Wisconsin’s State Parks system maintains more than 100 properties, 47 state parks, 41 trails and nine recreational areas, all providing unique and gorgeous scenery, recreation and history. Here are just a few that we love:
Amnicon Falls State Park (South Range)
Photo by Joe Polecheck
Amnicon Falls State Park lies along the Amnicon River in Wisconsin’s most northwest point, just seven miles east of Superior. Its gorgeous waterfalls and rapids provide an amazing view from a covered footbridge or trails along the river. Visit to learn about the Douglas Fault, or even just to camp, picnic or walk in the woods.
Willow River State Park (Hudson)
Almost 3,000 acres of forests, prairie and river scenery await at Willow River State Park. The park, located in western Wisconsin and just five miles from Hudson, features a class 2 trout stream, a sandy beach and the beautiful and historic Willow Falls.
Rock Island State Park (Washington)
Located just off the tip of the Door County Peninsula, Rock Island State Park is just as gorgeous as you’d imagine. It’s home to Wisconsin’s oldest lighthouse and boasts 2,000 feet of beaches and historic stone buildings. No vehicles allowed, so hop on the ferry between Memorial Day weekend and Columbus Day.
Mirror Lake State Park (Baraboo)
Photo by Annette Shanahan
When a lake is so still that not even a ripple marks its surface (a surface, by the way, that reflects the park’s cliffs and wooded shoreline) it gets named Mirror Lake. The park is truly the definition of stunning. After marveling at the views, take in a little recreation like hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, camping, boating, swimming and fishing.
Blue Mound State Park (Blue Mounds)
Blue Mound State Park is perched on the highest point in southern Wisconsin and features gorgeous and unique geological features (and happens to be the only Wisconsin state park with a swimming pool). Visit for the off-road bicycle trails, cross-country ski trails and more.
Kohler-Andrae State Park (Sheboygan)
Photo by Laurie Painter
This Sheboygan park’s miles of sandy beaches and shimmering water will make you feel like you’ve left the Midwest entirely. It’s one of the last natural preserves along the Lake Michigan shore, and offers opportunities for swimming, hiking, camping, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Peninsula State Park (Fish Creek)
Photo by Amanda Gollhardt
This park’s got everything, including views. With eight miles of Door County shoreline, 468 campsites, a summer theater, an 18-hole golf course, a sand beach, trails and a lighthouse, Peninsula State Park is the total package.
Rib Mountain State Park (Wausau)
Photo by Tom Mortenson
Rib Mountain, a billion-year-old hill, is one of the oldest geological formations on earth. If that alone doesn’t make the park worth visiting, come for the hiking trails, picnics, skiing, amphitheater and breathtaking views of the Wisconsin River.
Interstate State Park (St. Croix Falls)
Wisconsin’s oldest state park spans two states—Wisconsin and Minnesota. It’s situated along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and a steep-sided gorge called the “Dalles of the St. Croix” is a picturesque feature of the park.
Kinnickinnic State Park (River Falls)
Photo by Jean Singer
This park’s junction of the St. Croix River and Kinnickinnic River allow for two very unique experiences: scenic solitude of the Kinnickinnic River Valley and the water-based recreation populating the St. Croix River.
Kristen Finstad is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. Having grown up in River Falls, attending UW-Stevens Point and now living in Madison, she’s a Wisconsin girl through and through. Watch Discover Wisconsin TV Saturday mornings at 10 on Fox Sports Wisconsin. (Twitter: @DiscoverWI)
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