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Wisconsin travel guide

About Wisconsin

Pack your bathing suit because it’s all about the water in Wisconsin. Home to some 15,000 lakes, streams and rivers, the so-called ‘Badger State’ is cherry ripe for aquatic adventure… and badger watching, apparently.

Kayakers paddle round the red cliffs and sea caves of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. Winter surfers catch impressive swells on Lake Michigan at Sheboygan, nicknamed the ‘Malibu of the Midwest’ (though with freezing water temperatures and drifting ice floes, take that with a fistful of salt). And those less inclined to strenuous exercise float lazily down Wolf River by tube.

Back on dry land, cyclists have the pick of 80 routes in the Rails-to-Trails network, including the first of its kind in the continent, the 51km (32 mile) Elroy-Sparta Trail.

Eye-popping architecture is more common here than you might expect. The Milwaukee Museum of Art is a thrilling meld of three striking buildings built by three legendary architects – Eero Saarinen, David Kahler and Santiago Calatrava. And native Wisconsinite Frank Lloyd Wright spent nearly 50 years perfecting his Taliesin Estate, now a National Historic Landmark and home to six structures designed by Wright.

This state does a good line in quirky attractions too, boasting museums dedicated to mustard, accordions and circuses. The National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame is home to 50,000 angling artefacts, but it’s the giant fish outside which is likely to remain indelibly imprinted on your memory. The Big Musky is half a block long, four and a half stories tall, but he won’t bite if you climb into his jaw.

Key facts

Area:

169,639 sq km (65,498 sq miles).

Population:

5.8 million (2015).

Population density:

34 per sq km.

Capital:

Madison.