The Best in Tent Camping: Wisconsin

Sleeping bags in tent
 (Photo © Eyewire)

Wisconsin is rich in both human and natural history. Originally settled by aboriginal Americans who used the ample rivers and lakes for travel, French voyageurs and United States pioneers followed, exploring a land shaped by glaciers and time. Green Bay and Prairie du Chien were settled first as furs, lead, and lumber attracted more settlers. The vast and varied landscape was evident to all who came to the Badger State. They saw sand dune-laden shores of Lake Michigan, lake-studded highlands of the North Woods, the ridges and valleys of the southwest, where the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers cut deep swaths through the land, and the deep gorges cut by dark, fast-flowing rivers forming waterfalls striving for Lake Superior.

Today tent campers can enjoy these parcels, each distinct regions of Wisconsin. You can explore the surprisingly hilly terrain of Sidie Hollow, near the Illinois border. The bluffs of Perrot State Park overlook Minnesota. The central state has the remote and wild Black River State Forest, where timber wolves have reclaimed their old domain, with the quiet of East Fork campground returning you to nature. Here also are the big waters of Castle Rock Flowage, where Buckhorn's numerous walk-in tent camping sites await. A tent camper has to take two ferries to reach Rock Island State Park, Wisconsin's "furthest northeast" point. So many lakes dot Wisconsin's North Woods that you can literally camp on two lakes at once, such as Birch Grove campground in the Chequamegon National Forest, or Luna Lake/White Deer Lake campground in the Nicolet National Forest. And then there are the waterfalls of the North Woods. Marinette County calls itself the waterfall capital of Wisconsin.

All this spells paradise for the tent camper. No matter where you go, the scenery will never fail to please the eye. Before embarking on a trip, take time to prepare. Many of the best tent campgrounds are a fair distance from the civilized world and you want to be enjoying yourself rather than making supply or gear runs. Call ahead and ask for a park map, brochure, or other information to help you plan your trip. Visit the campground's website. Make reservations wherever applicable, especially at popular state parks. Inquire about the latest reservation fees and entrance fees at state parks and forests.

Published: 30 Jun 2003 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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