26 Awesome Wisconsin State Parks 2 Hours or Less From Appleton!

Point Beach State Park
Two Rivers

Get out of the city and into the fresh open air! Wisconsin is home to amazing trails, forests, and state parks and luckily, many happen to be a short drive from the immediate Fox Cities! So, pack a picnic lunch, your bike, and swimsuit and enjoy an afternoon in nature at one of these beautiful spots!

Before You Visit

  • A vehicle admission sticker is required for entry into all Wisconsin state parks, recreational areas, and forests. Annual passes are available for purchase online, at State Park offices, or by contacting the Wisconsin DNR at 1-888-305-0398.
  • Fishing licenses are required for all individuals over the age of 16.
  • Your pets are welcome at most of the parks! Make sure dogs are leashed at all times and not left unattended. There are specific areas where pets are not allowed. Many of the parks have designated beaches for our furry friends to enjoy!
  • Be sure to join the 2022 Wisconsin State Parks Challenge so you can win prizes as you explore this season.
  • State parks, trails, and recreational areas can fill up quickly. Reservations for camping and overnight stays are required and can be booked online up to 11 months in advance with some parks offering limited, first-come, first-served camping spots on any given day.
  • Don’t forget the important necessities! Be sure to pack bug spray, sunscreen, a first aid kit, and an adequate water supply for your visit. If you’re hoping to camp with young children, make sure to think about all the ways you can make the trip more enjoyable for your littler people and you.
High Cliff State Park Hiking
High Cliff State Park, Sherwood

1. High Cliff State Park, Sherwood

Trusted and true, High Cliff State Park is a favorite of many families in the Fox Valley area. The 1,187-acre property in Sherwood is the only state-owned recreation area located on the chilly Lake Winnebago. The park is carved out along part of the Niagara Escarpment and features a 12-foot statue of Chief Red Bird, leader of the Winnebago tribe. The statue marks the start of the Red Bird Trail and stands high on a granite rock and overlooks the lake. Another notable trail to High Cliff is the Indian Mound Trail. The self-guided trail showcases effigy mounds built by Native Americans over 1,500 years ago. Families can spend time together by fishing, swimming, boating, walking the trails, and checking out the former limestone kilns. Between 1895 and 1956, kilns were used to extract lime from stone. A general store is also available on-site, which serves as a museum of this time. Families can also climb the observation tower for a gorgeous look at the lake. From camping to swimming and discovering nature and history, High Cliff has something to offer every nature lover and first-time camper!

High Cliff At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 22 minutes | 12.4 miles, Calumet County
  • Address: B7630 State Park Road, Sherwood
  • Camping: Yes, 112 family campsites; some with electricity

Unique Park Highlights:

  • Statue of Winnebago Indian Chief Red Bird
  • Historic Limestone Kiln remnants
  • Native American effigy mounds

Read More: 18 Fox Valley Family Friendly Nature Trails for Biking, Walking & Hiking

2. Lost Dauphin State Park, De Pere

Lost Dauphin State Park, located in De Pere, is a simple spot to visit for a dose of quiet and peace while enjoying an afternoon outside. The 19-acre spot sits along the Fox River and offers its’ visitors opportunities to hike the trails and picnic. Named after it’s claimant, Eleazer Williams in the mid-1800s, the land became a state park in 1947. While it is no longer an official state park, living up to the “lost” in its’ namesake, the land remains state-owned. Families can partake in outdoor games like soccer, football, and spikeball or go on a nature scavenger hunt. Little visitors will enjoy checking out all the native plants and animals in the area or playing on the swings. The flagstone foundation for William’s home is still visible in the park. Check it out and enjoy a little time in the sunshine! Note: a vehicle registration sticker is no longer required for this location.

Lost Dauphin At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 23 minutes | 21.6 miles, Brown County
  • Address: 2926 Lost Dauphin Drive, De Pere
  • Camping: No

Unique Park Highlights:

  • Flagstone foundation of Eleazer Williams’ 1800’s home

Read More: 13 Green Bay Area Family Friendly Nature Trails for Biking, Walking & Hiking (and Waterfalls!)

kids playground at Heritage Hill Green Bay
Heritage Hill State Park, Green Bay

3. Heritage Hill State Park, Green Bay

Step back in time with a visit to Heritage Hill State Park just outside of Green Bay in Allouez. The 48-acre open-air museum showcases momentous elements and pieces of Wisconsin history and is unlike any other park in our area! The park features twenty-four structures that demonstrate life during the fur trade in 1762 up to farms of Belgium immigrants in the 1900s. Situated on the banks of the Fox River, Heritage Hill provides families with a fun and educational afternoon with many hands-on opportunities. With over 6,600 artifacts in its collection, families can stroll through the exhibits and spend time outside enjoying the beautiful weather!

