Forest camping in Wisconsin with campfires

Like the state's famous ice cream, outdoor adventures are served year-round in Wisconsin.

97% (3654 reviews)

Popular camping styles for Wisconsin

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12 top forest campgrounds in Wisconsin with campfires


Purplehaze Acres

9 sites · Lodging, Tents60 acres · Rubicon, Dodge
Purplehaze Acres is a 60-acre organic rustic farm in Rubicon, WI and resides at the beginning of the approx. 650-mile Niagara Escarpment--known locally as "The Ledge". We are in close proximity to the Ice Age Trail, and the natural treasures of the great Horicon Marsh, Lake Sinnissipi/Rock River with canoeing/kayaking/fishing, Ledges County Park, and the world-renowned Holy Hill Shrine. Nearby Hustisford ("Husti") offers unique shopping and dining experiences, such as the Mercantile and Mocha Vino. Need a few organic groceries? Make sure to visit Back To The Best Organic grocer only 3 miles away, featuring food raised on local organic farms including Purplehaze Acres. Potable water, charcoal grills, firepit grates, eggs and available for purchase--firewood. COMING SOON: Did you forget something? If so, check out our Camp Cupboard Store. Your approach via 1/2-mile dirt drive up the hills and through the woods . . . to not your grandmother's typical house you go. You'll find wonderful vistas, wildflowers, berries, trails up into the woods, a 900' grass runway for aviators on an overall great "peace" of earth. ☮
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Beaver Point Cabin

1 site · Lodging90 acres · Belleville, Green
The cabin is an off-grid, 12'X20' insulated structure, with a 7'X8' loft and a 12'X6' screened covered porch/deck. That overlooks a small stream and a cattail marsh. It is in the center of our 90 acres and is very private but near to some rural houses, only our house is (barely) visible in winter and you might see some lights of one other neighbor when the leaves are off the trees. We are 1 and a half miles from the village of Belleville and 5 miles from New Glarus. The Badger State Trail runs across the western edge of our property. It connects with the Sugar River State Trail 8 miles away. Near by New Glarus has many shops, restaurants, Baily's Run winery and the famous New Glarus Brewery (tours daily). Everything can be easily reached by bike or, in season, snowmobile. The marsh is a haven for all sorts of birds and wildlife. Spring brings an abundance of winged migrators and returning residents. There are: sand hill cranes, red wing blackbirds, a number of ducks; buffleheads, mergansers, woodducks, blue winged teal and shovelers just to name a few. The American woodcock can be heard overhead most spring mornings and evenings. The spring peepers (small frogs) are a symphony on their own and they continue into early summer. The woods has many spring flowers and the fall colors are wonderful. In summer there are many song birds like: bluebirds, finches, orioles, humming birds, cedar wax wings, robins, cardinals and herons. Sitting on the screened in deck one can hear a kaleidoscope of bird songs and activity. And an abundance of fireflies in later May through late July and then some. The cabin is off-grid, what that means is: there is NO RUNNING WATER in the cabin and only a chemical toilet (port-a-potty). A limited amount of water is supplied for drinking and washing. There is a sink with a drain in the cabin but no bathroom or refrigerator so bring a cooler. Very limited electricity. There is basic LED lighting and you will be able to charge your phones/devices. The power is supplied from batteries/inverter charged by solar panels on the roof. There are LED lights and a coffee maker. There is NO air conditioning but excellent ventilation and a small, cozy wood stove for heat. If you're uncomfortable or unfamiliar with a wood stove, it may not be wise to stay here in the winter heating season, but we can show most people how to use the stove safely. This is still considered "camping" so be prepared to bring camping gear: your own pillows, sleeping bag, food, drinks, cups, plates, cooking utensils etc. There are carryout options a short drive away. The only thing you won't need is a tent, the cabin is very cozy, warm on the cold days and cool on the warm ones and there is a picnic table, lawn chairs and a gas grill with a side burner. There are a few spots around the cabin for tents if you have additional friends staying. There is an additional charge for additional guests (over 2) but please be advised: any loud "parties" or disturbances and you will be asked to leave. This is a place to enjoy nature and quiet time. To get away from it all. No extra charge for children 12 or under. Insects are a part of the woods environment, if you're afraid of bugs this may not be the right fit for you. We rarely have any real issues, so we're reluctant to use toxic chemicals to kill most (normal) bugs. Normal bug repellent is about all that is necessary. Why we have this cabin; It's a way to share this special place that, judging from the artifacts found here has been a camping area for thousands of years. We want to let others enjoy the seasons; the return of the migrating birds, the spring peepers in the marsh, the fall colors, the silence of a winter day in the woods and the warmth of a wood stove. (many people have found the stove to be their favorite feature) The cabin gives you a front row seat in the middle of, comparatively, pristine nature. Campers will have access to our fine trails for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and biking. (we would allow a snowmobile from the State trail to the cabin). All campers take note: 1. Please do your best to arrive/check in before dark! The cabin is dark; no yard lights, no streetlights, and if it isn’t a moonlit night, it IS very dark. Some of you are not used to real darkness. We provide some flashlights and headlamps (if you forgot yours) and there are LED lights in the cabin we keep charged for you. Camping headlamps are great for cooking, using the port-a-potty and finding your way around, etc. Bring yours or you can borrow ours, just ask. 2. Take safety precautions with the wood stove and learn how to use it correctly. The only source of heat in the cabin is a small, very nice wood stove. Those without any experience with using wood for heat are advised not to stay at the cabin during the cold season. Those that are eager to learn--we can help you, but safety is very important and you must at least have some basic skills to handle wood heat: using a propane torch, using kindling, splitting wood, operating the stove airflow. 3. Campfires: Campfire wood can be purchased for a reasonable price @$10 for a tote, or @$20 for a large pot/container. We do allow people to bring their own if they are coming from less that 50 miles away. Some exceptions do apply. 4. It has been very enjoyable meeting the many campers. Everyone has been very well prepared and it has been a pleasure seeing them have fun. We especially have enjoyed the families with young children and people with their dog(s). All have been very well behaved and very enthusiastic. 5 Dogs are welcome, but please let us know if your dog does not get along well with other dogs, so we can let others know. We have a young golden retriever that is very friendly and does very well with other dogs, kids and all people. If your dog doesn't get along with others (dogs or people) please let us know in advance, so we can warn others and please, for safety, keep them on a leash. Your hosts, Dan and Anne
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Camp Cedar Hills

