26 Things to do in Minocqua in the Winter

Things to do in Minocqua in the Winter

Minocqua is a beautiful town located in Wisconsin, USA, with plenty of things to do in Minocqua in the winter with activities to keep you busy.

The town of Minocqua, Wisconsin, takes its name from the Ojibwe word “Ninocqua,” which translates to “noon-day rest.” But don’t worry, this town is not sleepy in the least!

This peaceful and picturesque destination is a favorite among visitors seeking a laid-back atmosphere, breathtaking scenery, and crisp winter air. Families can experience the charm of Minocqua and enjoy a sense of tranquility and rejuvenation amidst the beautiful natural surroundings.

In this article, we’ll explore the top 26 things to do in Minocqua during the winter months, from snowmobiling and skiing to ice fishing and cozy winter dining.

We’ll also share some fun facts about Minocqua, giving you a glimpse into the rich history and unique character of this charming town. So, bundle up and get ready to discover all that Minocqua has to offer in the winter season!

About Minocqua, Wisconsin

Minocqua is a small town located in northern Wisconsin, USA. The town is situated in the heart of the Northwoods, surrounded by dense forests and crystal-clear lakes. It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with a wide variety of activities available throughout the year.

During the winter months, Minocqua is a winter wonderland, with snow-covered forests, frozen lakes, and plenty of opportunities for skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and other winter sports.

The town also hosts a number of winter festivals, including the Winter Park Snowshoe Hare Race, the Oneida County Snowshoe Championships, and the Arctic Warrior Snowshoe Adventure Race.

In addition to outdoor activities, Minocqua also offers a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Visitors can enjoy a meal at one of the town’s many restaurants, explore the charming downtown area, or take in a show at the historic Campanile Center for the Arts.

With its natural beauty, small-town charm, and endless opportunities for adventure, Minocqua is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of the Northwoods. Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, there’s something for everyone in this picturesque town.

Top 26 Things to do in Minocqua during the Winter

While most of these activities focus on snow and ice, there are still many fun warm events to enjoy even during the winter months.

1. Go Ice Fishing

Minocqua is home to some of the best ice fishing in the country. With over 1,200 lakes in the area, there are plenty of opportunities to catch fish. Whether you are an experienced angler or a beginner, ice fishing in Minocqua is an activity not to be missed.

2. Skiing

Things to do in Minocqua in the WinterMinocqua is a winter wonderland and perfect for skiing. With miles of groomed trails, skiers of all levels can enjoy the outdoors. Minocqua Winter Park is the place to go for all your skiing needs.

3. Snowmobiling

Things to do in Minocqua in the WinterSnowmobiling is a popular activity in Minocqua, and for good reason. The area has over 1,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, making it a great destination for snowmobilers.

4. Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a peaceful and scenic way to explore the winter landscape in Minocqua. There are many trails and areas available for snowshoeing in the area, including Minocqua Winter Park.

If you don’t own your own, renting snowshoes is an affordable and convenient way to explore the winter landscape in Minocqua. Check out Minocqua Winter Park for snowshoe rentals.

5. Ice Skating

Ice skating is a classic winter activity that the whole family can enjoy. Minocqua offers several ice skating rinks, including the Lakeland Hawks Ice Arena.

If you want to improve your ice skating skills, take a lesson with a local instructor. The Lakeland Figure Skating Club offers lessons for all ages and skill levels.

6. Sleigh Rides

Sleigh rides are a romantic and memorable way to enjoy the winter scenery in Minocqua. Check out Ferg’s Bavarian Village for sleigh ride options.

7. Ice Bowling

Ice bowling is a unique and fun winter activity in Minocqua. Head to the Ice Bowl at Red Arrow Park to try your hand at this wacky game.

8. Ice Climbing

For the adventurous traveler, ice climbing in Minocqua is an adrenaline-pumping activity not to be missed. Northwoods Zip Line offers ice climbing tours.

9. Snow tubing

Snow tubing is a thrilling way to enjoy the winter landscape in Minocqua. Head to Minocqua Winter Park for snow tubing fun.

10. Snowshoe Baseball

Snowshoe baseball is a quirky and entertaining sport unique to Minocqua. The game is played on snowshoes and is a must-see event. Check out the Minocqua Snowshoe Baseball League for game schedules.

