As soon as summer begins in Northwest Wisconsin, the small towns come alive with festivals, parades, county fairs, and a lot of outdoor activities. There is always something to do, and you may not know where to even start. Where should you go for the best food, the most family fun, and some good small town shopping? Your family is looking for that perfect town that screams “summer in Wisconsin!” For all of this and more, your family will want to take a road trip to Hayward, Wisconsin!
Hayward is a small town in the northwoods of Wisconsin that offers up a lot of family activities, good food, and the best summer memories. Hayward has enough lakes for your family to swim, fish, boat and float in for every day of your vacation. But there is also so much more! This is one vacation that your kids will never be bored on, or not have anything to do! No whining in Wisconsin! And here’s why the kids will have tons of fun….I’m going to give you nine reasons your kids will love Hayward, Wisconsin.
9 Reasons Your Kids Will Love Hayward, Wisconsin
1. Let’s start with the obvious, the one thing that you can’t miss as your family cruises thru town. That one thing is the giant musky. There is not one kid who sees that giant fish and doesn’t want to check it out.
The musky is on the grounds of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, while the actual museum may not be the most exciting for kids, a walk inside the musky sure is. The musky is four stories high, and the steps inside will lead you to the musky’s mouth and a view of Hayward. There are also fishing memorabilia hanging inside the fish, on the walls, to make you forget you are walking up all of those stairs.
After your kids decide they’ve seen enough of the musky’s insides, there are also smaller fish to see on the grounds of the museum. It’s worth it to take a look at some of the fishing exhibits inside the buildings…be warned that there is a bigfoot type being on display in one of the buildings. Use caution if you want your youngest of kiddos to be able to go to sleep that night. (Now your oldest kiddos, and maybe you, are going to want to go check it out.)
2. A kid’s childhood is not complete without a visit to Wilderness Walk. Wilderness Walk is where every elementary school, preschool, and youth group within a 40 mile radius goes for a field trip. This is where young local families take their kids for the first outing of summer. Wilderness Walk is zoo where you’ll find animals that are native to the area. Not all are native to the area though, since I don’t remember ever seeing camel’s or ostriches out running wild. Also, no lions and tigers here…but there are bears!
The most popular and memorable things to do at Wilderness Walk are to feed the deer that are roaming around and to feed the goats. Kids can feed a bottle to baby goats, or spend a quarter for some dry food to feed the older goats that are sticking their heads thru the fence looking for hand outs.
Besides the animals, there are some crazy buildings to explore, a playground, and an arcade. It’s a fun trip for the whole family and is a place that your younger kids will love.
3. Number three is a show that my family experienced for the first time this summer, and that is Scheer’s Lumberjack Show. Your kids will love this show and so will the adults. It is funny, unique, and just plain fun. The show had everyone laughing, and wondering how on earth the lumberjacks could climb the tall poles and cut thru the logs so fast!
The show involves a little competition, and the audience is split into teams to cheer on their lumberjacks. The lumberjacks compete in a variety of events, such as, log rolling, pole climbing, wood splitting, and relay’s. The emcee also adds a little lumberjack history to the show.
Shows last about one hour and 20 minutes, including an intermission. If your family attends a matinee show, your kids get a chance to go on stage and try out the giant saw. This is the perfect photo op, and the kids get a certificate saying they are officially a lumberjack.
The lumberjack show takes place in Lumberjack Village on certain days of the week. Check the website here for the schedule. Don’t leave Lumberjack Village without doing a little shopping, playing a round of mini golf, or enjoying an ice cream cone.
4. Did you just read the words ice cream? Yes, you did, and now you are starting to think you need to be taking notes. If you did or did not have ice cream at Lumberjack Village, the place you really need to go for a cone is West’s Dairy. Oh my gosh, your family will have a tough time deciding what flavor of ice cream to get here! There are so many good ones!
