Discover the History
Originally called Kilbourn City, the city was founded in 1857. Before it was founded as a city, the nearby area was used primarily for lumbering until 1851 until when the La Crosse and Milwaukee Railroad was to be built. Upon building, a boomtown, Newport, was made where a bridge to cross the Wisconsin River was supposed to be built. When the bridge was built about a mile upriver, those people moved to the new site of construction - Kilbourn City. Over time, tourism became a huge part of the area due to the gorgeous scenery along the Wisconsin River. Boat tours became popular starting in 186 and were first given using wooden rowboats. In 1873, the first steamboat was used! In 1875, famed landscape photographer H.H. Bennett set up a studio in the city and took many famous photographs that ultimately led to more tourism.
Relax on a Boat Tour or Cruise
The Upper and Lower Dells Boat Tours allow you to take a break from all of the waterparks and shows to see what made the area famous. As you relax on the boat, your knowledgeable guide will entertain you and tell you information about the rock formations as you pass them. They will tell you Native American legends surrounding the landscape. You'll see sandstone cliffs, the Baby Grand Piano rock formation, and the Rocky Islands.
The Ghost Boat is a fun sightseeing cruise. As the sun goes down in the Dells, you'll board the two-level boat and head down the waters to the haunted canyon. During your journey into the darkness, the crew will tell you the legend of Whiskey Jack and the mining settlement that used to encompass the area; you'll figure out exactly why this is a scary place to be. After a fifteen-minute ride down the Wisconsin River, you'll dock at an ancient grotto and leave the safety of the boat. You will be led into the shadows of the canyon through the nearly untouched forest. You'll understand the source off all of the legends and see the ruins of the mining town... and those who never left.
Enjoy The Waterparks
The Dells take pride in having the best waterparks in the world. The indoor waterpark was pioneered right in the city! So, not only did the city invent the indoor waterpark, but they have also perfected it. The city has plenty of both indoor and outdoor parks that the entire family will love. Kalahari Resort is home to the state's largest indoor waterpark that features a huge indoor wave pool, a raft ride, an uphill water rollercoaster, and the FlowRider. Their outdoor section features awesome slides, spas, lazy rivers, and so much more! Noah's Ark Waterpark is "America's Largest Waterpark" and has over eighty family activities. It has won “Traveler’s Choice Award” ranking it 5th of the top 25 waterparks in the US and 17th in the World!