For more than a century, vacationers have been making their way to this hillside village on the Wisconsin shore of Lake Superior.
What to do: Cruise the Apostle Islands. Explore Madeline Island. Pick berries in the orchards above town. Walk the two-mile Brownstone Trail along Chequamegon Bay. Explore the mainland sea caves by kayak.
Details: For more, see Beloved Bayfield.
Past fast plans: Exploring the Keweenaw Peninsula, Staying cool in Grand Marais, Playing outdoors in Chicago, Pedaling and paddling in Lanesboro, Walking around Lake Geneva
When heat wraps itself around your shoulders like an electric blanket with static cling, theres only one thing to do: Look for cold water.
You'll find it tubing on a spring-fed river, such as the South Branch of the Root River, which takes a short cut through Mystery Caverns and heads toward Lanesboro chilled to 48 degrees.
When the ore boats start arriving in Duluth, the tourists soon follow.
Fifty years ago, ships were part of the industrial landscape on Canal Park, and no one thought they were all that romantic.
But things have changed. Today, these hulking big boats are to Duluth what killer whales are to Sea World. Because, boy, do they make people come running.
When it comes to travel, it costs a lot less to make kids happy than parents think.
Oh, kids are happy to let adults spend money on big-ticket trips Disney World, Six Flags, the Wisconsin Dells.
But what do they prefer? It's elemental, my dear parents: rocks, water and sand.
Around here, you don't need oceans for a beach vacation.
We have thousands of lakes, plus inland seas on shoreline that often is called the Fourth Coast. Lake Michigan's shores are a veritable Riviera, and even rocky Superior has some noteworthy stretches of sand.
You could throw a dart at the map and come up with a good beach. Or you could take a cue from names of state parks Point Beach and Harrington Beach in Wisconsin, McCarthy Beach in Minnesota, Orchard Beach in Michigan.
They're big, they're beautiful and they're not far away. Below are some of this region's best places to lounge away a summer day.
In the southwest corner of the state, the prairie hardly looks like typical Minnesota vacation land.
Instead of lakes, fractured red quartzite erupts from the earth, and wind towers pop up on the horizon like giant black daisies. Herds of bison graze in fields, and yellow blooms cover prickly pear cactus.
This was the spiritual center of the universe for indigenous people on the prairie, and it exerts a pull on others, too.
Its almost magic, the power of wind and water on a hot day. It's enough to give you goosebumps.
Tubing Minnesota's Rum River on an oppressively hot afternoon, I was amazed to see goose flesh rise on my legs when a breeze sprang up and a cloud crossed the sun. Wed entered a microclimate that seemed to exist only along the rivers surface.