Imagine gazing across a gently rippling body of water knowing good times lie ahead. The Green Lake area boasts friendly faces, satisfying meals, treasured shops, and an array of activities, indoors and out. Here then, is your guide.

Big Green Lake

Green Lake
Photograph provided by Rory at Action Marina

Lakes are Wisconsin’s mountains. They’re the hearts of their ecosystems and the focal points of surrounding communities. Growing up on a lake defines a person in all aspects of their life, from the things they learn and the way they have fun to a deeper appreciation of the reciprocal nature between humankind and the environment. Everyone who grows up on Big Green Lake owes a part of themselves to the lake. And everyone who visits aims to find that connection for themselves.


Bike in a field
Photograph by Jill Wellington

Learning to ride a bike continues to be a milestone for so many. It gives us the ability to get around faster, effectively expanding our four-year-old selves’ stomping grounds. I remember trying to figure it all out in my garage. I just kept falling, picking myself up, getting huffy and puffy, then trying again. When I finally had a good go at it, I opened the garage door, and made it about halfway down the driveway before falling over. But that was it. Sure, I was shaky, but minutes later I was going up and down our cul de sac. This type of freedom was exotic and new to me. Getting my driver’s license didn’t compare to how I felt when I learned how to ride a bike.

Bloch's Farm

Bloch's Farm
Photograph provided by Irina Gagne Photography

You’re cruisin’ down Highway 23. Top down, electric motor humming, Talking Heads “Nothing But Flowers” pumping out the speakers because you’re all about that sustainability lifestyle. A familiar sign pops up—“Bloch’s Farm Just Ahead.” It’s a nice day, you got nowhere else to be, so you decide to check it out. You pull in and, suddenly, you’re Dorothy in technicolor. Vibrant greens, bright whites, sharp reds and purples, and brick landscaping to the Emerald City. Is this a dream? This must be new.

Concerts in the Park

Photograph by Barbara Wilson

A cool breeze floats across the waters of Big Green Lake as one of your favorite area bands takes the stage and cranks out their best-known hit to kick off their show. You kick back in your lawn chair, pop open a refreshing drink, and let the music take you away. Kids run barefoot across the park’s freshly mowed lawn, and the crowd sings along to the music. It’s one of the telltale signs that summer has truly come to Green Lake—the return of the Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce’s Concert in the Park series. The nine-week series showcases some of the best bands in the state as well as old favorites returning for more fun.

Cookie Daze: Celebrating 25 Years

Cookie Monster and kids
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

There was a day the delicious aroma of fresh-baked cookies wafted on a light breeze through the City of Ripon. While it may seem like just a memory for many living in or visiting Ripon, the community of 7,700 still holds the claim to fame of being Cookie Town USA, and recognizes this heritage annually with its Cookie Daze festival.

Cover Artist: Kay Brathol-Hostvet

Photograph by Kay Brathol-Hostvet

Kay Brathol-Hostvet is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and has a BFA from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in studio arts. Her primary focus has always been the Wisconsin landscape. Her soft pastels have been described as Contemporary Regionalism—a celebration of the land with a modern aesthetic.

Dickens of a Christmas Celebrates 30 Years

Christmas Parade
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Wisconsin can have unpredictable weather when December rolls around—will it snow early or will it hold off until January? We never know, but what is predictable is the amount of fun during the annual Ripon Chamber of Commerce’s Dickens of a Christmas.

Fox River Glove Outlet

Fox River Glove Outlet
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Downtown Ripon has measured the spectrum of vibrancy for decades—from revitalization efforts to the Watson Street Fire. Through that time, Fox River Glove Outlet endured on their Fond du Lac Street location. “We are the oldest continuous family-owned business left in Ripon,” says owner Mike Reinsch. “I don’t know of anybody else that has been here as long as third generation.

From the Land: Folk Art Festival

Photograph provided by From The Land

“Hey, Doris, where did you get the capes and matching hats for the girls?”

