travel photo of Phillips, Wisconsin

You might remember from my post 'how we planned our USA road trip' (which, in the end, didn't quite go to plan..) a lot of the stops on our trip were what you might call typical tourist spots. We went to Orlando, NYC, Vegas, the usual. What else would you expect from two people on their first visit to the states? But we did venture off the beaten track a little, and took some time out in Wisconsin. I adored Wisconsin, well what we seen of it, and seeing as it was so beautiful, I thought it might be nice to share some snaps and tell you a little bit about our time there.

We arrived in Wisconsin after spending two nights in the Windy City. Initially, we looked at a map and saw that Madison, our first stop, wasn't ~that~ far from Chicago, so it shouldn't take too long. Well, this part of the country is bloody massive, and it took us about 5 hours in total to get from Chicago, IL to Madison, WI. We booked on a greyhound bus to Milwaukee, where we got to spend an hour. Admittedly we were too knackered to explore, especially with our big backpacks in tow, so we headed across the street to what looked like a decent coffee place. If you happen to find yourself at Milwaukee bus station, go to Stone Creek for your coffee fix - much better than whatever else you'll find on the road! Soon after we were on another (and much quieter) bus to Madison.

state street, Madison, Wisconsin

Madison is the capital of Wisconsin, and home to the University of Wisconsin. This is where we spent a lot of our time, because my cousin Tristan goes to college there. You guys just know me and Beth were excited for the all-American college experience, and that's exactly what we got. We stayed in Tristan's dorm room - I still can't get over the fact US college students share a room - we got to eat in their canteen, we saw the frat houses, we drank in the union bar and we even partied with college students in the basement of a house party. There was beer pong, a keg and everything. I was honestly ecstatic with the whole experience to be honest. You know when you watch films like Bad Neighbours and you think "it can't really be like that"... It is. It actually is. I love it.

university of Wisconsin campus in Madison

chairs on the terrace union bar in Madison

Of course Madison isn't all beer and classes, it's a stunning city the whole family can enjoy. During our time there, I was really surprised by just how many families I saw wandering around campus and finding a spot on the famous terrace to enjoy an ice cream. Oh, the ice cream. If you don't know, Wisconsin is the dairy state, and the university's ice cream is all made on campus, making it the creamiest, most delicious ice cream I've ever tasted. The terrace might just be my favourite spot in the whole of Madison. You can't miss it with it's famous brightly coloured chairs, but they're hard to come by around sunset, so make sure you get a spot early. There's often live music, and plenty of food and drink.

Oh yeah, the drink. IT'S SO CHEAP! One night we headed out to a bar to meet Tristan's friends, and were told to order a Long Island iced tea. "It has five types of alcohol in it, you'll love it!". Guys. These were some of the strongest drinks I've ever ordered and they cost just $2.50. We were drunk after two, which resulted in me almost getting on a mechanical bull. Thankfully, it never happened. I loved the vibe going out in Madison. It's a lot different than here at home in Liverpool, though. You won't see anyone in heels, no one is super dolled up and as I said, it's a hell of a lot cheaper.

If you do anything in Madison, go for a drink, anywhere is good, go to Abduhl's for a gorgeous meal, Great Dane for mac'n'cheese, wander around the independent shops on State Street, see inside the capitol, get the cheesy bread at the farmer's market, and spend an afternoon and evening on the terrace. I guarantee it will become one of your favourite places on the entire planet. Oh, and if you have better timing than us, try and get tickets to a Badgers football game, I hear it's wild.

If you're not as lucky as me to have a dorm room to crash in, check out booking.com for some hotels in Madison, you can even get some overlooking the water, for those Insta worthy views.

woods in phillips, Wisconsin

After four nights in Madison, more of my family joined us for a lovely relaxed day of exploring the farmer's market, seeing inside the capitol building and grabbing a beer. Then, it was time to hit the road and head north to Phillips, WI. Phillips is a small town which I guess most of you reading won't have heard of before. My family have lived there for years, and it wasn't until 2017 that I finally got the chance to visit. We couldn't go on a road trip across the states and not get a slice of small-town America, could we?

With a gas station, high school and a small high street of stores, Phillips was quite the contrast to the big cities we'd seen so far. It was, and this is coming from a city girl, the perfect place to relax. We walked around the woods, got to cuddle Abbie the dog, ate the most delicious and heart-attack inducing grilled cheese ever created, and basically just chilled out for a couple of days. We did get to eat delightful fresh fruit and veg, too, but I'm really missing that garlic and cheese smashie from the food truck..

Northwoods, phillips, Wisconsin

When we arrived in late September, the leaves were still mostly green, but just a few weeks later you get to see the most beautiful "fall colour" and from what I've seen on Facebook, if you arrive around Thanksgiving, there's even the chance to ice skate on the frozen lakes and put the snow mobiles to good use. Phillips was like a whole other world to us, something we'd never seen the likes of before. It was incredibly peaceful, and the people were so friendly. I want to go back just to hang out on my aunty's hammock and listen to the birds!

When I do eventually go back to Wisconsin, I will of course be returning to Phillips, but I'd also love to see some more small towns in the Northwoods, and finally make it to Green Bay and watch the Packers! If you want to see what we got up to in Wisconsin in video form, take a look at my Chicago and Wisconsin vlog (and make sure you subscribe for more USA road trip vlogs whilst you're there!)

Have any of you ever been to Wisconsin? Do you think you might go after reading this? Let me know! I'd love to know your thoughts.

Good vibes guys ✌🏼

*Affiliate links are included within this post.