I don't know about you, but when it comes to spending time out in nature in Wisconsin, I have a hard time deciding where to go. There are so many beautiful spaces in our corner of the state, it is so hard to choose just one. That's part of the reason I began The Park Next Door three years ago. And one of the things that drives my husband crazy. "Where are you taking me this weekend?" He often asks. And I tell him one or two places I'm considering, only to change my mind another two or three times before we head out the door. I've actually changed my mind while already in the car. Turn right or left? North or south? Oh, for pete's sake!
So, in an effort to make it easier for you to decide, following is a list of five places to consider for an outdoor Southeastern Wisconsin adventure this weekend.
Location: 4513 W. Bonniwell Road, Mequon, WI
These 155 acres of preserve were formerly owned by the order Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. Purchased by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust in 2015, the preserve is fast becoming a local treasure. The Sisters' retreat cabin is still on the property, but not open to the public. The preserve has a one-half mile tributary that flows to the Milwaukee River, upland hardwood forest, lowland hardwood forest with ephemeral ponds cattail marsh, fresh (wet) meadow, and a small, restored grassland. There is space for a picnic, and an abundance of bird life. Parking is in a small lot next to Bonniwell Road. You'll need to walk a short distance along the dirt road in to arrive at the preserve.
Location: Stringers Bridge Road, East Troy, WI
I'd start out with a hike along the Beulah Bog trail and boardwalk, then finish with a picnic on the scenic Beulah Bluff. Both are great spots for bird watching, and the views from the bluff overlooking Beulah Lake are stunning, and peaceful. The locations are about five minutes apart, by car.
Location: 4907 Carvers Rock Road, Clinton, WI
This Rock County park, along Spring Brook Creek, clocks in at 53 acres. But it packs a lot of beauty into 53 acres. The 1.5 mile trail is sometimes steep, but worth the climb. There are plenty of picnic spots available as well.
Location: 2405 Door Creek Road, Stoughton, WI
Just 90 minutes southwest of Milwaukee, Lake Kegonsa is a perfect spot to spend a summer weekend. With a beach for sunbathing and swimming, trails for hiking and birding, and a total of 96 camping sites available, Lake Kegonsa is the perfect fit for a weekend away, or an afternoon picnic.
Location: 1664 Friess Lake Road, Hubertus, WI
From rugged, hilly hiking trails, to picnics, to beach, Glacier Hills has it all. Just 30 miles northwest of Milwaukee, you'll find wooded trails, birdsong, and sport courts and playgrounds to keep the kids busy all day.
A traveler, singer, novice photographer, and nature lover. I've been keeping closer to home these days, and truly discovering the beauty that lies in The Park Next Door.