Wisconsin Dells is a resort city located in Southern Wisconsin, famous for its indoor and outdoor waterparks, theme parks, towering sandstone cliffs, rivers, and other natural attractions. The city is also one of the most-visited locations in Wisconsin, with lots of activities for tourists throughout the year. It is after all known as the waterpark capital of the world. There are plenty of things to do here, for adults and kids alike.
No matter your preferences or who you're with, the Dells is a perfect place to relax and have fun during the holidays. It offers some of the best attractions in Wisconsin and the Midwest. Here is a complete list of the best things to do in Wisconsin Dells to plan your next visit to this amazing location.
Top 17 Things To Do In Wisconsin Dells
1. Visit The Wilderness Resort
The Wilderness Resort houses indoor and outdoor pools with an extensive collection of slides, boat tours, swimming pools, and geysers. It’s among the largest water parks in the Dells and welcomes thousands of tourists each year.
At Wilderness Resort, there's an activity for everyone in the family. Are you looking for watersports? You can check out the indoor/outdoor water basketball and volleyball courts. Want some thrill and adrenaline? Then visit the drop slides for a breathtaking experience.
The Wilderness Resort offers many opportunities for relaxation as well. You can find an indoor/outdoor tub to loosen up while you enjoy stunning views of the nearby lake and a lazy river in more than one of its many waterparks.
Don't forget to check out Wilderness Resort's biggest attraction in it's indoor waterpark: a 13,000-ft wave indoor pool that can hold an insane amount of swimmers. If you're looking for an outdoor theme park, Mt Olympus and the Kalahari Resort are considered some of the best.
2. Go Golfing Or Skiing At The Christmas Mountain Village
Christmas Mountain Village is the best place to work on your swing and enjoy yourself. This attraction offers a 27-hole golf course, a mini golf course, sports bar, clubhouse, amongst other facilities.
Staying at Christmas Mountain Village is easy, with plenty of options for accommodation. There are sufficient townhouses, villas, cottages, and log cabins that dot the site. There's also a campground if you want to test your outdoor survival skills and try camping.
Just like in Milwaukee, there are plenty of things to do in Wisconsin Dells in the winter. The Christmas Mountain Village is a hub for winter sports enthusiasts. There are opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snow tubing, and sledding if you're interested. If you’re a complete beginner and want to get some ski lessons, sign up for a class with them.
3. Explore Cave of the Mounds
Cave of the Mounds is a natural limestone cave that's been open to the public since 1940. A popular tourist destination near the Wisconsin Dells area, Cave of the Mounds in Dane County is great for those with a curious mind and families.
The tour includes stops at various cave parts, including spaces with oolites and other rocks. You'll have trained guides providing information on the cave's history and the various objects found here.
The cave itself is full of natural wonders. From helictites and oolites to stalactites and stalagmites — there's more than enough to catch your attention. If you want one of these rocks as a keepsake, the gift shop sells a collection of them.
You can bask in the colorful lighting as you explore the rest of the cave. These aesthetic lightings are a recent feature and are installed to give visitors a colorful experience.
Outside of the cave, you can find picnic areas and hiking trails.
4. Duck Boat Tours
The Duck Boat Tours have been running since 1946 and provide one-of-a-kind opportunities to explore the Dells. You go through rugged plains, cruise through the Wisconsin river, and float on sand bars — all while enjoying scenic views of the city.
In case you didn’t know, the Duck is a special vehicle developed in WW2 to transport supplies from the shore to campsites. While most duck boat operators have stopped operations, the Wisconsin Dells Duck Boat Tours have been operating for years, making it a unique activity hard to find elsewhere.
The tours run from March to November. If you visit the Dells during this time, this should be on top of your to-do list.
5. Devil's Lake State Park
Devil's Lake State Park is Wisconsin's most visited park. Since it opened its doors in 1911, Devil's Lake State Park has been a major attraction in the Wisconsin Dells area — being only 25 minutes away.
