Tucked away in Western Racine County and conveniently accessible from Milwaukee or Chicago, the communities of Waterford and Rochester offer the perfect amount of shopping, dining, and various recreational activities for a day trip. Take a look at our list of must-do things while you're there.

Cafe 213
Cafe 213



For breakfast, stop off at local favorite Café 213. This Waterford favorite is open for breakfast and lunch and serves American bistro food that's familiar while introducing new tastes and ingredients that satisfy the foodies in their midst. Scratch-made batters, soups, salad dressings, sauces, locally roasted coffee, and bakery are what keep customers coming back. 

If you're looking for an early morning pep in your step, enjoy a fresh cup of coffee from Java Jo'z  while exploring the 17 miles of Seven Waters Trail that will take you all the way through Waterford, Rochester, and other neighboring communities.

Casual lunchtime dining is at its best at Crossover Cantina. This new addition to the Waterford area offers a dining menu packed with delicious authentic Tex-Mex inspired cuisine along with traditional American casual fare, as well as a full-service bar. 

For dinner, find country charm and casual culinary elegance in a beautifully restored turn of the century barn at The Cotton Exchange. Built originally in 1881, Known for their long-standing tradition of providing unsurpassed southern cuisine and hospitality. A charming gift shop with baked goods and specialty coffees is available along with dining in the Silo for small groups.

To satisfy your sweet tooth, stop for a scoop at Uncle Harry’s Frozen Custard during their seasonal summer hours. Another highly anticipated sweet spot, keep a lookout for Kravings - a specialty shake shop coming in the Summer of 2021!


Waterford Kayak
Fox River Water Trail | Photo Credit: Terry Alby

Things to Do

Paddle your woes away on the Fox River Water Trail. This 14-mile trail includes portages around dams at the Villages of Waterford and Rochester, and takes about 7 to 9 hours for the full trip, depending on water levels. This easy-to-paddle water trail passes through a lake, county parks, and wildlife areas. Scenery includes farmland, wetlands, and woods.

Launch sites have been established behind Waterford Village Hall,123 N. Water St., and at Case Eagle Park, 310 S. Rochester St. Both sites are below the dams. 

If cycling is more your speed, the White River State Trail extends east 7 miles from Burlington's Bushell Park to the town of Dover. The trail's western leg is just west of Burlington (off Spring Valley Road) and runs west 12 miles into Walworth County.

For the crafty day-trippers, The Creative Spaces Studio is an art studio space offering fused glass, stained glass, mosaic, and fiber/fabric art (sewing and quilting) classes. The studio also invites artists to use this space during open hours to come and create on their own!

Main Street Mercantile Beauty
Main Street Mercantile


Brand new to the streets of Downtown Waterford, Main Street Mercantile has a wide collection of self-care confections. Main Street Mercantile also offers personally curated home and personal goods made by small American businesses and artisans in small batch quantities. Stop by their neighbors at The Pink Peony, LLC for bright bouquets during any season of the year.

Nestled in the heart of Rochester, we suggest swinging by Fox & Fork. This cozy shop and unique hideaway offers up fun season décor, unique upcycled furniture, primitives, original antiques, and rustic country finds.

For antique enthusiasts, take a step back in time at the Waterford Unique Antique Market, which houses 60+ vendors worth of treasures like primitives, antiques, shabby chic items, Amish chocolates, goats milk soap, local handmade candles, jewelry, barn wood furniture, vintage kitchenware, local art, handmade products, vintage trains & toys, and everything in between that showcase Western Racine County's equally unique history. 


Waterford River Rhythms
Waterford River Rhythms | Photo Credit: Terry Alby

Great Days to Go

Waterford River Rhythms: A music in the park concert series that has seven shows typically held on the first and third Thursdays of June, July, and August.

Racine Brewing Company Beer Garden Days: Join the Racine Brewing Company out in Western Racine County during the summer for specialty craft brews.

Celebrate Waterford: Stop by Main St. to celebrate all that is Waterford. The music festival features local, original artists throughout the day. Kid-friendly fun includes circus acts, petting zoo, bounce houses, tractor track, and games.

Waterford Music Festival: The first annual Waterford Music Festival featuring local artists performing all original music will take place in the Summer of 2021. This is held in conjunction with Celebrate Waterford.

Rochester's A Day in the Country: The Rochester community invites you to a family-friendly day in the country full of midwest hospitality, rustic charm, and farm fun.

To learn more about the Waterford Community, visit ExploreWaterford.com


Looking for more fun? Visit our Things to Do page for everything going on in Racine County!