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When Is the Best Time to Visit Wisconsin Dells

A family playing at the Mt. Olympus outdoor waterpark in Wisconsin Dells.

Best Time to Visit Wisconsin

Time to answer the age-old question: When is the best time to visit Wisconsin Dells? The answer might surprise you.

On the surface, that may seem a tricky question to answer, given the multitude of offerings in this nationally acclaimed vacation destination. Yet, upon further review, the answer is really quite simple: The best time to visit is when you can experience all the things you love best about the Dells. In other words, it’s a personal choice and it’s often tied to the seasons, so let’s start there.

A family canoeing on Mirror Lake.

Seasonally Speaking 

If spring is your thing, then let’s talk about all the options to break free of cabin fever and explore the outdoors. How about hopping on a horse for a trail ride at Red Ridge Ranch Riding Stable, Canyon Creek Riding Stables, or Woodside Ranch Riding Stables. Those who favor fishing as their favorite pastime will be pleased to know there is great fishing on Lake Delton, the Wisconsin River, Castle Rock Lake, Devil’s Lake, and Mirror Lake

With sunshine warming the waters, this is a wonderful time to get in some paddling on Mirror Lake too, with kayak and canoe rentals from Mirror Lake Boat Rentals located right inside Mirror Lake State Park. And, of course, we can’t forget that Wisconsin Dells is also the “Spring Break Capital of the Midwest,” with parents of school-age children known to proclaim spring their favorite time to visit. Some springtime favorites include:

A family playing mini golf at Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf in Wisconsin Dells.

Summer, it goes without saying, is the de facto best time to visit Wisconsin for just about everyone, with all the outdoor waterparks open, including Noah’s Ark, America’s largest outdoor waterpark, and Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park

There’s nothing like a summer stroll in the downtown district, with a stop at the new Elm Street Plaza for free entertainment to put a smile on your face. This is the season to play some mini-golf at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf and Timber Falls Adventure Park too. Don’t forget to gather the group for a photo at one of the old-time portrait studios located downtown. Dine al fresco at The District, The Boathouse, and Summer House Grill & Bar. And get your fill of sweet treats at all the candy shops in the downtown district.

Every year more and more visitors are falling for fall. Chalk that up to hiking at four nearby state parks, a wide swing of golf course choices, a half-dozen wineries to visit, zipline tours that let you take in the colors from above, a corn maze at Country Bumpkin Farm Market, and spooky tours aboard the Ghost Boat to keep you screaming with delight.

Finally, winter, when Mother Nature puts the brrrr in breathtaking. This is a great time for a grown-up getaway too, with spas for relaxing, Ho-Chunk Gaming for casino action, and supper clubs for dining, with lots of empty-nesters telling us that Winter is their favorite time to visit. Downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing at Christmas Mountain and Cascade Mountain are favorites among families. 

An Original Wisconsin Ducks tour in Wisconsin Dells.

Plan Around Your Favorite Attractions

The best time to visit Wisconsin may depend on which attractions are your favorites and when they’re open. While the vast majority of Wisconsin Dells businesses are open year-round, some are open seasonally, which may dictate when the best time to go to Wisconsin Dells is for you.

Perhaps the best example of this are the scenic tours of the Wisconsin River. Boat tours and Duck tours are a must-do every year for many fans of Wisconsin Dells; the tours start in March and run well into the Fall. The jet boat tours, by comparison, have a slightly shorter season – May–October – which can be attributed to the fact that you’ll likely get drenched! 

The natural adventure park known as The Land of Natura, located along the Wisconsin River, has the world’s largest naturally filtered lake with America’s largest floating waterpark, perfect for summer splashdowns. As for the outdoor waterparks, if you want to make sure you slide down every waterslide and ride every water roller coaster, then Memorial Day to Labor Day is your sweet spot. 

A few other beloved attractions with seasonal hours that may help you decide the best time to visit: Circus World, open March-September with shows under the Big Top during the summer months; the International Crane Foundation where you can view all 15 species of cranes, open May-October; Wisconsin Deer Park, a classic attraction where you can feed the deer, open April-October; and Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theater, with double features showing May-September.  

People tubing at Cascade Mountain near Wisconsin Dells.

Quiet or Busy Season?

Summer is peak season in Wisconsin Dells, yet with so many waterparks, amusement parks, animal attractions, scenic river tours, interactive attractions, and shops to experience, there is still room to fan out and spread out. 

If you define the best time to go to Wisconsin Dells as the quietest season, that would be Fall. Leaf-peeping at the state parks is a big draw, as is the slowed-down pace for winery tours, golf, and spa-going.

Spring and winter fall somewhere in the middle. A preference for rising temps vs. falling temps is often the deciding factor. As with everything else covered in this story, there is no right or wrong answer here!

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