41 sites · RVs, Tents800 acres · Mazomanie, Dane
Cedar Hills is a wonderful private campground located on a ridge above 800 acres of stunning DNR land and only a couple minutes drive from historic Sauk City, WI and its many great restaurants. Enjoy great views and 2 miles of hiking trails, personal fire pits and private campsites with access to large pavilion and many communal spaces. Founded in 1979 Cedar Hills has a long history and large community of regulars some of whom have maintained and added to their sites for decades, making this place truly a labor of love. Large sections of this campground are clothing optional, and the whole campsite is strictly 18 and above. Cedar Hills is LGBTQ friendly. Located on a ridge above 800 acres of stunning DNR land and only a couple minutes drive from Sauk City WI and 150 miles from Chicago. Enjoy great views and 2 miles of hiking trails, personal fire pits and private campsites with access to large pavilion. Winter campers may enjoy cross country skiing, snowshoeing and access with your snow machine Founded in 1979 Cedar Hills has a long history and large community of regulars some of whom have maintained and added to their sites for decades, making this place truly a labor of love. Large sections of this campground are clothing optional, and the whole campsite is strictly 18 and above and LGBTQ friendly. Come and visit our 40 sites located on a breathtaking ridgeline with stunning views of the valleys below.
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Ice Age Retreat

3 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents5 acres · Palmyra, Jefferson
Surrounded by the Kettle Moraine Forest, we purchased this property in October of 2022 to be closer to nature and to share this property with you. We look forward to hosting you. The forest provides many opportunities enjoy! Close to the Ice Age Hiking Trail, Blad Bluff Scenic Overlook within walking distance of our retreat. Hiking, Moutain Biking, Cross Country Skiing, Snow Shoe, Horse Back Riding and much more
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Terra Growers Organic Farm

9 sites · RVs, Tents80 acres · Waunakee, Dane
Terra Growers is a 100 year-old organic family farm in Springfield WI near Waunakee. We raise free-range chickens (for eggs), grow an extensive variety of vegetables, tend to several fruit orchards, and grow a variety of berries. Terra Growers also has a year-round on-farm store, events open to the public, multiple campsites for rent, as well as extensive volunteer opportunities.
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Star Camp

2 sites · Lodging20 acres · Osseo, Jackson
Four years ago, David and Veronica began designing and building structures in the 20 acre hardwood forest that Davids' father acquired back in 1969. Now they live there full time in an off-grid cabin with monthly seminars, campsites for rent and a passion for sharing the wonders of the forest.
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Healing Hills

9 sites · Lodging, TentsHillsboro, Vernon
We are nestled into a hillside in Wisconsin's Driftless and amish country. Surrounded by beautiful ridges, valleys and trout streams, campers can enjoy hiking trails throughout our land, nearby streams and rivers for fishing and paddling, amish markets, famous bike trails, Wildcat Mountain and the Kickapoo Reserve. Or sit back and relax in one of our private camp sites and fall asleep under endless stars while coyotes lull you off to sleep.
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Amnicon Adventures & Retreats