11. Winter Festivals

Minocqua hosts several winter festivals, including the Winter Park’s Snowshoe Adventure and the annual Winter Carnival. These festivals offer food, fun, and entertainment for the whole family.

Here’s a list of some of the popular winter festivals in Minocqua and the surrounding areas, along with their dates and links:

  • Winter Park Winter Festival – Held in early January at Minocqua Winter Park, this family-friendly festival offers a wide range of winter activities, including sledding, snowshoeing, and ice skating. Website: https://www.minocquawinterpark.org/events
  • Sno-Boss Snowmobile Races – Held on the third weekend of February in St. Germain, this snowmobile race attracts participants from all over the Midwest. Website: https://www.st-germain.com/events
  • Jack Frost Festival – Held in late January in Manitowish Waters, this festival includes an ice fishing tournament, snowshoe races, and other winter activities. Website: https://manitowishwaters.org/events
  • Snowshoe Treks – Guided snowshoe treks are offered throughout the winter season at various locations in and around Minocqua. Website: https://www.minocqua.org/things-to-do/winter-activities/snowshoe-treks/
  • Northwoods Pond Hockey Classic – Held in early February in Eagle River, this pond hockey tournament attracts teams from all over the country. Website: https://www.northwoodspondhockey.com/
  • Minocqua Winter Park – In addition to the Winter Festival, Minocqua Winter Park hosts a number of winter events throughout the season, including torchlight skiing, snowshoeing, and snow tubing. Website: https://www.minocquawinterpark.org/events/

12. Ice Fishing Tournaments

Ice fishing tournaments are a big deal in Minocqua. The area hosts several tournaments each winter, including the Oneida County Ice Fishing Tournament.

13. Wildlife Watching

Winter is a great time to view wildlife in Minocqua. Deer, elk, and other animals can often be seen in the winter months.

14. Winter Photography

The winter landscape in Minocqua is beautiful and makes for great photography. Head out with your camera and capture the stunning scenery.

15. Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is a popular winter activity in Minocqua. With over 70 miles of groomed trails, skiers of all levels can enjoy the outdoors.

16. Ice Golf

Ice golfing is a winter activity that combines the fun of golf with the challenge of playing on snow and ice. Instead of playing on a traditional golf course, ice golfers tee off on a frozen lake or pond that has been cleared of snow.

The “greens” are marked with flags or cones, and players try to hit their balls into the holes on the ice using regular golf clubs.

Ice golfing is typically played with brightly colored balls that are easier to see against the white background of snow and ice. The rules of the game are similar to regular golf, but there are some modifications to account for the unique playing surface.

For example, players are allowed to move their ball slightly to find a good patch of ice to hit from, and shots that hit cracks or other obstacles in the ice may be replayed.

Ice golfing is a popular winter activity in some northern regions, including Minocqua, Wisconsin, where it is played on frozen lakes and ponds in the surrounding area. It’s a fun way to get outdoors and enjoy the winter scenery while also challenging your golf skills.

17. Winter Hiking

Hiking in the winter can be a beautiful and peaceful experience. There are many trails available for winter hiking in the area.

18. Ice Skating Shows

The Lakeland Figure Skating Club hosts ice skating shows throughout the winter season. These shows feature local skaters and are a great way to enjoy the artistry and athleticism of figure skating.

19. Winter Dining

Minocqua has plenty of cozy and delicious dining options to warm you up on a cold winter day. Check out The Boathouse for a waterfront dining experience or Norwood Pines Supper Club for classic Wisconsin fare.

-The Boathouse:

The Boathouse is a waterfront restaurant located on Lake Minocqua in Minocqua, Wisconsin. It is housed in a historic boathouse that was built in 1908 and has been serving up delicious food and drinks since 1986.

The restaurant’s casual, laid-back atmosphere is perfect for families and couples alike, and the panoramic views of the lake are truly breathtaking.

The menu at The Boathouse features a variety of dishes, including fresh seafood, steak, and pasta, as well as creative salads and sandwiches.

Some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes include the seafood chowder, the walleye sandwich, and the smoked brisket tacos. The Boathouse also has an extensive wine list, craft beers on tap, and a full bar.

