Best Camping in Wisconsin

Wisconsin, with its rich tapestry of forests, lakes, rivers, and prairies, offers a camping experience that’s both diverse and inviting. From the shores of Lake Superior in the north to the tranquil waters of the Mississippi River in the west, and the vast wilderness of the Northwoods, Wisconsin provides a backdrop for campers seeking adventure, relaxation, and a connection with nature.

For those drawn to the beauty of the Great Lakes, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore offers a unique wilderness camping experience on Lake Superior’s shores. The park encompasses 21 islands and a slice of the mainland, featuring pristine beaches, historic lighthouses, and sea caves that can be explored by kayak or canoe. Several islands offer primitive campsites, providing a secluded getaway amidst the stunning natural beauty of the archipelago.

In the heart of the state, Devil’s Lake State Park, nestled in the Baraboo Hills, is one of Wisconsin’s most popular camping destinations. The park’s bluffs offer breathtaking views of Devil’s Lake, a glacier-formed lake surrounded by 500-foot cliffs. The park’s campgrounds provide easy access to miles of hiking trails, rock climbing routes, and swimming beaches, making it a perfect spot for families and adventure seekers alike.

The vast wilderness of the Northwoods, encompassing areas like the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, offers a classic Wisconsin camping experience with its dense forests, serene lakes, and abundant wildlife. The forest’s campgrounds, such as those near the crystal-clear waters of the Namekagon River, cater to campers looking to fish, kayak, mountain bike, or simply enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Northwoods.

For a riverside retreat, the Mississippi River, along Wisconsin’s western border, offers scenic camping opportunities. Wyalusing State Park, perched on bluffs overlooking the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers, features campsites with stunning river views. The park’s trails lead to historic Native American mounds, birdwatching spots, and lookout points that offer panoramic vistas of the river valley.

A few tips for camping in Wisconsin: Be prepared for a range of weather conditions, especially if you’re planning to camp in the early spring or late fall. Booking in advance is highly recommended, particularly for popular destinations during peak summer months and the autumn foliage season. And, whether you’re exploring a national lakeshore, state park, national forest, or riverside campground, practicing Leave No Trace principles is crucial to preserving Wisconsin’s natural beauty for future generations.

Wisconsin’s camping destinations invite you to explore the state’s varied landscapes, from the serene shores of the Apostle Islands and the rugged beauty of Devil’s Lake to the tranquil wilderness of the Northwoods and the historic vistas of the Mississippi River. Whether you’re seeking adventure, solitude, or a journey through America's heartland, camping in Wisconsin offers an experience that embodies the spirit of the Midwest.