Load up the gear and hit the road! Taking the family on a summer camping trip is a convenient and affordable way to carve out some quality time and the perfect way to start a new tradition. You and the kids will always remember the excitement of heading into the wilderness for a weekend under the stars. But just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean your sweet tooth will be taking a break too!
These Wisconsin state parks all lay wonderfully close to world-class ice cream shops that make coming back year after year all that much sweeter. It’s the cherry on top of your camping tradition!
Peninsula State Park really has it all; you can camp, hike, swim, fish, canoe, and see a performance at the Northern Sky Theater without ever leaving the premises. However, there is one attraction located just outside the park that no ice cream lover would dare resist.
Wilson’s Ice Cream Parlor has been a Door County institution for over 100 years, growing more and more popular with each generation. Wilson’s is known for its giant sized sundaes like the “Wilson’s Banquet” that includes five flavors and plenty of whipped cream to go around – you’ll probably need the whole family to finish this one! Wilson’s also brews their very own root beer, making their floats a can’t-miss treat. After one visit, you’ll understand exactly what keeps families coming back year after year.
Kohler Andrae has some of the most gorgeous waterfront views at any of Wisconsin’s state parks, making it a popular camping destination among families. Settled along the shores of Lake Michigan, the park offers nearly two miles of sandy beach with campsites close enough to the water that the sound of crashing waves lulls you to sleep each night.
After putting in some quality time at the beach, head a few miles north into Sheboygan where sweet treats await. South Pier Parlor will take you back in time as you belly up to the counter in this turn-of-the-century style establishment. In addition to old fashioned ice cream, South Pier also offers soda fountain drinks, smoothies, and fudge. You can even take your treats out on the patio – the perfect place to enjoy a sunset along the river.
Lake Wissota is a beautifully maintained and easily accessible state park with acres upon acres for the whole family to explore. The park attracts hikers, boaters, and especially fisherman hoping to land a catch in the 6,148-acre lake. If you don’t plan to bring a boat of your own, canoes can be rented from the park office to fully enjoy everything the area has to offer.
While you’re nearby, make sure to take a scenic drive around the lake and stop in downtown Chippewa Falls. If you follow the sweet scent of warm waffle cones, you’re sure to run into local favorite, Olson’s Ice Cream Parlor and Deli. Olson’s has been churning their own ice cream onsite using the same recipe since 1944. Sticking to tradition, they use only the freshest milk, cream, and other ingredients to concoct more than 30 unique flavors throughout the year. Olson’s even offers homemade sorbet for guests with dairy allergies or who simply crave a fruitier treat.