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How to visit the 2 great national parks in Wisconsin

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How to visit the 2 great national parks in Wisconsin- a guide. Keep reading as I break down how to visit the national parks in Wisconsin, an essential packing list, accommodations and more!

What is a national park?

national parks in Wisconsin

Before I begin, what exactly is a national park? A national park is an area protected due to its cultural heritage, diverse wildlife and unique and beautiful landscapes. National parks aim to protect and preserve these sites to prevent from environmental damage, whilst also allowing these parks to be enjoyed and explored by the public. Local economies benefit heavily from national parks as they act as a big tourist attraction, meaning there are not only environmental benefits, but also economic benefits.

The ‘National park service‘ manages 423 national parks across America, in aims of conserving the ‘natural and cultural heritage for the benefit of current and future generations’.

Why visit the national parks in Wisconsin?

national parks in Wisconsin

Why visit the national parks in Wisconsin? The parks in Wisconsin are some of the most magical, and some of the best for lakeside retreats. The atmosphere of the parks are like no other, with a relaxed vibe, beautiful scenery and plenty of activities to enjoy. At the Apostle islands national lakeside, expect to find natural phenomenon like the ice caves, and at Saint Croix expect to have fun on land or in water.

How many national parks in Wisconsin are there?

national parks in Wisconsin

There are only 2 national parks in Wisconsin, consisting of the Saint Croix national scenic riverway and The Apostle Island national lakeshore. Despite the small number of parks in Wisconsin, they contribute massively to the local economy, with $73,000,000 made from these parks!

The best accommodation when visiting the national parks in Wisconsin

What are the best accommodations when visiting the national parks in Wisconsin? Having a conveniently located accommodation makes a world of difference on holiday! So keep reading for the best quality, best located and best priced accommodation for visiting the national parks in Wisconsin.

Big rock creek

Big rock creek is situated on Saint Croix in Wisconsin, so you’re just a step away from exploring natural beauty. This is the perfect lakeside accommodation, with the most amazing natural scenery surrounding. Enjoy soaking in the views on the patio and choose from the surrounding restaurants from Indian food to pizza. There’s an array of outdoor facilities including a BBQ and terrace, and enjoy the flat screen TV and comfy beds in each room. Click here to find out more.

Holiday Inn express & suites at Saint Croix Valley

Holiday Inn express at Saint Croix is just a 35 minute walk from Saint Croix national park. This hotel boasts many amazing facilities including a swimming pool, café and restaurant. There is free Wi-Fi on site with outdoor facilities including a BBQ and picnic area. Click here to find out more.

The Wright house

The Wright house is just a 10 minute walk from the Apostle island ice caves. This accommodation boasts a beautiful interior with airy, woodland and natural furnishings. The view from the window is beautiful, displaying the lakeshore in all of its beauty. Expect to find outdoor facilities such as a BBQ and terrace, free WIFI and incredible surrounding eateries. Click here to find out more.

Woodland lodging

Woodland lodging is a peaceful little accommodation, nearby to the Apostle island caves. This pretty little lodge is in a great location, surrounded by restaurants and nearby attractions featuring Broad street beach and East Dock park. There is a balcony for the most beautiful views of the forest, free WIFI on site and amazing bedrooms with a fully equipped kitchen. Click here for more.

Essential packing list when visiting the national parks in Wisconsin

national parks in Wisconsin

What is the essential packing list on a visit to the national parks in Wisconsin? Here I will talk through the must haves for your trip, so you don’t forget. Keep reading for more…

Lightweight poncho/ Raincoat

With both national parks in Wisconsin situated on a lakeside, it may be a cooler temperature than elsewhere. With that in mind, a lightweight jacket is always helpful, especially if you plan on boating; plus it’s always good in case of showers. The Victoper raincoat folds into an easily packable pouch and has many functions, such as turning into a sleeping bag cover or floor mat, perfect for campers!

Beach Towels

Beach Towels are an essential for a day at the Saint Croix beaches and lakeside swimming. I recommend the Sweet Needle beach towels for their beautiful colours and amazing quality, to last not only a trip to Wisconsin but many more adventures!

Picnic bag

There are many opportunities for enjoying a picnic within the grounds of the national parks in Wisconsin. The YAUNGEL picnic bag is cool, leakproof is amazing quality and has a 33L capacity, perfect for bringing lunch for the whole family.

