Download GPX file for this article
44.442500-92.147778Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Pepin is a city in Wisconsin.

It is a small town in Wisconsin with a population that hovers around 900. It is in Pepin County, the smallest county in Wisconsin, located on the western edge right on the Mississippi River. It has a K-12 school system, a marina, two gas stations, a beautiful public library, a village president and board, two churches (Methodist & Lutheran), and is the home to the birth site of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Thousands of visitors each year from around the world (32 countries in 2005) come to see where the famous author was born. Little House in the Big Woods is the book based on her days near Pepin, and each fall the town celebrates Laura Days, the second full weekend in September.

Get in[edit]

Map of Pepin

Pepin is about 70 miles southeast of Minneapolis/St. Paul. If flying, come through that airport. If you have your own plane, you can come in through Red Wing Airport, about 30 miles away. If you're driving, it's right on Wisconsin Hwy 35, also known as the Great River Road because it runs along the Mississippi River.

Get around[edit]

Walk or drive, those are your choices. There's no public transportation, but then you can walk from one end of town to the other in about 15 minutes.

There are a lot of bicyclists that like to ride around the lake (85 miles). Mopeds are big with the locals, and motorcyclists can be heard for miles every weekend from April to November.

There is a large, busy marina. Dan's Pepin Marina has some transient docking. The Pickle Factory restaurant has their own 200 foot dock for their customers, and there's a public landing with a fancy, updated fish house for cleaning your catch.


"Lake Pepin ought to be visited by every poet and painter in the land." William Cullen Bryant

Visit the Laura Museum April-October.


The town is on Lake Pepin, a 28 mile x 3 mile lake which is also a wide spot on the Mississippi river. You can fish year round on the river. Minnesota runs along the other side. Sailing is huge on this lake because it is surrounded by bluffs that make the winds shifty. Even on a calm day you can usually find a puff or two to move your boat.

The Tiffany Wildlife Refuge, a 14,000 acre area just outside of town, provides a home to over 300 species of birds. Fish are everywhere, and whether it's 80 degrees or 10 below, the fisherman are out dropping lines in the water - even if they have to cut through the ice to get there.


Shopping opportunities start with BNOX Gold and Iron [dead link], a jewelry shop and art gallery on the waterfront.

Dockside Mercantile [dead link] is also on the river, "offering clothing, shoes and gifts for your real life".

Smith Brothers Landing is a great place to find plants and iron work, while enjoying a walk along the beach.

T&C Latane’ is where with fire and simple hand tools Tom and Catherine Latane’ produce inspired metalwork.

Lakeview Art & Antiques is a fun place to find a little bit of everything old.

The Country Stop of Pepin is an outside market that has produce and lawn ornaments, along with other seasonal stuff.


Pepin is home to several fine places to eat. The most famous is the Harbor View Cafe, but we do pretty well for ourselves.

The Harbor View Cafe, [1], an internationally known restaurant. They are open mid-March through the weekend before Thanksgiving. They don't take reservations or credit cards, but you can get a glass of wine, have a seat in an Adirondack chair out front and watch the world go by.

Ralph's Bar & Mary's Kitchen is THE place for Friday night fish. They hand-pat their fresh burgers and make a killer coleslaw.

Third Street Deli & Juice Bar, [2] [dead link] is the newest place in town. With its fresh organic fare, daily specials, and natural food store built in, it is the place to go for fresh!

The Garden Pub & Grille is open basically April through October. It's outside seating only, so it's totally weather dependent. Great burgers, cold beer!

Great River Roasters [formerly dead link] not only roasts their own beans, they are a supplier up and down the river. Stop in for a cup.

The Pickle Factory is on the water and is the largest bar in town, serving burgers and other bar food year round.


There are three places in town to get a mixed drink, The Harbor View Cafe, The Pickle Factory and Third Base Bar.

You can get a glass of wine or beer the Garden Pub & Grille or Shoreline Pub. The Third Street Deli & Juice Bar has lovely off-sale wines.

It's Wisconsin, so you can buy beer in both convenience stores and the grocery store. The closest liquor store is in Nelson, six miles down-river.

  • Ralph's Bar (Ralph's Bar -Mary's Kitchen), 206 Lake St., Pepin, WI 54759 (one block south of Hwy 35 on Lake St.), +1 715-442-3451. Great food, friendly atmosphere, You can't stop in Pepin without stopping at Ralph's.


Choices include the Pepin Motel and the Lake Pepin Inn, two B&Bs, Harbor Hill Inn and A Summer Place [dead link] as well as the Pepin Campground that just added 70 more spots with water and electricity.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Pepin
HudsonStockholm  N WIS 35.svg S  NelsonLa Crosse

This city travel guide to Pepin is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!