Wisconsin state parks

1. Aztalan State Park, Aztalan

 Aztalan State ParkLake Mills, United StatesBeautiful scenery and great kayaking

This state park located in Southeast Wisconsin is home to the ruins and excavation sites of an ancient Native American tribe who abandoned the town around 1200 AD. The mounds and stockades located near the Crawfish river give an idea of how the ancient Native Americans lived.

Shelters at Aztalan State Park can be reserved near the park, however camping is not permitted, as Aztalan is strictly a day park only (open from 6AM-10PM). The entrance to the park is located right off Highway Q, not too far from the interstate that connects Milwaukee with Madison.

Aztalan State Park also allows visitors to kayak, canoe, and fish on the Crawfish river. The park’s hiking trails through Wisconsin’s prairie land are quite beautiful.

2. Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo

 Devil’s Lake State ParkBaraboo, United StatesHiking, camping, fishing all in Wisconsin’s largest state park. There are 41 miles of hiking trails some of which are pretty challenging. Great spot for a weekend getaway. #hiking #camping

Devil’s Lake is the largest state park in Wisconsin. It has quartzite bluffs that are nearly 500 feet tall which were created by glacial deposit and moraines during the last ice age. Devil’s Lake is the premier rock climbing park in the Midwest.

Devil’s Lake is located near the center of Wisconsin, not too far away from Madison, making access to the park relatively easy. There are multiple campsites at Devil’s Lake, which means great access and easy-to-make reservations. Because the interstate 90/94 runs near Baraboo, the park is only a short drive away.

Devil’s Lake SP has beaches, 29 miles of beautiful hiking trails (go in the fall when the leaves are turning), SCUBA diving, and cross country skiing in the winter.

3. Rock Island State Park, Rock Island

 Rock Island, WIWashington, United StatesGreat backpacking spots and beautiful wildflowers on the island.

Rock Island is a small island in Lake Michigan, off the shore of Wisconsin. The island used to be a colonial settlement with a thriving fish market, but it was hit with an outbreak of Scarlet Fever. Today, the ruins of the village (and the graveyard) remain.

To reach Rock Island, you take the car ferry from Door County to Washington Island. From Washington Island, you drive to another dock slightly more east and board the Karfi (passenger boat only), which will take you to the island a few times a day. There are five big areas designated for campers who are backpacking on the island, but a much larger selection of smaller camping sites — all in beautiful locations.

Pro-tip: the lighthouse on the island (which can be accessed by trekking the five-mile perimeter loop) is a must see. It has a wonderful backstory pertaining to the man who used to take care of it, and is now being maintained by his grandchildren. If you climb to the top of the once used.

4. Lakeshore State Park, Milwaukee

 Lakeshore State ParkMilwaukee, United StatesBeautiful views of the lake as well as the city.

Lakeshore Park is a relatively small park on the lakefront of Milwaukee. It’s perfect for running and walking, and offers scenic views of the lakefront, the Milwaukee skyline and the Summerfest grounds.

Lakeshore State Park is easily reached. The main entrance is directly next to Discovery World, which can be accessed by exiting I-94 for the Port of Milwaukee and taking a right-hand turn. Park on the street if you’re not going to see Discovery World. Unfortunately, Lakeshore State Park is not large enough to offer camping or backpacking sites, but certainly worth the scenery if you’re already in downtown Milwaukee.

Lakeshore Park also has access to little inlet beaches and prairielands — and you can go bicycling and picnicking. There is a long stretch of road near the end of the Park going toward the old, red Lighthouse on which many people choose to bring out their fishing gear and try their luck at some fish in the harbor.

5. Harrington Beach State Park

 Harrington Beach State ParkBelgium, United StatesBeautiful lakeside views and prairie trails

Harrington Beach State Park is located about halfway between Chicago and Green Bay and is known for having waves that crash like the ocean. There is wildlife similar to that of the Wisconsin countryside, numerous hiking trails, a beautiful inland lake, many camp sites, and ruins of an old mill. The park’s highlight is the Nature Center, which has a high-power telescope for some truly incredible stargazing away from the city lights.

Harrington Beach Park is off the Interstate-43. You take the highway that leads from Belgium into the neighboring town of Lake Church, so Harrington is relatively close to the interstate, but once you enter the campsites and hiking trails, it does not feel like it. There are multiple campsites that can be reserved ahead of time and pets are welcome. The camp can also be accessed with day passes that are relatively inexpensive.

Not only does Harrington Beach State Park have access to the beautiful scenery of Lake Michigan, it also possesses an inland lake, Quarry Lake. The lake is part of the history of the Stonehaven mining community, once located where the park is now. The path around Quarry Lake is approximately a mile and a half, filled with delightful stops to observe the native wildflowers and gorgeous scenery of the area.

12 expressions from Wisconsin

1. ”Cheesehead”

If you are ever called one, you should swell with pride.

2. ”Up North”

If you go on vacation pretty much anywhere in the state north of Milwaukee and Madison, you are “Up North.” If you live farther north in Wisconsin, this vacation destination could be qualified as any place north of where you live. “Up North” is a mythical place full of cabins, campfires, lakes, the woods and good times.

3. “Where’s the bubbler?”

Ask for a drinking fountain and expect blank stares.

