Ultimate Outdoor Summer – 250+ Things to do this Summer

Ready for summer adventures?! We have rounded up 250+ summer things to do outdoors in Northeast Wisconsin including the Fox Valley, Oshkosh, Green Bay, Door County, and beyond!

As the weather heats up our thoughts turn to summer and what summer will be like for us this year. With the current pandemic, many of our usual summertime fun venues have closed or changed the way they operate. But, you can still have fun this summer in Northeast Wisconsin! 

In this summer guide, you’ll find places where you can swim, swing, walk, and play  in the area that are open! We’ve also got our best frozen treat recommendations so you can find that perfect ice cream cone and custard. You’ll also find free and cheap things to do, plus movies, summer camps, and date nights. 

As the situation in our community changes and new summertime fun opportunities open up, we’ll update this list. So don’t forget to bookmark us and check back often!

Editor’s Note: Wisconsin is no longer operating under Safer at Home orders or following the Badger Bounce Back Plan. We recognize that this is going to be a confusing period of time with varying opinions on what people should and shouldn’t be doing. For the last 8 years, Go Valley Kids has been a reliable source of information for our community. We will continue to provide updates on the outdoor spaces and activities that are open under government guidelines. This does not constitute an endorsement or a suggestion that we jump back into a “normal” way of life. Masks are encouraged if you are out in public spaces. During this time we encourage everyone to be informed and choose what they feel is best for their own family.

READ MORE: 60+ Things to Do at Home this Summer!

We try to be prepared for quick changes in plans or opportunities for unscheduled fun or adventure. The real trick is to remember to replenish and replace as you use items!

We keep these in the car:

  • Antibacterial Soap
  • Face Masks
  • Mosquito Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Towel
  • Blanket
  • Playground Ball
  • Chalk
  • Bubbles
  • First Aid Kit, consider having a tick-removal kit as part of your standard first aid kit.
  • A book or magazine for everyone for unexpected waiting. 
  • Snacks that aren’t affected by heat like granola bars. 
  • Empty water bottles because at some point, someone will forget. 
  • A roll of toilet paper and package of baby wipes.
  • A set of clothing for each kid and parent. This makes it easy to say yes to impromptu messy or wet activities as well as being prepared for accidents or leaky diapers.
  • A stack of empty plastic grocery bags and a few gallon size zip top bags to make it easy to pack out trash from parks or to put wet or dirty clothes inside. 
Photo Credit: Graham Images

Where to cool off?

With many pools closed this summer including Polock, Mead, and Erb Pool or are open but operating at reduced capacity and with residency restrictions such as Kaukauna and Little Chute, so we are getting creative on finding other local treasures. Find what local pools are open here.

  1. Cool off at a splash padNeenah Splash Pad, Park & Playground at Washington Park
  2. Head to the beach! – 12+ Beaches in Northeast Wisconsin: including Wisconsin State Parks Point Beach, Hartman Creek, and Kohler-Andre, Door County, and Fremont
  3. Beach Inflatables – Fondy Aqua Park is open this year
  4. Go white water rafting or leisure river tubingSummer River Tubing in Northeast Wisconsin
  5. Eat ice creamThe Ultimate Ice Cream Lovers Bucket List: 60+ Favorites! Take a road trip to Kelly’s Creamery or discover a unique local twist like Wonders or a classic like Frogg’s in Sherwood
  6. Explore by kayak or canoeWhere to Rent Kayaks in Northeast Wisconsin – discover the beautiful Chain O’ Lakes
Wisconsin Explorers Program
Wisconsin Explorers Program

Where to explore in nature?

An amazing thing about living in this area is the variety of destinations for families and incredible natural areas that are largely free or very low cost to enjoy. From trails to hike to rivers float down, there’s always something to do while enjoying the natural resources available to us. 

