Best Ways to Explore La Crosse this Summer

Five Ways to Enjoy the Full La Crosse Region Experience

The La Crosse Region bursts with adventure and an abundance of great outdoor resources and opportunities, amazing food, arts and culture, and stunning views for you and your entourage to enjoy.

Adventure by Bike or Foot

With a Region as beautiful as this, it is easy to want to submerge yourself in nature. A perfect way to burn off some energy is with a quick stroll on one of the many great trails in the area. The Great River State Trail, La Crosse River Trail, and Three Rivers Trail are great options for easy walking or biking with beautiful scenery along each route. If you’re looking for something challenging, you can find more difficult terrain, climbs, features, and scenic lookouts at the Hixon Forest Trails and La Crosse Blufflands Trails. And if you’re looking to bring your furry friend along, be sure to check out pet-friendly locations throughout the La Crosse Region.

If road cycling is more your style, you’re sure to enjoy numerous routes that highlight the area, which offers some of the best bicycling in the Midwest. The Region provides both easy, in-town rides and moderate or hard routes to get the blood flowing through some of the area’s biggest hills and bluffs! If you’re up to the task, ride the Apple Blossom Scenic Route for views well worth the bluff-side grind.

Waterway Expeditions

Want to skip the pavement? The summer cooldown and adventure are endless when you hit the many famous waterways of the La Crosse Region. Rent a kayak or canoe to enjoy the crisp waters of Lake Onalaska or the river lands. Launch your boat at one of the many Region’s landings and escape down the famous Mississippi River. Did you know the Mississippi River sandbar islands are free to camp on? Bring your crew and make some Driftless Region memories along the banks.

In addition, summertime fishing in the La Crosse Region can be one of the most exciting fishing experiences anglers have all year, no matter the species you seek. Fish are much more predictable and their metabolism is increased under the warm water conditions causing them to feed more. Heart pounding topwater for big northern pike and bass in backwaters, walleye near fly fishing the pristine trout streams, and filling the livewell with slab crappies and bluegills are all phenomenal options during the summer months in the Region.

Can’t Miss Landmarks & Sights

Did you know that there are over 25 public art pieces throughout the La Crosse Region? If you’re not one for water or woods, viewing the many murals and sculptures in the area provides the perfect walk. Not sure where to start? Historic Downtown La Crosse is filled with murals on the side of historic buildings and parking ramps and lovely walks stocked with sculptures as you work your way closer to Riverside Park. Create your bucket list of public art and get inspired!

Hike up or drive to Grandad Bluff in La Crosse and enjoy views of the Mississippi River, La Crosse, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. It comes as no surprise that Wisconsin Trails readers voted this “the most scenic view in the state”. This landmark features a shelter house, coin-operated binoculars, trails, and picnic areas for you to enjoy the signature sights to the fullest. Grandad Bluff stands 600-feet tall and has become not only a destination point for thousands but also a symbol of this great Region.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe will forever be a spiritual destination for visitors from all over the world.  The Shrine is nestled in on over 100 acres of God’s Country in the Mississippi River Valley. In addition to the many beautiful chapels, statues, gardens, and devotional areas, the Shrine offers tours of the destination and has a full-service café and gift shop.

Onalaska poses two great landmarks as well. The Great River Road runs into the Great River Landing, famous for its natural beauty, culture, and friendly atmosphere. The Landing serves as the trailhead for the Great River State Trail which connects over 100 miles of state bicycle trails and is local to businesses offering unique cuisine and shopping. Continuing north along the Great River Road will lead you to Sunny the Sunfish, a well-known Onalaska sculpture that offers a perfect photo op for you and your crew.

At the confluence of three rivers, Riverside Park is a stunning haven near Downtown La Crosse. The park is designed for active visitors and for those who just want to watch the river coast by. Riverside Park is home to the La Crosse Queen which offers visitors a paddlewheeler cruise on the Mississippi River to experience all its majesty. At the North end of the park, guests can enjoy a peaceful stroll through the International Friendship Garden. Bursting with flowers, unique plant-life, a koi pond, and river views, it is a must-see oasis.

Memorable Region Tours

Hear, Here La Crosse is a community venture which shares diverse stories and voices of historic Downtown La Crosse. In downtown, orange street-level signs marked with the Hear, Here logo provide you the toll-free number to call and hear the location’s story. With over 69 stories operating downtown, you will enjoy a plethora of first-person accounts that happened exactly where you stand.

For an all-day excursion, pack the car and head out on Apple Blossom Scenic Drive or the Great River Road! The 17-mile Apple Blossom Scenic Drive winds along the blufftop roads that overlook the Mississippi River and La Crosse and descend into Pine Creek Valley for a return trip back to La Crescent, MN. The route is famous for its breathtaking landscape surrounded by apple orchards. Conveniently, each end of Apple Blossom Scenic Drives connects to Highway 61, better known as Great River Road. The Wisconsin Great River Road, Highway 35, passes through the La Crosse Region with 250 miles of historic, scenic byway.

Renowned Patio Dining + Local Craft Beverages

The La Crosse Region proudly claims the Coulee Region Craft Beverage Trail. Featuring 13 of the area’s best breweries, wineries, and distilleries, it is the craft beverage map to a tasteful experience. Enjoy tastings and tours along the Mississippi River, atop towering bluffs, within stunning vineyards and in historic downtowns!

Make sure to enjoy the La Crosse Region’s famous culinary destinations! With over 100 culinary eateries, you’ll dine in a setting like no other among the bluffs on outdoor patios, in retro martini bars, renovated historic buildings or classic pubs.

Just Name Your Niche!

The La Crosse Region is mere hours from the hustle and bustle of Midwest hubs and is nestled between ancient bluffs along the Mississippi River. Discover exciting flavors, charming history, captivating views, and unparalleled outdoor recreation.

The La Crosse Region is just a road trip away and offers authentic experiences as unique as each member of your entourage. Brimming with adventure suitable for all ages, the area is famous for savory flavors, colorful culture, captivating vistas, and diverse attractions. From goat yoga, swimming and Segway tours to riverboat cruises, hiking and homemade Wisconsin ice cream – get ready to make memories with those that matter most between the bluffs and along the Mississippi River.

No matter your sport, hobby or interests, this unique area offers something for everyone. The beautiful waterways nestled between the striking bluffs create an adventurous setting perfect for making summer memories. Venture to the La Crosse Region, where the freedom to explore awaits!