In Travel & Visitors Guide

Experience the fall colors during a trip along the Wisconsin River from Dells Boat Tours. (PHOTO: Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau)

Still plenty to do in the Dells when the leaves start changing colors

WISCONSIN DELLS – The traditional summer vacation season formally comes to an end in about two weeks and though most of the water parks and other popular outdoor attractions will soon close, there is plenty to do in Wisconsin Dells come fall.

The hustle and bustle that defines the Dells area during the summer slows to a leisurely din, leaving a more laid-back and relaxing atmosphere that is popular with groups of all ages.

"The fall in Wisconsin Dells is absolutely gorgeous," says Melanie Platt-Gibson of the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau. "We find that a lot of our visitors during that time are adults traveling, for leisure, without children but we still do get a lot of families traveling with children under school age.

"They're coming here because it's a little bit quieter than in the summer but there are still so many attractions that are still open, restaurants, shopping ... there's still so much to do in the community but it's just a little bit quieter."

The first selling point is the natural beauty found in one of the state's most scenic areas. The fall colors alone make the drive from Milwaukee more than worth it, especially with a side trip to Devil's Lake, Mirror Lake or Rocky Arbor State Parks added to the itinerary.

Wisconsin River excursions on both the Dells Boat Tours and the Original Wisconsin Ducks run into late October, giving visitors an up-close look at Mother Nature's splendor.

The man-made fun is plentiful, too. Two major festivals highlight the fall calendar, Wo Zha Wa Days and the Autumn Harvest Festival.

Wo Zha Wa, which runs Sept. 16-18 in Downtown Wisconsin Dells, features family activities, an arts and crafts fair, a flea market, Maxwell Street Days and a Sunday parade with over 100 units. There's also a street carnival complete with live entertainment, concessions and a fun run.

"It's really is one of those quintessential fall festivals that embraces so much of not only what the state of Wisconsin is about but also this community is about," says Platt-Gibson. "It opens its arms and embraces everybody."

The Autumn Harvest Festival is held a month later and also takes place in Downtown Wisconsin Dells. In addition to a craft fair and farmers market, families can take part in a straw dig, scarecrow stuffing, pumpkin decorating, hay rides, pony rides and more.

Those traveling without young ones can enjoy live entertainment or sample some of Wisconsin's finest beers at Dells on Tap on Saturday, Oct. 15.

The event brings 25 state micro and craft brewers together and visitors can stroll from booth to booth for sampling while enjoying food and live music.

"It's kind of a festival within a festival," says Platt-Gibson. "If you haven't been, you absolutely must come. It is a blast. There's music, there's food and the chance to taste all kinds of varieties of what has made Wisconsin famous: our beer."

Advance tickets are $30-$35 on the day of the event. For more information on these events and other Dells fall activities, contact the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau online, on Facebook, Twitter or by calling 800-22-DELLS.


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