READ MORE: Engaging with Nature – Tips & Where to Explore

  1. Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton
  2. Mosquito Hill in New London
  3. Heckrodt Wetland Reserve in Menasha
  4. 1000 Islands Environmental Center in Kaukauna
  5. Navarino Nature Center in Shiocton
  6. Ledgeview Nature Center in Chilton
  7. Brillion Nature Center in Brillion
  8. Wisconsin Explorers ProgramInto the Woods: Discover Nature and Earn FREE Patches through the Wisconsin Explorers Program
  9. WaterfallsWhere to Find Waterfalls in Wisconsin within 2 Hours from the Fox Valley
  10. Wisconsin State Parks15 Awesome Wisconsin State Parks That Are Less Than Two Hours From Appleton
  11. Rocks! – Paint rocks. Search for rocks. Fox Valley Rocks – Our Community Rocks! And Rock On! Fox Valley Group Spreads Kindness Through Art
  12. Treasure Hunting –  Geocaching, Hidden Rocks, Letterboxing
  13. Go fishingKids Fishing Guide – Northeast Wisconsin
  14. Take a drive25 Picturesque Scenic Drives to Enjoy From Your Car Window
  15. Find a lighthouse
  16. Collect beach glass
  17. Cave Tour, Maribel Caves & Ledgeview
  18. Take a history tour and find local historical markers
  19. Gravity Trails in Door County offers a zip line adventure
  20. Climb an observation tower
  21. Experience Road America with an Off-Road Driving Experience
  22. Explore Washington Island with a UTV from Island Adventure Company
  23. Race go karts at Badger Sports Park
  24. Mine for gems and learn about rocks. We are not sure when the Weis Earth Science Museum will open but follow along on their Facebook page for information. Also join Great Lakes Rocks and Minerals Facebook Group. 
  25. Count birds. Download the iBird app and count how many different birds you can see or hear. Madison Audubon is a great resource and includes a FREE Bird Guide for Kids with 27 common birds, described in ways that kids (and adults!) can relate to. 
High Cliff State Park Hiking
High Cliff State Park

Run or Walk

  1. Sidewalk Tour of Doty Island:  June 22-28, 2020
  2. Virtual Fun Runs – APRD, more info coming soon
  3. Walk a boardwalk – Heckrodt Wetland Reserve, 1000 Islands Environmental Center, Kohler-Andre State Park, North Side of Horicon Marsh off Hwy 28, Schmeekle Reserve in Stevens Point and Riggs County Park in Ripon
  4. Poetry WalkFind locations
  5. 18 Fox Valley Nature Trails for Biking, Walking & Hiking
  6. 5 Oshkosh Area Nature Trails for Biking, Walking & Hiking
  7. 13 Green Bay Area Nature Trails for Biking, Walking & Hiking (and Waterfalls!)
  8. 11 Worth the Drive Hiking Trails about One Hour from Appleton

Gardens

10 Gardens In and Around Northeast Wisconsin including the Scheig Center at Memorial Park in Appleton, Butterfly Gardens of Wisconsin in Appleton, Green Bay Botanical Garden in Green Bay, Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh, Sisson’s Peony Gardens in Rosendale, Gottfried Prairie & Arboretum in Fond du Lac, Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan, Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Robert W. Monk Gardens in Wausau and Mitchell Park Horticulture Conservatory (The Domes) in Milwaukee.

  1. Sketch
  2. Bird Watch
  3. Count Butterflies
  4. Learn about bees and eat some honey
  5. Pick your own flowers at Ram Acres
  6. Find the gnomes at Paine Art Center and Gardens
  7. Walk through Riverview Gardens
Town Center Park Grand Chute
Town Center Park, Grand Chute

Parks & Playgrounds

Heading to the park is a great time to unplug and enjoy nature. Whether you are heading out to check out a new(er) parks, like Pierce Park and Jones Park in Appleton, Hidden Pond in Menasha, Washington Park in Neenah or Menominee Park in Oshkosh, a classic favorite or hidden gem.

