Wisconsin’s state parks really highlight the natural beauty of our state. There are so many options, how do you choose? Here at WiscoExplorer, we are working towards seeing ALL the parks. I have a list below with a brief description of the state park and a link to the post if I’ve written about it already. The ones with completed posts are marked with (*). My family and I have visited almost 3/4 of the parks so far and I have not been disappointed yet!
Which is your favorite park? What park would you like to know more about? Comment below.
Amnicon Falls showcases a wide and long series of waterfalls, a covered bridge, and several short hikes. There is a campground as well. You can see some waterfalls within a very short walk from the parking lot.
Aztalan-This state park is small but has some very unique history. It is a national historic site and has remnants of an ancient Indian civilization. There are a couple of miles of hiking trails and river access as well.
Belmont Mound is a smaller state park in the southwest part of the state. It has a total of 2.5 miles of trails. There is an option for a fairly short trail from the parking lot to the high point either through the woods or on an old paved drive. The mound of the park is surrounded by mostly flat lands allowing for a great view. The observation tower that used to be in this park has been taken down.
Big Bay-The park features stoney beaches with crystal clear water. Plan ahead because you need to take a ferry to get to this park on Madeline Island. It includes hiking trails, a campground, a large swimming beach, and a boardwalk.
Big Foot Beach
Big Foot Beach is on the shores of Lake Geneva. It has hiking, camping, and swimming
Blue Mound park has a campground, hiking, mountain biking, two observation towers, and a playground. As the highest point in southern Wisconsin, it offers great views.
Brunet Island has some of the best water-access camping I’ve seen. You can paddle right up to many of the campsites. It’s a great park for biking in that most of the trails are for hiking and biking and the shoulders are wide. There is also access to the Old Abe State Trail for longer bike rides. There is a beach and boat launch as well.
Buckhorn-Hiking, camping, 1,000’s of acres of adjacent state wildlife areas, and plenty of water access.
Copper Culture has a museum detailing the history of the property. It is the site of a prehistoric cemetery.
Copper Falls state park boasts several magnificent waterfalls. There are 17 miles of trails in the park all of which are available for hiking. Several trails are also shared with biking. They have multiple camping options to suit all needs from electrical hookups to a backcountry site with primitive resources only.
The best thing about Council Grounds is the water access! The Wisconsin River runs along the park and a damn forms a lake where you can boat, fish, kayak, and swim. There are several short hikes along the water and plenty of great views of the lake. A campground is available as well.
This less developed park still has great hiking opportunities. Check out all trails for information about the trails.
Devils’ Lake is the state’s most popular park this park features hiking, a beach, lake views, steep rocky climbs/rock scrambles, rock climbing with ropes, and more.
Governor Dodge-With over 5,000 acres this is one of the state’s largest parks this place has something for everyone! There are over 40 miles of hiking trails and some trails are open for biking and horses. This park has a campground, beaches, boat launches and more!
Governor Nelson-This beautiful day park just North of Madison has a beach, boat launch, and over 8 miles of hiking trails through the prairie restorations and woodlands.
This large park in the northeast part of the state has a beach, over 16 miles of hiking, and a campground. It is along the Peshtigo River. There are even a few campsites accessible by boat only.
Harrington Beach has a mile of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline to enjoy which directly abuts a wooded trail. There are another 7 miles of hiking trails around Glacier Lake and through the woods. There are horse trails and a campground as well. They have an updated playground as well.
Hartman Creek is a large park that has everything. It has six lakes with multiple places to fish or launch a canoe. There are several swimming areas and there is crystal clear water! They have trails catering to hikers, horse riders, and a variety of bike trails including paved, gravel, and single track. There is a large sandy swimming beach and a campground.
Heritage Hill state park features a living history museum with a separate admission fee. Roam the grounds and see what life was like in days gone by. Here is a few ideas of other things to do and see nearby.
At High Cliff State Park, it is easy to find something for everyone. A few unique things about the park include Indian Effigy Mounds, the Niagara Escarpment, and a marina where you anchor your boat. There are also plenty of hiking trails, biking trails, horse trails, camping, and camping. Don’t miss the beach or the observation tower. This park features one of the best state park playgrounds we’ve seen!
