Driving along a scenic route has multiple benefits for your mental health. It can melt away the stress and leave you with a sense of adventure. Exploring scenic routes can reveal areas you didn’t know existed and open up a new perspective on life. We do some of our best thinking when we change our environment, even if it’s just for a few hours. Exposure to new sights can help when breaking habits and it can just give you a break from the same old routines. Wisconsin’s back roads wind through the countryside and give us views of new geography and beautiful views. If you’re ready to change things up and treat yourself to a break from the humdrum to reboot your brain, here are then beautiful scenic drives to take in Wisconsin.
1. Door County Highway 57 Coastal Byway
Door County recommends the Door County Highway 57 route for a scenic drive that takes you along 66 miles of highway for sightseeing. It’s a popular driver for rad bikers that gives you a tour of the Door peninsula. It’s dotted with iconic natural features ranging from lovely lakeside villages to quiet lakesides. The Limestone cliff sides offer interesting jagged peaks that rise above deep green forests. The landscape is changing and lovely along the route. You’ll also find places to full off the road and get a beverage or bite to eat before continuing your exciting journey. The DCCB is designated as an official National Scenic Byway with multiple recreational, archaeological, and historic features.
2. Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive
The Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive is one of the most beautiful routes in the southeastern part of Wisconsin. It converges in the two parts of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The drive is 115 miles long and takes you through historic and scenic areas. You’ll enjoy the unique landscape carved into beautiful geographical features from the Wisconsin glaciation, dating back to the ice age. The driver stretches through 50,000 acres of eastern and Southern Wisconsin. It starts at Elkhart Lake or Whitewater Lake. The sights are gorgeous, and the route offers plenty of things to do along the way. While driving, you’ll see the Wade House, an old stagecoach inn from the 1869s at Greenbush. Stop at the Old World Wisconsin, Eagle outdoor Museum of Rural Life, or visit the Cushing Memorial Park and Fort Cushing Playground.
3. Lake Drive/Highway 32 in Milwaukee
The Lake Drive on Highway 32 in Milwaukee offers locals and visitors a break from the busyness of the city. This beautiful drive stars at Doctors Park in Fox Point. It follows the shoreline of Lake Michigan to the downtown area. You’ll see gorgeous views of the lake as you travel, along with some of Wisconsin’s most decadent and oldest homes. It’s a relaxing drive that will stimulate your sense of wonder as you travel from the natural wonders on the route toward the city. Consider taking it as an alternate route when you need to visit the city.
4. Highway 13 from Ashland to Parkland
If you live in the Ashland or Parkland area, Highway 13 offers a scenic route that will help you relax and unwind on your journey. It takes you around the edges of the Bayfield Peninsula. The views of Madeline Island are spectacular. You will also see views of the Apostle Islands with two Lake Superior bays. It’s among the most beautiful scenic drives in the State of Wisconsin.
5. State Trunk Highway 28
State Trunk Tour advises the State Trunk Tour route on Highway 28 for bird lovers. the route begins in Horicon and takes you through the Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge known for its large flocks of migrating birds. It winds to the northeast taking you through lovely towns with interesting attractions. Stop at Widmer’s Cheese in Theresa, and stop to see the tallest flagpole in the US on the way to Sheboygan. Enjoy the choice of breweries in Sheboygan, or stop and visit a museum or catch an event at City Green with its lovely beaches and harbor on your way to the surfing hotspots.
6. Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek
Take a scenic drive through Peninsula State Park for a relaxing day on the road. You’ll need to get a trail pass or annual park sticker, but the cost is minimal. It’s worth it to enjoy the lake views and scenic bluffs. You can also stop and visit the lighthouse for a memorable tour. If you’re a hiker, some of the best trails in the state are at the Peninsula State Park. Be sure to catch the views of the bluffs at sunset for an unforgettable experience.
7. Rustic Road 53
Rustic bridge enthusiasts are encouraged to travel the Rustic Road 53 route. It’s a short stretch that extends for 4.1 miles on a paved proud. It’s in an agricultural area of the Fox River Valley. It’s located in Northeast Wisconsin in Outagamie County, running through parts of Garrity, McCabe, Greiner, and Bodde Roads. R-53 takes you to a double arch bridge and an old schoolhouse that is still used as the town hall. There’s also a century farm, a resource conservation area, an old stone silo, and all kinds of wildlife. It’s a historic road that was constructed in 1857.
8. Barron Country Rustic Road 83 Scenic Drive
The Barron County Rustic Road 83 Scenic Drive is in the Northwest part of Wisconsin. It starts in the town of Bear Lake and runs along Narrow Gauge Road. The route follows the path where an old railroad line ran from the logging area. It takes you through the forest lands of Barron County, intersecting at the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
9. Driftless Area Scenic Drive
The Driftless Area Scenic Drive starts at Wilton and journeys to Viroqua. It’s one of the most picturesque drives in Wisconsin. The drive takes you through the Driftless Area valleys and upward to the hardwood ridges with plenty of trout streams, Amish farms, and ample vineyards and orchards. Discover the eclectic shops and homespun diners along with way. You’ll also see tugboats and barges on the Mississippi, and plenty of scenery from limestone bluffs to the backwaters of rivers and streams.
10. Wisconsin Great River Road Scenic Drive
GRRW recommends the Wisconsin Great River Road along Highway 35 to relax and have an enjoyable day of driving and sightseeing. The route takes you around the banks of the Mississippi, starting at Prescott to Kieler and moving North to South. You’ll enjoy the panoramic views from the bluff-tops and the lovely river views. The Wisconsin Great River Road takes you through 250 miles of scenic terrain, natural areas, and opportunities for paddling, fishing, and other recreational activities. Don’t forget to visit the St.Croix National Scenic Byway by hike or boat. Also, check out the Ice Age Interpretive Center while you’re there.