The park offers a combination of around 29 miles of trails perfect for hiking and exploring. There are beginner-friendly walking trails as well as more challenging ones. You can get a beautiful view of the lake at the top. There are also campsites for tent camping or car camping with friends and family. Compared to other state parks, it offers stunning scenery and natural landscapes that are hard to match.
The surrounding lake is great for kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and even scuba diving! You can have a family outing here if you want — there's a picnic area and swimming beaches that make cooling off easier. It’s a perfect place to visit during the summer, and it gets very crowded during the summer holidays like July 4th.
6. Take A Blast To The Past At H.H. Bennett Studio
H.H. Bennett was a renowned landscape photographer with Canadian roots. Today, his old studio is owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society and is featured on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visit this studio, the oldest in America, to look at some of Bennett's old pictures and the equipment he used. There's even an opportunity for visitors to have an image taken and processed with wet-plate technology!
H.H. Bennett was instrumental in driving Wisconsin's tourism efforts with his stunning landscape pictures. Now, you can see what the images look like if they moved in the 3D Imaging section.
Old H.H. Bennett's studio is the oldest business in the Wisconsin Dells. A visit here is an excellent way to experience 19th century Wisconsin and immerse in the nostalgia of the past.
7. Go On A Lost Canyon Tours
Wisconsin's deepest and largest canyon, the Lost Canyon in Lake Delton, offers quite a memorable experience. While the canyon is difficult to explore on your own, the Lost Canyon Tour has interactive guides to take you through the location.
Each tour puts visitors in a horse-pulled carriage to explore one of the best Wisconsin Dells attractions. You can see everything the canyon has to offer with sandstone bluffs and other natural attractions.
I recommend you talk to the guides during the 30-minute tour to learn about the history of the Lost Canyon and the Wisconsin Dells. Make sure to buy a souvenir at the gift shop before your trip starts to keep it as a memory.
They offer tours all seven days, and each tour starts from the shores of Lake Delton and runs through the canyon before taking you back out.
8. Go On A Wisconsin Dells Boat Tour
Guided boat tours are the best way to explore the famous Wisconsin Dells. The dells are a collection of cliff walled gorges and other interesting rock formations formed millions of years ago.
You can choose between a tour of the lower dells or upper dells. While some might find the upper dells more exciting, you can confirm this by taking the tour.
The Upper Dells tour includes a stop at the Witches Gulch — a slot-shaped canyon and a popular attraction. You can explore the gorge's outcrops, hike through the area, or walk through the trail — the choice is up to you.
The nightlife at the Wisconsin Dells is as good as any. You can sign up for a sunset cruise to enjoy fancy dinners, excellent musical performances, and downriver boat rides. You might even get a nighttime tour through a torch-lit Witches Gulch!
9. Palace Theater
Palace Theater offers a mix of classic and modern Broadway shows, musicals, comedy shows, and other family-friendly entertainment. Plus, you get to enjoy it while fine dining throughout the night. There is a good reason why it's one of the most popular tourist attractions.
The theater shows hit Disney musicals like Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland. You can also catch other popular shows like Legally Blonde throughout the year.
Palace Theater is located at the heart of Wisconsin Dells and is easily accessible from any part of town.
10. Big Sky Drive-In Theater
Drive-in theaters are quickly dying down, with less than 300 left in the USA. Big Sky Drive-In Theater is a must-see if you want to experience what it feels like to sit in your vehicle while enjoying a good movie. It’s open from May to the end of fall.
It’s one of the few drive-in theaters in Wisconsin, Big Sky offers an unforgettable experience for visitors. The theater shows the latest blockbuster movies through a pair of gigantic screens.
Big Sky Theater is open on holidays, making it a good place to hang out with family friends on no-work days, especially if you’re visiting during this time. You don’t have to pack food for your outing since the shop has amazing food offerings, including the famous Mamaburger.
11. Wisconsin Deer Park
Wisconsin Deer Park houses a fantastic collection of white-tailed deer common across Wisconsin. These gentle creatures interact with visitors at the park and welcome attempts to pet them or stroke their fur.
The family owned park itself has 40+ miles of land open to anyone who wants to explore. You can even find elk, lemurs, bison, and other species that call this park their home.
