Oneida County Happy Hour Guide

When you’re on vacation, you don’t need to pay attention to the clock—except when it comes to happy hour! Here are four of our favorite spots to get a hot deal on a cold drink.

Tomahawk: Indulge in a Wisconsin classic, the Old Fashioned, at Road Lake Pub & Grill in Tomahawk. They specialize in this Northwoods favorite, hand-muddling them from scratch. Best of all, the bar overlooks beautiful Road Lake, so you’re guaranteed a gorgeous view with your evening cocktail.

Minocqua: Speaking of great views, grab a drink menu and a spot on the deck of The Thirsty Whale and soak in the sounds of Lake Minocqua lapping beside you! Choose from six different varieties of wines and raise a toast to the Min-Aqua Bats, who you’ll see waterskiing by the deck on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7pm, mid-June through August.

Rhinelander: For a truly classic Northwoods experience, you’ve gotta hit happy hour at a supper club, and it doesn’t get any more classic than The Al-Gen in Rhinelander. Their cozy cocktail lounge is a great place to relax, and while they’re known for their Old Fashioneds, the bartenders here are well-versed in all things drinkable. If you come on Sunday night, make sure you stay for the all-you-can-eat broasted chicken!

Three Lakes: If you’re looking for something a little different, check out the Black Forest Pub & Grille in Three Lakes. This friendly spot offers authentic German food, and even better yet, authentic German beers. You’ll be brimming with gemütlichkeit in no time! A game room with a pool table, darts and video games will keep the kids entertained as well.

Five for $5 in Oneida County

When you’re in Oneida County, we want you to relax: that means no stressing about how much this vacation is going to cost you. That’s why we’ve come up with five cool things to do that will only cost you one Abe Lincoln. So dig deep in those couch cushions and go have some fun!

  1. Rhinelander: On Tuesdays, movies at Rouman Cinema in Rhinelander are just $5 for everyone! (They’ve also got special Tuesday deals on popcorn, soda and all your favorite movie theater snacks.) Showing all the newest releases, this is a great stop for budget-friendly family fun.
  2. Minocqua Area: Put down the phone and pick up a bowling ball! At Island City Lanes in Minocqua, a game of bowling will cost you $3.50 per person, and $2 for the shoes; just a little more than $5, but pretty close. This 12-lane center is totally family-friendly and we know you’ll have a ball!
  3. Another sweet deal in the Minocqua Area can be found at Rock Falls Riding Stables, Mini Golf and Go Karts in Arbor Vitae. A round of mini golf will usually run you $6 a person, but on Wednesday, it’s just $4! (Can’t make it on Wednesday? Fridays kids golf free with an adult at $6, so technically, that’s an even better deal!)
  4. Tomahawk: Let’s be honest, we all scream for ice cream. And you’ll scream when you see the deals at the Windmill Ice Cream Shoppe in Tomahawk! Get huge scoops of delicious ice cream in a waffle cone with tons of flavors to choose from, all for under $5.
  5. Tripoli: If you love a good glass of wine, you won’t want to miss a tour and tasting at the Brigadoon Winery in Tripoli. For just $2 a person, you’ll get a tour of this beautiful winery (call ahead to schedule) and for just $3 per person you can sample the fruits of their labors with a wine tasting.

Budget-conscious family fun in Oneida County

Oneida County is a great place to bring your family on vacation: one that doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Check out these five spots for family fun that won’t break the bank.

Minocqua Area: Make a trip to Woodruff to learn about the “Angel on Snowshoes,” at the Dr. Kate Museum. Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb was a Northwoods doctor best known for paying visits to patients on snowshoes when the roads were impassable, in addition to her desire to build a hospital in Woodruff. Besides learning about Dr. Kate, the family can also take in some interesting tidbits about Woodruff’s history, see the “World’s Largest Penny” and check out some 1950s nostalgia. Admission is by donation and the museum is open from the second Monday in June through the Friday before Labor Day.

In Minocqua, kids of all ages will love the Northwoods Wildlife Center. In addition to rehabilitating wild animals, the center is dedicated to research and education. Take a guided tour to see and learn about eagles, hawks, falcons and owls, then, explore the indoor nature center to learn about Wisconsin turtles, try some crafts and watch feeding time for baby wildlife. The center is open year-round, with varying days, and the recommended donation is $5 per person.