Heritage Hill At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 29 minutes | 28.7 miles, Brown County
  • Address: 2640 S. Webster Avenue, Green Bay
  • Camping: No, but booking private events is available

Unique Park Highlights:

  • 24 Interactive and life-size structures
  • 6,600 on-site artifact collection
Hartman Creek State Park
Hartman Creek State Park, Waupaca

4. Hartman Creek State Park, Waupaca

Hartman Creek State Park is a quiet and beautiful state treasure spanning over 1,500 acres in Waupaca. Visitors can enjoy walking through ten miles of trails, swimming in the lake, or playing on the 300-foot sand beach area. There are seven miles of scenic horse trails that pass along Allen Creek and through the forest for riders to enjoy as well as plenty of trailer parking and hitching areas. There’s no shortage of active fun as the park offers kiddos a ton of space to run and has a playground. Families can enjoy a meal together in four different picnic areas around the park. The park also is home to the historic Hellestad House Log Cabin, which was built in 1864 by Ole Hellestad.

Hartman Creek At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 47 minutes | 48 miles, Waupaca County
  • Address: N2480 Hartman Creek Road, Waupaca
  • Camping: Yes, 103 family campsites

Unique Park Highlights:

  • Hellestad House Log Cabin

READ MORE: Creek Stomping, Ice Cream, and Picture Perfect Bridge in Little Hope Near Waupaca

kids exploring log house at Hartman Creek Wisconsin State Park in Waupaca
Hellestad House Log Cabin, Hartman Creek State Park

5. Copper Culture State Park, Oconto

If you are looking for a simple and minimalist nature experience, Copper Culture State Park will fit the bill! The park, which spans 42-acres, is nestled alongside the Oconto River. Families can enjoy a peaceful outing for an afternoon picnic, short hike, or catch and release on the river. While this park is smaller, it comes with a rather rich history as it was the site of a prehistoric cemetery of Midwest occupants who lived around 2,000 B.C!

Copper Rock At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 56 minutes | 60.4 miles, Oconto County
  • Address: 260 Copper Culture Way, Oconto
  • Camping: No; daytime visits only

Unique Park Highlights:

  • Plaque describing the prehistoric importance of the park
Point Beach State Forest

6. Point Beach State Forest, Two Rivers

Dig your toes in the sand and relax in the sun! Point Beach State Forest offers visitors not only the opportunity to swim and sunbathe but to walk, bike, jog, or hike. The forest, which spans 2,903 acres, also consists of six miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, making it the perfect family getaway! The property also features the Rawley Point Lighthouse, one of the tallest on the Great Lakes. The lighthouse, which is still in use, has been operated and maintained by the United States Coast Guard since 1853. Unfortunately, it cannot be toured, however, photography is permitted. Along with playing, swimming, and snacking on the beach, anglers of any age can enjoy Lake Michigan fishing. Basic tack and fishing equipment can be rented free of charge at the park office, so reel em’ in!

Point Beach At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hour, 8 minutes | 51.3 miles, Manitowoc County
  • Address: 9400 County Road O, Two Rivers
  • Camping: Yes, 127 campsites with water and electricity

Unique Park Highlights:

Read More: Spend the Day with Alpacas in Two Rivers

7. Kettle Moraine State Forest – Pike Lake Unit, Hartford

There is no place more appropriate to catch a walleye pike than the Pike Lake Unit at Kettle Moraine State Forest! In fact, the 522-acre park is even named after the popular Wisconsin fish. Families can cast their lines from ashore outside marked swimming areas or from a boat. For those looking to hit a trail, Kettle Moraine offers a variety of smooth pathways to walk, jog and hike. The Astronomy Trail is a unique, half-mile segment perfect for little feet. This segment of the blue trail takes the hiker on a stroll through the solar system! What’s better than education and exercise combined? With such lush surroundings, the park offers visitors an exquisite scenery and opportunities to take a peek at nature, especially the wildflowers that grow over summer. Families who enjoy kayaking or canoeing can launch just north of the beach area. There are plenty of spots to set up a picnic and relax. With such a spacious area, everyone is bound to get a much-needed dose of fresh air!