  1. Play! – Our Park Series has features and pictures for many local parks and we will be adding to it all summer
  2. Find a new slide!Ultimate slides in the Fox Valley
  3. Wooden Parks – Pamperin Park in Green Bay and Chilton Morrissey Park & Playground
  4. Born Learning Trails – these play-based learning activities are typically painted on sidewalks and a series of interactive stations at 12 Fox Cities Parks including Erb, Memorial (Appleton), Pierce, Plamann (Children’s Farm), Fritsch, Fritse, Wittman, Jefferson, Smith, Memorial (Neenan), Doyle and Lion’s (Greenville) Parks
  5. Roll (or run) down a hill – Head to your favorite sledding hill for a fun picnic spot and great view. See if you can roll or run down! Hills are also fun to run down with a kite
  6. Run the bases. Find a baseball diamond and get some running in. The inclusive fields like the Memorial Park Miracle League is great for younger kiddos.
  7. 8 Fun Games to Play on a Swing – Including Superman, Tornado and Tug of War
  8. Skip rocks – Lutz Park, Jefferson Park and Fritse Park
  9. Take your favorite backyard games to the park! – Bocce Ball, Lawn Dice, Lawn Jenga, Ladder Golf
  10. Write activities on a beach ball (or roll a dice) – exercises, scavenger hunt, get to know questions, would you rather
  11. Go on a Scavenger Hunt – Nature Scavenger Hunt, Color Hunt, Bird Hunt, Math Scavenger Hunt, Gratitude Scavenger Hunt. Parks with scavenger hunts built-in – Kiwanis Park, Wanick Choute Park
  12. ABC Architecture Scavenger Hunt – Find the letters in nature! Bigger kids can make a collage or spell a word to create a digital art masterpiece
  13. Playground Bucket List – Monkey bars, fireman’s pole, zipline, teeter-totter… How many of these can you play on this summer? 
  14. Think beyond the playground! Open grassy area can be just as fun for a change of scenery and fun play. Try the classic outdoor games, kick the can, capture the flag, hot potato hide and seek
  15. School parks are also a great place to play. Many also are fenced in to keep littles from escaping! Many are closed until the end of June. They also often offer great blacktop activities – Four Square, United States map, Tether Ball…
  16. Many church playgrounds are also open to the community. Christ the Rock has a beautiful natural playground.
  17. Table Tennis – Purchase balls and paddles on Amazon or used on Facebook Marketplace and keep them in the car.  
  18. Archery – Check out Memorial Park in Appleton or Lions Park in Greenville. Woodfire Lodge in Brillion also has a sporting clay shooting course and 15 target archery course.
  19. Storytime  – Books about playgrounds and parks. Find a local story walk. Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan is opening with reservations this year.
  20. Skate Parks – Head to skate parks at Telulah Park, Greenville, and Menasha. Check out NEST
  21. BMX Biking – New Rider Clinics, Racing and Strider Racing for ages 2-5 at Winnebagoland BMX
  22. Outdoor Hockey – Rollerblading – Patriot Park in Grand Chute. Looking for gear? Check out Play it Again Sports.
  23. Scooters – Both Erb Park in Appleton and Menominee Park in Oshkosh have nice paths to scoot around. Park your car on the far end and scooter to the playground. 
  24. Soccer – Practice your dribbling and goals on the soccer field
  25. Play basketball
  26. Picnic – Pack your own snacks or skip the dining room and order carry out.
  27. Fly a Kite
  28. Disc Golfing is a fun activity to get outdoors. A couple reader favorites include Triangle Sports Area, Perkins Park in Green Bay, Plamann Park and Telulah Park.
  29. Remote Control CarsHobbyTown is a great resource if you are looking to get started. Here are 12 Tips for Beginners. Check out Clark RC Park in Reedsville
  30. Golf – Reid Municipal Golf Course or check out Winnegamie’s Junior Golf Program
  31. Mini Golf – Badger Sports Park, Funset Boulevard, Chubby Seagull, Bridgewood
  32. Relax in a hammock – While your bigger kids play or read books
  33. Dig in the sand – make castles or play with trucks. Bury pennies for a scavenger hunt. Sand volleyball courts are a fun spot for littles. Patriot Park in Grand Chute has nice sand
  34. Watch the clouds and learn about the weather
  35. Gaga Ball – Find a gaga pit (and youtube the directions). Memorial Park, Lions Park and Erb Park in Appleton have one.

Animal Lovers

Many of our large favorite zoos have restrictions or modifications this summer. The Milwaukee County Zoo, NEW Zoo and Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison are working through reopening, consider finding a smaller focused zoo, animal rescue or farm to visit!

  1. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Green Bay
  2. MToxins Venom Lab, Oshkosh
  3. Mulberry Lane Farm, Sherwood
  4. Shalom Wildlife Zoo, West Bend
  5. Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center, Manitowoc
  6. Pony Playce, Appleton
  7. Ride a Horse – Horseback Riding
  8. Doc’s Zoo, Bonduel
  9. Animal Haven Zoo, Weyauwega
  10. Lakeside Park, Fond du Lac
  11. Larson’s Famous Clydesdales in Ripon – see fourteen Famous Clydesdale’s in a 90 minute guided tour and a short Grandstand Show.
  12. Siberian Outpost in Malone – Contact for a private tour for your family to learn about dog sledding, the history of the Iditarod and the training. 
  13. The Door County Dog Sleds also has an Education and Discovery Center.
  14. LaClare Farms,  Malone
  15. Alligator Alley, Alligator and reptile farm, Wisconsin Dells
  16. Timbavati Wildlife Park, Wisconsin Dells
  17. London Dairy Alpacas, Two Rivers
  18. Menomonee Park Free Zoo, Oshkosh
  19. Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue, Rock Springs
  20. Wilderness Walk Zoo, Hayward
  21. Play with cats and enjoy lunch or drinks at The Pawffee Shop Cat Cafe, Appleton
  22. Bear Den Zoo & Petting Farm, Waterford
Old Wisconsin

