With the well-known water borders of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and Mississippi River, and the natural wonders of The Dells, stunning island sea caves, and the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, the hardest part about camping in Wisconsin is deciding where to go.
There are over 5,000 campsites in the state park system, and many more options for remote rustic camping, family campgrounds, and wilderness cabins. It’s important to think about what kind of experience you want. Trust that the Badger State will live up to its outdoor recreation reputation – but for those looking for a tame trip camping in Wisconsin’s forests, hopefully not its nickname.
Factoid: Wisconsin got its nickname, The Badger State, because of lead miners in the 1800s that often lived in tunnels burrowed in the hillsides to shelter in the winter. The miners were nicknamed “badgers.” Actual badger encounters are incredibly rare in Wisconsin.
For those who might be mildly disappointed by the lack of badger action, you’re probably the type looking for a rustic wilderness experience. Some of the best options for more remote camping in Wisconsin include Bagley Rapids Campground, Kettle Moraine State Forest, Rock Island State Park, Big Bay State Park, and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
One of the most visually stunning and unique places to experience in Wisconsin is the Apostle Islands archipelago off the southern shore of Lake Superior, with camping available on 19 of the 21 islands. Great options are available for all levels of tent or wild camping, with traditional sites, group campsites, and remote backpacking zones. One of the main attractions is the sea caves. They’re best viewed by a kayak, and unless you know the area, it would be smart to get a guide or take part in a tour to find the best spots, and more importantly, stay safe amongst the spectacular geological formations, sculpted by the same unpredictable water that needs to be respected when visiting the area.
If you’re looking for the true family fun experience while camping in Wisconsin, that doesn’t necessarily require wilderness survival skills, check out the Wisconsin Dells. This 5-mile glacially formed gorge is carved in sandstone on the banks of the Wisconsin River, with incredible naturally formed sculptures and canyons. The area has become one of the primary destinations in the state for outdoor recreation and family fun. There are a multitude of Wisconsin Dells cabins available for a memorable trip to “The Waterpark Capital of the World.”
When you’re looking for Wisconsin Dells cabins to rent, there are several cabin resorts boasting nearby outdoor activities, access to the Dells, and comfortable accommodations. Pay attention to the actual distance between your accommodations and The Dells, and be aware of the wide ranging term “cabin”, as some might not fit your definition. Just remember, go for the scenic views and natural beauty, stay for the water slides and food.
When camping in Wisconsin, it’s hard to go wrong with the state or national park system, with so many options and levels for all types of campers. With state’s like Wisconsin that have such variety, stick with us at The Dyrt for on-the-ground information about the region.
Clean quiet campground. Private sites and spacious grounds
We were only here for one night but really enjoyed this campground. The back in site we had was very spacious and private. The bathrooms were in good shape and there was a lot of shade around the campground. This KOA has a nice pool area and is walking / biking distance to downtown Wis Dells. Only negative I can say is that the camp store was on the small side, but that’s a minor complaint. Wish we could have stayed longer!
Outstanding facility! Not many camp spots, but they are all top flight. Like new shower rooms, free with access code. Gorgeous city park not far from Lake Superior. Artesian well water coming out of pipe in the ground. Very, very moist area.
Negative: If you value your face, do not put on a head lamp at night. Slather yourself in deet. Bugs abound. Camp host had gone to work(elsewhere) and was nowhere to be found when I went for shower code. RVer helped me out with that.
Overall, highly reccomend.
A very nice beach, plenty of campgrounds, relatively clean bathrooms considering you’re camping. Very pretty, lots of hiking and biking trails. If you are planning on kayaking in the lake, our little kayaks could barely take it it was difficult paddling. Very nice park overall, but I wish the boat launch was more kayak friendly. Steep and a lot of gravel. The park overall was also very crowded, but that’s expected with a popular state park like this.
We were able to reserve site 120, right on the river. It was a lovely site with a nice view, but little shade. The sunsets were amazing here. This campground is small and quiet, with minimal amenities. The vault toilets were clean. We saw some interesting wildlife too. We purchased firewood on site, it was a bit wet and challenging to get started. The ranger was super friendly on check-in.
The campsite was in the middle of the neighborhood but was very convenient if the river was too high for camping on the sandbars weren’t available. Hook ups for electrical if needed and restrooms and showers. Perfect setup if dropped upstream for your river trip.
Excellent place to stay. Our favorite place to camp
Large number of campsites plus a group campground. Mix of electric and non electric. Big mature trees provide shade on many sites. Very gravelly so have to inspect best spot for tent. Vault toilets through campground loops. Shower house at main entrance and at beach. Small sandy beach with picnic area nearby. Nice benches a d fishing docks near main boat launch.
Nice activities for the kids to participate in but campsites are small. It was nice to be able to rent a golf cart because the park is large and the activities are spread about. Bathroom/shower facilities were ok but could have been cleaner. Had horrible luck with fishing!!!
We have camped here more than any other park! The chain of waterfalls are unlike any other park in the area because you can swim in almost all of them, the snake pit is a thrill for jumping off into the iron rich water (don’t be put off by the water color it’s natural and safe!)
This campground’s location was great! It was easy to bike into sturgeon bay and awesome to be able to bike in the potowatomi state forest. There are some awesome views at this campground too because it’s close to the bay. A great place to spend a weekend!
The pros: nice area close to where I live. The trails are nice and it’s right next to the beach. Cons: Sites are too close to and not secluded from the road. Being close to water the mosquitoes were bad. All sites are gravel so not very good for tents.
The park itself is really nice with unique areas to explore. The sites are nice with good privacy and the bathrooms and showers are clean. What we did not like was the rangers who seemed to never leave us alone. We definitely felt targeted since we were a small group of 20 something's. We were very quiet, went to bed early and didnt cause any issues besides at one point having one too many vehicles on the site when we were unloading kayaks. We apologized to the ranger but told them we were already going to move to the over flow lot. From then on we were visited by the ranger every night coming into our site to see what we were doing. Very annoying but overall a nice place to camp.
I have camped here many times as a kid and always loved it. We recently came here with a large group and tent camped at one of the large tent sites. I believe there are only 2 non-electric tent sites but the large huge and grassy with excellent privacy. The managers/owners of the camp are really nice and laid back. There is a small fishing pond off the back side of the non-electric sites and there is a nice outdoor pool and indoor jacuzzi next to a large rec room/bar. I haven't seen it personally but I know they have live music and summer events. We love that this place is so close, we get to get away without the long drive!
We had a great time swimming and hiking At Pike Lake State Park. There is a nice observation tower with beautiful views of Holy Hill. The beach is large and there is a designated area for dogs, which we loved. Our campsite was large and grassy and had good privacy. The only issue we had was that our site was in a divot and had lots of low spots and therefore flooded badly, like 3 inches in our tent bad. Overall great camping, just watch for low sites in the non-electric area.