Wisconsin is an incredible state with ancient glacial landforms and massive expanses of state and national forests. If you want to tackle the winter landscape, see Wisconsin in all its snowy splendor, or wake up beside a frozen lake with a hot cup of coffee, the opportunities are out there.
I’ve gathered 21 of the best places to experience Wisconsin winter camping! In this article, I’ll cover the best winter camping locations in the Southwestern, Northwestern, Northeastern, and Southeastern parts of the state.
Helpful Winter Camping Gear
Best Wisconsin Winter Camping: Southwestern Wisconsin
1. Mirror Lake Campground
First on the list of best Wisconsin winter camping is Mirror Lake! Based around a beautiful lake, this campground has 50-foot-high cliffs that give you a wild environment to explore and enjoy. While winter camping will not give you access to the lake’s many activities, there is still plenty to do here. You will find trails and hiking opportunities abound.
2. Wildcat Mountain State Park
From high peaks to low valleys, this state park gives you 21 miles of trails to explore and a great place to camp in the winter season. The camping varies but there are plenty of reservable campsites.
3. Governor Dodge State Park
This massive 5,000-acre gem offers a variety of activities from off-road biking to cross-country skiing and, of course, all the outdoor access you could want. This is a great location for that special winter camping adventure.
4. Blue Mound
If elevation is your thing, Blue Mound sits on the highest elevation in southern Wisconsin. With this elevation, it offers incredible geological features and breathtaking views.
When you visit this Wisconsin winter camping destination, you’ll be free to roam over 20 miles of trails, which include the opportunity to partake in cross-country skiing. There is a family campground and rustic cabins to reserve, too.
5. Devil’s Lake
How about setting up the tent near a 500-foot quartzite bluff that overlooks a 360-acre lake? Doesn’t sound much like hell, but this is what Devil’s Lake State Park offers!
The most unique thing about this campground is the year-round naturalist programs that are available. Of course, the 30 miles of trails don’t hurt either.
Best Wisconsin Winter Camping: Northeast Wisconsin
6. Northern Highland American Legion
This is an absolutely massive state forest that gives you all kinds of Wisconsin winter camping opportunities. It offers 236,000 acres and 900 lakes where you can set up your pop-up tent in the dead of winter if you can keep warm!
This place is the perfect location for a lifetime of winter camping trips. There are a vast array of campsites available from backwoods to sites full of amenities.
7. Peninsula State Park
This park is touted as one of the very best locations for Wisconsin winter camping. While you will miss out on some of the amenities and brilliance of this park in the winter months, there are tons of opportunities at Peninsula State Park.
The park is part of a peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan, which only adds to the beauty of it. There is a lot to do here, and that goes for all seasons!
8. Potawatomi State Park
This park is 1,200 acres of rolling upland terrain. This park is full of opportunity, and while it doesn’t share the amenities of the Peninsula park, which is just north, it is still a great place for a winter camping adventure.
This park sits on Sturgeon Bay, which offers up all the fun that can be had on the water. Of course, in winter this could be a place to ice fish and catch some walleye for dinner. Perhaps an ice skating adventure could wait, too!
9. Black Lake Campground
A highly rated family favorite for camping in Wisconsin. The campsites are well spread out and many offer great views of the Black Lake which the campsite is named for.
Black Lake skews hard to the drive-in camper and the RV winter camper, but this might be your thing. You have 45 drive-in sites to choose from and three walk-up sites if you are looking for a more austere winter camping experience.
10. High Cliff State Park
If you want to have a winter campout on Wisconsin’s largest lake, Lake Winnebago, then this state park is perfect! It’s the only tract of public land on the massive lake. Of course, the water is the feature of this camping destination. However, there are high limestone cliffs and trails.
You will need more than a pop-up tent to camp here in the winter months, so this might be better for the RV camper.
11. Menominee River State Park
This is not a park for the rowdy and is categorized as a quiet-use park. Of course, in the solitude of winter camping, you don’t often run into problems with noise anyway. Primitive camping is available and is one of the best ways to enjoy a park like this.
The entire park straddles the Menominee River, which will add a layer of beauty to your winter camping trip.
