It is holiday time for outdoor, outdoorsy Chicago couple Chet Ripley (Charles Durning), along with his friend, John Candy (John Mahoney), and his two teenage children, Buck (Brian Price), and Ben (Kevin Pollack). But a tranquil weekend of fishing on a rustic Wisconsin lake becomes crash-filled with tragedy when Connie’s obnoxious brother, Roman ( Dan Aykroyd ), his wife, Kate (metabolism), and the family’s two teenage girls, Buck and Ben ( Ian Ginns ), crash in. To make matters worse, the rambunctious Pack come to stay.
Now, instead of relaxing on the shores of the tranquil lake, they decide to play a hide-and-go-seek game on the shores of the neighboring lake. To make matters worse, the father of one of the children, Mike (James Belushi), gets bitten by a werewolf. The Pack then finds themselves stranded in the middle of the woods with no way out. Their lives are put on hold while the Pack trims their hair, gets some severe fishing done (including a night spent lying in the lake in the front seat of a tree), makes love, fights the werewolves, and eats some chocolate, among other things.
The first of the movie’s many great outdoor scenes takes place on a fishing trip on a lake in rural Wisconsin. Chet and John pitch their small houseboat on the lake and set off fishing. After a string of bad catches and a lot of drinking, the anglers decided to go on a well-deserved vacation. They set up camp on the Wausau River and cook up some burgers on the deck before going to a famous hamburger restaurant for Sunday brunch. At this point in the film, you begin to see the influence of the real Wausauites and the movie’s setting and geography.
The following location where the crew of The Great Outdoors went to Wisconsin to get more Wausau River fishing ideas was the Menominee River, about an hour south of the City of Madison. There, the crew of The Great Outdoors was able to film some of the most fantastic bass lake scenes imaginable. These include a huge run down the Menominee, near the dam, with the anglers catching trout and explaining how it feels to catch one.
In addition to the Menominee, the crew of The Great Outdoors also filmed its own version of the famous Hot Tubs in Wausau. A huge hot tub with a dramatic background and bench were built in the city park. It is where the cast and crew spent most of their summer vacation, leaning on each other for support while doing the various shots. Once the weather started to cool and the sun went down, the group would sit out on the hot tub and talk about what had happened during the day.
Just a short distance from these Wausau Riverfront locations, another group of tourists decided to take advantage of the beautiful scenic views of Lake Waupun. This location is very close to the Twin Falls and offers hiking and biking trails as well as canoeing and swimming. While many people visit this area for these reasons, it is also a popular destination for the more adventurous. A family of four, for example, enjoyed themselves for several hours riding ATVs and camping by the water. Because the land is so flat and tranquil, the families often find themselves overlooking the beautiful countryside.
When the weather was warm enough, the family would gather around the large fireplace in the den for conversation and entertainment. There were two main filming locations for the family; one in Waupun and another right next to the Twin Falls. Over the years, the homes in Waupun gradually took on the rustic charm that you would come to expect from a rural setting. The owners of these homes had originally purchased the properties out of view of the freeway, and because of the natural landscape, they fell in love with the place almost immediately. The homes on the Lake Waupun property had been initially constructed with earth floors, and the interior walls were constructed out of logs. As the owner’s children grew older, they took on the task of restoring the homes to their original designs.
Each of the filming locations for the Waupun Twin Falls videos was chosen with the same degree of care and detail. The parks had to be secluded from the freeway so the actors and actresses could have the time of their lives shooting scenes around the parks. The Waupun bass lake is a natural retreat, and it was delightful for the families filming there.