Wisconsin has a continental climate with cold winters and warm summers. January in Milwaukee ranges from the teens through the 20s (F) and July from the 60s into the 80s. In the north, along Lake Superior, winters are much colder, in the single digits and teens, but summers are mild with temperatures reaching the low 70s. Milwaukee's annual snowfall averages 47 inches. Iron County, on the other hand, boasts an average annual snowfall of 180 inches.
When to fly to Wisconsin
Summer is the high season, particularly around the lakes and the Lake Superior Shore. Door County is very crowded in summer, and northern Wisconsin hosts lots of visitors who enjoy camping, hiking, and fishing. The Dells have become a year-round destination.
Milwaukee has several outdoor events in July and August. If you're one of the nearly 1 million people booking Wisconsin flights for the annual Summerfest music and entertainment festival, plan ahead and book hotel rooms in advance, too.
Winter is becoming more and more popular, beckoning to snow enthusiasts, especially snowmobilers and cross-country skiers.
Spring and fall are quieter times to visit Wisconsin and it's likely travellers can find cheap flights to Wisconsin. Spring offers outdoor adventures, including white-water rafting. Fall is a busy hunting season.
Door County is quiet in winter and offers ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.
Getting around Wisconsin
The bus service is mostly in southern and central Wisconsin. Milwaukee has great walking venues along the river and many attractions are accessible on foot. The Milwaukee County Transit System can get you downtown or out to the suburbs. The Trolley loops around downtown and runs on a seasonal basis. The city is also easily navigated by car.
For exploring the state your best bet is to drive. Interstates and back roads take you around the southern part of the state. Northern Wisconsin has no interstates, which also explains why it is such a great area for camping, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and snowmobiling.
For the Apostle Islands, the modes of transport are walking and boating. There is excellent biking in Door County.
Wisconsin insider information
- Door County, named after the strait between the Door Peninsula and Washington Island has five state parks, more lighthouses than any other county in the U.S. and about 40 islands. The pride of Door County is its cherry orchards. You can pick up pies, jams and dried cherries along roadside stands. It is also renowned for its fish boils - local whitefish, potatoes and onions cooked in a kettle over a wood fire.
- Milwaukee: Miller Valley is the part of West State Street between the Miller Brewing Company’s buildings. There is a replica of Miller's first brewery and the Miller Inn.
- New Glarus in south Wisconsin is named after Glarus in Switzerland. It was settled in 1845 by about 150 immigrants and is home to the Swiss Historical Village, a museum of 13 historic buildings. There are also annual festivals such as the Heidi and William Tell festivals. Not only is New Glarus a good place to sample Swiss cuisine, but the New Glarus Brewing Company offers microbrews, the most popular of which is the Spotted Cow.
- Cheeseheads are what fans of the Green Bay Packers are called. They, in honour of the state’s dairy industry, wear triangular headgear shaped like a piece of cheese and made of plastic or foam. For more cheese, visit the Gibbsville cheese factory where you can sample some of the 50 types made. In Milwaukee, buy souvenirs at the Wisconsin Cheese Mart in the original German retail district such as Mild Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese in the shape of a “W” or a Cheesehead survival kit with cheddar in the shape of "Bucky the Badger", salami, mustard and maple syrup.
- The 21 Apostle Islands on Lake Superior: Madeline Island has particularly fine beaches and unspoilt landscape.
- Marinette County has 14 waterfalls – beautiful spots for camping and picnicking.