“I bought them at From the Land Folk Art Festival the third weekend in October in Green Lake. The guys got handmade hunting knives. I bought a loaf of artisan sourdough bread and a jar of clover honey to take home along with a pasture-raised chuck roast, a stem of brussels sprouts, five pounds of new potatoes, fresh carrots, and leeks for Sunday noon meals.


Photograph provided by Andy Johnson at The Fried Egg

Golf is a game of risk and reward, a game once banned in 1457 for being a distraction from archery, and a test of patience—because who wouldn’t use tiger-sized litter boxes to defend a gopher hole? It’s my favorite bar sport that’s not technically a bar sport. Whether played at a highly competitive level or enjoyed while hanging out with friends and drinks, you’ll find the Green Lake area offers courses you’ll want to play over and over again.

Green Lake-The Good Life

Green Lake
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Visiting Green Lake, with miles of shoreline, stunning sunsets, events, and activities year-around, easily becomes visiting the good life. Your entire family will always have something to enjoy!

Green Lake Area Animal Shelter

Pet from Animal Shelter
Photograph by Jean Cornelius

The vision of the Green Lake Area Animal Shelter (GLAAS) is a community in which pets are part of the family; are provided with compassionate care, companionship, and training; and are spayed or neutered. They partner with two low-cost spay/neuter clinics, offering pet owners an affordable way to do the responsible thing.

Green Lake Association: Caring For Our Lake For Generations

enjoying nature
Photograph provided by Green Lake Association

Twenty thousand years ago, Big Green Lake was not a lake at all, but a very deep valley that stretched east to west. During the last ice age, a receding glacier left piles of sediment and rock that blocked the outlet of the gorge. After the basin filled with water from the melting glacier, Big Green Lake—the deepest natural lake in Wisconsin—was born.

Green Lake Conference Center

Green Lake Conference Center history
Photograph by Phil Sutterlin

Victor and Jessie Lawson founded and developed the estate now known as Green Lake Conference Center (GLCC) in the late 1800s and early 1900s as a farm. Much of their European-inspired architecture remains today. The farm became a luxurious country club in the 1920s. In 1943, Northern Baptists purchased the estate for training and conferences. In 2019, we held our 75th anniversary celebration.

The Healthy Food Connection: Boerson Farms's Conservancy Land

Aerial view of Boerson Farm looking to the southwest with Green Lake in the background.
Photograph by Eric Ratering

During the growing season, it’s another bustling Friday afternoon at the local farmer’s market outside Green Lake Town Square. Produce growers and consumers alike, their livelihoods interconnected through soil, seed, and sustenance, recognize why this market flourishes—healthy land grows healthy food.

Green Lake Festival of Music Moves into 41st Season

Photograph provided by Green Lake Festival of Music

The summer of 2020 will bring with it another exciting season for the Green Lake Festival of Music. The Festival, coming off its historic 40th anniversary, will continue under the direction of Interim Executive and Artistic Director Maria Dietrich, who replaces Laura Deming, who retired after serving the Festival for the past five years. Maria brings vast experience to the Festival, having served as executive director of Thrasher Opera House.

Art in the Park Celebrates 48 Years

Art Show
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

While Green Lake is a picturesque paradise year-round, perhaps one of the most beautiful sites throughout the summer months is in the heart of its downtown at Playground Park. With rushing waters from the dam, stunning landscape, and charming footbridge cascading with flowers, Playground Park appears to be right out of a storybook. What could make it better? Why the amazing talents of over 100 artists from throughout the Midwest, of course.

Green Lake Tour of Homes: Historic & Contemporary Architecture

Historic homes
Photographs provided by Alyssa Paulsen

Traveling through Green Lake, you may enjoy seeing the homes and estates along the lake or within the historic Green Lake Conference Center grounds. A charming bed and breakfast, picturesque Victorian, or grandiose lake house, whatever the cause of the pause, one thing is for certain, you can’t help but notice the beautiful architecture. This is why visitors and residents can’t wait for the annual Green Lake Tour of Homes.

