Unfolding tidily at the southern semicircle of Lake Winnebago, the small town of Fond du Lac is a top fishing destination even when frigid temperatures send less single-minded travelers scurrying indoors. The population of Fond du Lac is just a little over 43,000 so don't expect to feel crushed under some urban nine to five rush. Instead, soak up the easy-going lakeshore atmosphere and use this as a base of operations for activities in and around Wisconsin's largest inland lake.
For historic highlight in these parts, it's got to be the Galloway House filled with period furniture and the recreated village adjacent that offers a glimpse of Fond du Lac as it once was. The hidden rooms and tunnels of the Octagon House are secret no longer, but visitors can let their imagination wander on a tour through this large residence.
Having seen the big sights, pack a picnic lunch and head for the Lakeside Park and petit lighthouse, keeping kids entertained on bumper boats and aquabikes. If it's more serious land-based peddling you're after, take to one of the local trails promising a solid hour or two of scenic biking. Those more of a mind to paddle can strike out on the lake itself, or explore waterways in the expansive Eldorado Marsh. Day-trip if you can down to Horicon Marsh, a glacially carved region with a truly splendid fresh-water marsh, an ideal destination for discerning birders, though there are also hiking trails and a sight-seeing loop for avid drivers.
Saving what some might say is best for last - bait, tackle and trophy - fishing is big here, whether it's sturgeon spearing or traditional reel activity, and it's big year-round, so don't let a little snow and ice deter you.
Fond du Lac is 23 miles south of Oshkosh and roughly 40 miles west of Sheboygan.