10 Eagle River Secrets Only The Locals Know


Special thanks to Matt + Krista Fornear from Fornear Photo for writing today's journal post and sharing their favorite things about their neck of the Northwoods - Eagle River, Wisconsin.

Matt + Krista are a husband + wife team of wedding photographers based out of Eagle River, Wisconsin. Krista was born + raised in Eagle River until she moved to Arizona to study graphic design. The couple met through Krista's sister while Matt attended art school in Chicago and were inseparable ever since. They lived in Chicago + Milwaukee until they decided to put down roots once + for all in Eagle River in 2012. When they are not photographing weddings, they are working on their lifestyle project A Riveting Life where they blog about photography and the 1977 Airstream Argosy with hopes to travel the Great Lakes Region in the future!

ONE Fish Bowl

In Wisconsin's Northwoods, everyone knows about the famous Friday night fish fry but have you ever had a bowl of fish? Of course, The Honey Bear is already famous for their fish fry, but we highly recommend giving their Baked Fish de Jonghe a try… you may never go back for a “regular” fish fry again! Local tip: get their famous Bloody Mary - a drink + an appetizer all in one! 


two - White Legs

After a long winter when the weather finally gets warm, everyone’s dreaded white legs make their arrival back to the Northwoods. Some "white legs" you can look forward to is the seasonal jalapeño wheat beer by Tribute Brewing. Buy it while you can as it sells out fast - if you're in the area, you can usually enjoy it at the tap room throughout the summer. The best part is trying to guess who the local is that posed for the white legs photo on the can art!


three - Nicolet National Forest

Many have swum, hiked, biked, snowshoed and camped at Nicolet National Forest near Eagle River. We especially love the Anvil Lake Trail for bird watching and snowshoeing in the winter with a great rustic warming cabin nestled along the way. No matter your skill level, trails are marked well for beginner, intermediate, and expert.


four - Best Way to Attend the USA Pond Hockey Tournament

If you are a local, you know over the last several years the USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Tournament, hosted in Eagle River, has quickly become the most popular event of the year. Having this great event on Dollar Lake makes it a unique experience for everyone but it also creates a new challenge for our small town - a parking nightmare. If you have the means, take your snowmobile down to the ice, you won’t regret it. And don’t forget to bundle up, most years it is well below zero!


five - The Sandwichs of Eagle Baking Company

When you think of a bakery you might just think of donuts and bread, but that's not the case in Eagle River. Eagle Baking Company has the best, tastiest sandwiches and are so big we normally get 2 meals out of them. All sandwiches are made on homemade bread with fresh ingredients, and paired with chips + a freshly baked cookie. Sandwiches are carryout only so we recommend taking your lunch to nearby Riverview Park and dining al fresco. Local tip - avoid the line out the door, call ahead.


six - Day Trip

While Eagle River is great, sometimes it’s fun to take a little road trip out of town! Our favorite is to Bond Falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, about an hour north. Over 100 ft wide, not only is this waterfall easily the best in all of Upper Michigan but very accessible, no matter the skill level. If it is starting to get dark on your way home stop off to check out The Paulding Light, only a few miles south of Bond Falls Rd on Hwy 45. Look for the Robin’s Pond sign and head west for about 1/2 mile where it comes to a dead end. As the legend goes the light is the lantern of a brakeman who was killed while attempting to stop an oncoming train from colliding with railway cars. Though the light is a bit finicky and doesn’t always come out, we have seen it. If you see it, you will be wondering more about it too!


seven - Chain of Lakes Sandbar

If you are spending your time on the famous 28 Lake Eagle River Chain be sure to pack your swimsuit so you can drop anchor and cool off at the sandbar! On a busy summer day it’s hard to miss as many other boats will be parked enjoying it too, but on a quiet day you can have it all to yourself. The sandbar is located just east of the Hwy 70 West Bridge on Catfish Lake.


eight - Best Burger of the Northwoods

If you are getting hungry and looking for the best burgers in Eagle River, head to The Nutty Squirrel. We love the atmosphere of this Northwoods tavern and the food is amazing. We recommend the Highway Man burger with sliced ham, onion rings, bbq sauce, and a fried egg or the Flaming Squirrel which has jalapeño poppers along with habanero sauce! 


nine - Northwoods Spa Day

When we need to relax or refresh our style, we head to Briar Rose Salon & Co. Lisa and the girls will take great care of you so that you get the perfect color, cut, or blowout! Really pamper yourself with a manicure, pedicure, facial, and massage. They have the most amazing Davines products that treat your hair for your specific needs, and smell great too. The atmosphere is awesome with natural tones of wood and brick with high ceilings - the building happens to be the original Eagle River Post Office!


ten - Ice Skating at Eagle Waters Resort

Though the ice skating season has past, put this on your bucket list for next year! Each winter, Eagle Waters Resort turns their outdoor patio into a quaint ice skating rink. We love the rustic vibe of hanging out at one of the oldest resorts in the Northwoods where you can even sip your favorite beverage while you skate. If you need to warm up simply head inside and get cozy by their fireplace! Local tip - start planning the perfect date night for next winter! 


getting there


Read more local secret journal posts: 

10 Manitowish Waters Secrets Only The Locals Know
10 Three Lakes Secrets Only The Locals Know 
10 Bayfield Secrets Only The Locals Know
10 Madeline Island Secrets Only The Locals Know

Everyone is a local to a community, town, or city. If you live in the Midwest, we would love to chat about collaborating on our next Local Secret Journal Post! Send us a message