Canoeing, Kayaking & Tubing
Kickapoo River: This river is a paradise for canoeists and outdoor enthusiasts because of its easy access, laid-back pace, and beautiful scenery. A scenic canoe or kayak trip down the Kickapoo River in Ontario has become a very popular weekend activity. The shallow, gently flowing river is perfect for beginner trips, with sections that are challenging enough for experienced canoeists as well.
Where to Rent Gear - they will completely equip you for a day on the Kickapoo River, to include canoe or kayak with paddles, life jackets, and shuttle service.
Titanic Canoe Rental - is happy to announce that we now have tubes available to rent! As well, we now accept credit cards! Reservations can be made online or by calling 877-438-7865!
- Kickapoo Wild Adventures: Norwalk/Ontario,
608-337-4522 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
- Mr. Duck Canoe Rental: Ontario, 608-337-4711
- Titanic Canoe Rental: Ontario, 877-438-7865,
- Drifty’s Canoe Rental: Ontario, 608-337-4288
- Elliston Canoe & Kayak Rentals: Dan at 608-487-5114, Brandon at 608-343-5696. Enjoy the scenic La Crosse River, from Hwy 16 take J toward Rockland and Watch for Sign.
- Black River Express Canoe & Kayak Rentals: Black River Falls, 608-488-7017. Offers canoeing or kayaking on the Black River. The many sandbars along the way will add fun and relaxation to your trip! Shuttles to and from landing included with rental fees. Located in Melrose and Ontario.
- Kickapoo Yacht Club: 608-625-4395 and 608-625-2071. Located halfway between Rockton and LaFarge on Highway 131. Canoe rentals available 7 days a week, and shuttle service is provided for those with their own canoes. Email reservations can be made from the website.
~ Please note that some canoe rental places, do not take credit cards, only cash and checks are accepted.
Birding, Wildlife & Nature
Wisconsin Birding, Wildlife Watching & Nature Treks...
The Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail is a mapped auto trail that reaches into every area of the state. Use the full-color viewing guides with maps and descriptions of each site to find warblers, eagles, shorebirds, loons, and more avian species. A wide variety of mammals can also be found in many of Wisconsin’s premier wildlife locations. The Sparta area itself is largely overlooked for birding, although it has a lot to offer. Focus on May (migration – warblers, songbirds), June (nesting birds in great habitats around Necedah), September (migration, whooping crane tours, etc.), and Late October/November (the Upper Mississippi migration).
Areas of Interest for Birding Include:
- Necedah National Wildlife Refuge
- Hixon Forest Nature Center
- Mississippi Valley Conservancy
Read our Blog to learn more and download maps.
Stroll, Hike & Swim
Explore Places and see what they have to offer...
NEW & FUN! Self-Guided Bridge Tour in Sparta
We have created a self-guided tour booklet so that our guest can enjoy a walk around Sparta and learn about our Hand Built Bridges, by the Five Shovelmen. These bridges and covered bridges were built for no pay and it's amazing what they have done for the town.
Click here to take a look for more on Bridge Tours on our Blog
Ask Innkeeper for their New Self-Guided Tour Booklet
Located above the Kickapoo River Valley, Wildcat Mountain State Park offers horseback riding and hiking, complete with some amazing views. The park’s 3,603 acres, mostly wooded, contain 25.8 miles of hiking trails including 15.0 miles of horse trails, 17.5 miles of trails for snowshoeing, 7.0 miles of cross-country ski trails, 1.3 miles of an interpretive nature trail, 0.4 miles of trail accessible for people with disabilities. The Park features a nature center and interpretive program, picnic facilities, fishing, and opportunities for bird and wildlife watching.
Located in the heart of the Driftless Area in La Farge, WI, the ridges, and valleys carved by the Kickapoo River offer spectacular scenery. The Kickapoo Valley Reserve is open year-round for recreation, education and special events. It is a truly amazing place to discover!
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge
5-stars! A must Bucket List see!
The Necedah National Wildlife Refuge is working to preserve and restore the landscape that serves as the habitat for more than 110 species of migratory birds. With many wonderful hiking paths of all levels, this refuge is truly an amazing place!
