Don't stress about making time for a stop in Wausau: this, the heart of ginseng country in America, has more than just an herb on offer to attract outside visitors. Set along the Wisconsin River on the northern shores of Lake Wausau, Wausau lures in those looking for a bit of river running fun, lake activity, easy access to downhill slopes and local cultural sights.
Take a walking tour through the historic district, explore the Artsblock to check out what's playing at the local dance or performance centers and peruse area galleries. Even if you're not big on birding, a stop at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum should go on your list, featuring a fine range of well-known artistic talents - though the real highlight is the collection here of bird-related creations that are showcased here every year after Labor Day.
If this doesn't offer enough heart-pounding excitement for the outdoors enthusiast, the white water rapids rattling along sections of the Wisconsin River ? site of two national kayaking competitions ? just might. Bikers should have no problem logging peddle time on the Mountain-Bay Trail or on off-road trails just out of town. Hikers can explore striated rock and trails in the Dells of Eau Claire County Park, or get a full body workout in winter following cross-country skiing trails in the area. For downhill action, head for the 72 routes cut in the slopes of Granite Peak ? snowshoers aren't left out either, with special designated trails in Rib Mountain State Park.
Wausau is 121 miles north of Baraboo and 97 miles west of Green Bay.