State Parks Appleton WI

6 State Parks Near Appleton WI: Hidden Natural Wonders in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a state teeming with natural beauty, and Appleton is lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most stunning state parks in the area. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a camping enthusiast, or simply love spending time outdoors, these state parks near Appleton, WI have something for everyone.

From peaceful lakeshores to picturesque trails, these hidden gems offer a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the wonders of nature. From Brunet Island State Park to Lakeshore State Park, each park has its own unique charm and outdoor activities to offer.

So pack your bags, grab your hiking boots, and get ready to discover the hidden natural wonders that await you near Appleton, WI.

Key Takeaways:

  • Wisconsin is home to a variety of state parks near Appleton, WI, offering opportunities for outdoor activities and family outings.
  • Brunet Island State Park in Cornell offers a unique camping experience on an island and features paddling opportunities and hiking trails.
  • Governor Nelson State Park in Waunakee offers stunning views of the Wisconsin State Capitol and downtown Madison, along with sandy beaches and hiking trails.
  • Harrington Beach State Park in Belgium provides a mile-long beach along Lake Michigan, nature trails, and diverse recreational opportunities.
  • Hartman Creek State Park in Waupaca offers crystal-clear lakes, camping facilities, and various outdoor activities such as swimming, fishing, and horseback riding.
  • Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee provides an urban oasis with walking and biking trails, a fishing pier, and a marina on Lake Michigan.

Brunet Island State Park – Cornell

Brunet Island State Park, located in Cornell, WI, is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a unique camping experience. Spanning across 1,300 acres, this park is situated on an island, offering breathtaking natural surroundings along the water’s edge.

One of the main attractions of Brunet Island State Park is its abundance of paddling opportunities. Visitors can explore the park’s picturesque channels and lagoons, immersing themselves in the serene beauty of the island’s waters.

A highlight of the park is the 20-mile Old Abe State Trail, which meanders through the tranquil landscape and provides an ideal setting for hiking. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, this trail offers a memorable outdoor adventure with stunning views along the way.

With over 50 campsites available, Brunet Island State Park welcomes campers of all kinds. Whether you prefer pitching a tent or bringing an RV, there are options to suit every camping style. Additionally, the park offers boat rentals, allowing visitors to explore the surrounding waters and soak in the tranquil atmosphere.

If you’re looking for a picturesque picnic spot, Brunet Island State Park has plenty to offer. Its scenic beauty and serene ambiance make it the perfect place to relax and enjoy a meal with family and friends.

Experience the natural wonders of Brunet Island State Park in Cornell, WI, and get ready for an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

What to Expect at Brunet Island State Park:

  • A unique camping experience on an island
  • Abundant paddling opportunities in channels and lagoons
  • 20-mile Old Abe State Trail for hiking
  • Over 50 campsites available
  • Boat rentals for exploring the surrounding waters
  • Picturesque picnic spots

Governor Nelson State Park – Waunakee

Governor Nelson State Park, located in Waunakee, WI, is a hidden natural gem. As a day-use park, it offers stunning views of the Wisconsin State Capitol and downtown Madison. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a relaxing day at the sandy beaches or embark on an adventure-filled hike, this park has something for everyone.

One of the park’s highlights is its family-friendly amenities. The dog beach with a pier allows your furry friends to join in on the fun and frolic in the water. Kids can build sandcastles, splash in the waves, and make unforgettable memories.

Hiking enthusiasts will be delighted by the park’s expansive trail system, which spans more than eight miles. You can explore the diverse landscapes, from lush forests to scenic overlooks, and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

If you’re interested in history and culture, Governor Nelson State Park has attractions that will captivate your curiosity. The mile-long Woodland Trail takes you on a journey to explore Native American mounds and a 358-foot panther effigy. This unique archaeological site offers insight into the rich heritage of the area.

Overall, Governor Nelson State Park provides a perfect blend of natural beauty, recreational activities, and educational experiences. It’s a destination that caters to the whole family and is sure to create cherished memories.

Governor Nelson State Park

Park Highlights:

  • Scenic views of the Wisconsin State Capitol and downtown Madison
  • Sandy beaches for sunbathing and water activities
  • Dog beach with a pier for your furry friends to enjoy
  • Over eight miles of hiking trails through diverse landscapes
  • Woodland Trail with Native American mounds and a panther effigy
Activity Description
Hiking Explore over eight miles of scenic trails.
Beach Activities Relax and play on the sandy beaches.
Dog-Friendly Bring your furry friend to the dog beach and enjoy a day by the water.
Picnicking Enjoy a family picnic surrounded by beautiful landscapes.
Archaeological Sites Discover Native American mounds and a panther effigy on the Woodland Trail.

