Destination Review: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Five Reasons to Make Fond du Lac Your Late Summer Getaway

The dog days of summer are upon us, and that finds many of us longing for one last late summer getaway. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, provides a great destination for anyone interested in the outdoors, plus plenty of activities for those in the family who may not be quite so outdoor oriented.

Located on the south shore of glorious Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin’s largest inland freshwater lake, Fond du Lac serves not only as a destination in itself, but also a great jumping off point for the many area activities located within and easy short drive from Fond du Lac.

  1. gretchen steele_winnebago_waleye_IMG_6761Fishing – Fond du Lac is quite possibly the most fishing friendly community I have ever visited. With over 30 public boat launches, and a multitude of publicly accessible shore fishing opportunities, it’s no wonder that anglers flock to Fond du Lac to fish Lake Winnebago and the Fond du Lac river. While best known for its outstanding walleye fishery, Lake Winnebago also provides fishing opportunities for the other species present including bluegill, largemouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike, perch, burbot, white bass, freshwater drum, channel catfish, flathead catfish, and smallmouth bass. Bowfishers can also target the many drum and carp that are found in the waters of Lake Winnebago and in and around Horicon Marsh. Your first stop for fishing in Fond du Lac should be the River Haus Bait and Tackle. A stop at River Haus Bait and Tackle will enable you to pick up any last minute items you might need, your Wisconsin fishing license, not to mention the knowledgeable staff and usually present local anglers can provide you with lots of good information and current fishing condition reports. After visiting River Haus another must see for many anglers is the Mercury Marine Museum, conveniently located next door to Fond du Lac’s Children’s Museum. Both are located near the entrance to Lakeside Park and the wonderful fishing opportunities that await anglers there.
  2. gretchen steele_lakeside_park_FondduLac_IMG_8028-2Boating/kayaking/watersports – Again, because if it’s location on the south shore of Lake Winnebago, Fond du Lac is great place to for any type of recreational watersport. The shallow marshes of Supple Marsh and Horicon Marsh provide some of the best kayaking and canoeing and can give visitors an up close look at large numbers of birds and wildlife. If you prefer a more exciting watersport, Lake Winnebago can offer you sailing, jet skiing, and kiteboarding.
  3. Biking / Hiking – Park the car and explore Fond du Lac and the area by bike or on foot! Bike paths and trails can take you virtually anywhere you would like to visit including the Wild Goose trail which can provide a wonderful scenic wildlife filled ride or hike. The 34 mile trail runs from Fond Du Lac to highway 60, which is 4 miles south of Juneau. The Wild Goose Trail is a bird watchers heaven. The majority of the trail runs by the western edge of the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge where thousands of birds live, and migratory waterfowl stop at on their annual flight south. Parking for the Wild Goose trail is available at Fond du Lac, Marsh Haven Nature Center, Fireman’s Park, and at Hwy 60. Restrooms are available at the Nature Center, Hwy 60 Trailhead, Oakfield Village Park, and Juneau City Park.
  4. Arts/History/ Dining – For those family members not so enthusiastic about outdoor activities, Fond Lac is home to a thriving art scene with the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts and the Riverwalk Art Center topping the list of must visit locations. One of the best ways to enjoy the historic side of Fond du Lac is to take the self guided Downtown Fond du Lac Historic Walking tour. With 16 different stops along the way – any history lover will be satisfied. Dining opportunities exist throughout Fond du Lac, but no visit to Fond du Lac is complete without a stop at Schrieners an iconic and historic family Diner that features Pie Happy Hour – yes PIE HAPPY HOUR! Another must visit dining location is Wendt’s on the Lake, a local popular bar, grill, boat launch, the best place to pop in for drink or one of Wendt’s famous walleye sandwiches and homemade tartar sauce when spending time on Lake Winnebago. If fine dining is what you are looking for, consider an evening or lunch visit to the beautiful Trinity restaurant located in a restored church in downtown Fond du Lac.
  5. gretchen steele_feeding_mallard_horiconEasy access to nearby outdoor attractions – Fond du Lac’s enviable location places visitors within an easy and short drive to Horicon Marsh and Kettle Moraine State Forest. No Visit to Fond du Lac is complete without a visit to Horicon Marsh, where one can take a guided pontoon boat tour, visit the Horicon Marsh NWR, and its flagship Friends of Horicon International Education Center. The northern two-thirds of Horicon Marsh is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as the 22,000 acre Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. The southern third of the marsh, 11,000 acres, is managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area. At more than 33,000 acres, Horicon gretchen steele_horicon wabler_IMG_7860Marsh is one of the largest freshwater marshes in the United States and is a critical rest stop for thousands of migrating ducks and Canada geese. It is recognized as a Wetland of International Importance, as both a Globally and State Important Bird Area, and is also a unit of the Ice Age Scientific Reserve.

Regardless of what your choice may be for rest, relaxation, and a summer getaway – Fond du Lac will meet those needs! For more information or assistance with planning your getaway contact the Fond du Lac Visitors Bureau at 800-937-9123, email: or visit their website


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