Rhinelander: History buffs of any age will love the Pioneer Park Historical Complex in Rhinelander. Here you’ll find the Rhinelander School Museum, the Logging Museum, Soo Line Railroad Depot, Civilian Conservation Corps Museum and a model railroad display. There’s also an authentic recreation of an 1870s lumberjack camp, complete with equipment and artifacts. Admission here is free too, but donations are appreciated. The complex is open Memorial Day through the end of September.

Another family-friendly free activity in Rhinelander is a bit of a scavenger hunt. By using the handy Hodag Finder, you can see a map of all the Hodags discovered (so far) in Rhinelander; find them all and you’ll get a special Hodag-themed prize from the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce!

Tomahawk: Prepare to be wowed (for free) at the Tomahawk Kwakamot Water Ski Club Show! The shows take place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evening at Kwahamot Bay in Tomahawk from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The shows are free, but you can show your support for these talented performers by indulging in some drinks and snacks from their fully-stocked concession stand while you watch!


Fun for free in Oneida County

Oneida County is a place that delivers big Northwoods experiences without a big price tag. From unforgettable outdoor recreation spots to live open air attractions, there’s plenty to do that won’t cost you a dime. Here are some of our favorite budget-friendly things to see and do in Oneida County.

Stroll the Hiawatha Trail

This 6-mile scenic trail follows a historic railway corridor that was built to haul loads of lumber from the Northwoods. Today it offers a nice place to take a walk—bikers need a state trail pass, but no permit is needed to take a stroll. Leashed dogs are welcome too. After your stroll, be sure to get some ice cream at the Windmill Ice Cream Shoppe in Tomahawk.

Take a dip at Hodag Park

In the the heart of Rhinelander, this park is a great way to access the refreshing waters of Boom Lake. There’s a swimming beach along with a nice picnic area and athletic facilities. It’s also a wonderful spot to catch a sunset.

Paddle Northwoods waters

One of the best ways to enjoy the warmer months is on a lake or river. Many Oneida County resorts offer free use of paddleboards, canoes or kayaks. If you’ve got your own, the opportunities are even more expansive. Check out these paddling options in the Minocqua area.

See a waterski show

Head shoreside for some of the best waterski shows in the Northwoods! There are four weekly shows in Oneida County, so you can find fun pretty much any night of the week. Check out the Three Lakes Aqua Devils, Minocqua Aqua Bats , Tomahawk Kwahamot Water Ski Club and Hodag Water Shows. While there’s no admission, donations are the shows are appreciated.


Four cross-country ski trails to try

Winter is here! Northern Wisconsin is (finally) covered in snow, so that means it’s time to get out and explore. Grab your skis or snowshoes and head to Oneida County, where you’ll find trails perfect for winter adventurers of all skill levels. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss.

Minocqua Winter Park

You’ll find this sprawling winter sports complex in far western Oneida County, about a half-hour drive from downtown Minocqua. More than 50 miles of trails—all of which are groomed regularly to keep them in tip-top shape—cut through 6,500 acres of beautiful Northwoods scenery. Trails are open to classic cross-country skiing, skate skiing, snowshoeing and fat tire biking. On the weekends, bring the family for fun on the 400-foot snow tubing hill. A trail pass (or snow tubing tickets) can be purchased at the Winter Park chalet. See a trail map here and learn more about Minocqua Winter Park here.

Three Eagle Trail

The Three Eagle Trail is a non-motorized trail that connects the Oneida County community of Three Lakes with Eagle River in Vilas County. In the winter, a five-mile section of the trail from Highway 32/45 west to Sundstein Road is groomed for classic track skiing and skate skiing. The trail, which generally offers good protection from the wind, traverses beautiful Northwoods scenery, including a bridge over Mud Creek. Parking is available off Sundstein Road or off Highway 32/45 near Clearwater Lake. There is no fee to use the trail, but donations are accepted at a donation box at the Sundstein Road parking lot. See a map trail here and learn more here.

