10 Presque Isle Secrets Only the Locals Know


A warm thank you to our beautiful friend Sarah Johnson, who calls Presque Isle home, for sharing some of her favorite hidden secrets with us. She shares her life in the North + yoga classes at Thinking of Today
Photo credit - Presque Isle's Bruce Nelson Photography

In Wisconsin's Last Wilderness the word "busy" takes on a new meaning. A ‘busy’ day is when the boats on the lake exceed the number of fingers on one hand. A ‘busy’ day is another car (or maybe a family of deer?!) ahead of you at the stop sign, but heck, there’s no need to rush. With 192 lakes + streams, Presque Isle is French for "almost an island", and we follow island time with our own Northwoods twist. Led by the slow unfolding of the seasons, time is dynamic with the greatest tracker being the sun's trek across the sky. We welcome you to join us on your own terms with this caveat: the more you settle in, the more you’ll fall in love.

One – Zastrow’s Supper Club

Zastrow's Supper Club on Lynx Lake is an authentic throwback to old-time resort vacations centered around family, fishing, card games, unsupervised kid time, and of course drinking + eating. Celebrating 50 years, this family-run resort + restaurant serves supper club fare and old fashioned’s you could take a bath in! Stay for the salad bar and stories, and prepare to unplug with no TVs or WIFI + spotty cell service. Quit checking your phone anyway, you’re up north, jeez louise! You’re in the perfect place to reconnect with friends and family.


Two – Lakeside Yoga

Let the sun awaken you at a Flow Yoga Class on the beautiful grounds of Sunrise Resort overlooking pristine Presque Isle Lake. Nature's sounds, alongside themed playlists, are sure to draw you in. Our midwestern-style island welcome – yes that’s a thing -  ensures no advance sign up needed, and no problem if you forgot to pack your mat - props are provided! You’ll leave relaxed, rejuvenated, and likely with a few new locals to call friends.


Three – Geocache!

Find some cache... search for 26 Winegar Reflection geocaches stashed about town. For those new to Geocaching, think digital scavenger hunt in a gorgeous natural environment. To get started, download the app and search Presque Isle's Winegar Reflection Series. The initiator of this project made the caches unique and historically rich. From moonshining to murder, Bird City to bears, and Grandma Mac to Big Bill. History + Exploring = FUN!


Four – Presque Isle Days

Presque Isle Days is a weekend-long festival hosted the last full weekend of June. Start on Saturday with a 5/10K run around historic logging ponds + wilderness back roads or find your next toy with SUP and kayak demos. Take a guided hike, bike ride, or lake pontoon cruise -- all free! Don't miss Sunday's frog & turtle races at 10am. Once the whistle blows, it’s every frog and turtle for themselves, but that doesn't keep the little ones from pounding the ground, blowing on their critters' hind-ends, and finding other creative ways to get their animal across the finish line first. Stick around for a professional lumberjack show with speed climbing + ax throwing. Grab a brat and a brew at Bunyan's Brewshack, shop the artisan vendors, or take a tour of the Shantyboy Hill Lumberjack Cemetery.


Five – Van Vliet Hemlocks State Natural Area

Hike Van Vliet Hemlocks, a Wisconsin State Natural Area with old-growth Hemlock + Sugar Maples, glacial hills, ephemeral ponds, and bogs. The namesake trees here represent a little more than 1/10 of 1% of the original forest historically found. Travel by car or access the trails from Van Vliet Lake. Look for the Eagle's nest for a visual cue of where to pull up...water access can be tricky but is a fun challenge for the more adventuresome trail goers.


Six – Salute a Veteran

In October 2017, the work of a committed group of volunteers and donors came to fruition. The Wilderness Veterans Memorial Park, ideally situated on a wooded peninsula overlooking the town's historic waters, was completed. This beautiful, solemn dedication site recognizes veterans and military service personnel from 45+ states. A flame burns eternally in their honor + memory, with a series of marble plaques describing our country's conflicts and wars.


Seven – Splash in the Lake

With water everywhere, the lake is often the place to be. On Sundays, gather at Presque Isle Lake's shallow sands near the boat landing. Ski, tube, sip, snack, snorkel, and swim, listen to tunes, toss a ball, sunbathe... there are hundreds of ways to enjoy! Don't forget your crayfish-snagging net, and later pop them in the pot for an authentic crayfish boil. They taste like mini (and we mean mini) lobsters. Tip: Crayfish swim backward -- situate your nets accordingly!


Eight – Explore the U.P.

Our location is ideal for some awesome day tripping to ‘da U.P. Choose from a 20-minute drive to hike the lightly visited Yondota Falls or choose to view one or all five of the more accessible falls on the way to Lake Superior's Black River Harbor. Find expansive views with a hike up Wolf Mountain, or take a lift, elevator, and stairs to the top of the world's largest ski flying jump in Copper Peak. Collect rocks and driftwood at the lake and stay for the sunset... it's well worth it! Tip: Stop by the Chamber office on Main Street for info on all of these and more.


Nine – Paddle

Grab a map and paddle to experience some of the most scenic lake paddling the Northwoods has to offer! There are multiple spots where water on one side of the hill heads north to Lake Superior, and the other west to the Mississippi. Plan a paddle on our northern waters, taking special note of the carved rivers and lakes, and the occasional glacial erratic. Start at the Crab Lake Boat Landing and head downstream through No. Crab to Armour (mild rapids), to Big Horsehead and end at Little Horsehead’s Sensenbrenner Park in downtown P.I.


Ten – Eat Your Heart Out

In a tiny town like Presque Isle, you can share each restaurants' specialties in a quick minute. Don't miss: The Pub for Tuesday night Wing Ding; the Cafe for Carl’s French Toast; Skyview's fresh grilled prawns; the Retreat's Italian beef with chips (trust us on the side); and the Yacht's hand-pattied burgers served with specially seasoned fries. Whether you’re looking for a hearty meal, a quick snack, or a nightcap + a pool table, our establishments will keep you satisfied.

Getting There



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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