Educational Experiences

  1. Old World Wisconsin, Eagle
  2. Heritage Hill, Green Bay
  3. Plunkett Observatory, Belgium
  4. Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, Pepin
  5. History Museum at the Castle, Appleton
  6. Oneida Nation Museum, De Pere
  7. Hearthstone Historic House Museum, Appleton
  8. EAA Aviation Museum, Oshkosh
  9. Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc
  10. Wade House Historic Site, Greenbush
  11. Historic Farm Museum, Two Rivers
  12. Hutchinson Historic House, Waupaca
  13. National Railroad Museum, Green Bay
  14. Aztalan Museum, Jefferson
  15. Wisconsin River Papermaking Museum, Wisconsin Rapids
  16. Portage WWII History Museum, Portage
  17. Peshtigo Fire Museum, Peshtigo
  18. Menominee Logging Camp Museum, Keshena 
De Pere Mural
De Pere

Arts and Crafts

  1. Find Murals in Appleton
  2. Find Murals in Neenah and Menasha
  3. Find Murals in Little Chute
  4. Find Murals in Kaukauna
  5. Find Murals on the CE Underpass in Kimberly 
  6. Find Murals in Green Bay
  7. Find Murals in New London 
  8. Find Murals in De Pere
  9. Oshkosh Mini Murals
  10. The Fire in Appleton
  11. Fire Escape in Oshkosh
  12. Find a new hobby or projects at Hobby Town 
  13. Play Green Bay’s Art Around Town BINGO 
  14. Jurustic Park in Marshfield
  15. Stevens Point Sculpture Park
  16. Appleton’s Sculpture Valley
  17. Little Chestnut Studio
  18. The Art Garage, Green Bay
  19. The Art Spark, Appleton
  20. Pinot’s Palette, Appleton
  21. The Draw, Appleton

Read!

  1. Reserve books from our local libraries with Curbside Pickup
  2. Appleton Public Library’s Summer Reading Program
  3. Kaukauna Public Library Summer Reading Program
  4. Neenah Public Library Summer Reading Program
  5. Oshkosh Public Library Summer Reading Challenge
  6. Brown County Library Summer Reading Challenge
  7. Free little libraries – Clean up your library and drop off some books to an empty Free Little Library.
  8. Find a storywalk. Visit Memorial Park for a Storybook Garden Walk. A different book will be featured every 2 weeks all summer long.
  9. Fox Crossing Parks & Recreation Department Story Walk on Friendship Trail
  10. Find vintage titles and childhood favorites at Half Priced Books

Cultivate Giving & Kindness

Summer provides kids with some extra time to think about others that might not be present during the busy school year. There are many organizations within our community that can use help even from small hands!

  1. The Appleton Public Library has compiled a list of books to help parents and teachers talk about racial equity with children, young adults, and adults.
  2. Volunteer, Donate and Support the work of Jake’s Diapers
  3. Send cards to a Nursing Home
  4. Bring treats to the police station, fire station or Harbor House
  5. Make blessing bags for the homeless or less fortunate 
  6. Send a thank you to a local farmer
  7. Make birthday boxes for low income families
  8. Join a pen pal program and share words of kindness
  9. Buy lunch for your neighbor or friend
  10. Surprise your postal worker with a treat and note in the mailbox
  11. Pay for someones meal behind you in a drive-thru or restaurant line
  12. Make and hide kindness rocks
  13. Clean up your local park
  14. Support your local small businesses, pop up shops and entrepreneurs 
  15. Organize a school supply drive for your school or make supply backpacks to give
  16. Help clean pews and garden at local churches
  17. Spend time with adoptable animals at the local animal shelters
  18. Help clean an elderly neighbors yard, garden or home
Zesty's Frozen Custard, Green Bay
Zesty’s Frozen Custard, Green Bay

Treats

Summer is the perfect time to grab a sweet frozen treat in the Fox Valley!

  1. Ice Cream – Soft serve, gelato, hand scooped and more – eat your way through this list while supporting our local dairy farmers!
  2. Donuts – We have so many great options! Simple Simons has a Donut House in the parking lot on Saturday mornings. Happy Bellies Bakeshop has a yummy baked cinnamon donuts. Or enjoy a classic from Manderfields, Mom & Pop’s Bakery or Hill Top Bakery.
  3. Cheese Curds – Here are other ways to celebrate June Dairy month along with 10 delicious cheese stops!
  4. Donut Kits, Cookie Kits at Home
  5. Kids Eat FREE
  6. FREE School Lunch Programs
  7. Candy shops – Head to Crazy Sweet in downtown Appleton
  8. Shaved Ice – Snow Biz in Kimberly, Snowy Cabin in Neenah
  9. Homemade Popsicles – Stop by Drop Bar Cafe for a homemade popsicle on your bike ride on the CE Trail in Kaukauna or follow Fox Pop on Facebook to find where the popsicle bicycle will pop up next
  10. Eat Homemade Popcorn – Mike’s Popcorn or Archie’s Famous Popcorn at Downtown Neenah Dairy Queen or the Neenah Dairy Queen Grill & Chill
Plank Road Outdoor Dining
Plank Road Pub and Grill, De Pere

