5 Great Places to Go Camping with Kids Within 3 Hours of Madison, WI

The weather in fall is fantastic here in Wisconsin. This is the best time to bring those waterproof boots, flannels, and cozy hats out! Dress for the weather, be colorful, and enjoy colors around you. Camping in the fall also offers better campsite selections and has become a favorite tradition for my family!

Favorite Fall Campgrounds within 3 Hours of Madison, WI

High Cliff State Park is near Appleton, and this park is my favorite because you’re never too late for the party. If you miss the fall colors, it also offers winter camping. It has a family-friendly campground and an accessible cabin for people with disabilities.

Perrot State Park is in LaCrosse along the Mississippi River. Right on the Great River Bike Trail and with great views from the top of the bluffs, a short hike away, you will start noticing the elevation change while hiking in this park. Lovely area to visit, and not too crowded for camping!

Hartman Creek State Park is in Waupaca. My family adores this park, and we have been going here for years – all season. We can’t get enough of this area. While you are here, try to find the old house, which offers super cool history in the park. Trails are small and narrow but relatively easy, with benches along the way to take in the beautiful views of the lakes and colors.

Bigfoot Beach State Park is in Lake Geneva, and I love this park because it has an RV site. It’s right in the middle of Lake Geneva with so many things to do and see in town. I highly recommend this park if you enjoy city life, lots of great places you can walk to as a family to eat, it is a gentle 2 miles walk to downtown. The path goes behind some beautiful mansions in Lake Geneva, kid-friendly, (but not stroller friendly). The fall colors in the area are beautiful.

Potawatomi State Park is in Sturgeon Bay. I love this park. If you like a campsite in the woods, then this place is for you. If things go wrong, you’re in a great area to leave the grounds for few hours and keep the family busy all day. There are endless activities for everyone in Sturgeon Bay, especially fall activities!


Reasons We Love Camping in the Fall

Leave Hunts and Hikes

We enjoy hiking in the fall and going on a ‘leave hunt’. So many activities happen along the way – and often ends with making a pile of leaves to jumping on. If you can reserve a campground off the trails… take it. It allows the family to spend more time outdoors hiking longer, enjoying the scenery.

Fewer Bugs

As a frequent camper, bugs have made for some rough camping in the summer. That is why I highly recommend fall camping… imagine sitting around the campfire in the morning and sipping coffee. You feel like you are truly living in the moment.

Fewer Crowds

Most families camp less after Labor Day – which means your chances are higher to find a great spot to enjoy the foliage. My family and I want opposite campsite playgrounds, water, and bathrooms, making camping fun and more accessible for everyone.

Campgrounds Offer Different Activities

Some RV campgrounds that we have visited in the fall have various activities every night. They will have special nights to host all the families by the campfire and offer free apple cider, popcorn, donuts and so on.

Quieter

We also love camping in the fall because we get a good night’s sleep; the campground is quieter at night during off-peak times (after Labor Day).


Here is a beginner’s guide to camping e-book that I have created to make your first experience even better. All the camping reservations in Wisconsin State Parks should be done online before you go.

I also created the Wisconsin State Park scratch-off poster. It features all the parks to visit, and it’s fun to do with the family!

The fall season is the best time to go camping. Check out the fall colors in Wisconsin – take the scenic route. Kids are back in school, but don’t let that stop you from exploring… the weekend getaways are a must.

 

Dineo is a full-time mom and writer who was born in South Africa but now lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and their daughter. For the past 6years, she has been an ambassador for Hike it Baby, a non-profit organization that connects families with babies and young children to the outdoors and each other. As part of this, Dineo spends much of her time outdoors, once hiking 21 miles in 8 hours and she is keen that her daughter spends as much time outside as is possible. Dineo’s other passion is for writing children's pictures and she currently has 5 books in circulation. Adventure Day, Sunset Hike, Spring hike, Summer Camping, and Christmas from both worlds, these books features diverse characters and are dedicated to nature and were created to inspire children to get out into the fresh air. They both contain exciting and diverse characters that children love. In her free time, Dineo loves reading nature books to her daughter, cooking, and baking. She enjoys running, camping and hiking whenever the opportunity arises and her ambition is to be able to travel the world, volunteering her time to help the needy and using the experiences she gains to write even more children’s books.

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