Enjoying the Great Outdoors with the Green Team

Provided by Green Lake Association

Calling all nature enthusiasts! Get ready to embark on another year of free, fun-filled activities with the Green Team.

Harvest Fest

Harvest Fest
Photograph by Crea Stellmacher

As Wisconsin welcomes a bountiful harvest each fall, festivals celebrating the state’s rich farming heritage also sprout up throughout the area. Locally, one of the largest is Green Lake’s Harvest Fest, organized by the Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and supported by local organizations and businesses.

Markesan: A Grand Community

On the lake
Photograph by Chris Scott

Markesan is a small town in the southern central part of Green Lake County. There are state-of-the-art education facilities for young people and comfortable living centers for seniors in the community. Families in Markesan make homes that last a lifetime.


Downtown Montello
Photograph by Matthew Faltz Photography

West of Princeton on Highway 23 is the community of Montello and an array of shopping, services, and natural beauty. Craft and gift stores; an old-fashioned candy and ice cream store; a vintage movie theater; and cafés, pubs, and supper clubs fill the historic downtown district. There’s also a pharmacy, grocer, hardware store, sporting goods store, golf course, massage studio, bookstore, bank, auto repair shop, realtors, and more.

Norton’s Dry Dock: Big Green Lake

Norton’s Dry Dock store
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

A study published in February 2010 by J. Nawijn, “Vacationers Happier, but Most not Happier After a Holiday”, suggests that we are happier planning our vacation than we are taking it. In our heads, everything is perfect, and we easily omit the periods between the excitement. When we’re on vacation, unexpected misfortunes, family drama, and worries about leaving the garage door open add stress like picturing grandma when kissing your sweetheart.


Princeton Downtown
Photograph by Gary Hannabarger

With its charming local shops, bustling antique stores, and Famous Flea Market, Princeton is the place to spend a day, weekend, or week to be completely transported into small-town life bursting with appeal.


Downtown Ripon
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Experience Ripon—this isn’t just a message for nature enthusiasts who want to surround themselves with acres of parks, trails, rivers, and lakes. Ripon has long been a friendly destination energized by community celebrations, eclectic shops, tasty cuisine, and historic character. All who visit feel welcome by the city’s charm and natural beauty.

Ripon College: Committed to Neighboring Communities

Ripon College
Photograph provided by Ripon College

Established in 1851, Ripon College is Wisconsin’s best-value private college and a national leader in liberal arts education. Ripon is devoted to ensuring that every student realizes his or her unique potential.

Thrasher Opera House Continues to offer the Magic of Live Performances

Thrasher musician
Photograph provided by Thrasher Opera House

Thrasher Opera House in Green Lake holds true to its original purpose as a gathering place for the community. Built in 1910, the opera house remains a symbol of the history that has already passed through Green Lake and, thanks to its extensive remodeling and grand reopening in the summer of 1998, is a ready participant in the history that is yet to come.

Whooping Crane Festival: Fun and Educational For The Whole Family

Whooping Crane greeting people
Photograph provided by the International Crane Foundation

Despite changes to how endangered whooping cranes are released into the wild, the community of Princeton continues to be the spring, summer, and fall home to a number of these fascinating, beautiful birds. The area’s commitment to the protection of whooping cranes and nature in general is inspiring, and it’s reflected through the annual Princeton Whooping Crane Festival.

Wisconsin State Championship Chili Cookoff Moves to October

Wisconsin State Chili participants
Photograph by Jean Cornelius

When it comes to finding something to do in Wisconsin’s autumn months, Green Lake offers some great events that have been exciting visitors and residents alike for many years. One is the annual Wisconsin State Chili Cookoff, which has been a claim to fame for Green Lake for over 40 years. While previously held in early September, the 2020 cookoff will take place on Saturday, October 10.