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Wisconsin Parent

Summer Fun in La Crosse, Wisconsin

Apr 22, 2014 08:32AM ● By Julie Henning

Grandad Bluff: Photo Credit City of La Crosse Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department

From the Mississippi River to the top of the bluffs, La Crosse is a city where visitors can relish in the scenic beauty while taking in an abundance of outdoor summer activities. Visitors will enjoy the many outdoor attractions combined with the natural landscape that makes La Crosse unique.

Grandad Bluff

La Crosse is located within the Driftless Area, which left the hills and bluffs untouched by glaciers. Prominent Grandad Bluff overlooks the city and welcomes visitors with an American flag perched high at the top. A winding, scenic drive takes visitors to the bluff-top park. The 600-foot bluff offers a tri-state view of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. Hiking trails, coin operated binoculars and a picnic shelter make this a family-friendly must-see.

Kids Coulee

Built to accommodate those of all abilities, Kids Coulee is a playground paradise to children of all ages. The playground offers plenty of space to climb, run and explore, while located adjacent to picnic areas. The City of La Crosse rents picnic kits through the Parks and Recreation department, located on the first floor of City Hall. The kits contain balls, bats, a volleyball, horseshoes and other equipment. The kits can be rented on weekdays or for an entire weekend for a fee.


La Crosse Loggers

The city is home to its own baseball team the La Crosse Loggers. This Northwoods League team consists of college athletes who play baseball from June through August.  The Loggers have played at Copeland Park since 2003 where baseball fans enjoy a family-friendly environment, complete with concessions and regular promotions.

Kids Coulee: Photo Credit City of La Crosse Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department

Myrick Hixon EcoPark

The Myrick Hixon EcoPark serves as an educational center and a starting point for a hike through the Hixon Forest or the La Crosse River Marsh. The park is constantly evolving in order to expand. EcoPark will eventually include four different playscapes where families can learn about the local ecosystems. Families can rent an EcoPack at the front desk of the center. Each pack provides the tools to create a do-it-yourself naturalist tour while hiking on one of the trails.

Myrick Hixon EcoPark

Riverside Park

Riverside Park offers a close-up view of where the Mississippi, Black and La Crosse Rivers come together. The park provides a place to relax or take a stroll along the pathways. With careful planning, visitors to the park will catch a glimpse of large riverboats like the Mississippi Queen as they dock or pass by La Crosse. Families can even take their own river cruise aboard the paddlewheeler La Crosse Queen or on a Mississippi River Explorer cruise.



The La Crosse area is home to 101 miles of connected, state bike trails. Former railway lines were converted to recreational trails to form the Great River State Trail, La Crosse River State Trail, Elroy-Sparta Trail and the 400 State Trail. Scenic views provide picturesque looks at hillsides, waterways, farmland, trees and wildlife. A highlight of the Elroy-Sparta Trails includes three century-old rock tunnels where a flashlight and light jacket are recommended for those passing through.

Rainy Day or Chilly Weather

For more ideas on how to enjoy La Crosse on a rainy day or the more frozen months, read our "Winter in La Crosse, Wisconsin" story here:

For more information on the La Crosse area, visit the La Crosse Area Convention and Visitors Bureau website or call (800) 658-9424 to request a visitor’s guide.

FamStephanie Beirne Leuer is in the process of reinventing herself after spending nearly a decade as a stay-at-home mom to two children. She holds a bachelor’s of science in history and is currently pursuing a journalism certificate. In the past year she has balanced life as a mom, student, public relations intern, social media editor and a professional seeker of lost LEGO pieces.