Outdoor Dining

Spending lots of time outdoors in the summer often includes meal times! We’re not sure what sort of magic is involved but food tastes so much better on a sunny day on the grass or a patio. Pack a picnic and head to a beautiful spot or check out somewhere new that has outdoor service.

  1. Eat your way through the alphabet with The ABCs of Summer Snackin’: A Bucket List of Local Goodies! 
  2. Drive-Ins
  3. Outdoor Dining in the Fox Cities
  4. Outdoor Dining in Green Bay
  5. Outdoor Dining in Oshkosh
  6. New Food Truck Mash-Up: Tuesdays through July 28 at WG&R Furniture from 4 – 7 pm. Also follow Fox Valley Food Truck Rally on Facebook for upcoming events.
Drive in Movie
Field of Scenes, Freedom

Outdoor Movies

Northeast Wisconsin is usually full of local parks and businesses offering free and very low-cost summertime entertainment like outdoor movies. Many venues haven’t announced their plans for summer movies. But here’s where you can catch a drive-in movie near the Fox Valley in Kaukauna or Chilton.

  1. Field of Scenes, Freedom 
  2. Get Reel Chilton Twilight Drive-In Theater, Chilton
  3. Appleton Drive In Movies
  4. Greenville Drive In Movies
  5. Fox Crossing hopes to have movies later in the summer
Wisconsin Family Camping

Camping

  1. Go camping! Family Camping Guide
  2. Reader Recommended Wisconsin Campgrounds
  3. Try a new campground treat Campfire Treats – Smores, Pudgie Pies and more
  4. Kid Friendly Camping Recipes10 Kid Friendly Camping Recipes
  5. Camp and visit the Plunkett observatory at Harrington Beach State Park
Stevens Point Sculpture Park
Stevens Point

Plan a Day Trip

Here are some of our favorites outside to help you start to plan your day!

  1. Appleton – Downtown Appleton, Lawrence University, Jones Park, City Park, go karts, mini golf and batting cages at Badger Sports Park, mini golf at Funset Boulevard
  2. Grand Chute – Bubolz Nature Preserve, Town Center Park
  3. New London – Murals, Kist Kandies & Ice Cream, Mosquito Hill
  4. Neenah – Downtown Neenah, Riverside Park, Kimberly Point Lighthouse
  5. Menasha – Ice Cream at Lemon Loves Lime
  6. Sherwood – Wanick Choute Park, High Cliff State Park, Ice Cream and Mini Golf at Chubby Seagull
  7. Brillion – Lion mural, Brillion Nature Center
  8. Oshkosh – Menominee Park and Zoo, Paine Art Center and Gardens
  9. Fond du Lac – Lakeside Park
  10. Kaukauna – 1000 Islands Environmental Center, Dick’s Drive-In
  11. Green Bay – Murals, Pamperin Park, Heritage Hill, Zesty’s Frozen Custard, Bay Beach, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary 
  12. De PereMurals, Art, Sunset Point Love Lock Tradition, St. Norbert College, Fox River Trail
  13. Door CountyThing to do in Door County with Kids
  14. Waupaca – Hartman Creek State Park, Red Mill
  15. Stevens PointFeltz Family Farms and Dairy Store, Stevens Point Sculpture Park, Green Circle, Schmeeckle Reserve, Downtown Murals, Ice Cream at Belt’s
  16. WausauQuarry hike at Rib Mountain State Park, Riverlife Park, JoJo’s Jungle
  17. SpartaSleep in a caboose!, Largest Bike Wheel, Elroy-Sparta state trail
  18. Wisconsin Dells (beyond the water parks) – Downtown Wisconsin Dells, Downtown Candy Shops, Devil’s Lake State Park, Wisconsin Deer Park, Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, Duck Tour, Paul Bunyans for Breakfast, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Wizard’s Quest
  19. Milwaukee – Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee Museum, Discovery World
  20. Madison – Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Henry Vilas Zoo
  21. Sheboygan – Bookworm Gardens, Kohler-Andre State Park, North Beach and Playground, Lottie Cooper Shipwreck, Acuity Flagpole
  22. Two Rivers – Point Beach State Park, Washington House
  23. Weyauwega – Evanswood Outdoor Village shops, Animal Haven Farm and Zoo
  24. Shawano – Yoder’s Bakery, Shawano Lake, Twig’s Soda Museum
  25. Manitowoc – USS Cobia, Beernsteen’s, Screamin’ Cronuts, Sputnik Crash site
2017 Breakfast on the Farm at Voight Acres Farm

