State Parks Waupaca WI

6 State Parks Near Waupaca WI: Explore the natural beauty of Wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to some of the most breathtaking state parks in the country, and the area near Waupaca offers no shortage of natural beauty to explore. From serene lakes and lush forests to scenic trails and abundant wildlife, these state parks provide the perfect escape for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a hiker, camper, or simply someone who appreciates the great outdoors, these six state parks near Waupaca, Wisconsin are a must-visit.

Key Takeaways:

  • Wisconsin is home to a variety of state parks near Waupaca, offering diverse landscapes and outdoor activities.
  • Explore the beauty of Brunet Island State Park in Cornell, known for its camping options and stunning riverside views.
  • Visit Governor Nelson State Park in Waunakee for picturesque vistas of Lake Mendota and a dog-friendly beach.
  • Escape into nature at Governor Thompson State Park in Crivitz, featuring wooded areas, fishing opportunities, and tranquil campsites.
  • Enjoy a mile-long beach along Lake Michigan at Harrington Beach State Park in Belgium, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and family picnics.
  • Discover the natural wonders of Hartman Creek State Park in Waupaca, where you can hike, bike, swim, and camp amidst picturesque lakes and woodlands.
  • Experience urban outdoor recreation at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee, offering scenic views, walking trails, and a fishing pier.
  • Witness the unspoiled wilderness and stargazing opportunities at Newport State Park in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin’s only designated wilderness park.

Brunet Island State Park – Cornell

Brunet Island State Park is a hidden gem located near Cornell, Wisconsin. This 1,300-acre park is situated at the confluence of the Chippewa and Fisher rivers, offering a picturesque setting for outdoor enthusiasts. A visit to Brunet Island State Park promises a memorable camping experience right along the water’s edge.

For those who love water activities, the park provides excellent paddling opportunities in its channels and lagoons. Explore the tranquil waters, surrounded by lush greenery and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you prefer kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding, Brunet Island State Park is a paddler’s paradise.

“Brunet Island State Park is a hidden gem that offers a picturesque setting for camping and water activities.”

The park is also home to the famous 20-mile Old Abe State Trail, perfect for hiking enthusiasts. Lace up your boots and embark on an adventure through the scenic trail, where you can soak in the beauty of nature and discover hidden treasures along the way.

Brunet Island State Park boasts over 50 spacious campsites, providing a tranquil and comfortable camping experience. Set up your tent or park your RV, and wake up to the soothing sound of nature. Close proximity to the water allows campers to enjoy serene views and partake in various water activities.

For fishing enthusiasts, a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier is available, offering a convenient spot to cast a line and reel in some freshwater catches. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting, the park’s fishing opportunities are plentiful.

Brunet Island State Park

Facilities at Brunet Island State Park:

  • Over 50 campsites
  • Boat rentals
  • Wheelchair-accessible fishing pier

Plan your getaway to Cornell, Wisconsin, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Brunet Island State Park. Whether you’re camping, paddling, hiking, or fishing, this hidden gem offers a memorable outdoor experience.

Governor Nelson State Park – Waunakee

Governor Nelson State Park, located in beautiful Waunakee, Wisconsin, is a true treasure for outdoor enthusiasts. Situated on the shores of Lake Mendota, this park offers breathtaking views of the lake and the iconic Wisconsin State Capitol. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach, a picnic with friends and family, or an invigorating hike through picturesque trails, Governor Nelson State Park has it all.

One of the highlights of this park is the dog beach, where your furry friends can enjoy frolicking in the water. Complete with a pier and ramp, the dog beach provides easy access to the lake, making it a dog’s paradise.

The park boasts beautiful sandy beaches that are perfect for sunbathing or building sandcastles. The boat launch allows visitors to explore the lake and indulge in various water activities such as fishing, boating, and kayaking.

A network of over eight miles of hiking trails weaves through the park, providing nature enthusiasts with ample opportunities to explore the scenic beauty of Waunakee and its surroundings. One trail that should not be missed is the Woodland Trail, which offers captivating views of Native American mounds and a magnificent 358-foot panther effigy.

