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5 Best Day Trips from Madison, Wisconsin

Madison Wisconsin is always a great choice and one of the most visited tourist destinations in the entire world. It has lots of amazing places to offer including state parks, lakes, hiking trails, as well as museums. A visit to Madison can be an amazing thing to do. If you are planning a vacation in Madison and would like to see different stuff while you are there, then we have some suggestions for you.

Check out these top day trips from Madison WI!


Mount Horeb is popular due to its Norwegian roots. It’s hard to miss its Scandinavian influences, which is why it is a perfect day trip from Madison WI. Especially the ‘Trollway’ that leads to the village, where you will see a lot of troll monuments. Stop at the Stewart Lake Country Park. It is an outdoor adventure place ideal for hiking, fishing, and more.

While at Mount Horeb, pay visit to the Duluth Trading Company store for your outdoor gear must-haves and head over to the Grumpy Troll for a quick bite. 

Want to stay over the weekend? You will come across great accommodations around the area such as the Sunniva Inn, a homey bed and breakfast with a Victorian appeal, or the Grandstay Hotel & Suites. Expect to have a great sleep in these areas.

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New Glarus is also widely known as the ‘Little Switzerland.’ An approximately 175-year-old town filled with history and very rich in culture. Check out the New Glarus Cow Parade and see the 16 life-sized cow designs plastered all over the place!

Your trip to New Glarus is not complete without checking the New Glarus Brewing Company. Although it is still closed to the public, you will come across other brews, such as the Staghorn Octoberfest (open seasonally) and the Spotted Cow, plus, other famous local restaurants.

Head straight to the abandoned Sugar River State Trail for a quick bike or hike where you will see an old railroad. Catch your breath and take a coffee break at the Fat Cat Coffee Works. 

You can end your day by lounging on the huge lawn and covered grounds at the Bailey’s Run Vineyard where a live band plays relaxing music, grab a glass of sparkling wine, or get a bite of pizza. You can also pick up your order and relax at your accommodation if you prefer.

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Another must-see place is Paoli. It has a lot of sweet shops and delicious restaurants such as the Paoli Schoolhouse American Bistro. Here, you will come across a great biking trail at the spectacular place called Paoli Bike Loop, it is an 18.5-mile stretch of biking trail that starts at the Capital City Trail. It winds around Paoli and goes back to Verona’s Military Ridge State Trail.

Love hiking? Try the 160 acres of the hiking trail and glacial history of Wisconsin at the Prairie Moraine Country Park.

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Blue Mounds is a small town that consists of a population of less than one thousand people. Nevertheless, it never ceases to please its visitors who seek adventure from its great outdoors. The Blue Mound State Park is a picturesque place for day trips from Madison WI. A local treasure that takes pride in the highest point with an altitude of approximately 1,719 feet situated in the southern hemisphere of Wisconsin. At this altitude, you can see and experience fall beauty for miles, which offers a majestic sight for visitors. 

When in Blue Mounds, you must check the Cave of the Mounds. This natural landscape is over one million years old and it is a haven for a fossil that towers around 6 feet in height! The temperature here remains at 50 degrees all year long. Take this tour for a day trip and you will surely enjoy it.

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Cambridge is found nestled along the majestic Lake Ripley. This town is known for its pottery, thanks to its expert local artisans. Cambridge is very popular for its great selection of wines found at Cambridge Winery. This is a perfect pit stop for wine aficionados. You should not miss the Dancing Goat Distillery too, if you are the type who prefer sips with more ‘spirits,’ you can check out their world-renown gin, whiskey, and more. 

Breathe in the fresh air at Camrock Country Park. This location is ideal for hikers and mountain bikers where the weather is great during warmer months. During winter, it is perfect for cross-country skiing. If you do not prefer the outdoors, then check out the downtown scene and explore local shops such as Ruby Rose Gallery, soak in all the culture and artistic vibe with its wide selection of stunning gemstone finds. 

For those of you who want to stay longer, you can book your Cambridge stay at the Lake Ripley Lodge. Enjoy the lakeside views and wide green spaces from your room here. 

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