La Crosse, WI

Family Summer Bucket List Activities for La Crosse

Kimberly Ritter

Are you heading to La Crosse and wanting some fun activities to do as a family? Here are our must-see attractions to do with kids in this Midwest destination city.


Being from Iowa, we’re used to crossing the Mississippi and Missouri rivers often on our travels, but we’ve never really journeyed on them. Taking a riverboat cruise on the La Crosse Queen was a fun adventure for us to see the Mississippi river in a whole new way.

The La Crosse Queen is a modern-day replica of the grand riverboats that plied the Mississippi River in the early 1900s. Cruising out of La Crosse, Wisconsin she is one of the few authentic Mississippi River paddlewheel river boats still in operation in the United States today. In keeping with early traditions, she was built with sternwheels that are her only means of propulsion. My kids were fascinated by her vintage charm and it was a nice leisurely way to spend a couple hours on a sunny afternoon. While we cruised down the river and took in some great scenery, the knowledgeable crew filled us in on local history and pointed out some area wildlife along the way.
La Cross Children's MuseumImage Courtesy of


If you’re looking for somewhere that is fun, as well as educational, the Children’s Museum of La Crosse is a must visit for families with young children. Kids and grownups can spend hours here exploring and having fun. It’s a great place to go to play and learn, especially if the weather is too hot, cold or wet to be outside.
La Crosse Driftless RegionImage Courtesy of

Paddle and Play

If you love the outdoors, La Crosse has a lot to offer! From fantastic hiking, biking, walking and even horseback riding, get outside and enjoy the hundreds of miles of trails. Great for exercise and adventure, there’s lots to explore for everyone.

Being on the river, La Crosse has lots of fun water activities to offer. With boating, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding and more, if your family loves to be on the water, La Crosse is a great place to visit. Don’t have a boat or equipment of your own? No worries! There are all kinds of fun rentals available to help your family enjoy a day on the water including kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, paddle boats and more. My husband and kids really dug these cool hydrobikes and thought they were lots of fun!
La Crosse Duluth Trading CompanyImage Courtesy of

Eat and Shop

Love to shop? There is no shortage of fun and unique stores in downtown La Crosse! We loved their unique downtown area that had a historic feel. One of our favorite shops was the La Crosse Duluth Trading Company.

There is also no shortage of good food in La Crosse, Wisconsin and there is no reason to go hungry! From family and fine dining, to drive in and grab and go, La Crosse has lots to offer no matter what your tastes for dining from food trucks to formal to casual. These bakery goodies from Fayzes were pretty delish and we loved their omelets and breakfast selections too!

Whether you’re a La Crosse local or visiting La Crosse for a few days of late summer fun before school starts, this Midwest town has lots of fun activities to offer families. Know of a fun location that we missed? Leave a comment below!

Be sure to check out my top #SummerBucketList locations in other Midwest cities including #DesMoines, #KansasCity, #Omaha, #Minneapolis, and the #WisconsinDells.

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Two Kids and a Coupon is a frugal family website that shares news, ideas, entertainment, activities, recipes, and tips for today’s busy parents and family on a budget.


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