If you are looking for amazing views and enjoy traversing uneven terrain, look no further! Interstate State Park is also a fantastic place for paddling and boating. This park is especially great for those looking for short, beautiful, and challenging hikes, rock climbers, paddlers, and fishermen.
Kohler-Andrae is an amazing state park along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The beaches almost make you feel you are a lot further south! There are large areas of sand dunes abutting the beach with a unique Kohler Dunes Cordwalk trail meandering along it. The park has a large campsite and several miles of sandy shoreline.
Lake Wissota has a large and wooded campground. Plenty of hiking and biking trails which are both wooded and through meadows filled with wildflowers. It is adjacent to the beautiful Lake Wissota and has a beach, views overlooking the water, a fishing pier, and both a paved boat launch and another paddler-specific boat launch. There are also horse trails. Don’t miss this park in the winter, there are great options to enjoy Lake Wissota in the snow.
Lakeshore-This park is smaller than most but has great city access and a beautiful view of the lake. It is very close to the venue for Summerfest as well as the children’s museum. Check a few ideas for a visit to this park here.
Lizard Mounds-The newest state park in Wisconsin.
Mirror Lake is a large park covering over 2,000 acres and less than 15 minutes away from Wisconsin Dells. Many people head to that area for a variety of tourist delights but don’t miss out on this wonderful park! There is a calm lake with picturesque shorelines. The park has something for everyone and features camping, hiking, biking, boating, fishing, and swimming.
Natural Bridge is a day-use-only park that features a natural sandstone arch bridge and approximately 4 miles of hiking.
Nelson Dewey Park provides excellent views of the mighty Mississippi. There are over two miles of hiking trails and it seems you have an amazing view wherever you go. There is a campground where you can enjoy the vast views overnight.
*New Glarus Woods*
New Glarus Woods State Park is a smaller park with hiking and an awesome play set. There is also camping and bike trail access to the Sugar River State Trail.
Pattison has two main waterfalls. Big Manitou Falls is 165 feet and is an impressive site. Little Manitou Falls is just over 30 feet and you can hike right next to both the top and bottom. There are miles of hiking trails, a campsite, and a beach as well.
As the name implies, Peninsula State Park is in fact on a large peninsula and has a large beach, a lighthouse, two boat launches, and a fishing pier. There are two campgrounds, plenty of hiking trails, and several playgrounds. There are great limestone biking trails, park roads to bike on, and some mountain bike trails as well.
Potawatomi State Park is on the shore of Sturgeon Bay with several miles of shoreline to explore. There are plenty of boating opportunities in addition to a campground, eight miles of off-road bike trails, and almost 10 miles of hiking trails.
Rib Mountain State Park has a LOT to offer. You can hike or drive to the top to see the beautiful views. There are rocks to climb for the kiddos and the young at heart and an observation tower. There are multiple hikes from short ones around the top to longer challenging ones from the very bottom. This is a great park to see the fall colors and there is an option to ride the chair lift to take in the view. There is also great hiking to be had so check out Rib Mountain in the winter!
Roche-A-Cri-It has old cave art that is only a short walk from the car. There is a wonderful stair climb to the top of the rocks which is over 300 stairs to the top! They have numerous hiking trails and a campsite.
Rocky Arbor is a small state park with a mile hike around the rocky ledge. There is a playground and a campground. It is very close to the tourist town of Wisconsin Dells.
Straight Lake, where you can find serenity, seclusion, and solitude. This park is a gem for those looking to get away from the crowds and enjoy the beauty of Wisconsin. Enjoy the sounds of nature! There are no motorized vehicles allowed in the park past the parking lots. What a wonderful park to find some peace and quiet.
Tower Hill features a small campground and plenty of backwater areas to explore by canoe/kayak. Approximately 2 miles of trails guide you around the shot tower and some local views.
Whitefish Dunes State Park features a 1.5-mile beautiful white sand beach, clear blue water, and rocky water edges. There are nearly 15 miles of hiking trails at this park giving a variety of ways to enjoy the dunes.
Wyalusing State Park overlooks the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. There are over 14 miles of hiking with some trails leading to caves and other unique features. Two of the hiking trails are bike friendly. There are campgrounds available as well as a boat launch. There are 6 miles of marked canoe trails.
Yellowstone Lake State Park is along the edge of the lake. There is a beach, a boat launch, and great views of the lake from the road. They have hiking, mountain biking, and a campground.