Prepare For The Upcoming Memorial Day Weekend

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds the public that the state’s most popular parks will likely have heavy crowds during the holiday weekend. The DNR encourages visitors to explore hidden gem properties and reduce crowds at the most attended parks. 

With over 20 million visitors annually, Wisconsin State Park properties can be a popular destination on holidays and weekends. During the busy summer seasons, visitors may experience long lines to enter the park, limited parking availability and crowded trails and picnic areas, especially at the state’s most popular properties. Plan ahead and purchase your vehicle admission sticker and make your camping reservations ahead of time.

With 50 state parks, 15 state forests, 44 state trails and several state recreation areas, wild rivers and flowages to explore, there are plenty of places to find your adventure while avoiding the crowds. Consider recreating one of these properties, or choose one you’ve never been to before:  

  • Soak up some sun along six miles of sandy Lake Michigan beachfront at Point Beach State Forest. The lighthouse at Rawley Point is a great photo opportunity and can be viewed and photographed from the beach. Stop by the park office and ask about the forest’s beach wheelchair and tracked outdoor wheelchair. 
  • Paddle the backwaters of the Mississippi River via the marked canoe trail at Wyalusing State Park. This six-mile canoe trail starts at the boat landing and continues through the Mississippi River backwaters to the main channel. Watch for the blue and white canoe trail signs to direct you. Rental canoes and kayaks are available at the park concession stand. 
  • Step back in time at Tower Hill State Park. The park’s namesake feature, an 1830s shot tower, is open to the public along with several other historical structures. See how lead shot was made in the mid-1800s, hike bluff trails and enjoy river views at this park outside of Spring Green. 
  • Spend a day at the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit, the largest unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. With three beaches, four campgrounds and miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails, there are plenty of ways to recreate in the forest. Picnic tables and grills are available at several recreation and trail areas.

This is the first busy weekend of the season, so be patient with staff and fellow visitors. Stay on the trail and be mindful of trail conditions. If taking a break, move to the side of the trail so others can pass by. Trails are shared by users of all experience levels, so make yourself known and be courteous when passing others. 

Use the DNR’s Find A Park tool to find a Wisconsin state park to explore, or check out some hidden gems and exploration maps to learn more about some of the DNR’s lesser-visited properties.