Image of Red Mill Gift Shop. Red building

Fun Things to Do in Waupaca

By: Craig

This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I (The Winding Road Tripper) earn from qualifying purchases. Read more

There’s no shortage of things to do in Waupaca. The charming small town is located in the heart of Wisconsin’s Central Waters region and offers plenty of outdoor activities and various cultural and historical attractions. Here is our list of the best ways to enjoy the Waupaca area.

Hike the Ice Age Trail 

If you love the great outdoors, you’ll love the Ice Age Trail that winds through Waupaca. This incredible hiking trail offers plenty of picturesque views and challenging terrain. Whether you’re looking for a stroll, a strenuous hike, or something in between, the Ice Age Trail has something for everyone.

As you plan your hike, stop at one of the many scenic spots along the trail. From high ridges to riverside paths, you’ll be sure to find a spot that inspires you.

Explore the Waupaca Chain of Lakes 

The Waupaca Chain of Lakes is a series of seven interconnected lakes offering plenty of fishing and water sports opportunities. Whether you’re looking to catch the big one or enjoy the beauty of the lakes, you’re sure to have a fantastic time here.

Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon on the shores of one of the lakes. Or, rent a canoe or kayak and explore the many coves and inlets. No matter what you choose to do, the Waupaca Chain of Lakes is sure to provide a memorable experience.


Kayaking the Chain O Lakes is locals’ and visitors’ favorite pastime. Rent a kayak at one of the many local rental businesses, and enjoy an afternoon on the water. Some of the best rental places include:

  • Ding’s Dock: There are a variety of kayaks, paddle boards, aluminum canoes, Maui Mats, and pontoon boats available to rent at Ding’s Dock for hourly rentals.
  • Adventure Outfitters LLC: This company lives up to its name by providing kayak & paddleboard rentals. Or, for those looking for a different adventure, you can rent bikes, snowshoes, and so much more.
  • Becker Marine: In addition to canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, skiing boats, and row boats with and without motors, Becker Marine rents 20-foot and 24-foot pontoons.

You can also take a guided kayak tour and explore the area with a knowledgeable guide.

Clearwater Harbor Boat Cruises

For those who want to take it easy, a boat cruise on Clearwater Harbor is the perfect way to relax and enjoy the beauty of Waupaca. With its small-town charm, spectacular sunsets, and views of the Waupaca Chain of Lakes, it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular things to do in Waupaca.

Clearwater Harbor Boat Cruises offers a variety of cruises, from one-hour narrated tours to two-hour sunset cruises. Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape or an unforgettable family adventure, this is the perfect way to experience Waupaca. And don’t forget to bring your camera—you’ll want to capture the stunning views for posterity.

Disc Golf at Standing Rock Park

Standing Rock Park is a popular spot for disc golf. The 18-hole course provides the perfect challenge for beginners, and it’s also a great spot for more experienced players. There’s also a park disc golf shop to pick up new discs before your round.

If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, the park also offers plenty of picnic tables and benches, perfect for enjoying a meal with friends and family.

Tom Thumb Mini Golf 

For a fun family outing, check out Tom Thumb Mini Golf. Located just outside of town, this 18-hole course provides plenty of entertainment for the whole family. Its bright colors and whimsical design will surely bring out the kid in everyone.

Drive through Rural, WI, between Hartman’s area and Red Mill

For a sightseeing tour, be sure to drive through Rural, WI. This rural area is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the state. As you make your way from Hartman’s area to Red Mill, you’ll be able to take in the breathtaking views of rolling hills and lush farmland.

Red Mill Gift Shop

Don’t miss out on stopping at the Red Mill Gift Shop, Coffee Shop, and Ice Cream Parlor. This cute shop is located along the Crystal River and has a cute walking path that leads to a covered bridge and a tiny chapel.

Stop in for a coffee or ice cream and relax by the river. 

Nelson Park

Perfect for a photo op, the Springwater Saxeville Covered Bridge and Nelson Park are all great spots to take in the beauty of Waupaca. The historical features of Nelson Park will make for the perfect backdrop for your next family photo or just a great place to enjoy a peaceful afternoon.

Springwater Saxeville Covered Bridge

Built by volunteers in 1997, this covered bridge is one of two in Wisconsin. The old bridge here needed repair, and a group volunteered their time and money to create this gorgeous covered bridge.

The area around the bridge has been developed into beautiful gardens, making the area that much more magical. 

Restaurants and Drinks to Check Out in Waupaca

When it’s time for a break from all the activities, check out some of Waupaca’s delicious restaurants and drinks. There’s something for everyone, from quaint coffee shops to fine dining restaurants.

Little Fat Gretchens

Open for breakfast and lunch, Little Fat Gretchen’s features amazing pies, bakery, tasty American fare, and breakfast served all day. 

Either dine in or grab some bakery to-go. Your taste buds will thank you. 

Central Waters Brewery

For a taste of some of the best craft beers in town, check out Central Waters Brewery. This local brewery offers a wide selection of beers, from light and fruity IPAs to dark, rich stouts. Central Waters is the place to go for some of Wisconsin’s finest craft beers.

They have a great tap room and outdoor space to enjoy a beautiful Wisconsin day. 

Related Post: Wisconsin Brewery Map – Digital Map for On-the-Go Access

Clearwater Harbor Restaurant

For an unforgettable dining experience, head to Clearwater Harbor Restaurant. Located overlooking the Waupaca Chain of Lakes, this restaurant offers gorgeous views and delicious dishes. 

Choose from a variety of American cuisine options like steakburgers or homemade pizzas. They also offer boat cruises, so you can enjoy the Waupaca Chain’s beauty while enjoying a romantic dinner.

Wheel House Pizza

When you’re looking for pizza, Wheel House Pizza is the perfect spot. This cozy pizzeria offers a tasty selection of hand-tossed pizza and other Italian favorites. With its delicious slices and casual atmosphere, Wheel House will surely be a hit with the entire family.

HH Hinder Brewing Company

The HH Hinder Brewing Company is the perfect spot for craft beer enthusiasts. This small microbrewery offers a variety of beers, from light lagers to rich stouts and IPAs. 

With its cozy atmosphere and unique selection, HH Hinder Brewing Company will surely have something for everyone. And for those who want a bite to eat, the brewery also serves up some delicious pub food.

Red Fox 

Red Fox serves up some of Wisconsin’s favorites. From cheese curds to brats and burgers, this local favorite is sure to have something that will satisfy your taste buds. And with its comfortable atmosphere and friendly staff, Red Fox is a great spot for gathering with friends or family.

Scooper’s Ice Cream

For dessert, head to Scooper’s Ice Cream. This local ice cream shop offers a variety of delicious flavors, from classic favorites like vanilla and chocolate to unique flavors like maple bacon and banana split. With its tasty treats and friendly atmosphere, Scooper’s will surely be a hit with the whole family.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for an adventurous outdoor adventure or a relaxing day of sightseeing and food, Waupaca has something for everyone. From kayaking and biking to mini-golfing and boat cruises, there’s plenty to do in this small town.

Whatever you choose to do in Waupaca, there’s sure to be something that will make your stay memorable. From outdoor adventures and water activities to delicious restaurants and drinks, this charming town has plenty of fun experiences for everyone. So grab your friends and family, and get ready for the time of your life!

Related Wisconsin Fun Posts:
Things to Do in Door County in Winter
Things to Do in Sheboygan
Things to Do in Manitowoc and Two Rivers