There are some awesome getaway lakes in the Northwest, but you can also find a plethora of incredible lakes around the country. One of my favorite escapes is Green Lake, Wisconsin. No, not Green BAY — Green LAKE (and no, not Green Lake in Seattle). I’ve been going to Green Lake my entire life, so it’s really a home away from home for me.
It’s not easy to get to Green Lake, Wisconsin, from Seattle. You start with a four-hour flight to Milwaukee, and then drive nearly two hours northwest to Green Lake (located in central Wisconsin). How in the world did I find this place? Five generations of my family have frequented, lived on or still live in Green Lake. I’ve been visiting the area my entire life, and it’s easily one of my favorite places on the planet.
Green Lake, which is also known as “Big Green” (since there’s a Little Green Lake about eight miles away), stretches more than seven miles across Wisconsin. At 237 feet, Green Lake is the deepest inland lake in the state. Usually a deep lake means a cold lake, but Green Lake is the perfect temperature in the summer.
Much like lakes in the Northwest (like Priest Lake, Idaho), Green Lake is especially popular in the summer months. There are cabins all around the lake, and there are also several resorts and hotels. That means there is no shortage of places to stay around the area.
Green Lake offers plenty of recreational opportunities. The lake itself is great for boating, swimming and water sports. If you don’t have a boat — don’t worry. With more than 27 miles of shoreline, there are several waterfront parks with swimming areas, barbecues, outdoor volleyball courts and much more. Norwegian Bay isn’t a park, but it feels like one. There are shallow sandbars there that create a fun place to wade in the water, throw a football and have a few cold beers.
Fishing is also a popular activity on Green Lake, Wisconsin. When I was most recently there, I caught small mouth bass, large mouth bass, rock bass and perch. But, you can also reel in northern pike, blue gill, lake trout, brown trout, walleye, and muskellunge (better known as muskie) in Green Lake. While the fishing is good in the summer, I hear it’s the best on Green Lake in the spring.
On top of the on-the-water fun, there’s also plenty of action off-the-water near Green Lake. There are multiple golf courses in the area: Golf Courses of Lawsonia (with two 18-hole courses alone), Tuscumbia Country Club (the oldest golf course in Wisconsin), Mascoutin Golf Club and White Lake Golf Resort. Biking and hiking are also popular with tourists and locals in the spring and summer months.
If you’re looking for food and a drink (or several drinks), there are plenty of restaurants and bars around Green Lake, Wisconsin. Reilly’s, Norton’s, Center House and Walker’s (the best place for a fish fry in the area) are all fun options, but there are also restaurants in the small town of Green Lake. I’ve spent a few nights at the Goose Blind for dinner and drinks with my family.
While Green Lake is a hit spot when the weather warms up (the average high temperature ranges from 70-84 degrees between May and September), there’s also plenty to do around the area in the winter. Cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, hunting, ice fishing and ice boating are all big activities in the non-peak months.
There are a thousand different lakes that are closer to Seattle, but Green Lake, Wisconsin, is a gem in America’s heartland. A trip to Green Lake takes you from the crazy sounds of the city to the sweet sound of crickets singing (literally). You can easily disconnect from the world and soak in everything the great state of Wisconsin has to offer. I know it’s a leap of faith (taking my word for it), but Green Lake is well worth a visit.
Have you ever visited Green Lake, Wisconsin? What was your experience like? We would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more getaways from Seattle!