Kettle Moraine At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hour, 10 minutes | 75.4 miles, Washington County
  • Address: 3544 Kettle Moraine Road, Hartford
  • Camping: Yes, 32 family campsites; some with electricity

Unique Park Highlights:

  • The Astronomy Solar System Trail Segment

8. Potawatomi State Park, Sturgeon Bay

Hit the trails at Potawatomi State Park and enjoy 1,200 acres of gentle-rolling terrain! Visitors can walk or hike a variety of paths that are bordered by slopes and rugged limestone cliffs. The park features nearly three miles of the Ice Age trail, which showcases the edge of the last continental glacier in Wisconsin. The Tower Trail is a smooth 3.6-mile walk that will take you past the old tower on the highest bluff in the park. Apart from the trails, settle in along the Sturgeon Bay shoreline for a snack or to play some outdoor games, read, or rest. The park offers canoe, kayak, and paddleboat rentals. If your family loves to bike, there are eight miles of off-road bike trails to explore in addition to the park roads!

Potawatomi At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hour, 10 minutes | 77 miles, Door County
  • Address: 3740 Park Drive, Sturgeon Bay
  • Pets Allowed: Yes, leashed
  • Camping: Yes, 123 family sites; some with electricity

Unique Park Highlights:

Kohler-Andrae State Park Sheboygan Wisconsin
Kohler-Andre State Park

9. Kohler-Andrae State Park, Sheboygan

The Kohler-Andrae State Park is truly a place out of a fairytale! Located in Sheboygan, the park boasts majestic sand dunes, miles of golden beach, and fun for the whole family. The park is one of the last natural preserves along the Lake Michigan shoreline and you can camp at lakeside sites! Aside from swimming, Hiking is one of the most popular activities in this area. Guests who are looking for a little challenge can attempt the Dunes Cordwalk, a trail that runs parallel to the shoreline. The trail allows adventurers to see actively stabilized sand dunes, dry-mesic white pine forests, and wetlands. Those looking to spend a day exploring and embracing nature can visit the Sanderling Nature Center, part of Kohler-Andrae’s wildlife refuge. There, kiddos will learn about animals, plants, sand dunes, and the park’s history. The gift shop also offers field guides, patches, treats, and other surprises!

Kohler-Andrae At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hour, 24 minutes | 76.5 miles, Sheboygan County
  • Address: 1020 Beach Park Lane, Sheboygan
  • Camping: Yes, 137 family sites; some with electricity

Unique Park Highlights:

Read More: Sheboygan Family Day Trip

Peninsula State Park
Peninsula State Park

10. Whitefish Dunes State Park, Sturgeon Bay

Situated along the Lake Michigan shoreline in beautiful Door County, Whitefish Dunes State Park offers 1.5 miles of sandy beach along Lake Michigan. Enjoy 14.5 miles of trails along the sandy dunes, along the Great Lake waters, and through the forests while you’re visiting. The park is also home to a nature center, bookstore, and archaeological remains that suggest this shoreland was once home to eight different groups of peoples throughout the 3,000 years the sand dunes have been around. Fishing, swimming, and canoe/kayak paddling are all permitted but be aware of strong Lake Michigan gusts and dangerous rip currents.

Whitefish Dunes At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hr, 28 min | 91.6 miles, Door County
  • Address: 3275 Clarks Lake Rd, Sturgeon Bay
  • Camping: No

Unique Park Highlights:

11. Harrington Beach State Park, Belgium

Harrington Beach State Park encompasses 715 acres and over a mile  of Lake Michigan shoreline. This park is a favorite for swimming, hiking, star-gazing, and is particularly accessible friendly. Located just south of Sheboygan, Harrington Beach is a great location for your family’s next beach & nature day trip. Feeding chickadees is another favorite activity while visiting!

