When you’re relaxing on the warm, sandy beaches at Kohler–Andrae State Park, gazing across the watery expanse of Lake Michigan, you’re not likely contemplating the area’s nearly two-million-year history. This is when Ice Age glaciers carved out the lake basin and rising and falling water levels dramatically changed the landscape. Soon after, the first Paleo-Indians began inhabiting the area, who hunted mammoths and giant musk ox around the northeastern regions. Moving into the Christian Era, the Hopewell, Chippewa, Potowatomi, and Sauk took turns residing here. Then came European settlers in the 19th century, who had no interest in beachfront property, as it couldn’t be farmed. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Americans started to value outdoor recreation as a form of relaxation and entertainment. Today, you can enjoy this 1000 acres of sandy beaches, rolling dunes and mixed woods, where you’re more likely to be contemplating the cool breeze what to barbecue for dinner.
For grilling up your tasty burgers, be they beef, beet, or anything in between, Kohler–Andrae State Park offers a large campground with fire rings and picnic tables in each site. There are more than 130 tent and RV sites to choose from, some with electrical hookups. There is also two group tent sites. The campground provides flush restrooms with showers, picnic areas and shelters, a playground, amphitheater, and laundry facilities; a dump station is located nearby. The campground is open year-round, but some amenities may not be available in winter months. Dogs are permitted in the campground and on some trails, but must remain leashed. Campers can access the beach through the picnic area or via a short nature trail. There is also an ADA accessible cabin available to rent. Campsite reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance; seasonal rates are $15–$40/night.
While soaking up the sun and splashing in the lake are the main draw to Kohler–Andrae State Park, there’s much to do. Visit the Sanderling Nature Center at the north end of the park where you can explore interactive exhibits about the area’s natural history, and native flora and fauna. Kids can become Wisconsin Explorers and earn a patch for completing activities. For some paddling fun, you can launch your kayak or paddleboard right from the beach, or for fishing, head over to the fishing pond on the Ancient Shores Trail. And speaking of trails, the park has 8.5 miles of nature paths and hiking trails to explore, many of which are barrier-free. A walk on the aforementioned Ancient Shores Trail reveals where the lakeshore existed more than 5,000 year ago; the Marsh Trail along the Black River is a good place for bird and wildlife watching; and the Dunes Cordwalk explores the park’s dunes, wetlands and white pine forest.
Weekend camping with old and new friends. About 20 minutes from Sheboygan, WI and 2 hours from Chicago, IL, Kohler-Andrae State Park Campground, is a few minutes drive or walk from Lake Michigan. There are about 130 campsites, cabins with ADA accessibility, two group sites, an amphitheater, and shelters. Each site does have a fire ring and picnic table. However, the sites are very close to each other which leaves very little privacy, but the campers are very respectful to each other.
This campground does have a lot of amenities from showers, vault/flush toilets, water spigots spread around, playground, amphitheater, dump station, electric sites, and recycling containers. The sites on the south end and in the center seem more spacious and the surrounding pine, birch, and beechwood trees offer great shade and places to hang hammocks. I did see a teepee and can be reserved. Campers have access to Lake Michigan. The camp fee varies from$15-$35 along with a daily park entrance fee of$8-$15 depending on your license plate. The trails nearby have boardwalks to prevent damage on the dune vegetation. You could see the stars on a clear night. Keep your food in proper storage and in vehicles. Raccoons frequent the campground and are not afraid of humans. They would take food at any opportunity they get. Our marshmallows were stolen as we were about to make smores. But besides, that mishap, Kohler-Andrae has a lot to offer. I would definitely camp here again but do hammock camping.
Nice long stretch of soft sand beach and cool board walk hikes through sand dunes. The sites are pretty typical, nice, wooded, maybe a little squeezed together but over all not bad. A lot of pines which I like. Showers etc… are also very nice. I believe there are two teepees you can rent as well. Over all my favorite Wisconsin sites for swimming on Lake Michigan thus far.
This park is a GEM! Honestly, the campground is a bit busy for my liking during the summer, but it's a great place to camp in winter! Facilities are decently maintained.
The cord walk trail is great. The beach stretches so far and makes for a good afternoon of walking. Nice nature center. Fun programs during the summer as well. Lots of wildlife, especially birds, but we saw deer as well.
*For a rainy day or chilly winter day, I like to check out the art museum in Sheboygan. Not big, but some unique stuff.
We chose to stay at Kohler-Andrae state park on Memorial Day weekend as it's close to Milwaukee (home). This camping trip was for our family of five plus a (crazy) dog. We reserved our site well in advance (9 mos). We were tent and hammock camping, and situated at the far east of the campground. The camp sites are pretty close together with not much between sites, but they were sized to fit a large tent and had enough room for us all.
There are a couple of miles of trails at this park, and I think we covered them all, some are though the woods, another through a marsh and few that straddle the beach. One of the most unique parts of this park are the sand dunes, and the trails through the dunes are actually boardwalk trails. None of the hikes were strenuous, and all trails were very well maintained. But we found ourselves completing all the hikes about 1.5 days into the camp, but we were all happy to just go back our site and relax.
Overall we had a great time, and were happy to choose this park. The unique landscapes were well worth it, and I think we'll be back for some day hikes during different seasons, or to just hang out at the beach. A few drawbacks, the park is small(er), and the sites are pretty open to the world. But if you're looking for a short jaunt from Milwaukee - this is a great option.
Autumn camping along the lake - we chose an electric site even though we tent as it was in mid autumn and it gets darker earlier - it was mid week so no issue getting a site. Love the hiking here and easy lake access - Plus it's near Sheboygan and Kohler with all they have to offer
It's a one-hour drive from Milwaukee. Nice, easy hiking trails. Facilities are kept clean. LOTS of RVs, so check out the photo of site before you reserve if you want to ensure your site has at least some privacy. They have one large teepee for rent that sleeps several people with cots provided, situated on a large wooden platform at the top of a hill with views of the lake beyond for $40 a night. Make sure you attempt to reserve it well in advance.
Sites (135 family, 68 of them electric, 2 group sites and one teepee) are generous in size with varying amounts of privacy. Two loops have bathrooms with flush toilets and showers while two just have pit toilets. Bathrooms and showers were clean with expected light water pressure. There were also laundry facilities, something I’ve not seen before in a state park campground. Trails, a small marsh boardwalk and the dunes cordwalk provide a nice exploration of the area. We were there on a rainy weekday in September and it was quiet but I expect that would not be the case on weekends and in the summer.
Gorgeous place to camp! everything was beautiful, this park has it all… spacious campsites, sand dunes, trails, beach, gorgeous sunsets! plenty to do! there is a large open area and play area for kids to run around walkable from the camping, lots of little paths to explore! we loved our time here and can’t wait to go back!
Nice campground, we didn't have a reservation and showed up on a Tuesday and camped for a few nights. If you plan to camp for a weekend, you must make a reservation way in advance.
Clean campsite, with shaded areas. Sites are open. We were in the non-electric 200's, not as many RV's in this area.
At night you can hear the waves on Lake Michigan.
Hiking is nice, there is a dune boardwalk trail that is good that runs parallel to Lake Michigan shoreline.
The non-electric sites are more wooded and closer to the nicer bathroom and showers. Pretty firm on the noise rule after 11.