Best Outdoor Adventures in Sayner-Star Lake

September 5, 2018

This past Labor Day weekend, I traveled to the Sayner-Star Lake area to discover the best things to do and see. This is the first of three posts about the area sponsored by Wisconsin Travel Best Bets.


What better way to take in the beauty of the Northwoods than from the water? Paddle along the shorelines, listen for those longing loon calls and enjoy the serenity of the lakes. Whether you bring your own or rent one out, it’s the perfect way to explore Sayner-Star Lake.

I recommend waking up early one morning to head out on a sunrise paddle. Grab some lifejackets, a blanket if it’s cold, and a cup of coffee to sip on. Want glass-like lake conditions? Check out the weather and make sure that the predicted wind gusts are no more than 1 or 2 mph.


Launch your canoe or kayak on Ballard Lake. There’s a public boat access off of Camp No. 2 Road. Paddle to the west end of the lake where you will find a little channel that will bring you into White Birch Lake.


The Corner Store in Sayner offers kayak and paddleboard rentals!

Looking to rent a canoe? Check out the Chequamegon Adventure Company  in Minocqua.


Next on the list for the best outdoor adventures in Sayner-Star Lake is biking. The Heart of Vilas County Paved Bike Trail System is one of the most impressive things about this area. With more than 45 miles of paved trails, it’s a great way to explore the area, giving you a taste of that classic Northwoods terrain. Stretching from Manitowish Waters all the way down to St. Germain, this trail takes you through some beautiful landscape and is perfect for any level rider.


Head west out of Sayner to Crystal Lake Campground. Stop at the picnic area for lunch and cool off by taking a dip in the lake!


Need a map of the trail? Check out the Heart of Vilas County Trail Map here!


If you’d prefer to lace up your hiking boots and adventure through the woods, Sayner-Star Lake has plenty of options! I did quite a bit of hiking while I was there and the two trails that I would recommend are the Star Lake Nature Trail and Trampers Trail.

1. Star Lake Nature Trail: This trail is located on a peninsula that juts out into Star Lake. There are two loops. The shorter loop is 1 mile long and stays on the interior of the peninsula. The longer loop is 2.5 miles long and skirts the perimeter of the peninsula, offering some beautiful lake views! Check out the trail map here.

2. Trampers Trail: This stunning hiking trail weaves through old growth forest and alongside Star Lake. There are multiple places to access Trampers Trail. I chose to access it by turning onto Hook Road which is off of Hwy N. You’ll drive about a mile down this one-lane dirt road until you hit the trailhead.

download the TRAIL APP

To view 58 different trail maps around Vilas County, download the Vilas County trails app here!


Golfing at Plum Lake Golf Course | A scenic 9-hole golf course just minutes from Sayner.

Country drives  | I’m a big fan of slow country drives, especially at sunset. Luckily, pretty much any road you drive on up in Sayner-Star Lake will offer some gorgeous views. I really enjoyed driving up and down County Hwy N – a really curvy road that takes you from Sayner to Star Lake.



Best Restaurants and Shops in Sayner-Star Lake


This past Labor Day weekend, I traveled to the Sayner-Star Lake area to discover the best things to do and see. This is the second of three posts about the area sponsored by Wisconsin Travel Best Bets. Read the first post here.


1 | Hintz's North star lodge

This historic supper club (pictured above) is an absolute must when you visit Sayner-Star Lake! Tucked away off of Hwy N, Hintz’s North Star Lodge will make you feel as if you’ve gone back in time as soon as you step inside. When we arrived, the tables were covered with white linens and the antique bar was bustling with guests. The lights were dimly-lit, casting a warm, sultry glow; giving the dining room that classic supper club atmosphere.

For dinner, I recommend the salmon and a glass of the house pinot noir.

Website | Facebook Page

2 | Vinchi's hillside

Known for their pizza, Vinchi’s Hillside is a great place to dine out. We arrived one evening after a long day of exploring and relaxed at the bar while waiting for our table.

For dinner, I recommend a glass of Riesling and the pasta and meatballs.

Website | Facebook Page

3 | sayner pub

This was our first stop during our weekend adventure. The place was super busy and for good reason. The food was tasty and the staff was really friendly. The Sayner Pub is a classic stop while in the area – just don’t forget to try one of their famous Bloody Mary’s!

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4 | Stillwaters

Serving traditional, American pub food, Stillwaters is a great place to grab lunch. We arrived here one rainy afternoon and grabbed a table near a big window overlooking the backyard.

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5 | Catch A Cup Coffee + bakery

Attached to the Star Lake Store, Catch A Cup is a cute little coffee shop and bakery. We made a visit there one morning while searching for breakfast and ending up leaving with three giant cinnamon rolls. They were so good that we came back the next morning and bought three more!

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This is your one-stop shop when visiting Sayner-Star Lake. The Corner Store offers bike and watersport rentals, coffee, fishing bait, firewood, souvenirs, camping supplies, ice cream, and so much more! If you need something or forgot something, you can probably find it at The Corner Store.

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Located in Sayner, this shop is brimming with unique gifts and home furnishings. From candles to handbags to holiday items, Traditions offers a wide variety of merchandise to choose from. I could’ve perused through here for hours!

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3 | red door relics

I LOVE meandering through antique shops so I was really excited to go to Red Door Relics! There were so many beautiful things to look at around every corner – I felt like a kid in a candy shop!

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4 | star lake store

We stopped here multiple times during our trip, and each time I couldn’t help but snap a few more photos. I just love the look of this place. It’s so classicly “Northwoods” with the dark siding and the scattered signs out front. It’s also the perfect general store; whether you’re looking for fishing bait, snacks, beer, or gifts, this place has got you covered.

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5 | Fredrickson's bait shop

Even though Fredrickson’s isn’t a working shop anymore, it still deserves to be on this list! It used to be a booming bait shop, run by sisters Edith and Hazel Fredrickson for over 70 years. Now, it sits on the shore of Star Lake right behind the Star Lake Store. I love everything about it – the big “minnows” sign, the green tin roof, and the tiny white-trimmed windows.





Sayner Pub


Catch A Cup

The Corner Store


Red Door Relics

Star Lake Store