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FastPlans/Fall in the Dells

Kayaking on the Wisconsin River in fall.

Autumn is quiet time in the Wisconsin Dells. But when the children go home, the adults can come out to play in the woods and on the river.

What to do: Hike and kayak in Mirror Lake State Park. Cruise the river gorge on a Dells Boat Tour. Take your kids for a ride on the Riverside & Great Northern Railway.

Events to catch:  Sept. 17-19, Wo-Zha-Wa Days Fall Festival. Oct. 16, Dells on Tap.

Details: For more, see Wisconsin Dells in fall.

Fall in Marquette

Mattson Park and Lower Harbor in Marquette.

This handsome college town on Lake Superior is a hub for outdoor sports, craft beer and, on Labor Day weekend, the blues. 

What to do: Hike, bike or picnic in Presque Isle Park. Check out the craft breweries. Visit the lighthouse and Maritime Museum. Go to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, 43 miles to the east.

Events to catch: Sept. 3-5, Blues Fest in Lower Harbor Park. Sept. 11, UP Fall Beer Festival.

Details: See Marquette's double appeal.

Exploring La Crosse

Mississippi Queen in La Crosse Wisconsin.

The biggest asset of this three-college town is its location, right on the Mississippi River in southwest Wisconsin's coulee country. 

Getting there: Why not take the train? From the west, Amtrak's Empire Builder arrives at 10:47 a.m.; from the east, at 7:11 p.m.

What to do: Take a cruise on the paddlewheeler La Crosse Queen. Drive up Grandad Bluff for a panoramic view of the town. Bike the La Crosse River State Trail.

Events to catch: Aug. 27-29, Great River Folk Festival. Sept. 30-Oct. 3, Oktoberfest

Details: See Cruising La Crosse.

Swiss tradition in New Glarus

Chalet of the Golden Fleece in New Glarus.

In the Wisconsin town of New Glarus, the Swiss look is not just a facade for the tourists.

This town near Madison has jealously preserved its heritage on buildings, in restaurants and with festivals. It's an easy way to visit Switzerland without paying air fare.

What to do: Ride the 23-mile Sugar River State Trail. Tour New Glarus Brewing. Visit the Swiss Historical Village.

Events to catch: Sept. 23-26, Oktoberfest. Oct. 10, Harvest Fest at Swiss Historical Village. 

Details: For more, see Swiss at heart.

Breezy in Bayfield

Bayfield's marina is filled with sailboats and yachts.

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 farms and orchards above town. Explore the mainland sea caves by kayak.

Events to catch: Sept. 7-18, Apostle Islands Lighthouse Celebration. Sept. 10-12, Classic Boat & Schooner Rendezvous. Sept. 11-12, Festival of Arts

Details: For more, see Beloved Bayfield.