You don't need to use up your vacation days or stretch your monthly budget to treat yourself to a trip. These five weekend getaways are just a few hours by car from La Crosse, and will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed.
1. New Glarus, Wis.
If you're not up for an international flight, a 160-minute drive will get you to the heart of New Glarus, known as "America's Little Switzerland." This pretty village in Green County has a population of just over 2,000 residents who embrace the Swiss history of the town, which was founded in 1854 by immigrants. Wander through a quaint downtown filled with Swiss restaurants, bakeries, meat markets and shops, or try a beer at the New Glarus Brewery. Be sure to snap a selfie with each of the 14 painted cows around the town. Visitors can also travel back in time with a tour of the Swiss Historical Village, which contains an 1850s log cabin, an 1890s cheese factory, a one-room schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, and more. To get the full New Glarus experience, stay at one of the Swiss style B&Bs or country inns located downtown.
2. Cedarburg, Wis.
Cedarburg is a historic mill town about 3½ hours southeast of La Crosse that offers an exciting mix of architecture and arts. Spend the weekend exploring Cedarburg's numerous galleries, and stop in the Cedarburg Art Museum to view interesting exhibits in a beautiful Victorian home. The Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts is small but memorable. Nature lovers will enjoy walking or biking the scenic Ozaukee Interurban Trail. Enjoy the evenings with drinks at Silver Creek Brewing or Cedar Creek Winery. Staying at one of Cedarburg's charming, historic B&Bs for the weekend is the perfect way unwind.
If you're in the mood for a big city getaway, Minneapolis is just 2½ hours away. Tap into your artistic side with a trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Weisman Art Museum, The Museum of Russian Art or the Walker Art Center. Catch a play at the historic Orpheum Theater, and be sure to grab a few beers over the weekend at Fulton Brewing Co. and Indeed Brewing Co. Whether you love shopping, nightlife, art, or sports, Minneapolis has something for you. Hotels range from budget options to luxury suites.
4. Baileys Harbor, Wis.
When the weather warms up, it's time for a weekend getaway to Lake Michigan. The pretty lakeside town of Baileys Harbor, which is about 4½ hours from La Crosse, is the perfect place to relax. The Door County town is a water lover's paradise, with fishing, water sports, swimming, kayaking, boat tours, paddle boarding, and more. Snap some photos of Cana Island Lighthouse, or just lounge on the beach with a good book. Door County Brewing often features live music for a laid-back night out. Nature lovers shouldn't miss a hike through the 1,600 acre Ridges Sanctuary. Visitors will find a range of lodging options, including budget friendly hotels, charming inns and peaceful cabins.
5. Iowa City, Iowa
Located about 3½ hours south of La Crosse, Iowa City is the weekend getaway bibliophiles dream about. The small city is home to the Iowa Writers' Workshop that has produced over a dozen Pulitzer Prize winning writers. Stop in Prairie Lights bookstore downtown and catch an author reading or event, then stroll along the Literary Walk, which celebrates dozens of writers with connections to the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Iowa City has no shortage of nightlife. Stop in the divey Iowa City Yacht Club for live music, grab a beer at the Iowa City Brewlab or enjoy a fancy evening out at the Brix Cheese Shop and Wine Bar. Iowa City has a number of recognizable chain hotels for visitors.