Harrington Beach At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hr, 32 min | 87.5 miles, Ozaukee County
  • Address: 531 Co Rd D, Belgium
  • Camping: Yes, a 69-site family campground, some with electric, along with an accessible cabin, 5 walk-in sites, and 1 kayak-in site

Unique Park Highlights:

Peninsula State Park
Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park

12. Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek

Plan a visit to Wisconsin’s third-largest state park! Opened in 1909, Peninsula State Park in Door County spans 3,776 acres and offers visitors an extended opportunity to relax and unwind. From swimming at the sandy Nicolet beach to kayaking and sunbathing, there is fun waiting for everyone. Picnic at one of the six spacious picnic areas, equipped with grills and shelters and fish from Weborg Pier. Families can also peddle along the Sunset Bike Trail, a ten-mile route that passes through the northern forest that is framed by Sven’s Bluff. Another favorite is Eagle Trail, which offers individuals an up-close and personal view of the Niagara Escarpment. With a total of 20 miles of hiking trails, there is plenty to explore. The White Cedar Nature Trail, a shorter half-mile loop, is an excellent choice for families with small children.

Peninsula At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hour, 34 minutes | 87 miles, Door County
  • Address: 9426 Shore Road, Fish Creek
  • Camping: Yes, five campgrounds with 468 family sites

Unique Park Highlights:

Read More: Things to do in Door County with Kids

Roche a Cri Wisconsin State Park
Roche-A-Cri State Park

13. Roche-A-Cri State Park, Friendship

Let your imagination run wild and visit Roche-A-Cri State Park! The park, which was established in 1948, features 605 scenic acres of trees, critters, and the only interpreted rock art in the state! An observation area allows visitors to view 300-foot-high Native American pictographs and petroglyphs. The acclaimed rock art features stylized birds, symbols, and tracks and a mound in the park also features carvings from the mid-1800s to the 1950s. Along with interesting rock formations, families can enjoy three different picnic areas as well as a walk on the Chickadee Rock trail, which is part of five miles of paved hiking trails. After a hike, visitors can test their luck with fishing for brook trout and panfish in the nearby Carter Creek.

Roche-A-Cri At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hour, 36 minutes | 88.2 miles, Adams County
  • Address: 1767 State Hwy 13, Friendship
  • Camping: Yes, 41 rustic campsites

Unique Park Highlights:

  • Historic Native American Pictograph & Petroglyph Rock Art
governor thompson state park beach
Swimming at Woods Lake, Governor Thompson State Park, Crivitz

14. Governor Thompson State Park, Crivitz

A 2,800-acre property located 15 miles outside of Crivitz, Governor Thompson State Park offers a wealth of trails to hike, waterways to explore, a sandy beach, and an abundance of wildlife to observe, making it a perfect destination for families to get away from the city life for some camping or an adventurous day trip. If you are specifically seeking a water adventure, Governor Thompson offers about 6.5 miles of undeveloped shoreline on Caldron Falls Flowage, with frontage on Woods Lake and Huber Lake. Motorized watercraft are not allowed on these lakes, so you can enjoy the quiet, calm waters from the comfort of your kayak or canoe.

Governor Thompson At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hour, 35 minutes | 96 miles, Marinette County
  • Address: N10008 Paust Ln, Crivitz
  • Camping: Yes, 100 family campsites, some electric, two accessible

Unique Park Highlights:

  • 3 reservable boat-in campsites

Read More: Endless Adventure in Wisconsin’s Northwoods at Governor Thompson State Park

15. Aztalan State Park, Jefferson

If archaeological digs and Wisconsin’s history peak your interest, then this is the state park for you! Aztalan State Park is home to one of Wisconsin’s premiere archaeological sites. Remnants of the Middle-Mississippian village from A.D. 1000 and 1300 are still here, including two reconstructed mounds and a stockade surrounding the village. The park offers two miles of trail that weave through prairie grasses and offer excellent views of these village remains. Bring along your fishing pole as the Crawfish River is right here, too.

Aztalan At-A-Glance: 

  • Travel Specs: 1 hr, 43 min | 90.4 miles, Jefferson County
  • Address: N6200 County Rd Q, Jefferson
  • Camping: No

Unique Park Highlights:

  • Remnants of Native American mounds and village stockade

16. Rib Mountain State Park, Wausau

Home to one of the oldest geological formations on the planet, Rib Mountain State Park is a perfect place to enjoy some mountain-type hiking and boulder climbing.  Rib Mountain, a quartzite billion-year-old hill, is Wisconsin’s second-highest point. The park offers abundant daytime outdoor activities, including boulder climbing and amazing views of the Wisconsin River and the surrounding Wausau area. Note: This state park does not have a campground. If you enjoy mountain hiking and views, Rib Mountain State Park is a smaller scale, Midwest flavor of just that!

