Cities Journal

Top 21 Small Cities In Wisconsin

11. Bayfield
Photo credit: Tom Barrett / Flickr

2. Bayfield

The one downside to living in the Midwest: you really miss the beach. Watching ships roll in and out of the harbor, the smell of fresh seafood, watching the water rolling off into the horizon. There’s nothing like it. Well, except for the harbor in Bayfield.

If you’re from the Northeast and you pine for the beautiful, rocky beaches of New England, then Bayfield is the place to be. A part of the greater Bayfield County, Bayfield itself boasts a tiny population of just 530, according to the 2010 census, although the county itself holds about 15,099. If you want to get away from it all, this is the place to do it.

Being right on the lake, Bayfield is perfect for fishing and boating, and it’s not unusual to see jet skiers and water skiers here, either.

The town is known for some unique cultural attractions, including the Bayfield Maritime Museum and the Bayfield Heritage Museum, and the Big Top Chautauqua, a 900-seat tent theater that, in the summertime, boasts artists like Willie Nelson, Ziggy Marley, and Lyle Lovett, according to their official website.

For all its culture and outdoor activities, the real draw of Bayfield is the view. You’re never more than a short walk away from the beach, as the city doesn’t even cover a full square mile of land. Few restaurants in the town are without the smell of warm lake breezes rolling in during the summertime, and you can see the water from just about any lake-facing window in town.

If you like fresh fish, if you like actually getting to know your neighbors, and if you love a beautiful beach view, you really can’t go wrong with Bayfield in Wisconsin. Whether you’re here to visit or to stay, Bayfield is one of the most pleasant places in Wisconsin.

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