The Bluff is located on the east side of La Crosse and is the area’s tallest bluff at 600 ft. It is the site of a public park where one can view a panoramic vista of La Crosse, the Mississippi River, and three states and it’s open year-round during park hours. The land was donated by the Joseph and Irene Hixon family in 1912.
It has been voted one of the most scenic views in Wisconsin.
Other places to Stroll & Hike...
- Farmers Markets
- Sparta Aquatic Center- INFORMATION Pool, slides, lazy river....
- Sparta City Parks – Open to the public.
- La Crosse, WI - Click Here to Learn More
- Hixon Forest Nature Center - Follow the trails through the forest
- Mississippi Valley Conservancy - Hike to Wellness
program as well as other trails.
Excellent Golf Courses in Wisconsin Area...
Sparta's River Run Golf Course is just a few blocks from the B&B. This Par 72, 18-hole facility is open to the public and as of 2016, has new golf carts. River Run is a picturesque golf course that has earned a three-star rating by Golf Digest; making it the most popular in the area.
Be sure to stop at the course bar & grill for lunch or dinner. A full-service bar is also available for your 19th Hole activities!
Phone: 608-269-3022 for more information and tee-times.
Address: 1210 E. Montgomery Street
Other surrounding area golf courses:
- Castle Rock Golf Course: New Lisbon, 608-847-4658
- Coulee Golf Bowl: Onalaska, 608-781-1111
- Drugan's Castle Mound: Holmen., 608-526-4144
- Fox Hollow Golf Course: La Crosse, 608-786-4653
- Forest Hills Golf Course: La Crosse, 608-779-4653
- Hiawatha Golf Club: Tomah, 608-372-5589
- River Run Sparta Golf Course: Sparta, 608-269-3022
- Riverbend Golf Course: Melrose, 608-488-7291
- Skyline Golf Course: Black Rivers Fall, 715-284-2613
- Spring Valley Golf Course: Union Center, 715-778-5513
- Trempealeau Mountain Golf Club: Trempealeau, 608-534-7417
- Viroqua Hills Golf Course: Viroqua, 608-637-7615
- Golf Wisconsin.com Wisconsin Golf Course Guide
Read our Blog for Golf Courses near Sparta, WI.
There will be a larger MAP and click on the green golfer icon for information about each course.
Museums, Cranberries, Grotto
Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bicycle Museum: Deke Slayton was an American pilot in WWII, and later became one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts. The museum was founded in March 1999 by a core group of residents who wanted to honor Deke Slayton memory in his hometown of Sparta, WI and to commemorate the county’s rich bicycling heritage. Few people realize that bicycles were the starting point for airplane technology, which of course progressed into modern flying methods. Explore the progression from the earliest patented bicycles to the Wright Brothers’ incorporation of bicycle technology from their bicycle shop into early flying creations, to the Wright Flyer… and all the way into outer space!
Hours: Daily Hours-10: 00 am- 4:30 pm, Mon-Sat, Closed on Sundays
Monroe County Local History Room & Museum: Telling the story of men and women who lived and worked in Monroe County through interactive exhibits and engaging displays, photographs, documents, memorabilia and historic artifacts record all periods of Monroe County life. The Research Room welcomes all those interested in genealogy and the history of Monroe County. All right in downtown Sparta! Free Admission.
Hours: Daily, Mon – Fri 9-4:30, Saturday 9-4:30, Closed Sun
The Little Falls Doll & Railroad Museum: The Doll Museum contains hundreds of dolls from the 1800s to the present. The Railroad Museum displays many railroad items, a 1,000+ book library, and a Milwaukee Steel Bay Window Caboose. There is a large picnic shelter with tables and grills, swings for the children, and an outdoor train running on a varied schedule.
Open from 1 April to 31 October.
Hours: Noon-5 p.m. Closed Wednesdays.
Phone: 608- 272-3266
The Wegner Grotto: A Grassroots Art Environment Drive through the WI countryside north of Sparta, and you may stumble across an amazing sight of concrete and glass! The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto is a grassroots art environment near Cataract. Admission to this beautiful exhibit is free, but donations are appreciated and are used to restore and preserve the beautiful works of art.
Open Memorial Day through Labor Day with closing ceremonies at 6:00 p.m. on the Monday of Labor Day.
Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center: Catch the aroma of cranberries at the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center as you see, touch and taste Wisconsin’s No. 1 fruit crop. A Wisconsin crop staple for over 150 years, the cranberry has shaped the state’s agricultural methods. Discover the history of the cranberry in the U.S., from Native Americans to today at this nearby warren, WI museum.
Hours: Change Seasonally
Glacial Lake Cranberries: Five-Stars!
Fresh Cranberries, Tours in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. Guests have said it was wonderful with great information. In 2013, the Glacial Lake Cranberries' property celebrated 140 years of continuous sustainable cranberry production!!!
Glacial Lake Cranberries, 2480 County Road D, Wisconsin Rapids, WI.
Reservation needed: 715-887-2095
Amish Area & Heritage
located in the heart of Wisconsin's largest Amish community...
Down A Country Road Amish Tours & Shops – Cashton, a quiet and beautiful place in the country, nestled in a Southwestern Wisconsin valley. Located two miles east of Cashton along State hwy 33. The Kuderer farm is home to the Village Shops at Down a Country Road, including The Amish Shop, The Little Red Shed, Emma’s Kitchen, and Country Corner Ice Cream Shoppe.
At the Inn we have Self-Guided shop & driving tour map of Local Amish community
Olde Newry Store Gifts, Home Decor & More - is located between Cashton and Westby, WI on State Hwy 27 at the junction of Co. Owners Chuck & Kathy Kuderer. The Olde Newry Store was built in the 1800’s and was used as a general store/grocery store for many years. It was also used for other purposes over the years, and most recently as an antique store.
Norskedalen Nature & Heritage Center - Coon Valley
Norskedalen (which means the Norwegian Valley).
Experience Norskedalen whether you come to experience the natural beauty of the Coulee region, the history of those who have lived here throughout time or the Norwegian heritage preserved in the buildings and artifacts; whether you take a class or attend a program, enjoy one of our special events, take the guided tour, or just come to wander the grounds on your own; Norskedalen has something unique and very special to offer.
Address: N455 O Ophus Rd.
Hours: Sun 12-5pm, M-F 9-5pm, Sat 10-5pm
Visit The Norskedalen Gift Shop - We have many new, specialty items including heritage and local interest books, jewelry, clothing, heritage gifts, and accessories.
- Special Events all seasons click for more information
Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe - La Crosse
The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is nestled alongside a bluff in southside La Crosse, Wisconsin. It is a place of religious pilgrimage. A Pilgrim Center provides a restaurant and religious gift shop. An orientation film is available. An outdoor walking trail winds up along the bluff, with stops at various devotional areas, reaching the plaza and entry into the Shrine Church. Seeking peace and beauty? Visit the Shrine it is Amazing!
Address: 5250 Justin Road
Hours: Open Daily 9a.m.-4 p.m. Summer hours 9a.m.-7p.m.
Shop Local in the Community....
Wildwoman's Bell Theater Vintage
Vintage Apparel, Costume, Retro Decor
"A New Experience"!
Address: 210 S Water Street, Sparta, WI 54656
Hours: Fall- Tues, Wed, Fri 11-4 ~ Sat 11-2
KEPS Naturals...& KEPS Kids...
and now has more expanded space & open longer!
Jacki, Dennis, (K)endall, (E)mber, (P)ayton & (S)kyler
Amazing store. Clothing MADE IN THE USA, KEPS Naturals handmade body products, Unique Gifts, Local Artist of the Month display, handmade jewelry, diffusers, essential oils, cool gadgets, bicycling section, re-fillable, books, cards, kids items and so much more! Eco-friendly store and gift shop that also offers handmade organic body products.
Address: 122 South Water Street, Sparta, WI 54656
Phone: (608) 487-9514
New Hours: Tues - Fri. 10-6, Sat 8-3, Closed Sun-Mon
An art Studio where you can buy from the ready-made selections or make it yourself - Yes, you can and more! See our Group events with them!
- Paint a picture on canvas
- Stencil a message on a wooden sign
- Paint or wire glasses
- Etch a design or name on a pilsner glass, wine glass or rocks glass
- Create a mosaic
Address:117 East Oak Street, Sparta, WI
Hours: 12:00 noon - 6:00 pm, Tuesday-Friday,
9:00 am - 3:00 pm Saturday.
Sunday and Monday closed except for special appointments
Open in evenings for pre-scheduled classes.
