Favorites for Summer

A feast of festivals
At small-town shindigs, get your fill of strawberries and sauerkraut, kolacky and sweet corn.

Powwow primer
Yes, you're invited. Here's what to expect and why you should go.

Baraboo's gilt complex
In Wisconsin's Ringlingville, the golden age of the circus never ended.

One in 1,000
Somewhere in lakes country, there's a resort with your name on it. Here's how to find it.

America's freshwater Riviera
On Lake Michigan's gorgeous beaches, everyone can find a spot in the sun.

Sightseeing by bicycle
Join a rolling tour, and you'll see the best of the Upper Midwest.

Trails of Trempealeau
There's a lot to do in this Mississippi River hamlet in southwest Wisconsin.

A spin around Lake Pepin
On the Mississippi River between Minnesota and Wisconsin, a favorite driving route leads to some real treats.

Planning a Circle Tour of Lake Superior

For a great vacation, follow the shores of the world's largest freshwater lake.

Of all the vacations a person can take in this region, a Circle Tour of Lake Superior may be the best.

It appeals to waterfall watchers, lighthouse fans and history buffs. It's a magnet for kayakers and hikers.

It makes a great honeymoon and also a great family trip, because small children adore frequent stops at the many pebble beaches.

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30 great campsites

These spots have what campers want: location, location, location.

There's nothing like finding the perfect campsite.

I look for them wherever I go, and when I was at Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, one of the most popular campgrounds in Wisconsin, I found it: Campsite 435.

It's framed but not enclosed by trees, has a lovely view of Crystal Lake and is on the edge of its sand beach. It's near the shower house and not too close to latrines, easy to reach but not heavily trafficked and off a paved bicycle trail to nearby towns.

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Free time in state parks

On the first two weekends of June, try a new park, trail or fishing hole for free.

If you don't spend at least part of the first two weekends in June outdoors, you'll be missing the boat.

Especially in Wisconsin, where the first weekend of June is Free Fishing Weekend. In Michigan, the second weekend of June is Free Fishing Weekend, and in Minnesota, there's free fishing for kids that weekend.

On the first weekend of June, Wisconsin state parks celebrate National Trails Day by offering free admission — that's especially nice for non-residents, who pay $11-$16 for a daily pass.

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Best of summer

The best hiking, bicycling, canoeing, kayaking, wildlife-watching, backpacking, camping, shopping, cruising and train rides in the Upper Midwest.

You probably think summer is a time to relax and enjoy the nice weather.

Wrong! It's the time to pick up the pace and make up for the months we sat around thinking about what we could be doing — hiking, biking, camping — if only we lived in Arizona or Florida.

By May, those places are sweatboxes and our time in the sun has arrived. We've got Lake Superior at our doorstep, rivers and lakes everywhere and the best bicycle trails in the nation. So go!

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10 great places to take teens

Sure, they'd rather be with their friends. But you're the one paying for jet boats, zip lines and alpine slides.

By the time children turn 10, the day already is looming when they no longer want to spend time with you, their loving parent.

Jeremy Southworth of La Crosse, Wis., saw that day coming. So when his son Gavin got older, he took him jet-boating in the Dells and zip-lining in Door County.

"He'd been wanting to try zip-lining, so as soon as we came up here, we decided, 'We're doing that,' " he said.

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Lake Michigan with kids

Following the sandy shores of this great lake, families find many places to play.

Not many parents would think that a long road trip would be a perfect vacation to take with young children.

But the shore of Lake Michigan is one big sandbox, and on a drive along its shores, you'll hit one big playground after another.

On the east side, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is spectacular, a Disneyland of sand. But the lake also is lined with lighthouses, fudge shops, fur-trade forts and endless beaches.

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