3 sites · Tents600 acres · South Range, Douglas
At Amnicon you'll find the perfect blend of far-enough-away and easy-enough-to-get-to. We're located at the end of a 5-mile-long dirt road, just 30 minutes outside of Duluth, MN. Our site features 600 acres of protected forests along the Amnicon River on the South Shore of Lake Superior. The wildlife is abundant, and we even have an eagle's nest on site. You'll enjoy falling asleep to the sound of the waves on Lake Superior, and waking up to 118+ species of birdsongs. We have an enormous sandy beach on Lake Superior that's a great place to watch the sunset and have a SMALL campfire. You're going to love it here.
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The Heifer Pasture

1 site · Lodging40 acres · Cross Plains, Dane
Located on a hill side pasture on the properties back forty along the Ice Age Trail. This fenced off area within the pasture includes a small pond, walking trails, forest and prairie areas. There is a “feed shed” that is available to use (generator on site for electricity)otherwise just pitch a tent. Completely remote from any other houses.
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10,000 years old!

1 site · Lodging19 acres · La Farge, Vernon
Imagine looking out the Lisney Grand Log Cabin window and realizing that the landscape has remained virtually unchanged for over 10,000 years! While most of the State was covered and scraped by glaciers of the last Ice Age, this small section of the State was not. Hence, its geology remained intact. Locally this region is known as the “Driftless Area” and encompasses both the Kickapoo Valley Reserve State Park (8,600 acres) and the Wildcat State Park (3,600 acres).In this area, archeologist have discovered a total of 596 sites dating between 10,000 to 12,000 years ago inhabited by ancient people. This includes ancient campsites, farming areas, linear and conical mounds, once-occupied rock shelters and many petroglyphs. And if that’s not enough to wake-up to, then enjoy the fresh air, clean water, the breath-taking views and the daily visits of wild turkey and deer.This Amish built cabin is 1500 sq.ft. and is minutes from hiking, biking, paddling the Kickapoo River, food and beverages as well as world-class trout fishing, snowmobile and horse trails. Lisney Grand is a two story, two bedroom one bath cabin with an additional large sleeping loft. Open floor plan includes a full kitchen, dining area and living space with a cathedral ceiling. The cabin and grounds are filled with original art from artists across the United States (some available for purchase). Enjoy the beautiful sunsets and amazing views of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve State Park (8,600 acres) while swinging on the porch swing located on the porch that wraps around 3 sides of the cabin. The yard contains a picnic table, fire-pit, and direct access to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve and its trails. Please note that the cabin has a wheel chair ramp off the front porch and that the main Living room, Dining room and Kitchen are open design, however, shower/bathroom may not accommodate a wheel chair. Come To Visit ~ Plan To Stay.Lisney Grand Log Cabin pricing is based on two people, additional charges of $35.00 per person, per night apply with a 10 guest maximum. Cleaning fees of $35.00 per stay. Children under the age of 12 stay Free! In addition, stay 3 days plus a Friday & Saturday and get the 6th day Free! Long-Term rental is also available.Note: Please be patient when booking this cabin since cell reception is very poor in this area and there may be a delay in my receiving your request. Thanks
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Bad River Wilderness

3 sites · RVs, Tents60 acres · Mellen, Ashland
On the upper Bad River, I have a special location that I'd like to share for others to enjoy. I was fortunate to acquire this land 20 years ago and now that I have retired from the United States Air Force, I can dedicate time to create peaceful campsites along the river. This land was originally railroad property as the railroad companies bought much land in the late 1800's to have options to place their railroads. There is still a railroad track nearby but it has been abandoned since 2015 and it makes a nice hiking path along the river for many miles to the north. There are 3 waterfalls nearby and I will have a map at the campsite to find these.
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Twisting Twig Gardens and Orchard

3 sites · Lodging40 acres · Bayfield, Bayfield
My husband Rob and I own a 40 acre property approximately 10 miles from Bayfield, Wi. We have a micro organic farm with hundreds of wild apple trees and believe in leaving the land better than we found it. Rob loves permaculture, managing soils, pruning apple trees and feeding his community nutrient dense food. I work as a hospice nurse and help out on the farm when I am able and we have 2 boys, Arlo and Owen. We keep busy! We offer 3 rustic rentals onsite, but each is very private and secluded. Consider all 3 for a larger gathering! We look forward to hosting you for a farm visit.
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Forest camping in Wisconsin with campfires guide

Rolling dairy farmlands are just the start of Wisconsin’s great outdoors. This midwestern state boasts two Great Lakes coastlines, some 15,000 inland lakes, and a state border with the Mississippi River. Whether kayaking around caves and islands, hiking to hidden waterfalls, camping along sandy beaches, or hopping between cheesemakers and breweries—the Dairy State is an idyllic destination for a camping trip. Wisconsin state parks provide some of the best camping and stay busy through summer and fall foliage season. Snow blankets the state from November through February, so pack your snowshoes.

