If You Like To Wander, then You’ll Love Getting Lost in the La Crosse Region

Top Destinations to Wander in the La Crosse Region – If you like this type of typography, you’ll love our Region!

You don’t have to travel to distant destinations in order to uncover mountain-like vistas, epic waterways, riveting road trips, or natural wonders! Located just a road trip away, the La Crosse Region bursts with wander-ful treasures suitable for every type of explorer. Get lost in the wonder where charming attractions and rare topography collide!

If You Like Mountains, then You’ll Love the Driftless Region’s Bluffs.

The La Crosse area is proudly nestled between the bluffs of the Driftless Region. With ancient topography, this unique part of the world claims fame for stunning views, vibrant seasons and legendary recreation. “Drift” refers to glacial drift: the rock and sediment deposited by a glacier as it moves over an area of land. A small piece of the Upper Mississippi Region was left untouched during the last Ice Age, leaving no glacial erosion or deposits. While surrounding landscapes were flattened by glaciers, the Upper Midwest’s original, rugged bluffs and coulees remain. You don’t have to travel out west to hike, bike and explore towering Mountain terrains. The Driftless Region’s natural topography reaches into parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois – however the La Crosse area is special; located where the Mississippi River and Driftless Region unite.

If You Like the Great Lakes, then You’ll Love the Mississippi River.

Nothing brings people together quite like diving into nature and soaking up time on the water. The La Crosse Region sits on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River and is host to its confluence of other waterways. These meandering lakes and rivers are paradise for paddlers of every stripe. Hit the water on a variety of trail types offering both relaxing floats or exciting excursions. Bring your kayak or rent paddling vessels of all kinds, including Hydro Bikes, at various outfitters throughout the region!

From rivers and trout streams to lakes, the La Crosse Region also has excellent fishing opportunities. Near La Crosse, the upper Mississippi sprawls well beyond its main channel creating hundreds of tiny islands, backwaters and deep pools that harbor more species of fish than any other temperate-climate river in the world. The La Crosse and Black Rivers, which merge with the Mississippi, are home to many species including walleye, northern pike, sturgeon, large and smallmouth bass, panfish, catfish, and more! Lake Onalaska or Lake Neshonoc are the perfect setting for a leisurely boat cruise and overflow with panfish. Whether paddling and boating in the summer or getting hooked on winter ice fishing, a sea of memories await on Wisconsin’s West Coast.

If You Like Natural Wonders, then You’ll Love these Rare Attractions.

Seeking rare attractions and unique wonders? The La Crosse Region is central to a variety of exceptional attractions that inspire the mind and connect visitors with nature. From ancient caves to wildlife sanctuaries, exploration abounds!

Niagara Cave is located just a short drive from central La Crosse in Harmony, Minnesota. The cave offers tours that hike one mile underground into some of the Nation’s most unique caves! At Niagara Cave you can discover 450-million-year-old fossils, soak in the sites of an underground waterfall and see cave formations, both delicate and large! For more family fun, you can mine for fossils and real “hidden gems” as well as enjoy a round of mini-golf. Open seasonally, the Niagara Cave is truly a unique hidden gem.

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is another special attraction of the La Crosse Region. Tucked into the outskirts of Onalaska, views abound and the Refuge’s Visitor Center offers a plethora of activities. With an overlook of Lake Onalaska and interactive exhibits of wildlife and habitats, you’re sure to learn a thing or two! Most memorable? The “Walk on Water” exhibit, to see what lies below the surface of the river!

If You Like Road Trips, then You’ll Love the Great River Road.

Whether on the hunt for a weekend road trip or a scenic cruise with unforgettable stops, the famed Great River Road offers the perfect route. The road is both a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road that traverses through ten states along the Mississippi River. The La Crosse Region and our famous, Driftless bluffs proudly sit on the route. Our region is part of the 33 Mississippi River towns along Highway 35, and welcomes the many visitors the scenic drive brings every year.

The La Crosse area has a plethora of memorable stopping points for those making the trip. Not only is the iconic Big Blue Bridge part of the Great River Road, but landmarks such as the iconic Riverside Park, Great River Landing, and massive Sunny the Sunfish are easily accessible along the way as well.

If You Like Botanical Gardens, then You’ll Love these Vibrant Grounds.

Every season in the La Crosse Region offers something special with snow-dusted bluffs, spring apple blossoms, sensational vistas, and vibrant fall foliage. However, natural beauty truly thrives in the warmer months with bountiful gardens across the region. Most famous in La Crosse is the International Friendship Garden that sprouts to life each year with a vast assortment of living things. Each section of the gardens features plants, sculptures and messaging from sister cities across the globe. From Asia to Germany, spotlights include a domed gazebo, a coy pond and bridge, crane sculptures, and more. For those that love unique flora, the International Friendship Gardens within Riverside Park is a bucket list must!

More gardens await those who venture to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Situated in the bluffs of rural La Crosse, the haven is both a spiritual destination and peaceful sanctuary for many all from over the world. The Shrine is nestled on over 100 acres of God’s Country with views of the La Crosse Region and Mississippi River Valley below. While many visit the Shrine on religious pilgrimage, the spot is sacred to many for the simple peace and natural beauty it provides. Bursting to life come the end of spring, each shrine along the winding paths abound in bright florals and groomed gardens. In addition to the many beautiful chapels, statues, gardens, and devotional areas, the Shrine has a full service café and gift shop that are open daily.

Veterans Memorial Park of La Crosse is another greenery oasis ideal for both reflection and serenity. The city is proud of the many memorials and sculptures that honor those that fought for our country and this park assists in sharing that abundant gratitude. Featuring well-maintained gardens and memorials, it is the perfect retreat to uncover the historical significance of veterans who served in the Korean War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, as well as the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps and Hmong-Lao Vietnam veterans amidst botanical beauty.