Wisconsin’s Great Northeast

A Treasure Chest of History and Culture

Itinerary Summary

Sample the region’s industrial past, maritime lore and dairy farming heritage on this four-day swing that visits cities like Manitowoc, Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, Sheboygan and Milwaukee. Delve into fine art, encounter Native American culture and catch the spirit of one of pro football’s most fabled franchises.

Day 1 – Manitowoc

Board the SS Badger in Ludington, Michigan for your journey across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Relax aboard this historic steamship car ferry, enjoy a game of Badger Bingo, watch a movie or just enjoy the morning strolling the deck. After crossing one of the Great Lakes, head over to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. Discover engaging experiences, exhibits and learning opportunities as you explore the museum. Head outside to tour the USS Cobia, which served in the Pacific in WWII. The Cobia serves as an international memorial to submariners.

Just down the road you’ll visit the world’s largest collection of type at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. The rich history of American printing, from newspapers, advertisements and posters, will take you back in time, and you will see how wood type is influencing modern designers and printers.

The Rahr-West Art Museum is housed in a Queen Anne-style mansion built in the 1890s. Enjoy the wonderful blend of fine exhibits including works from Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.

Wisconsin Maritime Museum
Rahr_West Museum
national railroad museum

Day 2 – Green Bay

Begin your day at the hallowed grounds of the Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. The HOF is a tribute to the greatest story in sports as told through enhanced interactive exhibits and a trove of artifacts. Your group can also take in a stadium tour, which includes heading down to the field level through the Players tunnel, just as the team has done throughout the history of the Packers.

The Oneida Nation offers reservation tours featuring the buffalo overlook, historical exhibits and hands-on experiences. Also visit one of America’s largest, oldest rail museums, the National Railroad Museum. It features the Dwight D. Eisenhower Locomotive & Command Cars, Union Pacific “Big Boy,” The Pullman Porters: From Service to Civil Rights and a variety of other exhibits. From trains to the automobile, cruise down memory lane with extraordinary views and stories of 100+ pristine collector vehicles spanning 110+ years at The Automobile Gallery.

End the day with a stroll or tram ride through Heritage Hill, a 56-acre living history state park, beautifully nestled on the banks of the Fox River with 26 historic buildings encapsulating northeastern Wisconsin’s history from the 1600s to the early 1900s.

Day 3 – Brillion, Appleton

This morning, head to Brillion to visit the highly interactive AriensCo Museum, which tells the story of the country’s journey from horse-and-plow to horsepower. Unique galleries transport you to an 1890s factory, 1930s farm and groovy 1960s backyard. Step inside Wisconsin’s largest snow globe for a unique photo opportunity.

Arrive in Appleton for a laid-back cruise on the Fox River, with light narration focusing on history, the environment, area geology, beautiful scenery and lovely riverfront homes. Located in the historic Sawyer home, a beautiful English Tudor Revival residence, the Oshkosh Public Museum is home to the Apostles Clock. Over 100 years old, the eight-foot-tall clock continues to toll out each hour with a brilliant display of lights, music and master clockworks.


Day 4 – Green Lake, Greenbush, Manitowoc, Sheboygan

Start in Green Lake and enjoy a leisurely entertaining and informative cruise on the deepest inland lake in Wisconsin. The Wade House in Greenbush showcases the horse-powered world before planes, automobiles and railroads. Explore the golden era of the carriage through the stagecoach hotel and Wisconsin’s largest collection of carriages and wagons. Your group will enjoy a self-guided tour at Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center in Manitowoc to view the expansive exhibit space and a trip to a local dairy farm. During your time at the center, your group will gain a deeper understanding of Wisconsin agriculture, food processing and sustainable farming.

The final stop of the day is the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, a unique museum promoting the understanding and appreciation of the work of self-taught and contemporary artists. You won’t want to miss checking out the restrooms!

Day 5 – Sheboygan, Milwaikee

Before leaving Sheboygan, you’ll want to stop at the new Art Preserve, the world’s first museum to focus entirely on work from art environments. See bone towers built in a kitchen, concrete sculptures constructed in a yard on the shore of Lake Michigan and elaborate fiber hangings woven in a New York City loft. These works exemplify the wide-ranging and complex artist-built environments contained at the Art Preserve.

Before departing Wisconsin, get some fresh air and take a stroll or tram ride through the Milwaukee County Zoo. Take in the Sea Lion Show, experience a 4D Gorilla Trek through the forests of Rwanda or have an up-close encounter with a variety of furry, feathered and finned animals.

Milwaukee County Zoo

Want More Itinerary Ideas?

Our annual planner will help you craft an unforgettable Upper Midwest group adventure with helpful attraction spotlights, itineraries and listings.