Similar to Door County -- without the crowds?

Old Dec 15th, 2012, 05:38 PM
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Similar to Door County -- without the crowds?

Our family will be attending a wedding in Milwaukee in late July. We'd like to spend a week beforehand in a cabin and hiking, swimming, eating ice cream, etc. We've been to Door County on several occasions and I'd like to find someplace a little less touristy. It doesn't have to be on Lake Michigan, any lake is fine, but not more than 4 or 5 hours from Milwaukee.

What I love about Door County is the state parks, the beaches, the lack of condos and huge hotels, the ice cream shops, the kind of small town rhythm, etc. But I'd really like to not have to deal with all the crowds. Any suggestions? Thanks.
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Old Dec 15th, 2012, 11:34 PM
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Canada!
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Old Dec 16th, 2012, 08:37 AM
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Have you been to Mackinac Island? It would have all that you want except it does have crowds. http://tinyurl.com/dxgs4rb
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Old Dec 16th, 2012, 08:37 AM
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Have you been to Mackinac Island? It would have all that you want except it does have crowds. http://tinyurl.com/dxgs4rb
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Old Dec 16th, 2012, 04:24 PM
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Take ferry across the Lake Michigan to Torch Lake, Michigan?
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Old Dec 16th, 2012, 05:48 PM
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There are hundreds of smaller lakes in the northeast-north central region of Wisconsin that have a variety of waterfront rentals. The areas are beautiful, affording opportunities for hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, picnicking, etc. Some have small towns nearby. The counties to look into are Forest, Marinette, Oneida, Vilas, Langlade, and Oconto. As a frame of reference, Eagle River, on the northern end of things, is about five hours from Milwaukee.

Hope you have a great time!
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Old Dec 17th, 2012, 06:24 AM
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It could be hard avoiding crowds. Late July is the very busiest time of year for all that region.

Given you 5 hour limit, I would look at Manistique Lake in Michigan's UP.
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Old Dec 18th, 2012, 10:10 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. We are going to meet some other family members who will be driving from Minneapolis. We have been to Mackinac Island and know a fair amount of the Michigan side of Lake Michigan but we want to stay in WI for this trip.

The Eagle River area sounds like it might be just what we are looking for (I've been looking on the web, and am I right that this is what's referred to in WI as the "northwoods" area?). There are thousands of places to choose from, kind of daunting. Any specific recommendations in the area that Dave_Ohio suggested?

Thanks!
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Old Dec 18th, 2012, 10:51 AM
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Yes, that is the Northwoods area. The map on this page gives you some idea of how many lakes there are up there:
http://www.northwoodswisconsin.com/communities.htm

Oddly enough, with all those lakes and relatively low population, there are very few state parks up there. It tends to be a mix of state/county forest land and private ownership, so the hiking/park opportunities aren't as abundant as Door County or southern WI.

http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/findapark.html

If you look at that map, the state parks are the little pine trees. State trails are the red lines (highways are white). There are also 2 major national trails (Ice Age and North Country) in the state. But North Country is in the far northern corner (green dashed line) and Ice Age just barely goes to the edge of the Northwoods area (light blue dashed line).

So in that whole Northwoods area, there's just not a lot of hiking/park opportunites. If you're ok with that, then there are plenty of lakes and little towns that are not too overrun with tourists in the summer. I'm not even sure you'd want to do a lot of hiking up there in summer, the bugs can be pretty brutal in the woods.
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Old Dec 18th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forests have 800 miles of hiking trails. Some are short interpretive trails, but others are longer. Several links can be found here:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/cnnf...27717&actid=50

Keep in mind that the area was formed by the glaciers, so you are traversing moraines, not mountains, and you may encounter bogs, creeks, and ponds along the way. As WhereAreWe suggests, make sure you have good insect repellent with you!

Areas I am familiar with -- near Eagle River, Tomahawk, Rhinelander, Pickerel, Crandon -- are all nice. The Wolf River has beautiful white water sections, and I believe they now have developed a trail along it.
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