In addition to these activities, Governor Nelson State Park offers picnic areas where you can enjoy a delicious outdoor meal while taking in the panoramic views. The park also provides facilities for camping, allowing visitors to extend their stay and immerse themselves in the tranquility and charm of the area. It truly is a nature lover’s paradise.

hiking trails in Waunakee WI

Governor Nelson State Park – At a Glance

Activities Facilities Location
  • Hiking
  • Beach activities
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Picnicking
  • Camping
  • Sandy beaches
  • Boat launch
  • Dog beach
  • Picnic areas
  • Campgrounds
Waunakee, Wisconsin

Governor Thompson State Park – Crivitz

Located in Marinette County near Crivitz, Wisconsin, Governor Thompson State Park offers a tranquil retreat into nature. This expansive park spans over 2,000 acres of pristine woodlands, providing a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. One of the park’s highlights is its proximity to Caldron Falls Flowage, a popular spot for fishing.

With nearly a hundred campsites, including boat-in sites, visitors have plenty of options for overnight stays amidst the beauty of the park. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, Governor Thompson State Park offers ample opportunities for fishing in Crivitz, WI. Cast your line and try your luck at catching a variety of fish species in the park’s serene waters.

For those who prefer other recreational activities, the park also offers ski and hiking trails that wind through the scenic woodlands. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings as you explore the trails and take in the sights and sounds of the diverse wildlife that calls this park home.

And when it’s time for a break, head to the stunning picnic area on Woods Lake. Enjoy a leisurely meal surrounded by the tranquility of the park while taking in the picturesque views of the lake. It’s the perfect spot to relax, unwind, and recharge.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and experience a peaceful getaway at Governor Thompson State Park in Crivitz, WI.

Activities Fishing Camping Hiking
Facilities Accessible fishing pier Nearly a hundred campsites Ski and hiking trails
Attractions Caldron Falls Flowage Picnic area on Woods Lake

Governor Thompson State Park

Harrington Beach State Park – Belgium

Harrington Beach State Park, located in Belgium, Wisconsin, offers a mile-long beach along the shores of Lake Michigan. With its sandy beaches, pet-friendly areas, and an observatory, this park has something for everyone. The park also features a campground with walk-in and kayak sites, as well as an accessible cabin. Explore the limestone outcrops, the old quarry lake, and enjoy fishing or geocaching in this scenic park.

Key Features of Harrington Beach State Park:
1. Mile-long sandy beach along Lake Michigan
2. Pet-friendly areas
3. Observatory for stargazing
4. Campground with walk-in and kayak sites
5. Accessible cabin for overnight stays
6. Limestone outcrops and old quarry lake to explore
7. Fishing and geocaching opportunities

Experience the natural beauty and recreational opportunities at Harrington Beach State Park. From relaxing on the sandy beach to discovering unique geological features, this park offers a delightful outdoor experience for visitors of all ages.

Exploring the Beach and Limestone Outcrops

Harrington Beach State Park is known for its picturesque mile-long beach along Lake Michigan. Whether you want to swim, build sandcastles, or simply relax with a book, this sandy beach provides the perfect spot to enjoy the beauty of the lake. Take a leisurely stroll along the shore and feel the gentle breeze coming off the water.

In addition to the beach, the park is home to unique limestone outcrops. These ancient rock formations offer a glimpse into the geological history of the area. Explore the trails that wind through the park and discover these fascinating features up close.

Camping and Overnight Stays

If you want to extend your visit, Harrington Beach State Park offers a campground with various options for overnight stays. The campground features walk-in sites for a more secluded experience, as well as kayak sites for those who wish to explore the park’s waterways.

For a comfortable and accessible accommodation, the park also offers a cabin that is designed to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. Stay overnight and wake up to the sounds of nature while enjoying the convenience of being in the heart of the park.

