Top 14 Tips & Tricks for Travel to Whitewater, WI

April 19, 2022

Named for the white sands of Whitewater Creek, Whitewater is nestled in the southern Kettle Moraine State Forest. It offers 22 parks, 4 lakes, and a university recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. 🌳 Surrounded by old oaks and hickory, natural prairie, farmlands, and forest, Whitewater is a feast for the nature lover. If you’re traveling to Whitewater for the first time, we’ve got you covered with these top tips and tricks to make your trip smooth, and most importantly, memorable.

1. Come Hungry

📸: Binggs Farmstead Restaurant

Despite being a small town, Whitewater comes packed with flavor. From pizza joints like Rosa’s, Gus’s, and by-the-slice late night spot, La Piazza Pizzeria, to Mexican fare from Taco Fresco or La Preferida, we have all the good eats to help with any craving. Want farm-to-table comfort food? Grab dinner at The Black Sheep. Jonesin’ for classic pub foods? Hit up 841 Brewhouse or Second Salem Brewing Company. Need a plate full of Italian? Try Fanatico! If you want to experience global cuisine in a farmstead vibe restaurant, head over to Binggs Farmstead Restaurant. And if you need something quick, pop into The Cafe by SweetSpot for a sandwich. Whatever you do, save room for dessert. Brain Freeze and Rosa’s will fulfill all your ice cream treat dreams.

2. Buy A State Park Admission Pass

When you visit Whitewater, you’ll want to be prepared to visit the gorgeous Kettle Moraine State Forest. Grab that admission pass for your vehicle so you can stress less and relax under some oaks, hike the trails, or wade in creeks.

3. Pack Hiking Shoes

Whether you’re an avid hiker or like to mosey around, hiking shoes are a must-pack item for traveling to Whitewater. When you’re surrounded by prairie and forest, you need to explore the beauty of our landscape by foot.

4. Have Your Camera Ready

Not only does Whitewater have a historic downtown, it also offers rolling countryside, forest, and prairie. No matter where you venture, you’ll want to capture the beauty of our cream city brick buildings, historic neighborhoods, birds, and the ever famous Whitewater sunrises/sunsets.

5. Drive the Scenic Routes

When traveling from Point A to Point B during your Whitewater adventures, take the roads less traveled than Google Maps will tell you. Kettle Moraine Scenic Dr., County Rd P, Bluff Rd., and County Rd N are a few must-mention drives that’ll tickle your nature sightseeing fancies.

6. Pack Your Favorite Nalgene

A beloved hotspot, the Whitewater Flowing Well, was called the “Fountain of Youth” by Only in Your State. Find out for yourself and visit this hidden gem. If you’ve packed your favorite nalgene, fill up and sip this artesian well water while listening to the bird calls of Whitewater’s countryside. Linger for a full afternoon and enjoy wonderful conversations with all types of people.

7. Check Out Which Performances/Art Shows Occur the Weekend You’re Here


Lunch and perusing art. Dinner and a show. Drinks and live music. Whitewater has it all.

8. Download the App, Passport Parking, for Parking on UW Whitewater’s Campus

If you plan to visit Roberta’s Art Gallery, Crossman Gallery, Young Auditorium, and Barnett Theater or have interest in walking around campus (especially gorgeous during the full bloom of spring!), download the app, Passport Parking, so you’re ready when you pull into a stall. Not traipsing around campus? You can park in and around Whitewater for free for 2hrs up to 10hrs depending on the location.

9. Spend Time On/In/Near the Water

Whitewater is home to 4 lakes, 2 creeks, an artesian well, and springs. Swim at Whitewater Lake Beach (need a state park admission pass), kayak Rice Lake (rentals available at Parkside Marina!), stroll beside Cravath or Trippe lakes, dip your feet in Whitewater or Bluff creeks and Natureland springs, or relax near the Whitewater Flowing Well. Choose more than one. You won’t regret it.

10. Picnic in a Park

Whitewater is a picnic lovers heaven. With 19 parks and 3 picnic areas to choose from, you can pass a few afternoons under the sun and counting clouds. Pop over to Staller Estate Winery or The Black Sheep to grab yourself charcuterie or order sandwiches and sweets to-go from The Cafe, The Bakehouse, or Center St. Cafe. Have kiddos? You’ll find a playground at Starin, Welcome Travelers, and Big Brick parks as well as Rice Lake Boat Launch park.

11. Check Out Our Events Calendar

Want to just go with the flow on your trip? Check out Whitewater Chamber’s events calendar to see what kind of local fun you can get up to!

12. Decide if You Want a Hotel/BnB, Airbnb, or Camping Experience

Whitewater offers a plethora of places to rest your head at night. Book a room at Fairfield Inn & Suites, Victoria on Main, or Hamilton House BnB if you want to experience Whitewater on foot. Choose an Airbnb in the country or out in the woods if you’re looking for a peaceful retreat. Camp at Whitewater Lake or Scenic Ridge Campgrounds to get fully immersed in Whitewater’s natural surroundings.

13. Bring Your Dog!

📸: Whitewater Bark Park

Choosing to camp or stay at an Airbnb that allows dogs? Bring yours! The Whitewater Bark Park and Oak Hollow Dog Area (just past Whitewater Lake Beach on Kettle Moraine Scenic Dr.) are perfect spots to let your dog run, but most trails and parks in and around Whitewater are dog friendly. Before you go, stop into The Cafe by SweetSpot to buy your pooch a pup cake!

14. Have A Locally-Crafted Beverage

📸: Duesterbeck’s Brewing Company

Everyone loves a good craft brew or locally made wine. Visit Staller Estate Winery for a wine tasting and meander the vineyards. More of a beer person? Hang out at Second Salem Brewing Co. (ask about the local spooky lore), 841 Brewhouse (get the Tatchos), or Duesterbeck’s Brewing Company (order their 18” pretzel) for in-house brewed beers.


Happy travels! We’ll see you soon!


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