7 Awesome Wisconsin Winter Outdoor Activities 

Winter Outdoor Activities - Ice Fishing - Brittingham Park

Have you ever experienced a winter in Wisconsin? If you haven’t had the chance to enjoy Wisconsin with a fresh covering of snow on the ground, you will definitely want to plan a visit as soon as possible. Sure, Wisconsin is not the first place I think of for winter fun or winter outdoor activities, after-all, it’s not exactly warm. However, while Wisconsin may be cold in the winter, it is beautiful and full of fun activities for any outdoor enthusiast.  

The average high in Madison, WI in January, February and March is 25, 30, and 42 degrees respectively. Northern Wisconsin sees colder temperatures, but also more snow and has some great snowmobiling trails. Check out the list of winter outdoor activities and let me know what your favorite is or which one(s) you want to try during your visit to Wisconsin!

When you make purchases through the links in my post, I may earn commissions at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. As always, I only provide links to products and services I recommend. Read my full disclosure here.

Wisconsin Winter Outdoor Activities:

1. Snow Tubing

If you’re looking for a fun activity for all ages that requires relatively little skill, snow tubing is just the activity for you! Tubing is similar to sledding in that you are sliding down a big, snow-covered hill. However, unlike with sledding, you are in a giant air-filled tube either by yourself, or tied up and connected with your friends and family. My favorite part of tubing is that you don’t have to walk up the slippery hill – you have a conveyor belt that moves you and your tube up so you can slide down again and again without getting tired.

The #1 Writing Tool

There are numerous places around Wisconsin that offer tubing during the winter months. Pro tip: there are often discounts for going on weekdays or weekday evenings. And it’s usually a lot less crowded. Please check their website for hours and detailed rates. Below are some favorite Wisconsin tubing options:

2. Ice Skating

I may not be the most graceful when wearing ice skates, but whether I’m on my feet or on my butt, it’s a fun winter activity. Many places rent skates and some places even have hot chocolate if you need a little skating break. A few of my favorite places in Madison for ice skating are:

  • Tenney Park – Frozen Lagoon 
    • Lagoon Hours
      • Monday through Friday: 11am-8pm 
      • Saturday: 12pm-8pm
      • Sunday: 12pm-6pm
    • Rental Hours
      • Wednesday through Friday: 4pm-8pm
      • Saturday: 12pm-8pm
      • Sunday: 12pm-6pm
    • Rental Prices 
      • Ice Skates – Figure and Hockey
        • Adults: $6/hr
        • Youth (15 and younger): $3/hr
        • $2/ each additional hour
      • Hockey
        • Sticks: $2/hr
        • Puck: $3/each purchase
        • Tape: $2/each purchase 
  • The Edgewater Ice Rink (tickets must be purchased in advance) 
    • Ice Rink Hours
      • Monday/Tuesday – Closed
      • Wednesday – Friday, 4-9pm
        • (Open 2pm-4pm Thursday for “Tot Time” for ages 5 & under*)
      • Saturday, 10am – 9pm
      • Sunday, 10am – 6pm
    • Ice Rink Prices
      • Kids 12 and under: $4/hour
      • Adults (13+): $7/hour
      • Rental Prices: 
        • $3  
  • Elver Park – Ice Rink
    • Lagoon Hours
      • Monday through Friday: 11am-8pm 
      • Saturday: 12pm-8pm
      • Sunday: 12pm-6pm
    • Rental Hours
      • Wednesday through Friday: 4pm-8pm
      • Saturday: 12pm-8pm
      • Sunday: 12pm-6pm
    • Rental Prices
      • Ice Skates – Figure and Hockey
        • Adults: $6/hr
        • Youth (15 and younger): $3/hr
        • $2/ each additional hour
      • Hockey
        • Sticks: $2/hr
        • Puck: $3/each purchase
        • Tape: $2/each purchase
Tenney Lake Ice Skating

3. Ice Fishing

I’m impressed every single year when I drive past the lake and see it FILLED with shanties, no matter the temperature. Ice fishing is a very popular activity in Wisconsin and there are even annual events around the state. Each February, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin hosts the Door County Ice Fishing Tournament. And you thought fishing was just a summer activity!

Ice Fishing - Brittingham - 2

Keep in mind that a Fishing License is required for anyone over the age of 15. You can purchase a license through the Wisconsin DNR. There are a variety of license options available, so please check the website for the best option for you, along with prices. An annual general fishing license is $20 (resident) or $50 (non-resident), but there are also single-day options, family licenses, discounted licenses for certain individuals and more. Some lakes also require a lake access permit for ice fishing so be sure to check with the city or county of the lake you’ll be visiting to learn exactly what you will need.

4. Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is an easier, relatively affordable outdoor activity that most anyone can do, especially if skiing or snowboarding is not your thing or in your budget. If you’ve never tried snowshoeing and want to try it before you buy the snowshoes and poles, several places rent snowshoes and equipment, including some local Dane County parks, some Wisconsin State Parks, and REI stores. This article from REI has great information for first-time snowshoers, including equipment needed, basic information, and techniques.

5. Skiing

For all of the skiing enthusiasts, Wisconsin has some great cross country ski trails and downhill ski slopes all throughout the state. While it may not be to the level of Vail or Jackson Hole, Wisconsin has its own special charm. The ski community in Wisconsin is huge and you’re sure to have a blast.

Frozen Lake - Tenney Park

6. Snowmobiling

If you’re looking to cover some ground, try snowmobiling on Wisconsin’s miles of trails. According to Travel Wisconsin, the state has over 25,000 miles of trail for snowmobilers to enjoy. It’s an especially great way to explore Northern Wisconsin and maybe even stay in some of the great winter resorts the state offers. There are several locations around Wisconsin that offer snowmobile rentals, so be sure to check out options in the area you will be visiting.

7. Sledding

A classic winter snow activity, sledding is the perfect activity for the whole family. As long as you have a hill with some snow and something to slide down on (likely a sled 🙂 ), you can have hours of fun. And you get a great workout in walking back up the snow-covered hill repeatedly. 

Preparing for Your Snowy Adventure:

Before you head out for your winter outdoor activities, make sure you have these cold-weather essentials to keep you warm:

  • Warm Winter Coat
  • Winter Boots – I personally use hiking boots because I feel like they slip less, but there are so many options out there so just make sure you find something warm, comfortable, and waterproof

Don’t forget to check the weather before heading out on your winter adventures – it’s better to be over-dressed than left freezing in potentially dangerously cold weather. Let me know your favorite winter activities in the comments! 

Happy Winter Adventuring!

-Lily

Facebook
Email
Print

1 thought on “7 Awesome Wisconsin Winter Outdoor Activities ”

Comments are closed.