Have you visited the fine state of Wisconsin? Located in the northern portion of the midwestern United States, this four-season state has hundreds of miles of adventure and recreation to explore and behold. Wisconsin produces the majority of the world’s cranberries, along with being a state famous for its beer and cheese. When we look at places, we often look at scale. Scale, in this instance, is a measure of the size of or distance between two or more places. For example, let’s put the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin to scale. With a total distance of around 1,200 miles, this trail is definitively the longest trail in Wisconsin. It is loads longer than the 29 total miles of hiking trails around Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin. However, it is dwarfed by the longest hiking trail in the United States – the 6,800-mile American Discovery Trail.
In this article, we’ll take a look at one specific aspect of Wisconsin’s size, and then we’ll see how it stacks up against other states. This measure of scale is a great way to familiarize yourself with the size and geography of the places that you live and visit. So, what aspect of size are we looking at? Well, we wanted to know how long it would take us to traverse Wisconsin from north to south. That means we want to first know how tall Wisconsin is. So, how tall is Wisconsin? Read on to find out.
How Tall is Wisconsin?
Wisconsin is 311 miles from north to south. This is in contrast to the 260-mile width that the state boasts. The longest distance you can travel from north to south seems to be a trip from Sand Bay to Beloit – a six-hour and 18-minute trek that takes you 384 miles from the northernmost point of Wisconsin to a town that rests on the Illinois border. This mileage is impacted by the fact that there is no perfect north-to-south highway that runs the entire course of the state. Deviations in path add mileage. However, you can say that the furthest distance you can travel in a nearly straight line in Wisconsin is close to 400 miles.
How does this stack up against other states? Well, Wisconsin is fairly large in comparison to states like Rhode Island and Delaware, but it actually falls in the “mid-sized” range when we rank states by area. On this metric, Wisconsin is the 23rd-largest state by area. It is bested in size by states such as Florida (22nd-largest) and Texas (2nd-largest). As you can see, the measurement has a lot to do with scale. A person who is accustomed to traversing the north-to-south distance of Alaska (1,400 miles) will find the drive from north to south in Wisconsin to be quite simple and not very time-consuming. However, a person accustomed to crossing a state like Connecticut (70 miles) might have a harder time. Let’s check out a table of north-to-south measurements for a few different states.
|State||Total Height (North to South)||Total Width (East to West)|
|Maine||320 miles||210 miles|
|South Carolina||260 miles||220 miles|
|Kansas||213 miles||410 miles|
|Colorado||280 miles||380 miles|
|Kentucky||187 miles||397 miles|
Where is Wisconsin on a Map?
Let’s take a look at a map of Wisconsin. This interactive map shows Wisconsin and all of the places it borders. To the west, Minnesota and Iowa border Wisconsin. The shape of the western border is carved by the second-largest river in the United States – the Mississippi River. The southern border is all Illinois territory, while the mighty Lake Michigan takes up most of the eastern border. To the northeast, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan rests. lake Superior, the greatest of the great lakes, closes the border to the north.
Population of Wisconsin
Wisconsin boasts a population of about 5,892,539 (United States Census Bureau 2022 population estimate). Of this population, 86.6 percent are white, while only 6.6 are Black or African American, 3.2 percent are Asian, and 7.6 percent are Hispanic or Latino. Wisconsin is the 12th-whitest state in the United States, led by states such as Maine (92.69 percent), Iowa (90.36 percent), Kentucky (87.77 percent), and West Virginia (97.12 percent). There are several large complaints about racial inequity in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin boasts a high high school graduation rate of 92.9 percent from 2017-2021. There are around 2,301,818 total Wisconsin households, with an average of 2.39 people per household. The poverty rate in the state is 10.7 percent. The median individual income statewide is $33,327.
Only three cities in Wisconsin have a population over 100,000, though that may be changing soon. Kenosha, Wisconsin, the fourth-largest city in the state, rests at a population of 99,286 as of the 2021 census. Let’s take a closer look at the three largest cities in Wisconsin. The cost of living in each city using a handy living wage calculator from MIT. The population is based on the 2021 census.
|City||Population||Average Income||Cost of Living (Before Taxes)||Fun Fact|
|Milwaukee||569,330||$25,991||$33,482||Home to the world’s only Harley Davidson Museum.|
|Madison||269,196||$35,242||$36,271||The official city bird of Madison is a pink plastic flamingo.|
|Green Bay||107,015||$29,415||$32,572||Smallest city to host a National Football League team.|
There are a few other larger cities in Wisconsin, but only 12 cities in the state have populations above 50,000. The cities include Appleton (74,854), Racine (77,127), Eau Claire (69,441), La Crosse (52,185), and West Allis (58,484).
Recreation in Wisconsin
Wisconsin has a lot of indoor and outdoor recreation, from the quaint towns on the southern shores of Lake Superior all the way down to the bottom of the state, where tourists and locals alike go to Devil’s Lake State Park, Cave of the Mounds, House on the Rock, and the Kettle Moraine State Forest. We’ve compiled two lists of great places to visit across the state. The first list is indoor recreational activities. The second list showcases outdoor recreational opportunities.
- The Wilderness Hotel and Golf Resort in Wisconsin Dells features five indoor waterparks plus a swim-up bar in an indoor/outdoor pool. This is a perfect resort getaway for families and couples alike and offers plenty of indoor fun.
- Are you looking to catch a movie? Falls Theater in River Falls is an iconic family-owned business where you can go see reasonably-priced first-run films with your family and friends.
- If you fancy trains and transit, Wisconsin’s very own Great Northern Railroad Excursion might be the ticket. A scenic train ride in Trego, Wisconsin rolls you along the Namekagon River.
- Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha, Wisconsin is a one-of-a-kind shopping and dining experience. Stroll through a world of cheese, baked goods, hot sauces, and more as you sample the delights of the Dairy State. Stop in at the bar for a cold drink and a hot meal. Or, just take a moment for the photo opportunity in the royal hall.
- Far to the north, the Apostle Islands tempt the adventurous. This National Lakeshore is great to explore, especially by kayak or boat.
- Hike part of all of the impressive Ice Age Trail, one of 11 National Trails. This fantastical trail is over 1,000 miles long and takes hikers past a large number of glacial features left behind from the Ice Age.
- Head out to Pattison State Park to chase waterfalls – two of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state are here.
Wisconsin is 311 miles in length from north to south. It features a mostly white population and an impressive quantity of indoor and outdoor recreational activities, including waterparks and island adventures. You will find no shortage of adventure when you take a trip to this Midwestern state.
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