Although its nickname of the "Malibu of the Midwest" might induce a few chuckles, Sheboygan is a pretty fantastic place to get a surf-and-sun experience without having to leave the Midwest. In fact, Sheboygan is only about an hour's drive from Milwaukee, making it a good spot for a long weekend or even a day trip from Wisconsin's biggest city.
Sheboygan sits on the western banks of beautiful Lake Michigan, with miles of sandy beaches and plenty of opportunities to get out on the water. Popular water activities include stand-up paddle-boarding, sailing, fishing, and even surfing (seriously). While on land there are plenty of spots to hike, cycle and golf. Don't miss a chance to visit the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, which features 99,000 square feet of art exhibition space (plus some of the world's funkiest public restrooms, each designed by an acclaimed artist).
Families with kids should also check out the Bookworm Gardens, a two-acre outdoor expanse featuring kid-size installations featuring scenes and characters from over five dozen celebrated children's books. Popular summer events include the Dairyland Surf Classic, the world's biggest lake surfing competition, and Brat Days, an annual festival devoted to bratwurst. You guessed it, Sheboygan has a German heritage.