Rhinelander Area trails

If you’re visiting Rhinelander (a.k.a. Hodag Country), you’ll discover some great trails maintained by the Northwoods Nordic Ski Club. The Northwoods Nordic Ski Club is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that oversees approximately 30 kilometers of trails at three sites: the Rhinelander Northwood Nordic Ski trails near Northwood Golf Course, the Rhinelander Community Trails near Rhinelander High School and the CAVOC Trails just east of Rhinelander. Learn more about the trails and see the latest snow report here.

Underdown Recreation Area, Tomahawk

This popular winter sports destination sits about 16 miles southeast of Tomahawk in Lincoln County, but it’s a worthwhile drive. Skiers can traverse more than 20 miles of cross-country trails of varying difficulty at Underdown Recreation Area, making it a popular destination in the winter. Trails are groomed weekly as conditions allow. Trail passes are required and can be purchased on-site (at the parking area on Copper Lake Avenue) for $8 a day or $25 for the season. See a trail map here.

Find information about more Oneida County trails here.

Museum secrets

What do a million pennies and an elderly woman on snowshoes have to do with Oneida County? Find out this summer with a tour of Oneida County’s fascinating local history museums. You’ll learn about the rugged loggers that harvested trees here, and you’ll discover what it was like to attend a one-room school heated by a wood stove. Here are some things you can discover in Oneida County.

Dr. Kate Museum, Woodruff

In the years before there were powerful snowplows clearing Oneida County’s roads, there was a small woman called “the Angel on Snowshoes.” Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb did not have wings, but she was angelic to the residents of Oneida County who were in need of medical care during the cold winter months. Dr. Kate reached her patients on snowshoes, but she knew her patients needed more. She launched a campaign to build a hospital, and students began collecting pennies to make it possible. The dream captured the world’s imagination, and pennies began pouring in from all over the planet. The hospital was built, and in 1988, a museum was constructed to preserve Dr. Kate’s special story.

Pioneer Park Historical Complex

Explore Rhinelander’s logging history at this popular historical park. Take a stroll through the Rhinelander School Museum, learn about lumberjacks in the Logging Museum and check out the Soo Line Depot and the Conservation Corps Museum. You’ll also see an authentic recreation of an 1870s lumberjack camp, a wide variety of logging equipment and an outstanding collection of items and artifacts from Rhinelander’s past.

Three Lakes Historical Society & Museum

Located at the Johnson House, the oldest known home in Three Lakes, the museum has seven exhibit buildings chronicling the history of the Three Lakes area. It includes details about Native Americans who lived in the area, as well as information about the logging, farming and railroad industries. The museum also showcases Three Lakes tourism during the 1940s and 1950s and includes information on notable people and events from recent years.

Minocqua Museum

This charming little museum is worth a return visit—it has exhibits that change from year to year but always include details about the Island City’s special past. Previous exhibits have focused on pioneer families, early electricity in Minocqua and waterski memorabilia. Come see what’s new—and old!

Fall color, fun events & more

Fall color season offers plenty of ways to enjoy the beauty in Oneida County. Here’s your guide to planning a spectacular fall getaway in any of Oneida County’s welcoming communities.

Explore these scenic trails

Where to see the best colors? Here are some trails and nature paths known for great fall scenery:

Raven Nature Trail – You’ll find this 13.5-mile scenic trail near Clear Lake, north of Minocqua. The trails are open in the fall for hiking and biking. The terrain includes some hills, and the views are breathtaking.

Awassa Nature Preserve & Hiking Trail – An easy 5 miles of trails where you can experience Oneida County’s pristine and colorful forests on this beautiful trail that wanders through stands of mature pines, oaks, maples, and a rich understory of balsam fir. The trail is located west of St. Germain.

Three Eagle Trail – This mostly level 12.7-mile trail heads through some pretty country north of Three Lakes. The trail passes through wetlands and includes nice stretches of fall color. It’s a great place for an easy walk or bike ride.

Washburn Lake Trail – This hilly trail offers a rewarding hiking experience west of Rhinelander. It’s good for fall hiking or mountain biking.

Click here to explore more Oneida County trails.