Fishing and Geocaching

Fishing enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities at Harrington Beach State Park. Cast your line into the lake and try your luck at catching bass, trout, and other species. Pack your fishing gear and spend a relaxing day by the water, surrounded by the park’s tranquil setting.

For those who enjoy treasure hunting, geocaching is a popular activity in the park. Embark on a treasure hunt using GPS coordinates and clues to locate hidden caches throughout the park. It’s a fun and interactive way to explore the area while challenging your problem-solving skills.

With its stunning beach, unique limestone formations, and array of recreational activities, Harrington Beach State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Experience the beauty of Lake Michigan and immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Wisconsin.

Hartman Creek State Park – Waupaca

Hartman Creek State Park, located in Waupaca, Wisconsin, is a quiet and friendly natural gem. With seven crystal-clear lakes, a beach, fishing, and over a hundred campsites, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The park offers trails for hiking, cycling, mountain biking, and horseback riding, providing endless opportunities to explore the beautiful woodlands.

One of the park’s highlights is Whispering Pines on Marl Lake, a picturesque picnic area with scenic stone steps leading up from the shoreline.

Lakeshore State Park – Milwaukee

Lakeshore State Park is a unique urban oasis located in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This 22-acre park features a multi-use trail for walking, biking, and skating, as well as a fishing pier and a 20-slip marina on Lake Michigan.

The park is within walking distance of museums and Milwaukee’s main festival grounds, making it a convenient spot for outdoor recreation in the heart of the city. Enjoy the stunning views of the lake and take advantage of the various amenities and activities offered at Lakeshore State Park.

Newport State Park – Ellison Bay

Newport State Park, located in Ellison Bay in Door County, Wisconsin, offers a unique and immersive wilderness experience for outdoor enthusiasts. As Wisconsin’s only formally designated wilderness park, Newport remains unspoiled and natural, providing visitors with a true escape into the beauty of untouched forests, meadows, and wetlands.

One of the highlights of Newport State Park is its exceptional stargazing opportunities. Recognized as one of the Midwest’s Dark Sky places, this park boasts minimal light pollution, making it a prime location for exploring the captivating night sky. Stargazers can marvel at the stunning constellations, planets, and even shooting stars, creating unforgettable memories under the vast expanse of darkness.

In addition to stargazing, Newport State Park offers a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. With 16 shoreline camping sites, adventurers can spend the night surrounded by the serene beauty of Lake Michigan. The park also features a vast network of hiking trails, mountain bike trails, and even opportunities for snowshoeing and skiing in the winter months.

For an inclusive experience, don’t miss the accessible Fern Trail, equipped with audio panels for travelers with hearing impairments. This trail allows everyone to immerse themselves in the park’s natural wonders, showcasing the commitment to providing equal access and unforgettable experiences for all visitors.


What are the best state parks near Waupaca, WI?

Some of the best state parks near Waupaca, WI include Brunet Island State Park, Governor Nelson State Park, Governor Thompson State Park, Harrington Beach State Park, Hartman Creek State Park, Lakeshore State Park, and Newport State Park.

What outdoor activities can I do in these state parks?

These state parks offer a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing, boating, paddling, swimming, biking, and wildlife watching.

Are there hiking trails in these state parks?

Yes, all of these state parks have hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the natural beauty of the area. Each park offers a variety of trail options, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging hikes.

Can I go camping in these state parks?

Yes, all of these state parks offer camping options. They have designated campsites where visitors can set up tents or park their RVs. Some parks also offer amenities such as showers, restrooms, and picnic tables.

Are there picnic spots in these state parks?

Yes, all of these state parks have designated picnic areas where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals surrounded by nature. These picnic spots often offer scenic views and may have picnic tables, grills, and shelters available for use.

What other amenities can I find in these state parks?

In addition to hiking trails, camping, and picnic areas, some of these state parks offer amenities like beaches, fishing piers, boat rentals, marinas, bird watching areas, playgrounds, and even dog-friendly areas.

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