Adventure: watersports

Learn more about watersports


Having fun in Vilas County in the summer might mean getting a little wet. With 1,300 lakes, Vilas County is a watersports mecca. New on the water? If you’re over 16 years old and were born after Dec. 31, 1988, you’ll have to pass the state of Wisconsin’s free online boater safety education course. It’s required to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft. Want to see some watersports professionals? Attend one of the many waterski shows in Vilas County. Be dazzled by the Chain Skimmers in Conover, the Skiing Skeeters in Manitowish Waters or the Plum Ski-ters in Sayner/Star Lake. The shows are free; just bring a blanket or camping chairs and enjoy the action. Vilas County Lakes are also popular with people looking for non-motorized fun. Beaches and swim rafts can be found on many Vilas County lakes, and many lakes have crystal-clear water that’s perfect for snorkeling. The lakes are filled with some big fish, and there’s nothing like coming eye to eye with a monster musky!


To truly experience what’s great about watersports in Vilas County, you might want to pilot your own watercraft. If you don’t own your own boat, you can rent boats in Vilas County. And, you don’t have to worry about pulling a trailer – there are rental outfits that will deliver a boat to the landing of your choice. You can find rental outfits in St. Germain, Minocqua, Eagle River and Boulder Junction. But remember: anyone over 16 years old and born after Dec. 31, 1988, will have to pass the state’s free online boater safety education course if they want to pilot a boat or watercraft. Three great places for fun on the water include the Turtle Lakes in Winchester, Fence Lake in Lac du Flambeau and Lac Vieux Desert near Land O’ Lakes. In the early season, consider wearing a “shorty” wetsuit; the water temperature in some lakes can be in the 60s in June. A wetsuit will help you stay out longer and have more fun!


Thrill lovers will love carving up the water in Vilas County. If you don’t own a ski boat, no problem. You can rent a fast one in Vilas County, along with skis, ropes and harnesses, wake boards and knee boards. Check out rental options in St. Germain, Manitowish Waters, Eagle River and Boulder Junction. You can also reserve personal watercraft that can hold up to three people. Good waterski lakes include Ike Walton Lake in Lac du Flambeau, Big St. Germain Lake in St. Germain and Eagle Lake in Eagle River. Vilas County also is a playground for people who enjoy some newer, high-flying watersports. Kiteboarders are spotted with increasing frequency on Vilas County lakes and flyboarders are hitting the sky in the Minocqua area.


Want more info?

See all Vilas County public access waterways here.
For a full list of Vilas County events, click here.