Child swimming at Nichols Beach in Boulder Junction WI

5 ways to make the most of your summer vacation in Boulder Junction

November 3, 2023

Summer is the perfect time to visit Boulder Junction in the heart of Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Whether it’s your first trip to Boulder Junction or your 20th, there’s always plenty to see and do when the weather’s warm in northern Wisconsin. Here are a few ideas on how to take advantage of your summer getaway to Boulder Junction.

Get out on—or dive into—the lakes

There are nearly 200 lakes within a 10-mile drive of downtown Boulder Junction, so that means there are lots of opportunities for aquatic adventures. Anglers can discover great fishing lakes filled with bass, walleye, northern pike, and the elusive musky (Boulder Junction is the Musky Capital of the World™, after all), and our knowledgeable fishing guides will help you track down the big one. Canoers and kayakers can explore calm lakes and get out on the Manitowish River, and boaters can launch their pontoons on a wide array of public-access lakes in the area.

If you’d rather enjoy the water from the shore, you can stick your toes in the sand or splash around at several beaches in the area. Nichols Lake, North Trout Lake, and Crystal Lake all have easily accessible public swimming beaches (learn more here), and several lakeside lodging properties offer sandy beaches, too—browse our filterable listings to find a great place for a waterfront stay.

Bike the Heart of Vilas County Trail

The crown jewel of Boulder Junction’s trail system is the Heart of Vilas County Trail, a scenic route that covers more than 50 miles throughout the Northwoods and connects Boulder Junction with Sayner and St. Germain (to the south and east) and Manitowish Waters and Mercer (to the west). The paved asphalt bike trail passes through some truly beautiful Northwoods scenery, including forests, wetlands, prairies, and lakesides.

Whether you’re exploring the Heart of Vilas Trail or any of the other trails in Boulder Junction, don’t forget to download the free Map It Vilas County trails app, which will help you find trails by distance, activity, and other criteria and help you navigate your route.

Find an outdoor patio for dinner or drinks

Did you know you can even take advantage of the Northwoods’ beautiful summer weather when you’re eating (or raising a glass after a day of adventure)? Many of Boulder Junction’s restaurants and bars offer outdoor seating or open-air patios, perfect for grabbing a bite on a sunny summer day or enjoying a drink on a pleasant evening. Grab ice cream or other treats at The Ice Shanty or Mad Dog Jake’s or sit down for a meal outside at Aqualand Ale House  or Headwaters Restaurant & Tavern. Find more outdoor dining options here.

Don’t miss out on fun events

Boulder Junction’s summer calendar is packed with exciting events. Head downtown on Wednesday afternoons for a Boulder Junction Block Party! Kicking it off at 4pm with Guide on the Side, local fishing guides will give you tips and tricks to make the most of your time on the water at Northern Highland Sports. Boulder Beer Bar will be serving up their famous shrimp boil outside, the Musky Riders will be hosting a classic car show each week, and Music on Main Street will fill the air with music. Signature events like the annual Musky Jamboree in August draw thousands to the town to celebrate and enjoy a variety of activities.

Find more Boulder Junction events here.

Find a great place to stay

Whether you’re searching for a cozy cabin, a classic Northwoods lodge, or a vacation home big enough to fit the entire extended family, you’re sure to discover great lodging options throughout Boulder Junction. Browse our listings to find fantastic places to stay with all the amenities you want, including pet-friendly lodging options and lakeside locations.