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18 Spectacular Things to Do in Hayward Wisconsin This Summer

Hayward is in the heart of the Wisconsin northwoods. It is a destination for fishing, lumberjacks, supper clubs and just about anything outdoors. There are so many fun things to do in Hayward Wisconsin in any season, but especially summer.

Whether you are traveling with the whole family or on your own, there’s something for everyone.

Image from inside a giant fish sculpture, a hiking trail along a lake in a forest and two lumberjacks splashing each other during a show.

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Where is Hayward Wisconsin?

Hayward is a two and a half hours (140 miles) drive northeast of Minneapolis and St. Paul. It is the perfect distance for a weekend getaway from the Twin Cities or as a stopover on the way to Lake Superior in Wisconsin. 

Hayward Wisconsin is a great stop between the Twin Cities and Bayfield on Lake Superior.

Hayward is a town that is part of the Hayward Lakes region of Wisconsin. 

Best Hayward Wisconsin Lodging?

There are endless options for Hayward Wisconsin resorts and rental cabins. Here are two cabins in Hayward WI to highlight.

Hayward Cabins

Me sitting on a bench in front of a log cabin in Hayward WI
The Timberjack is one of several cabins by Hayward Cabins.

This collection of log cabins is an affordable option right near historic Main Street in Hayward. The cabins are a combination of rustic elements with modern touches like high speed internet. Each cabin has a unique theme and outdoor space. There is a boat dock and lake access from the property too!

Read my review of Hayward Cabins here!

Hayward Haus

Me sitting at a wood table next to a wall of windows with plants on shelves in the background.
Hayward Haus is a Scandinavian-inspired cabin with all the touches of the Wisconsin northwoods.

This Scandinavian-inspired cabin is beautifully designed. The Wisconsin northwoods are celebrated throughout the decor, including the Lumberjack World Championship and the American Birkiebeiner race. In summer, enjoy the outdoor space and lake access. 

Full review of Hayward Haus coming soon! Find them on Airbnb.

Best Things to Do in Hayward Wisconsin This Summer

I was blown away by all the fun outdoor activities to do in Hayward Wisconsin. There’s truly something for everyone and plenty of places to warm up between your winter fun!

1 | Hike the famous Birkie Trail.

The Birkie Trail is home to the largest cross-country skiing marathon in the US! This 100 kilometer trail stretches from Cable to Hayward in Wisconsin. In the warmer months, it is open for both hiking and biking. 

There are several trailheads that can be used to access the Birkie Trail. The Highway OO Trailhead has a good amount of parking, well-maintained bathrooms inside the warming hut, and picnic tables outside. The trail goes in either direction behind the warming hut.

Pro Tip: For bicycle rental in Hayward Wisconsin, visit New Moon Ski & Bike Shop. The friendly team will get you set up with the right gear!

2 | Go shopping along Main Street.

Mural along Main Street in Hayward Wisconsin
Be sure to snap a photo in front of the Hayward mural while strolling along Main Street.

Be sure to spend some time wandering along historic Main Street in Hayward. Here you’ll find shopping, restaurants, candy shops, and more. While you’re there, snap a photo in front of hte Hayward mural at the intersection of West 2nd Street.

One of my favorites is Lynne Marie’s Candy Shop, where Lynne Marie herself makes wonderful sweet treats. Ask them what they’re sampling for the day and find out for yourself!

3 | Enjoy a fish fry.

Golden fried fish and french fries on a metal tray with cole slaw and tartar sauce in Hayward Wisconsin.
The fish fry at Angler’s Bar & Grill on Main Street in Hayward is delicious!

In the northwoods of Wisconsin, they take their fish fries seriously! Many restaurants will have a Friday fish fry special, but you can find it on the menu any day of the week. If you ask locals, they will have strong opinions on which fish fry is the “best” so don’t expect to get a straight answer.

For fish fry along Main Street, stop at Angler’s Bar & Grill. They have a large outdoor patio but the inside is a unique experience. Picture wood paneling, prize fish, and taxidermied animals. 

Just outside of town, Lost Land Lake Lodge has an excellent fish fry as well! I’m told that among the Hayward Wisconsin resorts, this is the best fish fry.

4 | Explore the mountain biking trails.

Hayward is connected to an incredible network of mountain biking trails managed by the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA). There are 18 trailheads and over 130 miles of mountain biking trails to explore. Trails are rated for difficulty, so there is something for any skill level.

Right in Hayward, the Hospital Trails are a great option for beginners or anyone with limited time. There are 7 miles of biking trails that are split into smaller loops. The Hospital Trails are actually less than a mile from New Moon Ski & Bike Shop, which is perfect if you rent bikes from there and do not have a way to transport them to a trailhead. To do this, access the Hospital Trails via the Olson Road trailhead. 

5 | Experience Scheer’s Lumberjack Show.

A lumberjack chops a log that they are standing on at a lumberjack show.
Scheers Lumberjack Show is a must when visiting Hayward Wisconsin in summer!

Much like fish fries and supper clubs, lumberjacking is an icon of the Wisconsin northwoods. In fact, did you know that Hayward is home to the annual Lumberjack World Championships? This event takes place each July if you want to experience the excitement. 

Scheer’s Lumberjack Show takes place in the same arena 4 days per week during the summer season! This is a fun experience for the whole family with ax throwing, log rolling, pole climbing, and (my favorite) the boom run. The show is on rain or shine and the seats are partially covered.

Pro Tip: Check the online schedule before you visit. There is no show on Sundays and show times vary by day.

Drinks and snacks are available to purchase during the show but expect to pay in cash.

6 | Get an ice cream cone at West’s Dairy.

Cool off with a scoop or two of locally made ice cream at West’s Dairy. This ice cream shop has been in business since the 1950’s. Their small batch, premium ice cream comes in all sorts of flavors. Some of their specialty flavors include chunky musky, church basement lemon bar, and wild berry crumble!

7 | Enjoy breakfast (or lunch) at Backroads Coffee.

Jumpstart your day with some locally made and roasted coffee from Backroads Coffee. The menu has coffee shop staples as well as some fun coffee drinks if you’re feeling adventurous. My personal favorite breakfast item is the specialty breakfast burrito with ham.

In the front there is a nice selection of Wisconsin-inspired gifts. In the back there is a comfy seating area with tables, chairs, and a sofa.

8 | Cast a line and reel in some fish.

Make no mistake, Hayward is a fishing destination. It is home to world record muskies as well as walleye, crappie, large and small mouth bass and more. The region has over 50,000 acres of lakes and rivers with seemingly endless resorts and plenty of public boat launches. 

Pro Tip: If you stay at Hayward Cabins, there is a small boat dock on the property to park a boat during your stay. 

9 | Visit the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

Me sitting in a decorative row boat in front a 4 story tall muskie and a giant sunfish.
The Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame has a 4-1/2 story tall fish sculpture with an observation deck.

Have you ever been inside a four and a half story tall fish? Well, you can at the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame! This giant statue houses a museum and the mouth of the fish is an observation deck. 

But, there’s more than a giant fish statue to see! There are four buildings displaying over 50,000 items that honor the history and evolution of freshwater fishing and gear. 

In peak season, from June through August, the museum is open every day including Sundays and holidays. 

10 | Explore the hiking trails near Hayward Wisconsin.

Bear Trail sign with lake and forest in the background
The Bear Trail at the Hunt Hill Audubon Society is a great hiking trail near Hayward WI.

There are tons of places to go hiking near Hayward Wisconsin. The Chequamegon National Forest is located about 1 hour north of Hayward and is home to forest, lakes, streams and rivers that make up the Wisconsin northwoods. Inside the national forest, there is 60 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail. This trail extends over 4800 miles from North Dakota to Vermont.

For hiking that is closer to Hayward, the Hunt Hill Audubon Society has a number of trails on their property. Try the Bear Trail, which is a moderate 2.9 mile loop. For a longer hike, try the Rock Lake Loop trail in nearby Cable, which is a moderate 9 mile loop. 

11 | Sip wine at Out of the Woods Winery. 

Among my favorite places in Hayward is Out of the Woods Winery. Build your own wine tasting from the selection of red, white, cider, beer and mead. If you’re like me and hesitant about Midwest wines, I can assure you they have a good selection of dry wines that don’t taste fruity.

Out of the Woods Winery tasting room has a welcoming and fun atmosphere. There are community tables and bar seating if you want to make some new friends. Kids are welcome in the tasting room. In fact, there are art supplies for them to use and if they choose to leave their artwood behind it will be put on display for sale. All proceeds raised are donated to the local animal shelter. 

Pro Tip: Try the Bloody Marie, which is their take on a Bloody Mary with wine instead of vodka!

Other wineries near Hayward include Red Schoolhouse Wines and Tamarack Farms Winery.

12 | Stop in for a local brew at the Angry Minnow.

Grab a beer at the only microbrewery in Hayward, The Angry Minnow. Located in a historic building, the menu includes small plates and light bites. Their beer selection has the typical mainstays, like the Charlie’s Rye IPA and Minnow Light, as well as a rotating list of seasonal beers. 

13 | Experience an authentic Wisconsin supper club.

Having a meal at a supper club is essential when visiting the northwoods of Wisconsin. Every supper club is unique and, like fish frys, everyone has an opinion on which is the best. No matter where you go, supper clubs will tend to have a Friday fish fry, Saturday prime rib, and Sunday broasted chicken all served with a relish tray. A brandy old-fashioned is the traditional cocktail to sip!

There are several supper clubs in Hayward Wisconsin to choose from! The Ranch is tucked away in the woods with a lovely lounge area and several dining rooms. For appetizers, the stuffed dates are excellent!

Pro Tip: Find the full list of Wisconsin supper clubs in the region here

14 | Grab a pizza at Angler’s Haven Resort.

Pizza on a table
Angler’s Haven Resort in Hayward is known for its pizza with lakeside seating.

Why not enjoy a slice (or more) lakeside? Angler’s Haven Resort is just outside of Hayward on Lac Courte Oreilles. Onsite. The onsite restaurant is open to guests and visitors. The restaurant is best known for its pizza, with an impressive selection of specialty pizzas and a create-your-own-pizza option too. 

Pro Tip: While the food is delicious and the menu features more than pizza, this isn’t a place to go if you are looking for salads or healthier options.

15 | Visit Farmstead Creamery & Cafe.

Located inside the North Star Homestead, Farmstead Creamery & Cafe operates with a deep commitment to sustainable farming practices and living. Onsite they offer freshly made Italian style sheep’s milk gelato, coffee, tea and an ancient grains baked “treat of the day”. 

While there, browse the selection of gifts which range from locally sourced art, craft project kits and other handmade items.

Pro Tip: The hours are limited at Farmstead Creamery & Cafe. Check their website for the most up-to-date information.

16 | Canoe the Namekagon River.

The Namekagon River is part of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The River is over 99 miles long and runs through undeveloped wilderness which is great for kayaking, canoeing, tubing and even primitive camping at designated campsites.

The section of the Namekagon River that goes through Hayward is in Sawyer County. Find outfitters, canoe rentals, maps and more here.

Outdoor patio with wooden seating, red umbrella and lake in the distance
Outdoor seating at Angler’s Haven Resort in Hayward is next to Lac Courte Oreilles.

17 | Pick up sandwiches and picnic essentials at Miller’s Market.

Before you head out for your day’s adventure, stop at the deli inside Miller’s Market. This specialty grocery store has a made-to-order sandwich shop in the back. Find hot, cold, and even breakfast sandwiches that you customize with exactly the toppings you love.

18 | Rent an ATV or UTV and explore the trails.

Hayward offers access to over 140 miles of ATV trails. The area is considered to have the best ATV trails in the entire state of Wisconsin and even the midwest region. There are trails for any skill level of driver, from beginner to advanced. Learn more about four wheeling in Hayward here.

There are several places to rent ATV’s and UTV’s in Hayward. Runamuk Rides offers guided and unguided rentals. Hayward Power Sports has equipment rentals only (no guided option).

Enjoy your summer getaway in Hayward Wisconsin!

A summer getaway in Hayward Wisconsin has something for everyone. From lake life to lumberjacking, there are so many spectacular things to do in Hayward Wisconsin! 

Related content to read next:

Why You Need to Kayak the Apostle Islands Sea Caves

Frederic Wisconsin: The Perfect Weekend Getaway in Wisconsin

Best Airbnb in Wisconsin: Nordlys MetalLark Tower Airbnb Review

Check out my Minnesota page for more Midwest travel inspiration and tips!

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8 thoughts on “18 Spectacular Things to Do in Hayward Wisconsin This Summer

  1. This Big Wild World says:

    Wisconsin is full of surprises, definitely worth a visit (or many)! Hayward really does have a little bit of everything, so lots of options. Fresh fish after a long day outdoors sounds like the perfect end to a summer day!

  2. This Big Wild World says:

    The cabin really is a gem and the fish fry is delish! Hope you get to visit someday 🙂

  3. This Big Wild World says:

    There’s something special about Scandinavian style cabins! And, yes, can’t make a visit to Hayward in summer without a lumberjack show!

  4. kmf says:

    I live in the Twin Cities and know people who have cabins in Hayward, Wisconsin. However, I’ve never visited. Looks and sounds like a great getaway!

  5. Linda (LD Holland) says:

    We really do need to plan a visit to Wisconsin. Hayward looks like a great spot for an outdoor vacation. And those wooden cabins would be perfect. Fresh fish will always be our dinner of choice. Especially after a busy day hiking. I may not be fishing but I would try the Woods winery!

  6. Alisha says:

    Hayward sounds like a fun destination for a summer family adventure! As someone of Swedish descent, I’d really love to stay in one of those Scandinavian-inspired cabins.

    Also, the lumberjack sounds like a must-see!

    I would definitely stop by the kid-friendly winery as well.

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