Wisconsin Roots

  1. Watch the Milk Bottling Process Live at Lamers Dairy, Inc.
  2. Take a selfie with Bernice the giant fiberglass cow at Cedar Crest Ice Cream Parlor
  3. See a calf be born at Land O’ Lakes Birthing Barn at Farm Wis. Discovery Center
  4. Check out vintage farm equipment at the Historic Farm Museum
  5. Learn how to milk a cow at Mulberry Lane
  6. Observe the cheese-making process at Marieke Gouda and Scray Cheese
  7. Attend the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival
  8. Whip up your own butter or make homemade ice cream
  9. Learn more about sustainability and ethical farming at the G Farm

Modified Activities for 2020

  1. Drive-Thru Breakfast on the Farm
  2. Fireworks
  3. Berry Picking
  4. Farmers Markets
Urban Air Adventure Park Appleton
Urban Air Adventure Park Appleton

Indoor Places to Play

These things are normally family favorite things to do during the summer but because of the current situation many have many modifications and some people may choose not to do. Check with business before visiting for modifications due to COVID-19

  1. Urban Air Adventure Park
  2. Building for Kids
  3. History Museum at the Castle
  4. Paper Discovery Center
  5. Trout Museum of Art
  6. Weis Earth Science Museum
  7. Green Bay Children’s Museum
  8. Neville Public Museum – Dinosaur exhibit
  9. EAA Air Venture
  10. Archery
  11. Art & Craft Studios
  12. Bowling – Kid’s Bowl FREE
  13. Bumper Cars & Boats
  14. Children’s Clothing Stores
  15. Children’s Museums
  16. Haircuts
  17. Home Depot FREE Kids Workshops
  18. Ice Skating
  19. Indoor Play Areas
  20. Libraries
  21. Manicures / Pedicures
  22. Movie Theaters
  23. Rock Climbing
  24. Roller Skating
  25. Swimming Indoors
  26. Toys, Games & Hobby Stores

Save the Date – Events to Watch

  1. June 13: Young Rider Camp @ Forward Farm, LLC
  2. June 17: Pajama Party @ Bear Den Zoo & Petting Farm
  3. June 27: Burger Train @ East Troy Railroad Museum 
  4. July 11: Krazy Daze, Downtown Manitowoc
  5. July 15-19: Fond Du Lac County Fair
  6. July 21: Wild, Wild West Day @ Menomonee Park Zoo, Oshkosh
  7. July 24: Let’s Go Froggin! @ Bubolz Nature Preserve
  8. July 19-25: Appleton Children’s Week 
  9. July 29: Fairfolk Festival @ Bookworm Gardens
  10. August 1: Unicorn Party hosted by Village of Kimberly
  11. August 7-9: Paw Patrol Paw-Palooza @ The National Railroad Museum
  12. August 7-8: Burger Fest and Hot Air Balloons, Seymour
  13. August 15: SnowFest 2020 @ Neshotah Park, Two Rivers
  14. August 29: Rhythms of the World 2020, Houdini Plaza 
  15. September 5-6: Kites over Lake Michigan, Two Rivers High School

Summer Family Favorites Canceled or Currently Closed for 2020

  • Summer Festivals & Fireworks
    • Mile of Music – Canceled
  • Erb and Mead Pools – Closed
  • Pollock Pool – Closed
  • Movie Theaters – Opening soon
  • Wisconsin State Fair – Canceled
  • Water Ski Shows
    • Webfooters – Season updates mid June. Delayed with high water and social distancing.
  • Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
  • Plamann Park Beach & Children’s Farm – Closed

What’s open and closed in Northeast Wisconsin for family fun?

What’s on your Summer Bucket List? We would love to hear what you are up to!