4. ”Friday Fish Fry”

With coleslaw, rye bread, tartar sauce, potato pancakes and, of course, some local beer, expect fried fish to be your diet every Friday night while you are in Wisconsin.

5. ”Who do you think will win the sausage race?”

Some professional baseball teams have t-shirt tosses and some have a loveable mascot to keep the crowd happy. The Milwaukee Brewers have a world-famous sausage race before the bottom of the sixth inning featuring 5 live people running in a bratwurst, Polish sausage, Italian sausage, hot dog and chorizo costume.

6. ”Cooler by the Lake”

There’s nothing like that delicious fresh-off-the-lake breeze that makes any hot Summer day that much sweeter.

7. ”How many brats do you want?”

Don’t make the mistake of comparing a brat to a hot dog.

8. ”Are the curds squeaky?”

When it comes to cheese curds, the squeakier the better.

9. ”White Gold”

More snow means more revenue and business for snow removal companies, ski hills, snowmobile rentals, etc.

10. “I’ll take a Brandy Old Fashioned”

Wisconsin’s unofficial state cocktail.

11. ”Cold Day”

In Wisconsin, we get our fair share of “Snow Days” but also have “Cold Days” — when it is so cold that the cars won’t start and it is too dangerous to go outside.

12. “Shorts Weather”

Pretty much as soon as the snow starts to melt.

Never date a Wisconsin girl

1. Your blood needs to run green and gold.

Get used to it. In Wisconsin, being a cheesehead is a way of life.

2. A Packers jersey or shirt IS appropriate and necessary Sunday attire no matter what you are doing before and after the game.

Church, grocery shopping, shoveling… If you are not wearing your Packers gear, you might as well get out of the state already.

3. You will have to get your cheese game up — way up!

If you don’t have at least five different types of cheese in the fridge, including cheese curds, of course, don’t expect her to come back. Cheese is its own food group after all.

4. She’s tough.

Did she forget her jacket? She’s not cold. Are there blizzard-like conditions? Not cold, and she will make sure you never forget it, especially if you dare slip even for a second and admit that you are cold.

5. You’ll have to eat brats.

No, that doesn’t mean a spoiled rich kid- it means embracing Wisconsin’s German roots! And yes, they will be boiled in beer.

6. You will have to learn a whole new vocabulary.


7. Every summer you will be dragged to countless festivals.

And the greatest music festival ever – Summerfest! You’ll have to rock your summer away enjoying Wisconsin’s latest brews.

8. You’ll have to drink beer all the time.

There is a reason Milwaukee’s baseball team is called the Brewers. Get ready to spend a lot more time than usual talking about beer, trying beer and frequenting cool breweries. Poor you.

How to recognize a Wisconsinite

Photo: Mike Morbeck


A normal friend will sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours on the highway.
A friend from Wisconsin will make it their mission to drive country and back roads to avoid traffic jams.


A normal friend goes Christmas shopping for presents on Black Friday.
A friend from Wisconsin drives to Milwaukee on Black Friday to wait in line to buy Lakefront Brewery’s Black Friday™ Imperial Stout that’s aged in Bourbon Barrels.


A normal friend will buy a commercial brand syrup-like-substance for cheap.
A friend from Wisconsin will pay $7.00 or more for 100% pure maple syrup that comes in a jar 2-3 times smaller than the cheap commercial wannabe syrup.


A normal friend freaks out at the sight of bugs crawling on the ground.
A friend from Wisconsin says, “Welcome to the great outdoors” when they see a bug.


A normal friend, along with all of their friends will drive separately and meetup at a location for the day’s event.
A friend from Wisconsin tells everyone to meet at the nearest Park ‘n’ Ride so everyone can ride together.


A normal friend watches any football game and chooses a team to support for 60 minutes.
A friend from Wisconsin only cares about the Packers.


A normal friend will play computer and board games on a weekend while munching on chips and other snack foods.
A friend from Wisconsin will climb Devil’s Lake, canoe down a river, attend a festival and go on a hike during a weekend surrounded by beer and bratwurst.


A normal friend will buy processed cheese food slices for their sandwiches.
A friend from Wisconsin will suggest that you come to Wisconsin so they can feed you real cheese.


A normal friend will move south to warmer weather after being fed up with snow, cold and freezing rain.
A friend from Wisconsin will move further north towards Lake Superior and welcome harsher winters with a smile.


A normal friend stays in bed buried under blankets on a sunny, cool crisp late winter / early spring morning.
A friend from Wisconsin gears up, climbs aboard their Harley-Davidson and rides for hours.


A normal friend enjoys clean sheets, a morning shower, a swimming pool, room service and other creature comforts provided by a hotel.
A friend from Wisconsin pitches a tent, rolls out the grill, builds the fire pit, opens the cooler and tosses beers to everyone and would say, “A shower? I’ll take one when I get home.”


A normal friend will tell you how to accomplish a physical task.
A friend from Wisconsin will stand by your side, roll up their sleeves and show you firsthand how to do that physical task to completion. A friend from Wisconsin is not afraid to get their hands dirty.


A normal friend will say “come over” when they want to see you.
A friend from Wisconsin says “come up real quick once.”


A normal friend calls it a drinking fountain.
A friend from Wisconsin calls it a bubbler.


A normal friend wants to know the name of the street and how far away it is before they have to turn.
A friend from Wisconsin wants to know if they have to turn left or right and when exactly they have to perform this maneuver.