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.
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We had a great site for our pop up. Corner site close to showers and bathrooms. It was 3 months into COVID but they had a handle on things from the start. Some construction was being done to boat launch area I believe that is all done now so this year should be even better. Lots of activities on and off site. Check their website out.
This is my favorite campground for a getaway of a few days. It's less than an hour from home, with great treed sites, a river with tumbling waterfalls, and a covered bridge.
The sites are all non-electric. We plan to conserve the electricity so we can stretch the batteries with out using the generator. There are outhouses, no flush toilets, and there are no showers. Basic sites, most with trees and plants that give you some privacy. Well maintained loops and facilities.
My family has spent many summer days cooling off in the pools of the Amnicon River. There are trails to hike. Wild flowers to see.
This was an interesting state park, I’m glad we came here for a day trip instead of booking anything for the nicer months. There is basically one trail that goes along the river between the two campgrounds, and that appears to be it.
Most people were there for ice fishing at this time of year, and everyone else was kind of just walking along the road through the campground since there wasn’t much else to do.
I didn’t take any campsite photos since there was still enough snow cover that I couldn’t really tell that the sites were like. Tree cover seemed to be decent for most sites, and some were even along the river. This is cool, but it also means that there is a chance that your site will get flooded out. Besides the lack of trails the biggest deterrent for me camping here is the fact that there is a train track right there. Close enough that I don’t think ear plugs would cut it for me.
We managed to snag the one picnic table by the boat launch, which was very pretty. It was a fine location for a pandemic meetup with my in-laws, but I don’t think we will be returning.
If you are coming this way from the north take time to stop at Nelson creamery and get a baguette and cheese curds. There is also a winery on the way called villa bellezza that has nice wine and flatbreads.
Lots to do especially for water activities. Long beach, shower house, family sites, State Natural Area, nature programs and more. Took guided kayaking tour to the caves. Town is nearby for any needs. Ferry ride required unless you have a boat.