Wisconsin camping guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on July 30, 2008 at 12:31 p.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
There are many ways to enjoy a Wisconsin summer vacation, and our beautiful natural scenery provides some of the best camping in the Midwest.
Dozens of campgrounds around the state offer a variety of camping experiences. So head out with your family and friends to a countryside campground that offers inexpensive, fun-filled accommodations and organized recreational activities.
Devil's Lake State Park
S5975 Park Road, Baraboo, (608) 356-8301
Hop in your car and take a trip to Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo. The Park has three public camping areas located on the north shore of the lake, and nine group camping areas on the south shore. Each campground is distinct from the other to suit each different camper's taste.
The Quartzite campground is located right on County DL and is recommended best for campers and RVs. The site is a mostly open area and was once a golf course. It's also open year-round.
The Northern Lights campground offers a variety of different sites from secluded wooded tents to RV sites with extra long pads for large RVs. This site is close to the park amphitheater.
The Ice Age campground is the farthest site from the lake. To get here, you must first drive through Northern Lights and under County DL. This site consists of two main areas and has the most wooded tent sites.
Ice Age is the place to go for primitive camping without showers or electrical hook-ups.
The group camps, located on the south shore, are most often used for kiddie camp outings and scout groups.
Devil's Lake is also a popular hunting and fishing destination. The locals sometimes refer to it as "The Dead Sea" but fishing in the lake is actually quite good.
The park has two large swimming areas for you to enjoy with sandy beaches, picnic areas, hiking, biking and much more.
To enter the park you must purchase a current Wisconsin State Park sticker. You can buy these at the Visitor Information office or you may order from the DNR directly. To do this, simply send a check or money order to DNR Parks and Recreation, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707 or by phone at (608) 266-2181 between 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. MasterCard and Visa are accepted.
Sticker fees are as follows:
For a Wisconsin resident: Annual: $25, Daily: $7, One-hour: $5
WI residents age 65 and older: Annual: $10, Daily: $3
Non-residents: Annual: $35, Daily: $10, One-hour: $5
Devil's Lake's camping fees range from $15-$17.
Chapparal Campground and Resort
S320 Hwy 33, Wonewoc, (888) 283-0775
Chapparal Campground and Resort facilities offers a great variety of options. You can choose from sleeping cabin rentals with full size beds, bunk beds, full hook-ups, RV drive-thru sites, group areas and rustic sites. Many unique sites are offered to fit your fancy.
For Wisconsiners, Friday's are fish night and Chapparal can make all types. Dine at their restaurant, Club Chapparal, and enjoy a specialty buffet, a mesquite wood grill, or a variety of menu selections.
Chapparal also provides entertainment with two cocktail lounges, pool tables, dart games, bars, dance floors and a DJ. Live outdoor music services are also offered during the summer months.
During the day, Chapparal can keep you busy with their many recreational activities including a heated swimming pool, volleyball, a game room, canoeing, biking and hiking.
Chapparal rates (per night):
Tent Site with electricity and water: $28
Basic Site with electricity and water: $33
RV site with electricity, water and sewer: $36
1-room cabin (sleeps four): $50/night, $300/week
2-room cabin (sleeps six): $95/nightm $570/week
Cabin, 2 bedroom, kitchenette and shower (sleeps 6): $145/night, $850/week
About their camping rates:
The seventh night is free for the weekly rates
Sunday through Thursday there is a special weekly rates letting campers pay for three nights and stay the fourth night free.
Duck Creek Campground
W6560 County Hwy G, Pardeeville, (608) 429-2425
Get packed and enjoy the 125 spacious wooded and open campsites that Duck Creek has to offer. Not only do they feature beautiful spring-fed and aerated swimming ponds with a large sand beach and swim craft, but also exceptionally clean showers and restrooms.
You and your family are able to also enjoy Duck Creek's Du Duck Inn Grill and Bar located right on the premise. Their restaurant will satisfy your hunger by serving char-grilled food, appetizers, pizzas and Friday night fish-frys.
Duck Creek amenities include a convenience store, laundry facilities, firewood, ice, live bait, a video gameroom, planned weekend activities, horseshoe pits, basketball courts and an open air pavilion for activities and groups.
If you feel like leaving the campsite, Duck Creek is located only 10 miles away from a variety of attractions. These include the Mackenzie environmental center, horseback riding, the Wisconsin Dells, Ho-Chunk Casino, Baraboo, the Circus World Museum, movie theaters, bowling, shopping and fine restaurants.
The rates (per night):
Water and electricity: $28 weekdays, $30 weekends
Camping cabin: $50 weekdays, $55 weekends
Camping cabin with porch: $55 weekdays, $60 weekends
Rates are based on two adults and dependent children. There will be a $5 extra charge for each additional adult and $3 for each additional child.
Green Lake Campground
W2360 Hwy 23, Green Lake, (920) 294-3543
This spacious campground is spread over 56 acres of woods, meadows and spring fed ponds. It provides all its campers with services that range from full hook-ups, fire rings and picnic tables.
While you are camping at Green Lake you can enjoy swimming along the shores of Lone Pine Lake or in their heated swimming pools. If you are a fisherman you can reel over to the stocked fish pond even without a license. Sand volleyball is also an option for friendly playing or tournaments.
Golfers are also invited to Green Lake Campground. They offer a nine-hole par three golf course located right on the resort!
