A great town anytime of the year, at its heart, Minocqua is a summer town, and Jack Idlas ’12 would go so far as to say it is the perfect summer town. Idlas is an assistant public defender at the Lake County Public Defender’s Office in the Chicago area. But when he needs an escape, he heads to his favorite summer getaway. Here’s his guide to the perfect day in Minocqua.
7 a.m. Great Northern Coffeehouse and a walk on the Bearskin Trail
Skip sleeping in: in the summer months, the sunlight hours are plentiful, and I try to
enjoy all of them. Start with the cinnamon French toast bake at the Great Northern
Coffeehouse. Grab a coffee to go and enjoy a peaceful hike on the Bearskin State
Trail, just a block away.
9 a.m. Shopping in downtown Minocqua
Downtown Minocqua is home to small shops for every taste. Kids will enjoy
Lakeland Variety, referred to by locals as “the 5 and Dime.” Check out the Gaslight
Square’s antique gallery. I admit — I am not much of a shopper. That being said,
there is one store all Wisconsin-lovers will enjoy: Packerland Plus. This store has
everything you could ever need to express your love of Wisconsin sports.
11 a.m. Grab an early lunch at the Thirsty Whale
The Thirsty Whale is one of many great lunch spots in Minocqua. Located on
Lake Minocqua, the Whale boasts a great view of the busiest part of the lake and
a delicious ahi tuna sandwich.
12:30 p.m. Hit the lake
It’s time to stop looking at the lake and go enjoy it. Swim at Torpy Park or rent a
stand-up paddleboard. Or explore the lake by renting a boat or going on the Minocqua
pontoon tour. Take the 30-minute trip to Lake Tomahawk (the largest of the lakes
on the chain). While there, grab a cocktail at Lakeside Landing, then head down to
Indian Mound Picnic Beach for a swim.
5 p.m. Dinner at the Boathouse
If you’ve heard of Minocqua, you’ve probably heard of the Boathouse’s predecessor,
Bosacki’s. This large restaurant overlooks Lake Minocqua, offering breathtaking
views as the sun gets closer to the horizon. On Friday, the beer-battered fish fry is
the must-order item.
7 p.m. Watch the Min-Aqua Bats Waterski Show
After dinner, walk just past the Boathouse to watch the Min-Aqua Bats Waterski
Show, the world’s longest-running waterski show. At 7 p.m. every Wednesday,
Friday, and Sunday, the all-amateur group of teenagers and college students puts
on a must-see show with thrills, spills, and a few laughs, too.
9 p.m. Drinks and music at the Little Brown Jug
This tiny tavern doesn’t have much space, but it makes up for it with character. On
Sunday, catch 22 Off, my favorite local band. And if you’re lucky, Rusty, the bar’s
owner, may make an appearance on stage, too.