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11 best things to do in Vilas County


  • Activities
  • Article
  • Attractions
  • ATVing & UTVing
  • Biking
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fall
  • Farmers’ Markets
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Lakes & Rivers
  • Lodging
  • Scenic Drives
  • Snowmobiling
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Trails
  • Winter

Whether it’s your first time visiting Vilas County or or your 10th, there's plenty to see and do all year round.

vilas county lake in fall

(About the author: Paige Haley is an outdoors blogger and travel enthusiast from Minnesota. See the original blog here. See more of her work on her Paige Outdoors blog.)

All photos provided by: Paige Haley @paige.outdoors

Beautiful Vilas County, Wisconsin, is an excellent place to explore whether on vacation or passing by. There are plenty of exciting things going on in every season, no matter how cold or warm out. Learn more about some of the best things to do in Vilas County below.

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Where is Vilas County?

Vilas County is located in northern Wisconsin right along the Michigan border. Some towns within Vilas County you may recognize are: Eagle River, Land O’ Lakes, Lac Du Flambeau, St. Germain, Phelps & many others.

Best things to do in Vilas County

Your guide to the 11 best things to do in Vilas County:

1. Go boating

The best way to experience the water in Vilas County is by boat. Whether you want scenic views or just some time on your own, boats are great because they offer all-day options so there’s something for everyone!

How many lakes are in Vilas County?

Vilas County is home to some of the most beautiful freshwater lakes in all of North America. And with more than 1,300 natural pools and 73 rivers or streams surrounding them, you’re sure not short on options!

Best boat rentals in Vilas County

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2. Go fishing

Vilas County’s lakes are a fisherman’s paradise, with clear water and wooded shores, not to mention more than a century worth of fishing tradition in this area. There is no shortage of opportunities when it comes to catching your next big one!

3. Go hiking

One of the best things to do in Vilas County is go hiking! Check out the Vilas County Trails App or check out the Vilas County website for summer, spring, & fall hiking options at the bottom of the page.

Best hiking trails in Vilas County

  • Star Lake Nature Trail – Option of a 1- or 2-mile loop
  • Spectacle Lake – Kentuck Lake Trail – Located in Phelps, 2.5 miles total
  • Pine Plantation – 1.5 mile-loop near Eagle River
  • Lumberjack Trail Loop – 4.9-mile loop near Boulder Junction with lake features

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4. Ride ATVs

The Vilas County Wisconsin ATV/UTV route system is a great way to explore the vast terrain of this beautiful area. From paved roads or dirt paths on former fire roads, riders can cover a variety in terrain from what you would typically find in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

5. Go biking

Bicycling in Vilas County is a fantastic way to explore the beautiful surroundings and get some fresh air. Whether you’re looking for long-distance rides or just want an easygoing jaunt around town, there’s something that will fit your needs here!

Bike trails in Vilas County

  • Beginner: Three Eagle Trail, Land O’ Lakes Bike Trail, & the Presque Isle/Winchester Bike Route
  • Intermediate: Vista Lake Bike Routes & White Deer Loop
  • Advanced: Razorback Ridges & Anvil Lake Trail

6. Go camping

Another one of the best things to do in Vilas County is to camp in the Northwoods! Campers will find everything they need in Vilas County, whether it’s tenting or cabin living with fishing trips by daytime; this area has got your adventure covered.

Camping locations in Vilas County

7. Explore downtown Eagle River

Visit downtown Eagle River to experience the best of what this quaint city has in store. Whether you’re looking for something unique or just want some food inspiration, there’s an abundance on both fronts!

In addition there are also many craft and antique stores that will provide people with long-time keepsakes as well!

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8. Visit a cranberry farm

Lake Nokomis Cranberry farm in Eagle River is a must-see for all travelers. Winery, wine tasting and gift shop are open year round with tours that offer an up-close look at the marshlands during summer through fall months!

9. Go snowmobiling

The Northwoods are a magical place, where you can find pristine wilderness and see all sorts of wildlife. There is an endless number of things to do in Vilas County for people who love snowmobiling—600 miles worth of trails!

Eagle River is known as the Snowmobile Capital of the World, with many events every year bringing well-known competitors.

10. Take a scenic drive

One of the best things to do in Vilas County year round is to take a scenic drive—from snow-covered lakes in the winter months, wonderful fall foliage in the fall, new life & beauty in the spring, & thick woods & fun on the lakes in the summer!

Check out a list of scenic drives on the Vilas County website.

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11. Visit a local farmers market

For those looking to get their hands on some fresh produce as well as local made baked goods, maple syrup and wild rice from the Northwoods, look no further than Vilas County’s farmers markets. Check out the Vilas County website for a list of local farmers markets.

Vilas County cabin rentals

Looking for a place to stay in Vilas County? Sunrise Lodge located right on the edge of Lac Vieux Desert is a great option. They have their own restaurant on site, a large variety of outdoor activities, & all of their cabins are fully furnished.

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Overview: Best Things To Do In Vilas County

You might be wondering what you should do in Vilas County first. Whether it’s your first time visiting or vacationing during any season, there are plenty of things to keep you entertained and out exploring the sights all year round.

Looking for more Wisconsin adventure + travel ideas? Check out my Wisconsin list or head over to the official Vilas County website!