Wisconsin state parks guide
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Want to escape the city? Get wrapped up in Wisconsin's outdoors at nearby state parks. You can experience pristine nature, complete with waterfalls, camping and lots of wildlife.
There are plenty of parks only a few hours away, or less, from Milwaukee. Just hop in the car and head in any direction, except east, of course. You can access more information about them at dnr.state.wi.us. Here are just a handful of them:
Aztalan State Park
1213 S. Main, Lake Mills, (920) 648-8774
Located at a 12th century Indian village near Lake Mills, this park is a historic archaeological site. It offers picnic areas, hiking trails and fishing.
Big Foot Beach State Park
1452 Hwy. H, Lake Geneva, (262) 248-2528
On the shores of Lake Geneva, the park offers wooded campsites, a sand beach and picnic areas. Open mid-May through October.
Bong State Recreation Area
26313 Burlington Rd., Kansasville, (262) 652-0377
More than 4,500 acres of fun await visitors at this multi-use recreation area in Kenosha County.
Capital Springs State Park
3101 Lake Farm Rd., Madison, (608) 224-3606
This park was established during the Wisconsin State Parks' 2000 centennial year. You can hike, bike, fish, watch wildlife, picnic and camp.
Fischer Creek State Recreation Area
4319 Expo Dr., Manitowoc, (920) 683-4185
Fischer Creek stretches for nearly a mile of the Lake Michigan shoreline. Explore the wooded bluffs, grasslands and wetlands. There is no camping, though.
Governor Nelson State Park
5140 Cty. Hwy. M, Waunakee, (608) 831-3005
Situated on Lake Mendota, recreation and nature mingle within sight of the State Capitol. Effigy mounds in the woodlands, prairie and savannah restorations.
Harrington Beach State Park
531 Hwy. D, Belgium, (262) 285-3015
Peacefulness and serenity draw people to this mile-long stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline. You can go hiking, fishing, eat at the picnic areas, cross-country ski in the winter, but there is no camping.
Havenwoods State Forest
6141 N. Hopkins St., Milwaukee, (414) 527-0232
Enjoy a 237-acre island of nature within Milwaukee's urban environment. You do not need a state park sticker to get in. Hike, visit the arboretum, bike, go cross country skiing or watch the birds.
Heritage Hill State Park
2640 S. Webster Ave., Green Bay, (920) 448-5150
Experience "living history" at this 40-acre outdoor museum in Green Bay. The park features 25 structures from Wisconsin's past. You pay per person, not per car here.
High Cliff State Park
N7630 State Park Rd., Sherwood, (920) 989-1106
This park, overlooking the largest inland lake in Wisconsin, is situated on limestone cliffs, once sacred to Native Americans. History and geology buffs will enjoy the park's effigy mounds, lime kiln and quarry.
Kettle Moraine State Forest-Northern Unit
N1765 Hwy. G, Campbellsport, Monday-Friday (920) 626-2116, Weekends (920) 533-8322
A 29,000-acre forest offers a glacial panorama with rolling, wooded hills dotted with serene lakes. There is a wide range of recreational activities for you to enjoy on the 133 miles of trails. The Ice Age Visitor Center is open daily.
Kettle Moraine State Forest-Southern Unit
S91 W39091 Hwy. 59, Eagle 53119, (262) 594-6200/6201
Roughly 21,000 acres of glacial hills and lakes close to Milwaukee make this a very popular recreation area. Group camping is available as well as a cabin for people with disabilities.
Kohler-Andrae State Park
1520 Old Park Rd., Sheboygan, (920) 451-4080
This 1,000-acre scenic park on the shore of Lake Michigan offers a peaceful getaway. Wooded campsites and two miles of sandy beach.
Lake Kegonsa State Park
2405 Door Creek Rd., Stoughton, (608) 873-9695
Grab your poles because Kegonsa means "lake of many fishes," and it is one of southern Wisconsin's most productive fishing holes. The woodlands, prairies and wetlands attract campers, hikers and skiers.
Lapham Peak-Kettle Moraine State Forest
W329 N846 Cty. C, Delafield, (262) 687-0127
Climb a 45-foot observation tower atop the highest point in Waukesha County. The park's glaciated topography provides excellent hiking, backpacking, cross-country skiing on lighted trails and ice skating. Enclosed shelters mean you can come all year long.
Loew Lake Unit, Kettle Moraine State Forest
3544 Kettle Moraine Rd., Hartford, (262) 670-3400
This picturesque valley includes the winding east branch of the Oconomowoc River and the 23-acre Loew Lake. It is open to low-impact recreation like hiking, hunting and horseback riding, but there is no camping.
Pike Lake Unit-Kettle Moraine State Forest
3544 Kettle Moraine Rd., Hartford, (262) 670-3400
Powder Hill, a 1,350-foot glacial kame, offers panoramic views of the park's unique glacial topography. It is part of the Ice Age Trail.
Point Beach State Forest
9400 Cty. Hwy. O, Two Rivers, (920) 794-7480
Located on a point jutting into Lake Michigan, the forest's six-mile beach is a great place to catch a wave or walk in the sand. Indoor and outdoor group campsites.
Find state parks further afield in Wisconsin with this handy map.
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