An upcycle and painted furniture shop located in downtown.
For more information about Urban Nest & Lizzy’s Boutique, check out their Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram pages. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Address: (Moved) 515 W Wisconsin St, Sparta, WI 54656
Phone: (608) 487-9445
New Hours: Tues - Fri 10-7, Sat 10-3, Closed Sun-Mon
Most of our items in our store are priced under $15. which fits for most. Handmade Soy Candles & Tarts, Essential Oils & Aromatherapy Items, Kitchen Towels, Scrubbies, & Dishcloths and so much more! Something for you and your gift-giving list.
Address: 102 Jefferson Ave. Sparta, WI 54656
Phone: (608) 366-1200
Hours: Tues-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-3pm, Closed Sun - Mon
This is a small yarn store with fabulous yarns from Skacel, Cascade, Brown Sheep, Crystal Palace and more. Needles, hooks, notions, patterns, and more are available. See shop for class schedules.
Address: (Moved) 103 W. Oak St, Sparta, WI 54656
Phone: (608) 269-5648
Hours: Tue - Fri. 10:00 to 5:30, Sat. 10:00 - 2:00. Closed on Sun. and Mon.
A friendly place for all your quilting needs, specializing in quality cotton fabrics, notions, patterns and books.
Featured products include Grace Quilter Machines, a large selection of Thimbleberries & Kansas Troubles fabrics, 100% Hand Dyed Wool & Felted Wool, Classes, Clubs, and much, much more!. Stop in and meet Connie and Crystal.
Address: 219 N. Water in Sparta, WI 54656
Phone: (608) 269-1083
Hours: M-F 9-5, Sat 9-3, Closed Sunday
- Located two blocks from the B&B
Target Bluff German Haus Shops - Antiques & Artisan Marketplace
Address: 208 Hwy 12/16, Just off Interstate 90/94 Exit 55
Camp Douglas, WI
Hours: Fri: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sat: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM,
Sun: 12:00 – 4:00 PM
Antiques & Crafts, Upcycled Decor, Art & Gifts, Culinary Delights
Read our Blog for Antique Shops information.
Local, Close By, & Seasonal...
Sparta Concerts In The Park – 2019 TBA
Enjoy an outdoor concert Wednesdays during the summer months from our band shell.
Start time: 7 PM – Concerts are free and open to the public.
Location: EvansBosshard Park, walk 2 blocks from B&B.
Sparta Butterfest - Sparta
Located at Sparta Memorial Park just three blocks from our bed and breakfast. Arts & crafts, free entertainment stage, carnival, car show, a huge parade, food and music on the grounds all weekend long.
- June 6-9,2019
Warrens Cranberry Festival - Warrens
This annual Wisconsin festival is the largest cranberry festival in the world! Over 130,000 attendees descend on nearby Warrens, WI to celebrate Wisconsin’s #1 fruit crop. See the opening parade and over 1250 booths featuring arts, crafts, and tasty treats! This is such a popular event that we recommend making your Sparta inn lodging reservations early!
- 2019 Dates: September 27-29
Wetherby Cranberry Company Harvest Day - Warrens
Get their early! They will fit you with waders and take you out in the bogs. They also offer tours to motor coach groups. In addition, the Wetherby marsh holds a public harvest day annually on the first Saturday of October.
- October, 5 2019
Grand National Tractor & Truck Pull - Tomah
This annual June Budweiser Dairyland Super National event in Tomah, WI brings fans from all over the country for four days of monster fun, hosted by the Monroe County Agricultural Society. Proceeds benefit the Fairgrounds venue and support efforts to update the grounds and facilities so that farming education and fairgrounds entertainment can be continually brought to the community.
June 20-22, 2019
La Crosse Oktoberfest - La Crosse
Huge parade and festival!
2019 – Thursday, September 26 to Sunday, Sept 29
2020 – Thursday, September 24 to Sunday, Sept 27
Read our Blog for Learn more Calendar of Events
trail rides and sleigh rides...
Redrock Trail Rides: Sparta
We have been in business since 1994 on our 293-acre farm, homesteaded by Timothy Sullivan. A working dairy farm located just five miles from Norwalk on the Elroy-Sparta bike trail. There are 12 miles of ridge and valley trails to ride well-broke horses and enjoy breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. Trail rides are offered from Spring to Fall. No winter rides. Trail rides are offered 7 days a week, advance reservation recommended and should be scheduled by noon on ride-day, at the latest. Trails average 1.5 hours and are pro-rated to the quarter hour.
