Imagine opening the flap on your tent to reveal a beautiful vista, complete with rolling hills and winding rivers. Or stepping out of your cozy motorhome as you camp along the breathtaking bluffs of Wyalusing. Even stargazing within view of a historic lighthouse on Rock Island.
Whether you pitch a tent with friends, RV with the whole family, backpack or live the van life, check out these six state parks. Enjoy wooded campsites, sandy beaches and beautiful waterfront scenery you can only find in Wisconsin.
Wyalusing State Park – Bagley
Camp 500 feet above the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers at one of Wisconsin’s oldest state parks. Wyalusing State Park is home to two campgrounds, Wisconsin Ridge and Homestead. To experience the best views, pitch your tent bluffside and take in your surroundings for miles.
There’s no shortage of things to do while you camp. Visit the many Native American burial mounds situated inside the park, or travel down the canoe trail. A boat ramp gives you access to the mighty Mississippi.
You’ll feel as if you’re on top of the world staying at Wyalusing.
Harrington Beach State Park – Belgium
Just two hours north of Chicago and located right along the shore of Lake Michigan, Harrington Beach State Park encompasses 702 acres, including a mile-long sandy beach and scenic 25-acre quarry lake.
Hike through the 80-acre white cedar lowland forest for a chance to see uninhibited wildlife and colors aplenty. If you’re into fishing, Quarry Lake and Puckett’s Pond provide angling opportunities for trout, smallmouth bass and panfish.
If soaking up the sun at the beach, or taking in a beautiful sunrise over the waves is where you belong, you won’t be disappointed with a stay at Harrington Beach.
Big Bay State Park – Madeline Island
This campground located near a mile-and-a-half secluded beach is a beautiful spot to camp. Tucked away in a bay on Madeline Island's shore of Lake Superior, Big Bay State Park is a must stop to view some of the state's undisturbed wilderness. Wake up to the sounds of waves outside your tent or end the day with a spectacular sunset on the beach.
A scenic ferry ride takes you from Bayfield to Madeline Island. There isn’t a bridge, and the ferry adds even more to the adventure.
Mirror Lake State Park – Baraboo
Near the ever-famous Wisconsin Dells, you’ll find a picturesque lake surrounded by sandstone bluffs. The campsites are wooded for your privacy, but just steps away from the water.
Boat, canoe or kayak across the deep-blue lake and view the ancient rock formations, settled by early civilizations.
Mirror Lake State Park's main draw, the lake, is entirely no-wake. The no-wake zone, combined with the expansive bluffs that protect the lake from wind, gives the lake its mirror-like appearance and allows for easy paddling. You’ll experience nature's peacefulness without the sounds of boat engines roaring here.
Rock Island State Park – Washington Island
Even the journey to Rock Island State Park is extraordinary. Take the ferry with your crew from the Door County peninsula to Washington Island, and then the Karfi Ferry to Rock Island. You'll never forget the awe-inspiring views while gliding across Lake Michigan.
Rock Island itself is complete with stone buildings, built by a wealthy inventor who used to own the island. Vehicles aren't allowed on the island, keeping you immersed in the outdoors. Set up your tent right along either the Green Bay or Lake Michigan sides of the island and get all the time in the water you want. Who wouldn’t want to camp on an island?
Peninsula State Park — Fish Creek
Not far from Rock Island (and before the ferry rides) lies another Wisconsin icon: Peninsula State Park. Hike and bike along the 8 miles of Green Bay coastline, explore the historic Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, kayak along sheer cliffs, and enjoy a refreshing swim at Nicolet Beach.
As for the views, take in incredible sunrises and sunsets from campsites around the peninsula. And for the park’s greatest view, head to the top of the newly reconstructed Eagle Tower. The tower’s 850-foot wheelchair accessible ramp does a scenic loop through beech tree forest before the breathtaking Lake Michigan view at the top.
Find campgrounds in state parks and forests near you, and discover more great views at these shoreline camping options throughout the state. Remember, summer and fall aren’t the only times to take in these breathtaking views at Wisconsin’s state parks. Winter provides a brand new landscape.