wright himself - including Taliesin in Spring Green and Wingspread in Racine. See for yourself what draws in international visitors: Plan your own road trip by exploring Wisconsin's new Frank Lloyd Wright Trail.

5. An agricultural


When in Rome - err, Wisconsin - one makes an effort to encounter the real America's Dairyland. From petting farms to dinner barns, Wisconsin is teeming with opportunities to get up close and personal with baby calves, tour a real family farm and take in a delightful farm-to-table feast. Consider starting your "agriventure" in Platteville, Green County or Barron County.

6. The Driftless area

Wisconsin's southwestern region is draped in gorgeous ridges and coulees - and if you haven't yet seen the "Driftless Area" for yourself, you're already missing out. Tracing the driftless region along the Mississippi River is Highway 35 - or the Great River Road - which has been named the "Best Drive in America."

7. A waterfall tour

Did you know Wisconsin is home to the fourth highest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains? (That'd be Big Manitou Falls.) Take a tour (and a swim!) in Wisconsin's many waterfalls. And fill that Instagram feed with pics that'll have your followers questioning whether you were really vacationing in Wisconsin.

8. A spiritual journey

If you're looking for a little deeper meaning in your travels, may I suggest making your way to Wisconsin's three Marian Shrines. Rest and renew at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse. Experience the only approved Marian apparition site in the U.S. at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in New Franken. And end your voyage at the famous and stunningly beautiful Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians in Hubertus.

9. A foodie's expedition

A vacation that centers around food? I'm in! Make a bucket list of some of the restaurants in Wisconsin you've been dying to try - and then make a road trip to visit them! On one hand, we have urban areas like Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay that boast phenomenal eateries around every corner. But I think you might be surprised by the outpouring of mom and pop cafes and time-honored supper clubs awaiting you in Wisconsin's Northwoods.

- Mariah Haberman is the co-host of the nation's longest-running tourism TV show, "Discover Wisconsin." Her column is published Tuesday on Life page in the Times.