Address: 13597 Katydid Ave, Sparta, WI 54656
Red Ridge Ranch Horseback and Sleigh Rides: Mauston
Red Ridge Ranch offers horseback trail rides and sleigh rides through 250 acres of rolling farmland and wooded hills and during the winter. Sleigh rides a reservation is required. Bring your camera to capture all Wisconsin beauty!
Hours: Open all Year
“Stay, Paint, Sip and Create”
Girls Want to have Fun...stay in at an INN, and enjoy “Stay, Paint, Sip and Create” Party
Do you love getting together with your girlfriends? Are you always up for a good girls night out, except you hate dressing up and having to actually wear makeup and all that-ha-ha! Your girlfriends are always looking for a fun thing to do besides just the same old dinner out. So when it is your turn to plan girl’s night out, I know you will love to plan a stay INN at a bed and breakfast and enjoy a
“Stay, Paint, Sip and Create” party. They basically involve drinking wine (or coffee) depending on the time of day your party is. Your instructor Anne at a local art studio will have everything you need and will take you to step by step through the process of making your own work of art.
Don’t feel intimidated in being in a class of strangers be with your best girlfriends. So stay in at an INN, and enjoy “Stay, Paint, Sip and Create” is just what you all need.
We will help in the planning for you! For your weekend lodging, Jennifer at the Franklin Victorian B&B will work with the leader of the group and set of your stay at the B&B. She will go over the details and where your “Stay, Paint, Sip and Create” will take place a block away at Grantie Anne’s Studio. You will be able to walk there, go out to dinner or have dinner delivered at the B&B. It will be a fun time together- eating, drinking, chatting, and laughing your heads off.
At Grantie Anne’s Studio, your group will have many different art themes to pick from and all very unique. Anne offers many options for your group to create. Grantie Anne’s Studio is a beautiful unique building with large space to let your creative side is known. It will be a Blast!
So, give Jennifer (innkeeper) a call 608-366-1427 and start your weekend away with your girlfriends, one you will always treasure and your artwork will be yours to take home and remember.
Franklin Victorian Bed and Breakfast website: FranklinVictorianbb.com
Grantie Anne’s Studio: GrantieAnnesStudio.com
#painted #paint party #paint parties #girlshightout #paintandsip #fvbb #bedandbreakfast #inn #staypaintsipcreate
Cross-country Skiing, Downhill Skiing, Snowshoes & Snow Tubing what Fun...
Whitetail Ridge Ski Area: Sparta
The place for winter fun! Bring your skis and snowboards and head to Whitetail Ridge Ski Area where you can carve through the freshly groomed powder or zip down Fort McCoy’s Snow Tubing Hill. Equipment Rental is available. Open to the public.
Phone: 608-388-4498, 608-388-3517, or 800-531-4703.
Mount La Crosse Ski Area: La Crosse
Downhill skiing and snowboarding, chair lifts, tows, races, rentals, instructions, and runs for all ability levels. With 19 slopes and trails, skiers have enjoyed Mt. La Crosse since 1959 skiing the gentle Mileaway, Wisconsin’s longest run, to Damnation, Mid-America’s steepest trail!
Cross Country Ski Trail Information
- River Run Golf Course and Sparta Parks: Sparta
“In the winter the entire park, including the Golf Course, is open for cross-country skiing.”Public welcome to skiing; break your own or follow previously broken trails. Just a few blocks from the Franklin Victorian Bed and Breakfast.
- Black River State Forest: Millston
27 miles. Groomed; has 24 miles of classic trail and 4 miles of skate trail. State park sticker required.
- Perrot State Park: Trempealeau
42 miles. Groomed; has 9 miles classic and 1.2 miles skate trail.
- Wildcat Mountain State Park: Ontario
28 miles. Groomed; has 7 miles classic and 5 miles skate trails.
- Whitetail Ridge: Sparta
Fort McCoy, 9 miles. Classic trails, groomed only with drag.
- Hixon Forest Nature Center - La Crosse
- Mississippi Valley Conservancy - La Crosse