The most popular time to visit Wisconsin is during the summer, when people come for outdoor recreation and activities such as fishing, boating, and camping. Many events and festivals occur during this time, as well as during the fall when the leaves turn. Winter, from December through February, is also a busy time for activities like snowmobiling and holiday festivals. November and the spring, when the weather can be unpredictable, tend to be slower times.
- high season: June to October, December to February
- low season: March, November
- shoulder season: April to May
Summers tend to be clear and warm with temperatures averaging 67 degrees. Winters bring very cold weather with temperatures averaging 16 degrees, as well as frequent snowfall with an average annual accumulation of 45 inches.
Holidays and major events can attract large crowds to Wisconsin. For example, accommodations in small towns like Hayward and Cable sell out during large events such as the American Birkebeiner. Christmas and other holidays are also a very busy time at family-oriented places. Fall and spring have the fewest crowds because kids are in school. Throughout the year, there are fewer crowds midweek than over weekends.
Some shops in northern resort towns close for the winter, but most remain open and reduce store hours instead.
When to Save
In general, summer tends to be the most expensive time to visit, especially on weekends. The rest of the year is cheaper, particularly in spring when good deals are usually offered. No matter what season, the best deals are always for midweek travel. Northern Wisconsin and popular tourist areas such as Dells, Door County, Bayfield, and Northwoods will be pricier and booked solid during August. Major cities such as Milwaukee and Madison tend to be busier when business conventions are in town.
When to Book
In general, book one to three months out to ensure the best choice of accommodations. However, last-minute types who don't mind risking the chance of availability may be able to find deeper discounts on air and hotel by waiting until less than a month in advance to book.
Information provided by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.