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14 reasons we love Vilas County


  • Article
  • Attractions
  • Biking
  • Birdwatching
  • Dining
  • Events
  • Fall
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Lakes & Rivers
  • Museums
  • Paddling
  • Parks & Natural Areas
  • Scenic Drives
  • Shopping & Services
  • Swimming
  • Trails

From amazing lakes to outstanding fall color, here's a look at just a few reasons why Vilas County is a perfect getaway destination.

Boy fishing in Vilas County

How do we love thee, Vilas County? Let us count the ways…

  • Great lakes. Whether you’re a swimmer, angler or kayaker, you can find something to do on one of Vilas County’s 1,300 lakes, one of the largest collections of freshwater lakes on the planet.
  • Fishing. Vilas County boasts great angling opportunities for musky, walleye, smallmouth bass, and more. And fishing isn’t just meant for open water, either—the ice fishing here in the winter is some of the Midwest’s best.
  • North Lakeland Discovery Center. This nature-based community center Manitowish Waters offers educational programs year round, as well as trails and other recreational opportunities.
  • Little Bohemia Lodge. Bullet holes can still be found in the walls of this Manitowish Waters resort, the site of an infamous shootout between bank robber John Dillinger and the FBI in 1934.
  • Snowmobiling. More than 600 miles of trails stretch across Vilas County, and snowmobilers can find hundreds more miles of trails in the surrounding counties and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
  • The Snowmobile Hall of Fame. Speaking of snowmobiling, Vilas County is also home to the Snowmobile Hall of Fame (located in St. Germain), which showcases the history of the popular Northwoods sport.
  • 12 great communities. From Arbor Vitae to Winchester, Vilas County’s diverse communities offer great lodging, restaurants, and recreational opportunities for every visitor.
  • Natural areas. Vilas County means nature, and there are plenty of places to explore the area’s wilderness, including the massive Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.
  • Wildlife. Nature lovers can find an abundance of wild creatures in Vilas County, including bald eagles (found everywhere, especially near St. Germain) and the famous albino deer of Boulder Junction.
  • The Northwoods Children’s Museum. This Eagle River institution offers hands-on learning for visitors young and old through its interactive exhibits and fun events.
  • Fall color. Vilas County explodes with color in the fall, painting the scenery in vibrant reds, oranges and yellows. Travel Rustic Road 60 south of Boulder Junction or other scenic routes to take in this amazing display.
  • Hiking and biking trails. Visitors to Vilas County can find nearly 90 trails for biking and hiking that wind through some of the most beautiful scenery in Wisconsin’s Northwoods.
  • Unique retailers and restaurants. Find everything from art galleries and traditional fish fry fare to specialty shops and cafes in Vilas County.
  • Fun events year-round. Winter, spring, summer and fall, visitors to Vilas County can find fun festivals, kids’ activities and more.