Harrington Beach State Park – Belgium

Harrington Beach State Park, located in Belgium, WI, offers a diverse range of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. With its mile-long beach along Lake Michigan, the park provides a stunning shoreline experience, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. Whether you prefer to relax on the sandy beach or explore the park’s natural beauty, Harrington Beach State Park has something for everyone.

The park features several nature trails that wind through a variety of landscapes, including forests, prairies, and wetlands. These trails offer an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and observe wildlife in their natural habitat. From birdwatching to wildflower spotting, there is always something new to discover along the nature trails of Harrington Beach State Park.

If you’re an avid angler, you’ll be delighted to know that the park’s limestone outcrops and old quarry lake make it an excellent fishing spot. Cast your line and try your luck at catching bass, trout, or catfish. Additionally, the park offers geocaching, a modern-day treasure hunt activity that combines outdoor exploration and technology.

For those who enjoy camping, Harrington Beach State Park provides a campground with walk-in and kayak sites, allowing you to spend the night under the stars and wake up to the serene sounds of nature. The park also features beaches for both people and pets, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the sand and surf.

Experience the Beauty of Harrington Beach State Park

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful escape in nature or thrilling outdoor adventures, Harrington Beach State Park in Belgium, WI, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. With its natural beauty, diverse recreational opportunities, and breathtaking views, this state park is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Harrington Beach State Park

Activities Facilities
  • Mile-long Beach
  • Beach for Pets
  • Observatory
  • Campground
  • Walk-in Sites
  • Kayak Sites

Hartman Creek State Park – Waupaca

Hartman Creek State Park, located in Waupaca, WI, is a quiet and friendly natural gem that offers a wide range of outdoor activities. The park is an ideal destination for camping, with over a hundred campsites available. In addition, the park boasts seven crystal-clear lakes, making it perfect for swimming, fishing, and boating.

If you enjoy hiking or biking, Hartman Creek State Park has you covered. The park features a network of scenic trails that wind through the lush forest and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. For those who prefer horseback riding, there are trails specifically designated for equestrian use.

One of the park’s highlights is Whispering Pines on Marl Lake, a picturesque picnic area that provides a serene setting for enjoying a meal in nature. With its scenic stone steps leading to picnic tables and grills, this spot is perfect for a family outing or a peaceful afternoon picnic.

Experience the beauty of Hartman Creek State Park, where you can immerse yourself in nature, enjoy outdoor activities, and create lasting memories with family and friends.

Highlights of Hartman Creek State Park:

  • Over a hundred campsites for a memorable camping experience
  • Seven stunning lakes ideal for swimming, fishing, and boating
  • A network of scenic trails for hiking and biking
  • Designated equestrian trails for horseback riding
  • Whispering Pines picnic area on Marl Lake for a peaceful outdoor meal

Escape to the natural beauty of Hartman Creek State Park, where every moment spent outdoors is an opportunity for adventure and relaxation.

Hartman Creek State Park

Lakeshore State Park – Milwaukee

Lakeshore State Park, located in Milwaukee, WI, is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. This unique urban oasis offers a variety of outdoor activities and stunning views of Lake Michigan.

One of the highlights of Lakeshore State Park is its multi-use trail, which is perfect for walking, biking, or even skating. Whether you want to go for a leisurely stroll or a challenging bike ride, this trail provides a scenic and refreshing experience along the shores of Lake Michigan.

In addition to the trail, the park features a fishing pier, where you can cast your line and try your luck at catching a variety of fish species. If you’re a boating enthusiast, Lakeshore State Park also offers a 20-slip marina, providing convenient access to Lake Michigan for sailing or boating adventures.

With its convenient location near museums and Milwaukee’s main festival grounds, Lakeshore State Park is the perfect place to spend a day enjoying outdoor activities while exploring the city’s vibrant culture and attractions.


What outdoor activities can I do at the state parks near Appleton, WI?

The state parks near Appleton, WI offer a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing, boating, and more.

Are the state parks near Appleton, WI family-friendly?

Yes, the state parks near Appleton, WI are family-friendly and provide amenities such as playgrounds, beaches, and designated picnic areas.

Can I go camping at the state parks near Appleton, WI?

Yes, several state parks near Appleton, WI offer camping facilities with a range of options, including tent camping, RV camping, and even walk-in and kayak campsites.

Are there nature trails for hiking at the state parks near Appleton, WI?

Absolutely! The state parks near Appleton, WI have a network of nature trails for hiking, offering scenic views and opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

Are there picnic spots available at the state parks near Appleton, WI?

Yes, the state parks near Appleton, WI have designated picnic areas with scenic views, picnic tables, and grills where you can enjoy a meal or relax with family and friends.

Which state park near Appleton, WI is known for its beach along Lake Michigan?

Harrington Beach State Park, located in Belgium, WI, is known for its mile-long beach along Lake Michigan, providing a stunning shoreline experience for visitors.

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