Best Wisconsin Winter Camping: Northwest Wisconsin
12. Amnicon Falls State Park
This park centers around a series of waterfalls that can be viewed from a wooden bridge along the trails in the park. Winter camping in a pop-up tent is an option at this park, and that is not always the case with wintertime camping in the state parks of Wisconsin.
There are also two miles of trails that run along the river bank and provide you with excellent views.
13. Brule River State Forest
This massive state forest is an ideal location for people to explore lands for primitive camping or settle into one of the many campgrounds. This state forest contains a 23-mile stretch of the North Country Scenic Trail. You also have total access to the Brule River that is contained in the park. This park offers all kinds of opportunities for winter camping fun, and you’re sure not to be disappointed in your experience here!
14. Copper Falls State Park
Home to one of the best hikes in Wisconsin, Copper Falls features a 1.7-mile hike along the Doughboys Nature Trail and Bad River. This park is also home to some incredible natural features like deep gorges, lava flows, and waterfalls.
This is a charming spot for a Wisconsin winter camping expedition and has a lot of history both ancient and modern wrapped up in it.
15. Big Bay State Park
For those winter campers who are really looking for an adventure, Big Bay offers just that. This location is part of the Apostle Islands archipelago. It features about four miles of sandstone bluffs along the banks of Lake Superior.
The views are outstanding, but there’s more to do than just looking! The fact that this is an island can make for a very unique adventure. There is even a cliff to jump off of if the waters are not frozen over. It would be only the bravest winter campers taking that plunge.
16. Governor Knowles State Forest
There are a lot of options in this state forest with many campsites for the winter camper. You have St. Croix, Trade River Equestrian, and Sioux Portage Group as the three major campgrounds on site. There are also nine primitive campsites within the massive 32,000-acre state forest.
Best Wisconsin Winter Camping: Southeast Wisconsin
17. Kettle Moraine State Forest
Sitting on 22,000 acres this massive state forest is sitting on a wide range of habitats. You can visit prairies, kettle lakes, and glacial hills. There are 100 miles of nature and hiking trails for near limitless exploration during your Wisconsin winter camping trip.
There are three family campground and backpacking shelters near the Ice Age Trail.
18. Glacial Drumlin State Trail
This is a very interesting opportunity for the winter camper because we are dealing with a 52-mile trail. This is not your traditional state park or forest. It even runs between two of Wisconsin’s largest urban areas.
Look for the Sandhill Station Campground if you want to take advantage of this trail as a camping opportunity. There are 15 walking campsites.
19. Kohler-Andrae State Park
This is one of the last nature preserves on the banks of Lake Michigan. It is public land at its best and offers you a chance to really enjoy the banks of this Great Lake. The pine forests give way to sand dunes and shores.
This environment is perfect for that winter camping adventure. It’s also a bit exclusive given the nature of where it sits.
20. Kettle Moraine Northern Unit State Forest
The stretch of Kettle Moraine is broken up into three parts. We are going to explore two of them. This one is the Northern Unit. This portion of the park offers all-year recreation on world-class glacial formations. You get your pick with over 350 different campsites.
There are skiing slopes, sledding hills, and challenging trails.
21. Big Foot Beach State Park
I mean, with a name like Big Foot Beach, this Wisconsin winter camping destination has got to be worth a look! In fact, this place shines in its winter recreation opportunities. It is a very popular place for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The five miles of hiking trails and family campgrounds are great accommodations.
This park is also situated on the banks of Geneva Lake. This could be a great ice fishing opportunity.
Wrapping Up Wisconsin Winter Camping
There you have it: 21 of the best winter campsites in Wisconsin, ready to offer incredible opportunities for exploration! I hope you find time to get out this winter and see what these places have to offer. If not, now might be the perfect time to start planning for next year!
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James Walton grew up fishing for trout in Southeastern, Pennsylvania. He married his southern wife and moved to Virginia where he immersed himself in survival skills and the prepper community. In 2016 He started writing for survival and outdoor publications and websites. His work has been published in magazines like Virginia Wildlife Magazine and BackdoorSurvival.com
In 2018 he took over at The Prepper Broadcasting Network and has developed a listening base all over the world. This opened up new opportunities to meet people in the survival, prepping and outdoor communities.
These days James is writing for publications like AskaPrepper.com, UrbanSurvivalSite.com, and publishing his own books.