Camping gear

If you are wishing to camp on one of the national park sites in Wisconsin, it’s important to remember the correct gear to take for the most magical camping experience.


  • A tent. I recommend a pop up tent for an easy construction, which saves the hassle of spending hours trying to figure out what goes where! The Night cat pop up tent is waterproof and can hold up to 4 people.

Sleeping bag

  • A sleeping bag. It’s important to stay warm and comfy. That’s why I recommend the SOULOUT sleeping bag. It’s perfect for all weather, with neck cushioning and extra lightweight material, it’s super convenient to pack.

Food containers

national parks in Wisconsin

Boating essentials

The lakes of Wisconsin hold much opportunity for boating, swimming and water sports, so having the right equipment is essential.


  • .Whether you’re going swimming or sailing, a wetsuit is a good option, especially in the colder seasons. The ZCCO wetsuit provides comfort, stretch and thickness for a whole day of outdoor fun.


  • A snorkel. Snorkelling is popular in the lakes of Saint Croix, and it’s definitely not something you get to do everyday! So, why not experience it in Wisconsin? I recommend the Dorlee snorkel with anti fog lenses and great adjustability for the best comfort.

Waterproof phone pouch

  • Waterproof phone pouch. Holidays are all about capturing the moment, and with this waterproof pouch you can take your phone with you on the park lakes to take those memorable photos! The Calicase allows touchscreen through the double waterproofed case, meaning you can snap without potential phone damage.

How to visit the 2 best national parks in Wisconsin

So, how exactly do you visit the 2 national parks in Wisconsin? Making the most of your visit is crucial to a good holiday! Keep reading to find out how to explore, plan and map out the day, because I’ve got it all planned! Keep reading for more…

Saint Croix

national parks in Wisconsin

Saint Croix national scenic riverway spans over 200 miles from northwest Wisconsin to eastern Minnesota. It’s incredible scale hosts a wide variety of options for adventuring, whether you decide to hike the trails, find parks along the way, swim, paddle or ever snorkel.

A great place to stop and explore along Saint Croix river is the Governor Knowles State forest. This is an amazing place for camping, with a vast family Campground. The ground is well known for its horse riding trails, so look out for some horseback riding, or even try it out with a professional on site. Here is a map of the grounds below.

national parks in Wisconsin

Saint Croix is one of the best national parks in Wisconsin for its hiking trails, with difficulty ranging from easy to difficult across site. The trails are known for their exuberant beauty and diverse wildlife, so keep and eye and an ear out in your surroundings!

  • If you enjoy an easier hike, try the Trego Nature trail. This is a 2.8 mile trip past the Namekagon river, said to have some of the most varying wildlife species in the national park. Find the map below:
national parks in Wisconsin
Photo- NPS
  • If you prefer a slightly longer trail, try the Sandrock cliff trail, which is roughly 5.5 miles. The most amazing part of this trail is witnessing the sandstone cliffs at the side of the channel river, formed 600 million years ago from evaporated sea water. Click the map below!
national parks in Wisconsin

One of the many wonders of Saint Croix is watching Cascade falls, and it’s definitely worth a stop off when visiting.

So, we have learnt that the site of Saint Croix is great for water activities, hiking, camping and swimming, not to mention ideal for boating. Remember to read the safety precautions before your visit.

Apostle islands national lakeshore

national parks in Wisconsin

Apostle islands national lakeshore consists of 21 islands made of 720 square miles. Because of the scale of the site, it is near impossible to see the whole site in one day, but here I will talk through some of the best places to visit.

Meyers beach is one of the best places to visit whilst at the national lakeshore. If you haven’t got much time it’s perfect, as there is no boat required to reach the islands because it is located on the mainland. At this beach there is much to experience, such as getting a motorized boat tour or even a Kayak tour around the island! This way you can sit on the crystal blue waters and view the islands from afar, in their true beauty.

The Apostle islands are perfect for camping, with 18 sites located across 21 islands. Here is a map of all campsites, click the image for further info:

national parks in Wisconsin

There are plenty of opportunities for water activities at the national lakeshore, including kayaking, which is available for guided lessons on lake superior. It’s an amazing opportunity, and may also mean you get to witness some of the sights that you simply can’t get on land, including the mainland sea caves.

Apostle Islands national lakeshore is a great place to camp, enjoy boating, relax on a beach day and explore the natural scenery surrounding, so why wait to visit this beautiful park in Wisconsin?

How to visit the 2 great national parks in Wisconsin- further reading.

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