Rib Mountain At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hr 43 min | 100 miles, Marathon County
  • Location: 149801 State Park Rd, Wausau, WI 54401
  • Pet Allowed: Yes, leashed
  • Camping: No

Unique Park Highlights:

Read More: Wisconsin Fall Colors Spectacular: Family Road Trip to Rib Mountain State Park & Granite Peak Scenic Chairlift Rides

Kids hiking on Queen's Chair at Rib Mountain Wisconsin State Park
Rib Mountain State Park, Wausau

17. Lakeshore State Park, Milwaukee

Located right in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, Lakeshore State Park provides a natural oasis along the shores of Lake Michigan in this busy urban center. There is a small beach available for swimming and paddling adventures, and a multi use hiking and biking trail. This park is a great place to view the city skyline of Milwaukee and gaze out upon the deep waters of Lake Michigan. Bird watching and ice fishing are other favorites here!

Lakeshore At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hr, 44 min | 108 miles, Milwaukee County
  • Address: 500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee
  • Camping: No

Unique Park Highlights:

18. Lake Kegonsa State Park, Stoughton

This lovely park is nestled along the shores of the 3,200-acre Lake Kegonsa just south of Madison. Lake Kegonsa State Park is a favorite for swimming, kayaking/boating, hiking, and enjoying beautiful lake views from the swinging bench along the lakeshore. Stop into town for a scoop of ice cream at the Stoughton Cinema Cafe or Cheesers. The Koffee Kup and Fosdal Home Bakery are great spots for breakfast and doughnuts.

Lake Kegonsa At-A-Glance: 

  • Travel Specs: 1 hr 51 min | 113 miles, Dane County
  • Address: 2405 Door Creek Rd, Stoughton
  • Camping: Yes, a 96-site family campground, some electric, and two electrical campsites reserved for those with disabilities.

Unique Park Highlights:

  • Excellent fishing opportunities

19. Governor Nelson State Park, Waunakee

If you’re looking for a park with beautiful views of our Capitol in Madison, then Governor Nelson State Park is for you! Situated north of Madison along the shores of the 10,000-acre Lake Mendota, Governor Nelson is a favorite spot for swimming, boating, fishing, and hiking along the 8.4 miles of trails.

Governor Nelson At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hr, 54 min | 109 miles, Dane County
  • Address: 5140 County Hwy M, Waunakee
  • Camping: No

Unique Park Highlights:

  • Four Stall Boat/Kayak Launch 
  • Accessible fishing pier and fish cleaning station
  • Native American effigy mounds 

READ MORE: Essential Downtown Madison: Visiting the Capital City with Children

20. Council Grounds State Park, Merrill

Situated on the shores of Lake Alexander, formed via a dam on the Wisconsin River, Council Grounds State Park is a favorite for water recreation of all kinds! The park offers a 217-foot beach, boat landing, and accessible fishing pier. This park was originally a city of Merrill park that officially became a state park in 1978. Long ago, Native Americans tribes used this area as a common meeting ground, the inspiration for the park’s name.

Council Grounds At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hr, 57 min | 120 miles, Lincoln County
  • Address: N1895 Council Grounds Dr, Merrill
  • Camping: Yes, 52 sites that are heavily wooded, 19 are electric

Unique Park Features: 

  • Canoe/kayak rentals including an accessible kayak

READ MORE: Fabulous Family Fun: Things to Do with Kids in Wausau

Buckhorn State Park, Wisconsin

21. Buckhorn State Park, Necedah

A nature lover’s peninsular paradise, Buckhorn State Park and two adjacent wildlife areas are situated in the Castle Rock flowage of the Wisconsin River. The 300-foot swim area complete with a beach wheelchair, is a perfect place to take a dip. These wetlands are a haven for wildlife both in the water and on the land. Take the Turtle Trail hiking path to a pond stocked with fish for children to catch!

Buckhorn At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 1 hr, 59 min | 107 miles, Juneau County
  • Address: W8450 Buckhorn Park Ave, Necedah
  • Camping: Yes, a 69-site family campground, some electric & accessible sites, and also a few backpacking sites available

Unique Park Highlights:

  • 1.8 mile self-guided canoe trail tour of the wetlands
  • Accessible fishing pier
  • Canoe/kayak rentals & accessible kayak

22. Rocky Arbor State Park, Wisconsin Dells

If you’re looking to escape the busyness and noise of the tourist district of the Wisconsin Dells, Rocky Arbor State Park, just 1.5 miles off the beaten path, is a perfect location to camp and enjoy some rest & relaxation. During the winter the campground is closed and vehicle access is blocked, but you can enjoy the mile-long, self-guided nature walk year-round.

