Do you need to get away? Here are some *free* staycations ideas that are kid-friendly and within a two hour drive of Milwaukee.
Cedarburg Historic District
Located just 22 miles north of Milwaukee, historic Cedarburg offers fun for the whole family. Browse through the shops in the Cedar Creek Settlement, check out the General Store Museum and enjoy a walk over the last covered bridge in Wisconsin in Covered Bridge Park. Cedar Creek Park has a nice playground along the river next to Cedar Creek Brewery.
1525 Carmel Rd., Hubertus, Wisconsin 53033
More than 500,000 people from all over the world visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill each year. You can admire the beautiful architecture of the neo-Romanesque church built in 1926, enjoy the expansive views, and even climb the scenic tower. The scenic tower stretches 192 feet at its base, and has 178 stairs. The views of the Kettle Morraine area are breathtaking.
Play at Possibility Playground, a huge all-access playground set in a beautiful park overlooking Lake Michigan. You can also check out the marina, historic art deco lighthouse, and charming downtown area.
Henry Vilas Zoo
702 S. Randall Ave.
Madison, WI 53715
This is a 28-acre free public zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. Owned by the city of Madison, the zoo charges no admission or parking fees. It receives over 750,000 visitors annually. The zoo houses an African lion, chimpanzees, a red panda and more!
Dinosaur Discovery Museum
5608 10th Ave.
Kenosha, WI 53140
Learn all about dinosaurs, see dinosaur skeletons in the main gallery that are casts of actual dinosaur fossil bones, and listen to the environmental and animal sounds in the exhibit gallery. Read more about our visit to the Dinosaur Discovery Museum here.
Jelly Belly Visitor Center
10100 Jelly Belly Ln., Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
Don’t miss their free daily tours on a real mini choo-choo train. The tour includes an educational ride through the warehouse and free candy!
1072 288th Ave.
Burlington, WI 53105
This family run orchard features over 200 apple varieties, seeded and seedless grapes, quince and pears. There is no admission fee. They are not a pick your own orchard, but visitors are free to roam through the orchard and woods trail, and visit the two-story treehouse!
1415 Campus Dr.
Sheboygan, WI 53081
Bookworm Gardens is a whimsical children’s garden based completely on children’s literature. The two acre garden offers the young and young at heart the opportunity for free, unstructured play in a beautiful and secure environment. Entrance to the garden is free. Special elements of the garden include outdoor classrooms, a small amphitheater, greenhouse and outdoor creation station. Nooks and crannies for reading are plentiful, as are benches for resting and chatting.
Kohler Arts Center
608 New York Ave.
Sheboygan, WI 53081
Downtown Lake Geneva
Stroll through the historic and charming shops and restaurants, walk along the shore path, and relax on the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva.
Bay Beach Amusement Park (Green Bay)
Bay Beach Amusement Park is a municipal amusement park in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Situated near the mouth of the Fox River on the east bank as it flows into Green Bay, the park contains a ferris wheel, bumper cars and boats, a giant slide, concessions, a roller coaster & more.
Parking and admission is free, and the rides are SUPER inexpensive – you won’t need more than five dollars per person.
Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary (Green Bay)
Visit this beautiful 700 acre urban wildlife refuge featuring live animal exhibits, educational displays, miles of hiking/skiing trails and various wildlife viewing opportunities. It is the largest park in the Green Bay Park system and home to the second largest wildlife rehabilitation program in Wisconsin, caring for more than 4,500 orphaned and injured animals annually.
State Parks (within one hour)