Mark your calendar for these events

Events celebrating the change of the season are fast approaching:

In mid-September, more than 40,000 motorcycle enthusiasts and others celebrate fall at the Tomahawk Fall Ride.

Also in middle of September check out Lake Tomahawk’s Lioness Annual Harvest Festival, it features an arts and crafts fair, pumpkin carving and concessions. And at St. Germain, fall festivities take place at Colorama & Pints in the Park in with live entertainment, microbrew sampling, and a human foosball tournament.

In the end of September, the Harvest Hoedown takes place in Rhinelander. There is a pig roast, live music, hayrides, face painting and more.

Check out more festivals and events in the area here.


Catching adventure in Oneida County

Fishing in Oneida County is pure heaven. Some of the most iconic lakes in the Northwoods are located in Oneida County, including the Rhinelander Flowage, Boom Lake and the Willow Flowage. The county has many smaller lakes that you might not have heard of, but they are all well stocked with fish and are waiting for your line. Here are a few tips for to make your next fishing trip to Oneida County perfect:

Save the date
Mark your calendar for key Oneida County fishing dates. The main fishing season for gamefish (like walleye and northern pike) starts May 6. Musky season starts May 27. June 3-4 is the state of Wisconsin’s Free Fishing Weekend, when no fishing license is required (but other rules and regulations still apply.

Seize the season
Oneida County is known for its abundant gamefish—you’ll find excellent bass fishing and great walleye action. Late spring is an ideal time to target these fish, as water temperatures are optimal. Plan your spring getaway now—the fish are waiting!

Find a guide
Oneida County has plenty of knowledgeable fishing guides who will help make your fishing trip more productive and fun. These guides not only take care of all the logistics, they have years of experience on local lakes that they are more than happy to share.

Book perfect lodging
Oneida County has plenty of accommodations that are ideal for a fishing trip, including cabins, hotels, motels and resorts. Properties are filling quickly – to find the perfect place, make your reservations now.

Learn more about fishing

Uncovering Oneida County’s surprises

Uncovering Oneida County’s surprises

While Oneida County is known for its beautiful lakes and trails, it may be surprising that it is home to some amazing attractions. Some of these places fly under the radar and others are well-known establishments that have been enjoyed by generations of travelers. Here are a few attractions to check out on your next Oneida County getaway:

Three Lakes Winery

Oneida County is wine country? You bet. If you’ve never tasted the wines produced by this craft winery, you’re in for a treat. Three Lakes Winery produces wines flavored with cranberry, rhubarb and pumpkin! Stop in for a free tasting – they’re available daily throughout the year.

Kovak Planetarium

Take a cosmic journey next time you’re in Hodag Country. The Kovac Planetarium is a one-of-a-kind globe-style planetarium displaying a complete replica of the night skies. The planetarium was built by Frank Kovac, a paper worker who dreamed of becoming an astrophysicist.

Three Lakes Center for the Arts

After World War II, hundreds of military Quonset huts were repurposed into movie theaters. Just six remain, and one is located in the heart of Three Lakes. The Three Lakes Center for the Arts is housed in a structure once owned by the SeaBees in World War II. A local sports hero, Cy Williams, designed and built the original 1946 theater. Today the building is a center for arts and entertainment and it regularly hosts movies and concerts.


Find more attractions

Fish big, win big on the ice

Things are about to heat up on Oneida County’s beautiful frozen lakes. When bragging rights and a full catch isn’t enough, make things a little more interesting and head to an Oneida County fishing tournament, where a good day on the lake might just fill the pockets of your parka with cash.

Here are a few places to try your luck this winter.

  • Feb. 4 – UPS/United Way Ice Fishing Jamboree. Stacks Bay on Lake Minocqua in Minocqua.
  • Feb. 11-12 – Lion’s Club Fisheree and Winter Festival. Boom Lake in Rhinelander.
  • Feb. 25 – Somo Game Club Ice Fishing Jamboree. Somo Lake in Tomahawk.

These events feature fishing contests and raffles that offer great prizes and they are a lot of fun. They just a taste of Oneida County’s winter events – they take place every weekend, on and off the lake. Find more winter festivals and events here. Discover more about ice fishing in Oneida County on our website and check out fishing reports here.