Rocky Arbor At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 2 hr, 3 minutes | 102 miles, Adams County
  • Address: N101 US Hwy 12 and 16, Wisconsin Dells
  • Camping: Yes, 89 wooded campsites, some electric

Unique Park Highlights:

  • Scenic rocky ledges throughout the park

23. Mirror Lake State Park, Baraboo

This 2,200-acre state park is home to the beautifully calm Mirror Lake which offers gorgeous reflections of the surrounding cliffs & woods. Mirror Lake State Park has many accessible-friendly features, over 19 miles of hiking trails, and biking options, too! Swimming, fishing, and boating on this no-wake lake are favorite activities. Located within minutes of the Wisconsin Dells, this is a park that is definitely worth the side trip!

Mirror Lake At-A-Glance: 

  • Travel Specs: 2 hr, 3 min | 112 miles, Sauk County
  • Address: E10320 Fern Dell Rd, Baraboo
  • Camping: Yes, 151 family campsites & accessible cabin

Unique Park Highlights:

READ MORE: 10 Hidden Gems in the Baraboo Area For A Family Adventure

24. Newport State Park

Wisconsin’s only wilderness-designated state park, Newport State Park in northern Door County is an ideal destination for anyone looking to enjoy the quieter side of this area. The park encompasses 2,300 acres, has over 30 miles of hiking trails, offers backpacking campsites only, and helps preserve 11 miles of shoreline on Lake Michigan. For winter adventures, the park maintains 26 miles of cross-country skiing trails and five miles of snowshoeing trails to help you get out into nature. Newport State Park is also designated as a Dark Sky Park (one of only two in the Midwest and 18 in the country), making it an ideal location for stargazing. If you’re lucky, you just might even catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis Northern Lights here at one the darkest spots in our state!

Newport At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 2 hr, 5 min | 119 miles, Door County
  • Address: 475 County Rd NP, Ellison Bay
  • Camping: Yes, 17 backpack hike-in sites

Unique Park Highlights:

READ MORE: Ten Must-Do Wisconsin State Park Adventures for your Family’s 2022 Bucket List

Washington Island, Door County
Washington Island, Door County

25. Rock Island State Park, Washington

Located on a primitive island off the northern coast of Door County, Rock Island State Park offers a unique island experience for visitors. No vehicles are allowed here, and you’ll need to take the ferry from Washington Island to visit (open Memorial Day through Columbus Day). This is a great place to explore the Lake Michigan shoreline and swimming, hiking, paddling (exercise great caution due to turbulent waters), and rustic camping are all available. 

Rock Island At-A-Glance:

  • Travel Specs: 2 hr 6 min | 119 miles (to Gills Rock), Door County
  • Address: 1924 Indian Point Rd, Washington
  • Camping: Yes, 40 primitive walk-in campsites

Unique Park Highlights:

Devils Lake Wisconsin State Park
Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo

26. Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo

The Baraboo area and surrounding hills are no doubt one of the prettiest areas in our state. It’s no wonder that Devil’s Lake State Park is Wisconsin’s most popular state park. Devil’s Lake encompasses 360 acres and is surrounded by 500-foot quartzite bluffs. If you’re headed this way in winter, you can rent snowshoes at the park office and tromp around the 30+ miles of hiking trails. If you visit in the warmer months, you’ll want to hike around the lake for the iconic lake views from the bluffs and enjoy swimming, paddling, or scuba diving at either of the two lakeshores. Rock climbing is also a popular activity here! Pro tip: try to visit during the week, especially in the summer. The park often reaches capacity on the weekends during these super busy seasons and has to turn people away. 

Devil’s Lake At-A-Glance: 

  • Travel Specs: 2 hr, 11 min | 113 miles, Sauk County
  • Address: S5975 Park Rd, Baraboo
  • Camping: Yes, 423 sites of family campgrounds with many electric sites

Unique Park Highlights:

  • Rock Climbing
  • Canoe, kayak, and adaptive kayak rentals
  • Two swimming beaches
  • Opportunities for scuba diving

READ MORE: 10 Hidden Gems in the Baraboo Area for Families

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