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60 thoughts on “Ultimate Outdoor Summer – 250+ Things to do this Summer”

  1. Avatar

    Something that may be of interest – Every year, the 3rd Saturday in July (this year it’s July 18th) is Wisconsin Aquaculture Day. Aquaculture is “Fish Farming”….numerous Fish Farms around the state offer tours & information, fee fishing & other activities that are open to the public & something interesting to both children & adults. We own a Trout Farm in New London – Wilderness Springs & are open May thru September on Saturdays & Sundays from 9am-4pm for fee fishing of Rainbow Trout. You do not need a fishing license, trout stamp or limit of fish you can catch. We supply simple cane poles & bait at no cost. You pay for the fish you catch by the pound & we will also clean your fish, bag & ice them. For a list of places that are open for Aquaculture Day you can go to http://www.wisconsinaquaculture.com under Events for a complete listing.

  2. Avatar

    Trying to enjoy summer with our 9 year old after a very expensive ivf cycle….finding many low price free options in the valley we never new were here!!! Last summer as a family of 3 trying to make it a fun one!

  3. Avatar

    We are enjoying our summer with camp outings, swims at the Meade pool and playing at parks! We especially enjoy Memorial Park in Appleton! We would love to win one extra fun for this summer 🙂

  4. Avatar

    We enjoyed our summer by staying local going to Bookworm Gardens, Green Bay Packers Family Night, West of the Lake Botanical Gardens Manitowoc, Neshoto Beach Two Rivers, Green Bay Botanical Gardens, Bay Beach, Camping in the backyard and a mini vacation to Guernee Mills Six Flags and Rockhounding vacation to Minnesota.

  5. Avatar

    We have been enjoying our summer by heading to new parks in Door County, swimming at the Kaukauna Pool, having lots of fires complete with S’Mores and of course the family trip to Bay Beach!

  6. Avatar

    Cookout at Plamann Park on the 4th of July!
    Went to The Millwakee Zoo with the Family!
    Went Bay Beach/ Bay Beach wild life
    Went to South Rico’s in Kimberly for Ice Cream!
    Breakfast on the Farm!
    The Mulberry Farm with family&Friends on Mother’s Day!
    went Swimming and played the Gymnastics area at Heart Of The Valley YMCA!
    Went to Paper Fest with my daughter’s had a blast with the sawdust coin finding!
    Went to the Splash Pad in Sherwood for the first time! The kids had a blast!
    Had a early Bithday party for my youngest daughter at High Cliff State Park!
    Went to Art At The Park! ( City Park in Appleton)
    Went to Family Fun Fest at Little chute Doyle Park/swimming in the pool!
    Elks club drug free life ! Free swimming at Kaukauna Pool!
    Home Depot free kids workshops!
    Played at the school park’s!
    Went to Cheese Fest !

  7. Avatar
    Ann Brennenstuhl

    We are enjoying summer by exploring the valley. We just moved up here a month ago and have found Sunset Beach, Doyle Park, and Little Chute Library. We are looking forward to trying many other ideas on the list.

  8. Avatar

    Our family has had an amazing summer!! Most of our summer has been spent at the beach in Freemont – an amazing place to swim and hang out for the day at! We would love to finish it up by visit a few local places!

  9. Avatar

    Lots of swimming, playing tennis, backyard kickball, nightly walks, etc… Still plan on bay beach, and bookworm gardens! Oh and farmers market;)

  10. Liz

    We’ve had an unusually busy summer but have done lots of swimming, ice cream eating, and park visiting. We’re planning to squeeze a trip to Bay Beach into this month.

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    We’ve enjoyed our summer by going to the pool mostly! Outdoor movies, bay beach, NEW zoo. Would love to do a few more things with the kids before school starts!

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    We’ve enjoyed our summer by going to the pool mostly! Outdoor movies, bay beach, NEW zoo. Would love to do a few more things with the kids before school starts!

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    Michelle Middleton

    We’ve enjoyed summer by visiting family in Canada, having backyard fire pits and lots of time outside riding bikes, scooters and trampoline jumping!

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    Our family enjoyed this list,if you ask my kids they will tell you that they had a awesome summer,I check go valley kids everyday for such awesome ideas to do with the kids,I love seeing the smiles on their face,we spent a lot of time at pollock pool in Oshkosh it’s our favorite place to go with the warm temperatures this summer. The bucket list is almost complete were planning on going to the Milwaukee zoo yet and one more trip to bay beach,thank you for such great ideas summer of 2016 was a blast thanks to go valley kids

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    We’ve been to Little Amerrika, Wisconsin Dells, and Neshotah beach. We try to do day activities. Hard to plan things sometimes when your husband is a police officer..days off aren’t always days off. 🙂

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    We’ve been doing lots of swimming, library reading program, parks, camping, Bay Beach, timber rattler game, picnics, and every other fun thing we can fit in! Great list above, Go Valley Kids!

