|Lake Michigan, the largest glacial feature along the Ice Age Trail, as seen from Point Beach State Forest in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. A mere 15,000 years ago during the Ice Age, much of North America lay under a huge glacier.
Mammoths, saber tooth cats and cave lions roamed the earth! Some of the best evidence of this glacier is found in Wisconsin such as the state's many lakes, river valleys, gently rolling hills, and ridges. The nearly 1,200 mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail, established in 1980, traces the glacier's edge.
In Wisconsin, you'll find wonderful places and wonderful people. Our state's great natural beauty - from the woods and waters of the north to the hidden valleys and rolling countryside of the south - has been attracting visitors for well over a century. Select a highlighted destination to get a list of the area's accommodations, events and recreation and attractions.
Wisconsin offers outstanding lodging and camping facilities prepared to make your travel or visit in our state memorable. Whether it's a cozy bed & breakfast, a luxury resort, a convenient hotel or a wooded campsite, you'll find exceptional quality, hospitality and service in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin's many fine recreational facilities and beautiful scenery are enjoyed by thousands of vacationers and outdoor enthusiasts each year. Numerous state forests and parks exist throughout the state, with lakes for water sports and campgrounds, picnic sites, and nature trails. In addition, there are streams, rivers and the Great Lakes for fishing, as well as numerous state canoe trails.
Wisconsin's abundant wildlife provides hunting enthusiasts with a wide variety of game. Numerous places of historical interest throughout the state are noted by official state markers.
Wisconsin is packed with exciting attractions and recreational opportunities. From world-class museums and historic sites to top bike trails and parks, Wisconsin has it all.
Various Indian tribes first inhabited the area known as Wisconsin. The Chippewa, Menominee, Oneida, Potwatomi and Ho Chunk tribes lived in the area undisturbed until the late 1880’s.
The first European explorer to reach Wisconsin was Jean Nicolet; searching for the Northwest Passage to China, he traversed Lake Michigan, landing near Green Bay in 1634.
France laid claim to Wisconsin as part of its territory in the new World in 1672. In 1763, Wisconsin was part of the territory ceded by France to Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris.
Twenty years later, again at Paris, the British relinquished their claim to Wisconsin; and it became part of the United States.
In 1787, under the Northwest Ordinance, Wisconsin became part of the great territory north and west of the Ohio River out of which Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin were later created. In 1836, the Wisconsin territory was organized, including what are now the states of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and parts of the Dakotas.
The first territorial legislature met at Belmont about 5.5. miles northeast of Platteville. The two-story frame building and grounds surrounding the first capitol are now a state park.
In 1848, Wisconsin became the 30th state to be accepted into the Union. The present capitol building in Madison was erected between 1906 and 1917 and the third on this site.