Along with its agricultural and recreational base, Fond du Lac is an industrial town specializing in forest products, machine tools, and boat motors. It is one of several typically-Wisconsin towns on Lake Winnebago in the attractive and prosperous Fox River Valley, and reflects a strong 19th-century heritage with a few historic neighborhoods displaying early wealth.
Downtown is clean and typically Midwestern, with lots of trees and a mix of older and modern structures. The University of Wisconsin operates a Fond du Lac campus, offering 4-year degree programs and feeding the larger UW system. Nearby areas offer abundant summer and winter recreation.
The area immediately surrounding the glacial Lake Winnebago is mostly flat and wooded with some agricultural areas, becoming hillier towards the south. The higher-latitude continental climate gives cool, pleasant summers becoming humid on occasion, normally with cool evenings. Most summer precipitation occurs as thunderstorms. Winters can be rigorous with periods of bitter cold, although these periods are dry and often accompanied by sunshine. Snow and snow cover are abundant. First freeze is early October, last is mid-May.