Spring has finally arrived and that means Wisconsin scenic road trips. Decades ago I moved us to Wisconsin because it represented “vacationland” to me. I had grown up in the Chicago area and like thousands of other Chicagoans, we escaped to Wisconsin every chance we could. Whether you are boating, hiking, cycling or motoring, Wisconsin has a plethora of potential scenic road trips.
So, the turkeys are on the road already, Let’s Go Learn Things…
Delafield to Lake Mills
We took off on the motorcycles with a little Mexican restaurant in Lake Mills as our Cinco de Mayo destination. This is a quick and easy little ride, just 70 miles roundtrip. It is not officially designated as a “Scenic Road” however it is easy to follow and meets my criteria of scenic. We followed Hwy B through quaint towns, around lovely lakes, over burbling rivers and past fertile farm fields. Hwy B is Valley Rd through Waukesha County and becomes Lake Rd as you enter Lake Mills. It continues on past Lake Mills, becoming Cottage Grove Rd until hitting Lake Monona in Madison.
Delafield, Wisconsin sits in the heart of Lake Country, about 25 miles west of downtown Milwaukee. It is an adorable town and destination in its own right. Since Delafield is our home, it was the starting point for this particular scenic road trip. This area truly earns its title of Lake Country. In the course of our 70 mile scenic road trip we passed no less than 7 lakes, 3 rivers and 2 creeks.
The historic town of Lake Mills was established on the banks of Rock River in 1837. Wisconsin was still just a territory at that time. History tells us that the name Lake Mills, was bestowed by Capt Joseph Keyes, who owned and operated the local saw and grist mill. For a time the town carried the Native American name of Tyranena, meaning “sparkling waters”. Just three miles east of the lake is the collection of ancient mounds known as Aztalan village. Aztalan State Park and the little Aztalan Museum are a fascinating little detour on our road trip.
Today Lake Mills with a population of about 6,000 is a prototypical Wisconsin lake town. Restaurants and shopping circle the darling downtown square. There is even a fun craft brewery that gives a nod to the indigenous peoples with its name Tyranena Brewing. We headed to El Mariachi for lunch.
A browse around town found plenty of parks, the “sparkling” lake and some fun architecture.
Wisconsin Scenic Road Trips
Wisconsin is an incredible state for Scenic Road Trips. Currently there are 5 officially designated Scenic Byways and 120 Rustic Roads in the state of Wisconsin. These alone could fill years of exploring, Wisconsin is also full of winding quiet backroads. We choose to do most of our exploring on the motorcycles, but any vehicle will work. In the case of this trip, Hwy B runs almost parallel to I-94. If you had zipped from Milwaukee out to Madison on the interstate you would have missed everything on this Wisconsin scenic road trip. Find your way off the big roads and you will find untold treasures.
Wisconsin will delight you with her kettles and moraines, rivers and lakes, forests and prairies.
Do you have a favorite Wisconsin scenic road trip? Share it with us in the comments. We are always looking for a new ride. Be safe out there!
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