Camping in Wisconsin's National Parks

Wooded and beach camping

Love camping? Love national parks? Here’s a list of natural national treasures to visit in Wisconsin.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

At the northern tip of Wisconsin, 21 islands cluster together to create what is known as the Apostle Islands. Eighteen of these islands, plus an area on the mainland, offer camping destinations ranging from sandy shoreline campsites to wooded areas so secluded you won’t see anyone else around. Boat transportation is necessary to reach the island campsites; however, ferry rides to nearby Madeline Island are provided if you don’t plan on doing the boating yourself. Explore the character of each island, the history of the national area and visit the landmarks and lighthouses scattered throughout this beautiful treasure.

Also near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore:

•    Apostle Islands Area Campground

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Available cable
  • Electric
  • Water and sewer hookups

•    Little Sand Bay Recreational Area 

  • Boat ramp and dock
  • Swimming beach
  • Picnic area
  • Gazebo
  • Ball field and game area
  • Amenities for tent and RV camping

St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

The St. Croix River and its feeder, the Namekagon River, create part of the natural border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Riverway offers miles of lush scenery where visitors can canoe, fish, hike, hunt and ride horses—all while observing the wildlife. Primitive campsites can be found nestled along the river’s edge with the vast majority being only accessible by boat or canoe. There are individual campsites as well as group sites, and visitors can stay for up to three days at a site. Step away from your everyday and immerse yourself in nature!

Enjoy the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway without the boating:

•    Governor Knowles State Forest

  • Three different campsites
  • Various nature trails leading to the river

•    Willow River State Park

  • Three campgrounds with toilets and showers
  • Picnic areas and playgrounds
  • Water activities on the Little Falls Lake
  • Hiking
  • Hunting

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Originally constituting two separate forests, the Chequamegon and Nicolet Forests are now one national treasure. Together they range across the northern expanse of Wisconsin, overlapping with parts of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in the west and reaching to Marinette in the east. Much-loved past features of Wisconsin geography, glaciers were a dominant force in the formation of the forest topography. The Chequamegon-Nicolet Forest has multiple districts, each with its own ranger division to manage the vast area. The Namekagon Campground, in the Great Divide district, is named after the lake it is nestled against. But water activities are just a few of the possibilities at this location—off-highway vehicle, hiking, and mountain bike trails are also nearby, as well as a basketball court and local restaurants along the lake shoreline. Camping is available for single-family tent and RV.

In Centralized Park Falls:

•    Smith Rapids Campground

  • Perfect for equestrians as well as hikers, bikers, and off-roaders, the campground has direct access to the Smith Rapids Saddle Trail and the Flambeau Trail System, among other trail options.

  • The campground is also at the South Fork of the Flambeau River for those who want to spend some time on the water. Single-family tent and RV sites are available, and every site is equipped with hitching racks.

In the Nicolet Area:

•    Franklin Lake Campground

  • Offers cultural education for those interested in history or nature. Stone and log structures remain throughout the campground from the Civilian Conservation Corps, a program developed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Great Depression to maintain National Forests and give young workers jobs.

  • The Franklin Lake Campground also provides access to hiking trails that survey other nearby lakes, boating, swimming, and fishing opportunities. Single-family campsites available for tent and RV camping.

This entry was posted in Camping, National Parks & Forests, Campgrounds