My current favorite flavor is Co-Ca-To. This deliciousness is coffee ice cream with a caramel swirl and toffee pieces. Other unique flavors that they scoop are Avalanche (peppermint ice cream, fudge swirl, and broken cookies), Hurricane (vanilla ice cream, caramel swirl, and fudge brownie pieces), and my youngest’s favorite flavor of Blue Cupcake (cake ice cream, blue buttercream swirl, and rainbow sprinkles).
West’s Dairy is located one block off of Main Street and has been in business since 1951. They have the best ice cream around, and may be the reason that “kids, we have to run to Hayward this afternoon”.
5. If your family is full of ice cream lovers, than I’m guessing they are candy lovers too. A visit to Tremblay’s Sweet Shop on Main Street, just may become the number one reason that your kids will love Hayward.
Tremblay’s sells almost every kind of candy imaginable, and they sell it in bulk, so you can afford to buy every kind of candy imaginable! Best sellers are Jelly Belly’s, salt water taffy, chocolates, fudge, peanut brittle, and every kind of candy that you grew up eating.
Tremblay’s is not open during the winter months, and does not accept credit cards (I’m always counting my cash before I walk in their door). Tremblay’s has three locations and their Stillwater, Minnesota location is featured in my Stillwater, Minnesota – Five Adventures for the Whole Family article.
6. Doesn’t every family vacation have to include a round of mini golf? Someone has to earn bragging rights as being the best mini golfer of the bunch. Hayward has a few places to hold your family mini golf tournament, and our favorite is in Lumberjack Village.
This course is 18 holes and costs around $7. If your family is attending the lumberjack show too, you can get a discounted ticket for both activities.
Other places to play mini golf in Hayward are the Hayward Amusement Center and the Hayward KOA campground (if you are camping there).
7. Every kid looks forward to the day that they can get behind the wheel of a car and drive, so they are going to love racing around the go-cart track at the Hayward Amusement Center.
The kids can practice speeding down the straight stretches of the track and then making those tight corners. The best part is that this track is lined with tires, so your kids won’t be able to drive off into the parking lot. The cars are super quiet too.
If your kids aren’t ready to get behind the wheel, they can ride along and learn how to drive by watching mom and dad.
8. Kids love swimming, and the Hayward area is known for their lakes. These lakes will be busy with people boating, fishing, and swimming every hot summer day.
There is an option for taking a swim right in Hayward, and this is a fun way to end your busy day of family fun. The beach is located behind the big musky and you wouldn’t know it was even there. Just drive down south 2nd Street, and the road ends at the beach.
The beach has a playground, bathrooms, and a nice picnic area too.
9. Hayward has a lot to celebrate and it seems there is a festival or fun event every few months.
Events during the summer months include the Sawyer County Fair, Musky Festival, and the World Lumberjack Championship.
The World Lumberjack Championship is held every July with contestants competing for over $50,000. Yes, this is a pretty big deal and is very exciting to watch.
If you are lucky enough to be in Hayward during the winter months, there is the Lure of Lights over the holidays, and the American Birkebeiner Ski Race finishes in town every February.
The American Birkebeiner is North America’s largest cross-country ski marathon and racers from 36 countries participated in it last year. The weekend of the Birkie is a pretty big deal in Hayward, and there are events for all ages.
Each of these events has a schedule full of fun family activities, and maybe your family will be trying something new. First time on cross country skis, maybe?
Are you planning your family’s trip to Hayward yet? Share these nine reasons with your kids and they will be begging for a visit to this small town in Northern Wisconsin.
Trips like these, to the small resort towns up North, are what your family will remember and talk about for years to come. So why not rent a lake side cabin, pull the RV up north, or just stop thru while on your summer road trip. Family fun is guaranteed!
Planning a family vacation to Wisconsin? Here are more resources:
- Check out all of my Wisconsin articles here.
- Follow my Pinterest board “Wisconsin – Family Travel, Food, and Firsts“.
- Read my guest post about my hometown of Spooner, Wisconsin – which is only 30 miles from Hayward.