In the southeast corner of Wisconsin, Lake Geneva has been welcoming wealthy Chicagoans for 150 years. They came, they built fabulous mansions, and now the rest of us get to gawk at them from a footpath that hugs all 20 miles of shoreline.
When to go: Now, when it's still fairly quiet. July and August are crowded, especially on weekends.
What to do: Walk around Geneva Lake; if you want to walk only the eight miles from Lake Geneva, an excursion boat will pick you up in Williams Bay. Shop downtown. Rent a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard. Swim at the municipal beach or rent a motorboat.
Details: For more, see Gawking in Lake Geneva.
Past fast plans: Enjoying spring in Door County, Touring the trails of Trempealeau, Art and whimsy in Mineral Point, Boats in Duluth, A John Muir tour in Wisconsin
ChocolateFest in Burlington, Wis. This big festival features a battle of the chefs, the Project Yum-way candy-wrapper design contest and chocolate-eating contests, plus a crafts fair and carnival. May 2528.
World's Largest Brat Fest in Madison. There's music on four stages, plus kids' games, a sports zone, carnival rides and Sunday fireworks. Admission is free. May 2528.
CelebrAsian Asian Heritage Festival in Des Moines. This festival at Western Gateway Park features martial arts, lion dancers, chopstick races and a fashion show. May 2526.
Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Festival in Oak Forest, Ill. In this south Chicago suburb, there's music on five stages, plus a petting zoo, hurling, theater, Irish dog and pony exhibits and red hair, freckle and bonnie baby contests. May 2528.
For more, see our Events Calendar.
It's a beautiful spring day finally. The trees are budding, the birds are chirping. What do you do?
Road trip! Somehow, the call of the highway is especially strong in spring. We want to feel the wind on our face and see something new and unusual.
There's a lot to do along the way: Walk through bluebells, spot birds, visit artist studios, sample cheese, watch a parade.
Here are 20 of the best spring drives in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan, along with festivals you'll want to catch, in 2018.
If sun, sand and water are your favorite things, the Circle Tour of Lake Michigan is the vacation for you.
The 1,100-mile drive along this Third Coast is an easygoing road trip that appeals to beach bums, lighthouse lovers, boating buffs and anyone who likes to wander in and out of wineries and fudge shops.
It's a great family trip because there's a beach every few miles, almost always with a playground. On the northwest side of the lake, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one big sandbox.
Many of Michigan's 18 beach parks, especially Ludington State Park, are like resorts, and some families stay there an entire week. Beach-boutique towns like South Haven and Saugatuck add shopping and fine dining.
What's so great about hiking in spring? That's easy there's so much to see.
Move your feet in any direction and you'll run across wildflowers, waterfalls and, best of all, sweeping views that last only until the trees leaf out.
Head out before summer makes its brash appearance, with walls of greenery and fleets of bugs.
Here are 20 great places to go hiking in spring.
In the woods, the first ticks appear along with warmer weather, usually by late April.
Regular ticks are bad enough, scuttling into hidden niches on the human body and gorging themselves on blood. But their ick factor pales next to the danger posed by black-legged ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease.