Frederic Wisconsin: The Perfect Weekend Getaway in Wisconsin

Do you love discovering hidden gems? Well, let me introduce you to Frederic Wisconsin. Located just 90 minutes from the Twin Cities in Minnesota, this gem of a town makes the perfect summer weekend getaway in Wisconsin. Spend your weekend hiking, berry picking, sipping wine, paddling and so much more!

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Where is Frederic Wisconsin?

Frederic is located about 80 miles, or 1-½ hours, northeast of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, in western Wisconsin. The relatively small town offers easy access to the St Croix River, the Ice Age Trail and many more fun things to do for a weekend getaway. 

An overview map showing Frederic Wisconsin is about 80 miles northeast of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul Minnesota.
Frederic Wisconsin is about 80 miles northeast of the Twin Cities.

Wherever you’re coming from, a good portion of the drive to Frederic will be on relatively rural roads. If you have limited cell phone service for navigation, you may consider downloading the offline version of your maps.

Best Place to Stay in Frederic Wisconsin

Nordlys MetalLark Tower is a Scandinavian inspired cabin located in Frederic Wisconsin that overlooks a field of wildflowers.
Nordlys MetalLark Tower cabin in Frederic Wisconsin.

Hands down, the best place to stay in Frederic Wisconsin is at Nordlys Lodge! Their Scandinavian inspired cabins sit on 140 acres of rolling hills, a small lake, and trails to explore on foot or two wheels. 

There are two different cabins on the property. The MetalLark Tower is a one bedroom two-story design with breathtaking views of a prairie covered in wildflowers. It’s one of the most incredible cabins I’ve ever stayed in. The LongHouse is a two bedroom one-story cabin nestled in the woods. Both have fully outfitted kitchens, gas fireplaces, and outdoor space. 

All guests have access to a fire pit stocked with wood, bicycles with helmets, and a paddleboat!

Stay tuned for my full review of Nordlys Metallark Tower. Check pricing or book your getaway on Airbnb. 

Best Things to Do in Frederic Wisconsin in Summer

Aside from the awesome things to do on Nordlys property, if you choose to stay there, Frederic and the surrounding area have so many fun things to do. Be sure to save some time to rest and relax back at the cabin!

1 | Hike along the Ice Age Trail at Straight Lake State Park.

Straight Lake State Park in Frederic Wisconsin has access to 6 miles of the Ice Age Trail and beautiful lake views.
Hike a section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail at Straight Lake State Park in Frederic Wisconsin.

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a 1000 mile long hiking trail that extends across the state of Wisconsin. About six of those miles can be found in Straight Lake State Park

The easiest way to hop onto the Ice Age Trail is to park at the Straight Lake State Park picnic area parking lot. This is located at the south eastern edge of Straight Lake. There is a vault toilet at this parking lot.

From here follow the path north between Straight and Rainbow Lakes. When the trail splits, go left (west) for the quickest access to the Ice Age Trail. Once you reach the IAT, you can go left or right and follow the yellow blazes. The left path follows the north shore of Straight Lake. The right path follows a ridge between Rainbow Lake and the Straight River. If you want to do a loop, take either the Rainbow Trail Loop or the Glacial Trail Loop back to the parking lot. 

Pro Tip: A Wisconsin State Park annual or day pass is required for entry. This park check or cash-only day passes available via an envelope and lock box system in the parking lot. Bring cash OR purchase a pass in advance and have it on display in your vehicle window.

2 | Make a stop at Rustic Roots Winery.

A wine tasting menu for Rustic Roots winery next to a cardboard cutout of Minnesota to carry your wine tasting glasses in while on their outdoor patio.
Rustic Roots Winery serves wine tastings on their large outdoor patios.

Located about 45 minutes away from Frederic in Scandia Minnesota, Rustic Roots Winery is an expected gem. I am generally skeptical of wineries in Minnesota and the Midwest, but this place pleasantly surprised me. Choose from their assortment of whites, reds and even a rose to build your tasting. 

What I loved most about Rustic Roots is the space itself. There’s a space for everyone and every need. Take your pick from the cozy indoor tasting room, the screened-in porch on the upper deck, the bar seating on the upper patio, the multi-level outdoor patio with views of the vines or the front patio adorned with flowers. 

While you’re there, enjoy a bite or share a plate with friends! Their food menu has small bites, sandwiches, salads and flatbreads. Plus, they have a rotating selection of items on their blackboard.

3 | Pick fresh blueberries or strawberries.

Picking blueberries at Rocky Ridge Blueberry Farm in Frederic Wisconsin. Pancakes made with fresh picked blueberries.
Blueberry picking at Rocky Ridge Blueberry Farm in Frederic Wisconsin and homemade waffles topped with fresh blueberries.

Have you ever picked fresh berries? You’re in for a treat! Near Frederic you can pick both blueberries and strawberries if you visit at the right time of summer.

Just a short drive from Nordlys in Frederic is Rocky Ridge Blueberry Farm. Here you can either purchase blueberries or pick your own. They planted their first blueberries in 2010 and had their first crop available in 2013. Today, they have four different varieties of blueberries to choose from. (Am I the only one who didn’t know there were that many types of blueberries?)

Season: Generally late June and early July*

Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 8a-3p

Payment: Cash or check only.

*Follow along on their Facebook page for the latest updates on each year’s crops.

Pro Tip: Bring your own reusable containers to bring your berries home with you. If you forget, they have cardboard boxes for purchase. Bring a cooler to make sure your berries get home safely!

Lindy’s Berries is also located nearby and is the place to go for fresh strawberries. This is a family owned and operated business with four generations of berry growing experience. They also have strawberries for purchase or the option to pick your own!

Season: Generally June and July*

Hours: Days vary, 7a-12p

Payment: Cash or check only.

*Again, follow along on their Facebook page for the latest updates. 

4 | Visit one of the many apple orchards.

If you’re in the area towards the end of summer or early fall (September and October), be sure to stop at one of the apple orchards in the area. Baker Orchard has an impressive selection of apple varieties, including the much sought after Honeycrisp. They also have a small onsite art gallery and peace garden to explore.  Timberland Hills Orchard has a cafe and bakery you can enjoy before or after your trip to the orchard. They use sustainable agriculture and integrated pest management strategies along with solar panels to power their operation! 

5 | Grab a drink on the patio at Bon Ton Tavern.

Try a local craft beer on the patio at Bon Ton Tavern in Luck Wisconsin.
Bon Ton Tavern in Luck Wisconsin has a large selection of local craft beers and a large outdoor patio.

On a whim, I wandered into Bon Ton Tavern not knowing what to expect. It’s clear that the spacious indoor area is used for live music in non-pandemic times. However, the outdoor patio is what I loved the most. There are multiple levels and areas on the patio, making it a fun but intimate place to catch up with friends. Try one of the many local craft beers they have on top in the bottle!

Pro Tip: Stock up on food to cook back at Nordlys, or wherever you are staying, at Natural Alternative Food Co-op in Luck. It’s located just across the street from Bon Ton Tavern and has a good assortment of organic, locally-sourced, sustainably made grocery items. While you’re there, pick up some Beez Kneez locally-sourced honey!

6 | Start your day at Cafe Wren.

Cafe Wren is a local favorite coffee shop and bakery. Treat yourself to a morning bun or other pastry with your coffee to get your day started. Or stop by in the afternoon for a sweet treat or sandwich. Find locally sourced goods in their store as well, including honey, maple syrup and coffee.

7 | Hike the Gandy Dancer Southern Segment.

The Gandy Dancer is split into a northern and southern segment and is a great trail for some longer miles for hiking in western Wisconsin. The southern section starts near Interstate State Park (see below) and extends 47 miles north through Frederic and up to Danbury where it ends at the St Croix River and the border of Minnesota. 

Frederic Wisconsin is conveniently located in the center of the Gandy Dancer Southern Segment. So, hikers or bikers can go north or south. If you go south from Frederic, that portion of the Gandy Dancer coincides with the Ice Age Trail. 

Pro Tip: A Wisconsin State Trail pass is necessary for bicyclists on the trail. Passes are available at several places. Visit their website for a complete listing.

8 | Capture the wildlife at Crex Meadow State Wildlife Area.

With more than 30,000 acres to explore, Crex Meadow State Wildlife Area features wetlands, forest and prairie formed by glaciers centuries ago. It’s a perfect place for photography and bird watching, but also for anyone who loves wildlife! While there you can hike, bike, canoe, and even hunt and trap if that’s your thing.

9 | Explore the trails at Interstate State Park.

Interstate State Park spans both sides of the St Croix River with access in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The rugged rock formations at Interstate State Park are a popular rock climbing, bouldering, hiking and paddling destination.

This unique state park is appropriately named as it spans across two states: Minnesota and Wisconsin. Visitors can park on either side of the St Croix River to access the trails.

On the Minnesota side, get a glimpse of the unique glacial potholes formed over centuries. It’s also known for bouldering and rock climbing on the dramatic cliffs and formations. Hiking on the Minnesota side of the park is somewhat limited with just 4 miles of trails, but the views are stunning.

On the Wisconsin side, enjoy the same stunning views of the rock formations along the St Croix. There are several shorter hiking trails here so you can build-your-own-adventure based on how far you want to go. Consider hiking the Eagle Creek Trail to one of the highest elevations in the park (1.6 miles out-and-back). Also, visit the western terminus of the Ice Age Trail, located along the 0.4 mile Pothole Trail loop. The Summit Rock Trail takes you to the highest point on the bluffs and is just a 0.5 mile loop. 

10 | Enjoy the art at Franconia Sculpture Park.

A art sculpture stands tall above the grass at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota.
Wander through the interact art installations at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota.

Franconia Sculpture Park is along the route to Frederic from the Twin Cities, in Shaffer Minnesota. The park is open year-round and offers free (donation encouraged) access to the ever-changing outdoor sculptures. There is also a building with indoor exhibits, restrooms and a gift shop. 

The outdoor sculptures are massive and many are interactive. Wear your walking shoes as they are spread out across a large grassy field. For those who need assistance, ask about the golf cart rentals.

Bonus | Take a hike at Wild River State Park.

This park is located just a short drive west of Frederic in Minnesota. It’s not directly on the way to the Twin Cities, but worth a stop if you’re looking for another place to go biking or hiking.

Wild River State Park stretches along 18 miles of the St Croix River. The area was first inhabited by the Dakota and Ojibwe people. Later it was established as part of the fur trade and eventually the logging industry. Today the park has over 30 miles of hiking trails and 3 miles of paved biking trails. It’s a popular destination for canoeing, kayaking and fishing as well. 

Have Fun on Your Summer Weekend Getaway in Frederic Wisconsin

There are so many awesome things to do in Frederic Wisconsin this summer. Honestly, this small town surprised me in the best way! It’s got the perfect mix of adventure and chill. Have fun on your weekend getaway in Wisconsin!

Related content to read next:

Why You Need to Kayak the Apostle Islands Sea Caves

What to Wear Hiking in Summer

Day Hike Packing List: A Prepared Girl’s Guide

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

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Frederic Wisconsin Summer Weekend Getaway - A cabin, hiking along a lake, and blueberry picking.

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