The State of Wisconsin is renowned for its quaint beauty, rugged wilderness, stunning coastline, and laid-back ambiance. Its state parks are a haven for anyone who needs some downtime away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Whether you love chasing waterfalls or idling on sandy beaches, their diverse scenery is ready to embrace you with open arms. For outdoor enthusiasts and adventure lovers, the parks offer a variety of activities, from picnicking to kayaking to camping.
Like the idea of exploring them? Here are the top Wisconsin parks that should be on your list. You can easily while away an entire day exploring any of these!
Devil’s Lake State Park
As the largest and one of the oldest parks, Devil’s Lake State Park attracts millions of visitors annually. It is located in Baraboo, along the Ice Age Trail, with a 360-acre lake as its focal attraction. You can enjoy panoramic views of this Wisconsin state park from the 500-foot quartzite bluffs located along the lake, and it will surely be a jaw-dropping sight.
For a more close-up experience, visitors can also go on a canoeing or boating adventure on the lake. The park also features two magnificent beaches, woodland, and low wetland parts for exploration. There are trails dedicated to bird-watching, biking, hiking, and even rock climbing. Although not for the fainthearted, a visit to its trail-less forest area can be a daring escapade!
Devil's Lake State Park
Copper Falls State Park
If you love waterfalls, this Wisconsin State Park has some of the best in store for you! The park features a magnificent gorge that spans for two miles joining Tyler Forks River and Bad River. There are several waterfalls along the gorge, such as the Copper Falls, Brownstone Falls, Cascades, and Red Granite Falls. The Doughboy’s Nature Trail has many observation decks and viewing points to catch a glimpse of some of them. The Devil’s Gate, a large rock formation, is another landmark in the trail.
If you want to take your canine friend on an adventure, make sure you take the Red Granite Fall trail, as it’s the only pet-friendly one. The park is great for hiking, fishing, camping, as well as swimming in Loon Lake. There’s also a space for picnics with a playground, so it’s a great place for kids as well.
Governor Dodge State Park
As another Wisconsin State Park steeped in natural beauty, this is a charming hideaway from the chaos of the city. Governor Dodge State Park is massive, offering its visitors a plethora of attractions to enjoy. Prepare to feast your eyes on the scenes of rolling hills, deep valleys, towering bluffs, and interesting wildlife and bird species. There is also a small waterfall and two lakes ideal for swimming, fishing, and canoeing.
There are many trails dedicated to biking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding. If you are hoping to go camping on your next vacation, the park is a great option with many campsites equipped with all the facilities. Just make sure you obtain the permits beforehand. Explorers will also come across traces of former settlements like the Rock Spring House, inhabited by farmers before the territory was declared a park.
Governor Dodge State Park
Harrington Beach State Park
For folks who love sunbathing on sandy beaches and going for a dip whenever they feel like it, Harrington Beach State Park is a perfect destination. Located in Belgium Town, the park spans over 700 acres. Its main highlight is the mile-long stretch of sandy beach along Lake Michigan that attracting a large number of visitors, especially during summer. The water is shallow enough for pets and kids to have fun swimming as well.
There is also a limestone quarry lake, wetland ponds, expansive grasslands, and cedar forest, drawing a perfectly romantic ambiance for couples to wander around. If you love star gazing or are interested in astronomy, this Wisconsin state park has an observatory with a roll-off roof to provide you an amazing experience. The park is also an adventure arena for many other activities like hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback riding, and picnicking.
Willow River State Park
Located in the west of Wisconsin, Willow River State Park is a perfect destination for recreation during any season. One of the must-see attractions here is the Willow River that gushes over a long gorge surrounded by lush greenery, eventually feeding the Willow Falls. The waterfall, which is 100 feet wide and 45 feet in high, is a sight to behold as it cascades in four tiers, forming many pools of water along the way. There are many trails leading to the river but beware as some can be quite narrow.
Camping and picnicking are allowed in the area near Little Falls Lake, with plenty of amenities. You can also go swimming, canoeing, and fishing in the lake, and pets are allowed in some places. So, if you are considering this Wisconsin State Park for your next vacation, we have to say you have made the right choice!
Whitefish Dunes State Park
Whitefish Dunes State Park is a renowned vacation spot because it offers an assortment of games to keep your adrenaline in check. The glorious coast of Lake Michigan with its fine dunes will invite you to relax or dive into the pristine waters right away! If you fancy a bit of adventure, we recommend you go kayaking or paddle-boarding, exploring the sea caves and dunes in the surrounding area. You would also come across the Niagara Escarpment and Australasia Shipwreck on your journey.
The park is also great for a hiking or biking tour with your special someone with many well-formed trails. During winter, Whitefish Dunes State Park is a top destination for skiing and snowshoeing. It’s worth mentioning that this Wisconsin State Park aims to protect the rich ecosystem and rare plants in the region. It’s open only for day use, and no camping is allowed in the park.
White Fish Dunes State Park
One thing we can say for sure is that one park would intrigue you to explore the other, and no two would ever be the same. Each Wisconsin State Park has something unique to offer, and many hidden gems await a curious explorer. These parks are great for solo travelers, families, couples, and groups to enjoy and relax some time amidst nature!