Daily campground rates:
Water and electricity: $43
Section G/Full Hookup: $48
Pull thru / Full Hookup: $52
The Holiday Shores
3901 River Road, Wisconsin Dells, (608) 254- 2717
Grab your family and friends and relax along the upper dells river at the Holiday Shores waterfront and wooded campsites. Holiday Shores makes camping easy by offering water hook-ups, electric hook-ups, picnic tables, fire rings, bath houses, free hot showers and summer storage.
Spend the day splashing into the upper dells river and try para-sailing, wave runners, jet skis, ski and pleasure boats, pontoon and row boats, canoes and paddle boats.
Holiday Shores also offers a complete line of fishing tackle, licenses, live bait and boat supplies to make your fishing trip a catch!
Other fun anemities include casual dining, hayrides, swimming and live entertainment!
The rates (per night):
Cottages and two-bedroom mobile homes (four people): $130/night; $650/week week
Motel units: $80/night
Advance reservations are accepted. You will be responsible for the number of nights you reserve. For more information or to make reservations call, (608) 254- 2717.
Peninsula State Park
9462 Shore Road, Fish Creek, (920) 868-3258
If you enjoy hiking, camping, cycling, fishing or golfing, Peninsula State Park is where you want to be. Peninsula is one of Wisconsin's most popular outdoor attractions with more than 3,776 acres of woodlands, lakeshore and beautiful limestone bluffs. About three hours away from Milwaukee, Peninsula is a great park in the heart of Door County.
Peninsula is home to four different campgrounds of nearly 500 sites, some with lake views. Three group-camp areas are designated for tent camping only.
Fishing in this part of Lake Michigan is great for catching trout, walleye, smallmouth bass and perch. For those of you who have your own boat, Peninsula Park has two boat launches and a fishing pier for continuous lake access all summer long.
There are 19 miles of hiking trails in the park. Flower lovers are very fond of The Sentinel Trail. This trail offers many varieties of colorful plants and flowers, such as the Dwarf Lake Iris and the Yellow Lady-Slipper.
Peninsula State Park also offers nine miles of paved and gravel trails with designated bike routes. Rough, hilly, off-road trails are also offered for adventurous bikers.
One of the Peninsula's most popular features is a scenic 18-hole golf course. Reservations are highly recommended.
The Historic Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, established in 1868, is a great site to see. It stands over outlying islands and is open for tours daily.
Reservations for extended stay at Peninsula State Park are highly recommended up to 11 months in advance. During the week, $10-15/night for WI residents and $12-17/night for non-residents. For reservations call, (888) WI-PARKS.
Pride of America
P.O. Box 403, West Bush Rd., Portage, (800) 236-6395
Pride of America, located on the shores of Lake George, offers a variety of water activities. Lake George is a clean, spring fed lake perfect for swimming, boating and fishing, ideal for an all-round camping experience.
The goal of Pride of America is to offer you a quality family camping experience. And they do so by offering many organized family activities that are fun and free for all ages. Enjoy swimming, hayrides, volleyball, basketball, horseshoe pits, kids crafts, fishing and much more.
Other amenities offered are video game rooms, Scales & Tales tavern and grill, a gift store, pavilion shelters, snack shacks, tiled bath houses, laundry facilities and firewood sales facilities.
Pride of America rates:
Water and electric site: Sunday-Thursday, $34.95, Friday, Saturday and holidays, $44.95
Water, electric and sewer site: Sunday-Thursday, $40.95, Friday, Saturday and holidays, $50.95
Super Site: Sunday-Thursday $118.95, Friday, Saturday and holidays $128.95
VIP sites: Sunday-Thursday $44.95, Friday, Saturday and holidays $54.95
1-room cabin rental: $80.95-$90.95
2-room cabin rental: $97.95-$110.95
Sweetheart trailer, Deluxe Trailer or Cottage: $116.950$135.95
Sky High Camping Resort
N5740 Sky High Drive, Portage, (608) 742-2572
Rest and relax at Sky High Camping Resort with your friends and family. Set camp on a site with a beautiful view from hi atop the baraboo bluffs. Sky High offers fun-filled activities to keep everyone entertained.
Sky High offers many amenities such as nature trails, playgrounds, sand volleyball, basketball, golf, outdoor movies, recreation rooms, children's crafts, shuffleboard, horseshoes, special weekend activities and a new heated swimming pool with a children's wading pool.
Don't miss out on Sky High's countryside hayrides. Campers of all ages can enjoy a truly old-fashioned hayride driven by a real tractor. Rides are free for all campers.
Sky High Resort is an ideal place to bring your family this summer for an extended vacation. Sky High holds many tournaments and extended activities for the whole family to enjoy such as the annual Sky High Kids Olympics and the 20th annual over-30 softball tourney.
You and your family can also enjoy Sky High's beautiful new swimming pools and sun decks that overlook the pool complex.
A deposit of $20 is due within 10 days of reserving a site for weekdays and full deposits are due at this time for weekend stays.
Fees for two adults along with children for the in-season portion of the year are as follows:
Tent site: $27-$34
Electric & water site: $29-$38
Full hookup site: $32-$44
Rustic cabin: $70-$80
For more information or reservations call (877) 743-0720.
What about Wild Primitive Camping? With so many land around the state, hunting traditions and so on, why do we all be packed on a tiny spots of land in crouded campgrounds (and not so unheard of not perfectly clean as well) and paying for "utilities" we don't need or use?
We are coming to milwaukee on Aug 27th and be here 5 days. Is there any place to stay where they ain't gonna gouge ya for a decent hotel or cabin or even a house for the week? We have been looking but all we get is 150-500.00 a night that's crazy. any suggestions please let me know.
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