You can visit the Wisconsin Deer Park throughout the year, as it stays open even on holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you have kids, be sure to visit in the early summer since you might be lucky and catch sight of the baby fawns.
12. See Magic At The Rick Wilcox Magic Theater
Rick Wilcox Magic Theater has operated for 20+ years, thrilling visitors with performances from married magicians Rick and Susan Wilcox. With a healthy dose of illusion, comedy, and entertainment, this magic show is a must-see for anyone visiting the Dells.
The Wilcoxes regularly update their repertoire, so get ready to see newer illusions every time you visit. You can sit back and enjoy one-and-a-half hours of pure magic fun! Buy the tickets online and do it ahead of time because if you come during the busy season, they might just run out.
13. Ripley's Believe It Or Not
Ripley's Believe It Or Not is renowned for housing an incredible collection of oddities from around the world. At this Downtown Dells location, you can see strange artifacts, experience mind-bending illusions, and hear exciting but unbelievable stories.
Part of the magic of Ripley's Believe It Or Not comes from its interactive nature. You can embark on a magical quest through the twisting tunnels of King Tut's temple, racing to avoid the late Pharaoh's curse. You can also learn about the world's tallest and shortest man. Visitors can also treasure-hunt here — you never know what you might find! Then there is also the famous two headed sheep.
If you ever watched Ripley's Believe It or Not! Tv show, you’ll want to take a tour of this place to evoke some nostalgia.
14. Grab A Bite At The High Rock Cafe
Explore the culinary delights of Wisconsin Dells by taking a trip to the High Rock Cafe. It’s run by longtime friends and chefs Justin Draper and Wade Bernander. The restaurant offers everything from delicious entrées to juicy appetizers.
You can ease into eating with a first bite that includes options like crab, calamari, jumbo salad, and more. The lunch and dinner options also include things like fish tacos and steaks. There are also gluten-free options for vegetarians.
Round off your culinary adventure by checking out the Café's collection of desserts that kids can enjoy.
15. Eat Some Tasty Food At Monk's Bar and Grill
The city has some top-notch restaurants, and Monk's Bar and Grill is one of the best restaurants in Wisconsin Dells. This 74-year old establishment offers a dizzying array of mouthwatering delicacies, from deep-fried curds to one-of-a-kind burgers.
The main menu includes signature Monkburgers and Monkwiches, non-beef salads, fresh greens, hot wings, and other culinary delights. Kids aren’t left out since the children's menu has hamburgers, sandwiches, hotdogs, pretzels, and a lot more.
Monk's Bar and Grill is a locals' favorite, so you know it’s an excellent choice to eat while here. They routinely show football games so you can watch the Wisconsin Badgers or Green Bay Packers play as it is a sports bar.
16. Learn About Science At The Tommy Bartlett Exploratory
Originally founded in 1982, the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory is a top destination for science-loving kids and families. Here, you can see the original Russian MIR space module, lift a 5000-pound car, cycle on a high wire, and do other exciting activities.
In its previous iteration as Tommy Bartlett's Robot World, this Wisconsin Dells attraction displayed robots from the 80s era. Today, it focuses more on space travel and other areas of science, with over 175 science exhibits for visitors to explore!
There is something for everyone to explore, from simple puzzles to futuristic machines. If you're curious about the wonders of science or space, it’s the perfect place to visit and offers a remarkable family-friendly experience.
17. Take The Kids To The Knucklehead Trampoline and Indoor Amusement Park
If you’re visiting with kids, the Knucklehead Trampoline and Indoor Amusement Park is one of the most fun attractions for young ones. This top-rated location has everything a family (and adults) need to have an exciting experience.
They offer thrilling activities for all ages like rock climbing, bowling, go-karts, and dodgeball games. There's also a ropes course, plenty of VR games, and different trampoline sections.
If you want to experience Wisconsin Dells along with your kids or even without them, Knucklehead Park is a good place to visit. Before leaving, you can always refuel at the bar with food and drinks.
For another popular city in Wisconsin, read our guide on things to do in Madison, Wisconsin.