During the summer months, The Boathouse has an outdoor patio area where visitors can enjoy their meals while taking in the beautiful views of the lake.

The restaurant also has a small gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs and locally-made products.

Overall, The Boathouse is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Minocqua. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner for two or a fun family outing, The Boathouse has something for everyone. Here’s a link to their website for more information: https://theboathouseminocqua.com/

-Norwood Pines Supper Club:

Norwood Pines is a historic restaurant located in Minocqua, Wisconsin that has been serving up classic supper club fare since 1933.

The restaurant is known for its cozy, Northwoods atmosphere, complete with wood-paneled walls, stone fireplaces, and rustic decor.

The menu features a wide range of dishes, including steaks, seafood, and pasta, as well as classic supper club staples like relish trays, brandy Old Fashioneds, and Friday fish fry.

In addition to its dining room, Norwood Pines Supper Club also has a bar and lounge area where visitors can enjoy live music and cocktails. The restaurant also hosts special events throughout the year, including wine dinners, holiday parties, and charity fundraisers.

If you’re looking for a classic supper club experience in Minocqua, Norwood Pines Supper Club is definitely worth a visit. Here’s a link to their website: https://norwoodpines.com/

20. Snowmobiling Races

Minocqua hosts several snowmobile races throughout the winter season. These races feature top riders from around the country and are a thrilling event to watch.

21. Stay At Beacons

The Beacons resortThe Beacons is a resort located on the shores of Lake Minocqua in Minocqua, Wisconsin. It offers a variety of lodging options, including cozy cabins, spacious suites, and lakefront villas, making it a popular destination for families, couples, and groups of friends.

In addition to its comfortable accommodations, The Beacons also has a wide range of amenities and activities to keep visitors entertained. These include an indoor pool and hot tub, a fitness center, a game room, and a sandy beach area where visitors can swim and relax.

The resort also has kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards available for rent, as well as pontoon boats and fishing boats for those who want to explore the lake.

During the winter months, The Beacons is a popular destination for snowmobilers and cross-country skiers, as it is located near several groomed trails. The resort also offers ice fishing packages for those who want to try their luck on the frozen lake.

Overall, The Beacons is a great place to stay in Minocqua, whether you’re looking for a relaxing lakeside getaway or an active outdoor adventure. Here’s a link to their website for more information: https://www.thebeacons.com/

22. Winter Bonfires

Cozy up around a winter bonfire and enjoy the warmth and beauty of the winter night sky. Several resorts in the area offer winter bonfire options.

23. Winter Lodging

Minocqua has plenty of cozy and comfortable lodging options to make your winter stay even more enjoyable. Check out The Pointe Hotel and Suites for waterfront views or The Waters of Minocqua for a luxurious winter getaway.

24. Stargazing

The winter sky in Minocqua is breathtaking and perfect for stargazing. Bundle up and head outside on a clear night to admire the stars and constellations. The Lakeland Astronomy Club offers stargazing events throughout the winter season, and they also provide telescopes for public use. It’s a unique and peaceful way to enjoy the winter night sky in Minocqua.

25. Plan a Spa Day

Minocqua has several spas that offer a variety of services to help visitors relax and unwind. Here are a few of the most popular options:

The Sloans Spa – The Sloan Spa offers a wide range of treatments, including facials, brows, and body wraps. website: https://www.sloansspa.com/

The Spa at Minocqua- Whether you’re looking for a relaxing massage, a rejuvenating pedicure, or a luxurious body treatment, Minocqua’s spas have something for everyone. Be sure to book your appointment in advance, as these popular spots can fill up quickly!

The spa also has a cozy lounge area where guests can relax before or after their treatments. Here’s a link to their website: https://www.minocqua.org/listing/the-spa-at-manitowish-waters/976/

26. Winter Birding

Winter is a great time to go birding in Minocqua, as many species of birds can be found in the area during the colder months.

Here are some of the best places to go birding in the winter:

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest

This expansive forest is home to a wide variety of birds, including black-capped chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, and pine siskins. Visitors can explore the forest’s many trails on foot, snowshoes, or cross-country skis.

Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area

This 6,400-acre area is a popular destination for birdwatchers, who come to see bald eagles, pileated woodpeckers, and a variety of waterfowl. Visitors can access the area via snowmobile or by hiking in from one of the parking areas.

Minocqua Winter Park

This park is not only a great place for skiing and snowshoeing, but also for birding. The park’s many trails wind through a variety of habitats, from forests to wetlands, and are home to species like blue jays, ruffed grouse, and common redpolls.

Lake Minocqua

Even in the winter, Lake Minocqua is home to a variety of waterfowl, including common mergansers and mallards. Visitors can view the birds from shore or by taking a walk on the lake’s frozen surface.

There are many types of birds that can be seen in Minocqua during the winter months from chickadees to eagles!

Minocqua Birds
  • Black-capped chickadee – This small, active bird is a common sight in the forests and woodlands of northern Wisconsin. Known for its distinctive “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” call, the black-capped chickadee is a favorite among birdwatchers.
  • White-breasted nuthatch – This bird is known for its distinctive behavior of climbing down tree trunks head-first, looking for insects to eat. It has a distinctive call that sounds like “yank-yank.”
  • Pine siskin – A small finch with a streaked brown-and-white body, the pine siskin is often found in flocks with other finches. It feeds on seeds, especially those from conifers like pine trees.
  • Bald eagle – A majestic bird of prey, the bald eagle can often be seen soaring over the lakes and forests of northern Wisconsin. It is a symbol of freedom and strength, and its impressive wingspan can reach up to 7 feet!
  • Pileated woodpecker – This large, striking woodpecker has a distinctive red crest and can often be heard drumming on trees with its powerful bill. It feeds on insects and is a common sight in the forests of northern Wisconsin.

Weather in Minocqua, WI During the Winter Months

During the winter months in Minocqua, WI, the weather is cold and snowy (reallly cold and snowy!). The average temperature in December, January, and February is around 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 to -6 degrees Celsius), with occasional dips into negative temperatures.

Snowfall is common, with an average of 55 to 60 inches (140 to 152 cm) of snowfall per year. The snow and cold temperatures create a beautiful winter wonderland and provide plenty of opportunities for outdoor winter activities.

It’s important to dress appropriately in layers and winter gear to stay warm and comfortable while enjoying all that Minocqua has to offer in the winter.

Some Fun Facts about Minocqua, WI

  • Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty in Minocqua, WI. Release R10523.

    Minocqua is known as the “Island City” because of the numerous islands on the Minocqua Chain of Lakes.

  • The name “Minocqua” is derived from the Ojibwe language and means “noonday rest.”
  • The town of Minocqua was originally a logging community, but tourism became the main industry in the early 1900s.
  • The largest fish caught in Wisconsin was a 69-pound (31 kg) musky caught in the waters of Minocqua in 1957.
  • The famous lumberjack Paul Bunyan is said to have visited Minocqua in the late 1800s, leaving behind his footprints in a local rock formation now known as “Bunyan’s Footprint.”
  • Minocqua is home to the largest concentration of freshwater lakes in the world, with over 3,200 lakes in Vilas and Oneida counties.
  • The Lakeland area, which includes Minocqua, was named one of the top 10 destinations for fall foliage in North America by USA Today.
  • The snowmobile was invented in Minocqua in the early 1920s by Carl Eliason.
  • Minocqua hosts the annual Beef-A-Rama festival, which includes a beef cook-off, a parade, and other beef-related events.
  • The Minocqua Winter Park is one of the largest cross-country ski areas in the Midwest, with over 90 kilometers of ski trails.
Final Thoughts

As our tour of Minocqua, Wisconsin comes to an end, we hope you’ve discovered some new and exciting winter activities to try during your next visit.

From snowshoeing through the forests to ice fishing on the frozen lakes, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the beauty of this charming Northwoods town in the wintertime.

Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or just looking for a cozy winter retreat, Minocqua has something for everyone.

And as you explore the town, don’t forget to take in the rich history and unique character of this one-of-a-kind destination. With its stunning natural beauty and warm hospitality, Minocqua is truly a gem of the Midwest.

So, plan your visit today and discover all that this winter wonderland has to offer!

Happy Travels!

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