Although it is home to the mythical Hodag monster, you won’t find somewhere more welcoming or charming than this small city in Wisconsin.
Rhinelander is a vacation destination in the Midwest known for ice fishing and antique shopping. The county seat of Oneida County lies in north Wisconsin and is surrounded by picturesque lakes.
Rhinelander is affectionately known as “Home of the Hodag.” In 1893, local prankster Eugene Shepard reported capturing and killing a fearsome green monster covered in white spikes. After Shepard was said to have captured a second creature, which he called a Hodag, the sensation grew. It wasn’t until scientists from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. expressed interest in inspecting the beast that Shepard admitted it was all a hoax. Today, the mythical Hodag is a mascot of the city. As you pass the Chamber of Commerce, look for the statue of the legendary creature.
Discover other aspects of Rhinelander’s past at Pioneer Park Historical Complex. This open-air museum has recreations of log cabins from the fur trade era and shops from the late 19th century. Explore the old schoolhouse museum and learn about Rhinelander’s long logging history. The museum includes several exhibits devoted to the Hodag.
Fishing is a favorite leisure activity in Rhineland, often referred to as the “Ice Fishing Capital of the World.” The surrounding area is full of lakes and streams that are teeming with musky, bass and other fish. Purchase all the equipment you need at local bait shops.
Explore antique stores and boutique shops in downtown Rhineland. Sip coffee in cafés or indulge in three-course meals at restaurants. Enjoy a show at Tommy O’s Playhouse or see local artists’ work at ArtStart, a community-supported gallery located in the old Federal Building.
Rhinelander has mild summers and very cold winters with heavy snowfall. Bring high quality cold-weather clothing for ice fishing and cross-country skiing in winter.
Rhinelander is in north Wisconsin, a 4-hour drive west of Minneapolis. Green Bay is a 2.5-hour trip by car. Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport offers flights to the Minneapolis and Saint Paul metropolitan area. Rhinelander’s isolated location in the lake region of Wisconsin only adds to the city’s charm.