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With its own kind of a small city feel, Sheboygan is one of the special treasures of Wisconsin. Located on the Lake Michigan shore, about midway between Green Bay and Milwaukee, this city of about 50,000 people is set in the farming heartland along the shore, with opportunities for boating, hiking, and birding, as well as more cosmopolitan pursuits like art galleries, boutiques, cocktail bars, and (this being Wisconsin) breweries, alike.

If you enjoy festivals, street fairs, and parks, Sheboygan has plenty on tap throughout the year. Hardly a weekend goes by in the summer without a special festival or music venue: from the famous Bratwurst Days and street art fairs, to the farmers’ market and the concerts offered at City Green, there’s plenty to keep you occupied.

On the more natural side of things, the Ellwood H. May Environmental Park, which encompasses 135 acres, includes stretches of the Pigeon River, ponds, forestland and park areas. A butterfly and hummingbird garden is a popular part of the park, as is the new Ecology Center. For campers, the 30-acre Broughton Marsh Park includes 64 campsites, but the park is surrounded by thousands of acres of natural woodland for day hikes. Or, if you’re looking for a bit less wild of an outdoor experience, take the kiddos to the Bookworm Gardens, a botanical garden with a motif theme of children's books.

The Sheboygan Railway Museum is certainly a must-see for anyone interested in the history of railroads. Kids will also love the Above & Beyond Children's Museum, where they (and parents, too) can explore and discover natural history and science. If you enjoy hands-on arts and crafts, be sure to stop by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, were you can not only attend a lecture program or also take classes, but you can also stroll through some pretty spectacular works of art you may not have expected in the heart of America’s Dairyland.

With a wide variety of restaurants—from fine dining to down-home Midwestern American, as well as a range of international choices—there is no lack of places to grab a bite in Sheboygan. Be sure to grab a brat (dietary restrictions permitting, of course)—and if you can, make it a double! Sheboygan is the “Brat Capital of the World,” so you’ll do well to take a bite of local flavor.

Whether you’re looking to ride the waves (the surfing is stellar!), play a round of golf or two, grab a couple of local brews, or stroll around the charming downtown area, Sheboygan is its own special slice of Americana. It’s a great place for families, cheese lovers, and history buffs alike, and represents a facet of the Midwest that you can’t really find anywhere else.

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