The colder weather, snowy streets and shorter days may cause you to catch the winter blues. Some are feeling hopeless about finding fun things to do this time of year. Wisconsin’s winters can make activities tough to do. However, with proper gear and knowing where to go, you can have fun, despite the snow flurries and chilly temperatures.

We can’t ditch the snowy season, so why not embrace what we’ve been given? Racine County is full of trails, sports, and people that make winter activities worth trying. Stumped on what to do? Don’t worry! As an outdoor enthusiast, I’ve got you covered.

1. Snowshoe and Cross-Country Skiing

I know what you’re thinking, “but I don’t own any snowshoes or cross-country skis.” There’s no reason to fret, River Bend Nature Center has you covered. Snowshoes and cross-country skis are available for rent, as long as the weather permits. There must be at least 4 inches of snow on the ground to use the equipment.

For one session, you can rent the equipment and have access to the trails for just $12 (+ tax) per person. When renting, you are only allowed to explore the trails within River Bend Nature Center. You may do so for as short or as long as you’d like. When renting snowshoes, you will be given the snowshoes and poles. Skis, poles, and boots will be provided when renting cross-country ski equipment.

All rentals are weather-permitting and are on a first-come, first-served basis. Rental times are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. These recreational activities are great for those just starting to step into the out-of-doors or for those who are already seasoned veterans. All ages are welcome to try this winter activity.

Questions? Reach out to River Bend Nature Center by emailing  info@riverbendnaturecenterracine.org or by calling 262-639-1515.

Emma Widmar snowshoeing at River Bend Nature Center. Her equipment was rented from the local nonprofit. – Photo Credit: Mark Widmar

2. Curling

Curling is not as well-known in the US as it is in Canada. – Photo Credit: Shvets Production / Pexels

Curling is a unique and fun game that you can try this winter. This sport originated outdoors, but now can be played indoors, at the Racine Curling Club. In fact, this is the perfect place where you can get a taste of the sport by trying it yourself.

When playing this sport, players slide stones across a sheet of ice towards a target area. Wisconsinites can think of curling similar to the game shuffleboard. Back in the day, Curling was played in Racine at Horlick Field, Root River, Hatter’s Sand Pit, and Armstrong Park.

No need to freeze outside, the Racine Curling Club invites everyone out to their Learn-2-Curl Winter Games event. It will take place on Friday, Jan. 14 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. and from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15. Interested participants will learn, practice and play. To attend, you must register and pay in advance. The cost is $20 per person or $10 per person in groups of 4 or more.   

The fee paid will be applied towards enrollment into a Winter Games Learning League that will run on 4 Sundays between Jan. 23 through Feb. 27 at a cost of $60/person. This fee may also be applied to a regular curling league registration for those who have already learned the sport. Additional details can be found on the Racine Curling Club website.

3. Ice Skating

Grab your skates and head to The Village of Waterford Ice Rink. It’s located in Ten Club Park along South 1st Street in Waterford. The park is along the Fox River. This amenity is free for the public to use. The rink will be open now through March, weather permitting. It is open daily from 10 a.m until 10 p.m. for skating. No hockey is allowed to be played from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. daily.

The Waterford Area Lion’s Club will be on-site in the Skate Shack Fridays from 6 – 9 p.m., Saturdays from 12 – 9 p.m. and Sundays from 12 – 8 p.m. for ice skate rentals. Uncle Harry’s Premium Custard is sponsoring skate rentals this year. Snacks will also be available and provided by the club.

For inquiries, call the Village of Waterford at 262-534-3980 or visit their website.

4. Ice Fishing

Fishing is a big deal in Wisconsin. Your time out on the water doesn’t have to stop just because the season has changed. This time of year the water just looks a little different on top, but things are still lively underneath the frozen surface. Nonetheless, ice fishing is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors. If you’re an ice fishing fan, this article may give you the idea to go. However, if you’ve never been ice fishing, how do you get started?

The Browns Lake Aquaducks, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, performs water skiing shows on Browns Lake in Burlington, Wisconsin. They are giving locals a shot at trying this as a new hobby during the Aquaducks Winter Jamboree and Ice Fishing Fundraiser. The event will be held at Einer Fischer Park on Jan. 15 from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy free fishing, a tournament and other activities hosted by the Browns Lake Aquaducks.

Ice fishing is relaxing alone or with friends. – Photo Credit: Glenna Haug / Unsplash

The best part of the jamboree? You do not need a fishing license while fishing in the event. Please note that if you are fishing outside of this event, you will need to obtain a fishing license from the state of Wisconsin.

Learn more about purchasing tickets here.

5. Surfing

Surfing? In Wisconsin? Yep, catch a wave this winter on Lake Michigan. There’s no need to travel to Maui when the Great Lakes are full of waves to ride. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but surfing is a great way to take advantage of the freshwater so close to home. Lake Michigan is salt-free and shark-free.

Don’t worry about being inexperienced. You can rent gear and boards from Lake Effect Surf Shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With the right equipment, you can ride the waves that are in our backyard. Contact the surf shop if also interested in lessons.

Not interested in surfing? Watch others shred the waves by heading down to the beach. The best spot to look for surfers in Racine is near the Wind Point Lighthouse. Talk with Racine’s very own surfer, Madisyn Jensen, and our business spotlight feature: Wandering Waves Surf Company for some inside tips.


Local News

Looking for another winter activity? Check out kicksledding at River Bend Nature Center. Read about how a former local brought this sport back to Racine.

Share your story with the Racine County Eye. Contact Emma Widmar by emailing ewidmar@racinecountyeye.com with suggestions and comments.


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