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    Going to the parks, and buboltz nature place, bay beach, splash pad. Haven’t made it to a baseball game yet though

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    We are currently crossing the last few things off of our bucket list – the Milwaukee County Zoo, State Fair and Bookworm Gardens!

    Still need to just do the wildlife sanctuary, Brown Co fair and Resch aquatic center!

    LOVED this summer with my two kids!

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    We went to Mulberry Farm for the first time and loved it! Timber Rattler game and Bay Beach were other highlights. We still have lots to do in our last few weeks.

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    We’ve been getting in several camping trips, visiting the library, ice cream stops, Bay Beach, planning for the fair now.

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    We went to Deyoung zoo, new zoo, pools, beach, outagamie county fair, splash pad, EAA, library events, strawberry picking

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    Brewer game, timber tattler game, a trip to the mall of America, and kayaking when the weather permits. #lovesummer

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    Tamara Brockington

    We took the kids to the national parks in Utah. It would be nice to do some things in the local area. Thank you sooooo much for doing this!

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    Elizabeth wichmann

    We’re learning how to play outside with balls and crusing around on everything. And this weekend we’re going swimming! (First time for my little man)

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    Summer is winding down, and we are just starting on our bucket list! Finally went camping, went to a trats game, and bay beach. Also went to two rivers/manitowoc for a beach day because of your post about it. We loved it! The zoo, bookworm gardens and building for kids is left.

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    Our family has enjoyed swimming at many different pools in the area, hiking at 1000 Island, Bay Beach, Chickenfest, camping in Canada and Door county, farmers markets, library reading program, strawberry picking, and several trips to Mulberry Lane.

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    Cina Jeffers-Fox

    Too many fun things to remember…we’ve enjoyed a lot this summer including Bay Beach, Swimming at the MANY pools and lakes in our area, Noahs Ark, Great America, Splash Pad in Sherwood, Winnebago Cty Fair….

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    So far we have enjoyed our summer by vacationing in Door County, swimming at Sunset and Pollock Pools, hunting for Pokemon at many different parks, and Mike of Music. We would love to try to squeeze in a few more adventures before summer is over!

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    We did a lot this Summer and still have more on the calendar this month!

    We went strawberry picking, visited several parks (made it to 13/15 on our list), spent several afternoons at the beach, library, and lots of days enjoying our backyard and pool!

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    Your website is such a great resource for families! Recently we went to the Tall Ships Festival and a T Rat game. Lots of fun days trips throughout the summer. Great America was a blast too!

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    Finishing my summer with a Brewer game and golfing…It goes by way too fast!!! My kids get to go up North and enjoy nature with the grandparents.

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    This summer we have gone hiking at many parks, enjoyed fresh produce at the Farmers Market, gone swimming at Sunset beach and in Two Harbors, planted a garden, and spent some Fridays at the Timber Rattled games!!! We love Appleton!!!!

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    We have been enjoying all the things our great city of Neenah has to offer. We LOVE the out to lunch concert series, the great concerts at Riverside Park, and especially all the awesome activities our Neenah library has to offer!!

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    We’ve been enjoying our summer by attending some local events like Touch a Truck and A Day Out With Thomas, but also by relaxing and going to the beach (Elkhart Lake) and camping in Peninsula State Park – we got there twice this year!

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    My daughters and I have picked strawberries out at Cuff farms, so yummy, wandered around the Farmers market, tasted our way through the Food Truck Rally, cooled off at the splash pad in South Park, took advantage of kids bowl free and even relaxed in the new dreamlounger seats at the movie theater one hot summer evening!

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    Heather Gonzalez

    We spend a lot of time outside playing in the water, going to a few baseball games, traveling to the Shedd aquarium and Milwaukee zoo. Mostly we have had so much fun just being together and making new memories

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    katie ringbauer

    We have done a lot of camping, swimming, trips to family in Illinios, childrens museum and much more! Would love to win

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    We got pool passes for the first time for Neenah Pool, so we have spent lots of time at the pool. A great way to cool off and spend time together as a family. 🙂

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    Every summer I have tried to get the kids out and about, away from the tv and ipads! But this year has been a struggle being pregnant. All i want to do is relax and stay in for AC but i know thats not good! This summer i have waddled and hobbbled through many kids events that i can thank Go valley kids for informing me. Gotta love facebook! So far, we’ve gone to WI dells, camping, Wi state fair, along with some nearby county fairs. We go to the city pools and the Y as well.

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    Had a blast at the Thomas the Train Your in June! Planning to cross of several more things still in August. Special Memories Zoo in Greenville and Milwaukee County Zoo were a couple of other highlights. Fireworks at Catfish Extravaganza Family night was a first and well worth it!

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