About Sauk County

Sauk County’s way of life is driven by the land. The bounty of the natural terrain throughout the region helps create a groundswell of creativity, amusement, and talent.

Everyone from local ranchers, cheese makers, and farmers to visiting thrill seekers, history appreciators, and sightseers enjoys the fruits of Sauk County. It’s here that industry and ingenuity are born and harvested, and where Mother Nature’s wonders are made possible.

Get to Know Sauk County

Represented by five diverse chambers of commerce that are rich in charm, natural beauty, and historical presence, Sauk County is a destination that celebrates a respite from the everyday while reveling in the good nature of our people, land, and spirit. So come, discover, and stay awhile.

Welcome to the Water Park Capital of the World. Experience more than 16 million gallons of water fun.

Roll the dice and win big or enjoy first-class hotel accommodations.

Shop an assortment of cow, goat, and sheep cheeses made locally.

Learn about the famous Ringling Brother’s “The Greatest Show on Earth.

All aboard! Explore preserved railroad cars from the golden age & take a ride on a real train.

Hike the largest state park in Wisconsin or kayak through the beautiful 360-acre lake.


See countryside creativity come alive and wonder at oddities.

Enjoy Wisconsin from the river with a free ferry ride from April through December.

Local and seasonal fare paired with locally made wine & spirits.

Experience the country’s second-largest outdoor stage devoted to the theatre classics.

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Natural Attractions and Hidden Gems

Sauk County is home to a wealth of natural attractions, including Devil’s Lake and Mirror Lake state parks, and spectacular towering bluffs offering 360-degree views. With endless trails, lakes, and campgrounds to explore, the scenic routes through the county are perfect for getting lost … on purpose.

To enhance your Sauk County experience, we recommend traveling off the beaten path. It’s there you’ll stumble upon the region’s hidden gems, like the Circus World Museum and Dr. Evermor’s Sculpture Park, both of which offer truly one-of-a-kind experiences.

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The History of Sauk County

Rich in natural resources and agricultural heritage, Sauk County is shaped by a legion of peoples, resources, and even the movement of glacial ice.

The county dates back to 1840, when the first two settlements (now known as Baraboo and Prairie du Sac) were initially established. But the region’s history goes back even further. Native Americans built effigy, linear, and conical mounds near Devil’s Lake more than 1,000 years ago. And the landforms of Devil’s Lake State Park vividly show off the ancient and glacial history of the state.

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Putting Down Roots

The Ho-Chunk people, one of two of the First Nations of Wisconsin, settled the land in the 17th century, exchanging furs, tobacco, and ammunition with French-Canadian fur traders. Around the same time, the Amish arrived in America from Europe, settling in districts throughout the area. Drawn to the fertile ground and resources it provided, they built their own worship houses and grew their own food, while also establishing sustainable practices that would prove to become the defining ethos of Sauk County.

And in 1855, a family by the name of Ringling set up shop in Baraboo, forever changing the landscape of entertainment — and birthing the greatest show on earth.

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What It’s Like Today

Today, Sauk County is a patchwork quilt of heritage and cultures woven into the fabric of the region.

On any given day, tourists and residents alike discover the county’s best offerings, including hiking, camping, rock climbing, cycling, kayaking, bird-watching, and more.

With nearly 8,000 Ho-Chunk Nation citizens still living in the area, the tribe attracts thousands every year with its full-service, family-friendly Ho-Chunk Gaming Casino and Resort. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Amish population is now the fourth-largest in North America. Their handcrafted candies, jams, and other goods take the spotlight at farmers’ markets and fairs.

Throw in an embarrassment of riches in the form of amusement and water parks, nature and wildlife preserves, and some of the most beautiful land the world over, and you have Sauk County, the greatest adventure on earth.

Sauk County Chambers of Commerce

There are five chambers of commerce in Sauk County, serving a population of nearly 65,000 in an area of more than 830 square miles. Each one has its own distinct identity — and we hope you’ll stay and explore them all.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are the parks free, or do they cost money?

A: Yes, the parks are free to explore. However, a Sauk County annual sticker or day pass is required on all motor vehicles stopping in any park. Learn more here.

If you are a veteran who uses or visits any Sauk County park or boat landing, you are eligible for a free Sauk County annual park sticker. Visit the Sauk County Veterans Service Office to learn more.


Q: What is the nearest airport to Sauk County?

A: The closest major airport to Sauk County is Dane County Regional Airport (MSN/KMSN). This airport is in Madison, Wisconsin, 49 miles from the center of Sauk County.

Q: Is there public transportation for those with disabilities?

A: Absolutely. The ADRC transportation unit has affordable options that include the Taxi Subsidy Program and Volunteer Driver Escort Program. For more information, call 608-355-3278 or 800-830-3533.

Q: Where can I stay at night?

A: With a mix of hotels, resorts, lodges, motels, B&Bs, and a resort casino, Sauk County has it all. Head to our Where to Stay page to find the perfect respite.

Q: Does Sauk County have any hidden gems?

A: We sure do! From authentic Amish communities to jaw-dropping scrap metal sculptures in our Dr. Evermor Sculpture Park, there are hidden gems and cultures just waiting to be unearthed. Check out our Things to Do page for more info.

Q: Is the Ho-Chunk Casino also a hotel?

A: Yes! The Ho-Chunk Gaming Casino and Resort is a full-service establishment, offering restaurants, entertainment, and lodging. There is also an on-site daycare center, so the kids will have just as much fun as you have.

Q: Why does Sauk County refer to chambers rather than cities?

A: We are traditionalists by nature. Our history is tied to the five chambers of commerce that were originally established, and we continue to celebrate that. The chambers of commerce work to enhance the quality of life and economic stability within their respective cities. While each chamber works to highlight its own rich diversity and natural splendor, they work together to make Sauk County the land-made region it is today.

Q: Does Sauk County have any National Historic Landmarks?

A: Why yes, yes, we do. Of the 2,600 or so National Historic Landmarks across the U.S., four of them can be found in Sauk County: Van Hise Rock, Aldo Leopold Shack and Farm, Man Mound Park, and Ringling Brothers Circus Winter Headquarters

We also have one UNESCO World Heritage Site: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Preservation.

We Want to Hear From You

Have questions that go beyond our FAQs? We have answers! Reach out anytime, and we’ll do our best to stop eating homegrown signature cheeses long enough to get you a proper response.

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