Where to Go

Northwest Wisconsin

If you're searching for the most remote Wisconsin campgrounds, the Northern Highlands are a good place to start with hills stretching up to the shore of Lake Superior. Paddle around the islands, sea caves, and lighthouses of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in a kayak, then pitch your tent at a lake campground, or seek out secluded backcountry tent sites in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. To the west, the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway hugs the coast of the Mississippi River and the Minnesota border, running through Governor Knowles State Forest and Interstate State Park.

Northeast Wisconsin

The forested lakes of the Northwoods blanket northern Wisconsin, stretching down to the shores of Lake Michigan, where the Door County Peninsula curls out around Green Bay. The scenic area is dotted with freshwater beaches, cherry orchards, and hiking trails, making it the perfect spot for a camping getaway. At the northeastern tip, Rock Island State Park is a favorite among campers, with RV sites open year-round.

Southwest Wisconsin

Family campers make a beeline for Wisconsin Dells, the Waterpark Capital of the World, where plenty of full-amenity camping resorts dot the area and nearby Mirror Lake State Park. Just to the south, Baraboo is the gateway to Wisconsin’s most popular park, Devil’s Lake State Park, which boasts beaches, cliff-top walks, and three campgrounds. Further west, the rolling hills and river valleys along the Wisconsin River are ideal for fishing, paddling, and tranquil summer camping.

Southeast Wisconsin

Wisconsin's largest city, Milwaukee, stands proud on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, where urban campers can sample Wisconsin’s craft beer scene and visit the Harley-Davidson Museum. North of Milwaukee, Lake Winnebago is a popular choice for lakeside camping, while backpackers hiking the 1,000-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail will find some of the best camping within Kettle Moraine State Forest.

Frequently Asked Questions About Camping in Wisconsin

Is Wisconsin good for camping?

Wisconsin is a great camping destination with dozens of state parks, national forests, and plenty of private camping options and RV parks—not to mention a ton of lake campgrounds with access to both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, plus a border with sandy beaches on the Mississippi River. Whether heading out on hidden gem waterfall hikes, kayaking around caves, exploring the many bike trails, or hitting the top city hubs of Milwaukee, Door County’s Green Bay, and Wisconsin Dells (known for its waterparks and mini golf for family fun), a Wisconsin campground or Wisconsin state park Devil’s Lake State Park) awaits with tent camping or RV sites. Summertime is for lake visits, and late spring and early fall are still mild enough for tent camping. It's snowy from November through February, when you’ll want to opt for a rustic cabin or a vacation rental getaway.

Is camping allowed in Wisconsin state parks?

Yes, Wisconsin state parks are open for camping. Of the state’s 50+ state parks, nearly all of them allow camping of some kind, whether tent camping, RV camping, or cabin camping. Wisconsin’s most popular parks with camping include Devil’s Lake State Park south of Baraboo, Peninsula State Park (set on the shores of Lake Michigan in Door County), the year-round Rock Island State Park, Willow River State Park, and Copper Falls State Park.

Is wild camping legal in Wisconsin?

Yes, wild camping is allowed in Wisconsin in county forests, state forests, and national forests. Wild camping, typically described as primitive or dispersed camping away from designated campgrounds without facilities, is available within Nicolet National Forest and Chequamegon National Forest, including at Porcupine Lake Wilderness, Rainbow Lake Wilderness, and Blackjack Springs Wilderness. Some Wisconsin River islands are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), meaning that the ones that are public land are open to camping. Some state parks feature a small number of backpacking campsites, and you can find more private, secluded camping in Wisconsin with Hipcamp.

Is there free camping in Wisconsin?

You can find free camping in Wisconsin in its national forests: Nicolet and Chequamegon, each of which span thousands of acres and house various national wilderness areas. The free campsites in these forests are primitive and dispersed with no facilities, so you’ll need to come prepared. Most of this land is open and free of charge to use, but some beaches, boat launches, and trailheads require small day-use fees or permits.

Can you camp anywhere in a Wisconsin national forest?

No, you cannot camp anywhere in Wisconsin national forests, but they do have plenty of free areas available for dispersed camping. Wisconsin is home to two national forests: Nicolet National Forest and Chequamegon National Forest, both managed together as the 1.5-million acre Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Throughout are dozens of designated campgrounds with tent sites, including at Twin Lakes Recreation Area and Bear Lake Recreation Area. In addition, the forest offers cabins at Lost Lake, some large group campsites, many RV campsites (most with hookups), and a lot of dispersed camping options. Just be sure to park up to 30 feet from the edge of any road, and pitch your tent at least 150 feet away from any trail or road (and at least 200 feet away from any water). Dispersed camping in Wisconsin national forests is limited to 21 days at the same site within a 30-day period.

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