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5 Midwest Campgrounds

5 Midwest Campgrounds

Photo Credit:  Nick Richter

Photo Credit: Nick Richter

The camping opportunities in the Midwest are vast, but we've collected a few stand out spots for your Summer bucket-list. Whether you are a novice or avid "camper," these five campgrounds will get you back to nature and making memories in no time.

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Devils Lake State Park

Book a Campsite early at Devil's Lake State Park in Wisconsin. The best sites are in the ice age loop, near or across from ~370. Hiking in Devils Lake offers the most incredible views. I recommend the East Bluff Trail to the "Devil's Doorway" rock formation, or the steeper more challenging Pot Holes Trial. After your hike, stop at the beach to cool off. The South shore, while rocky, offers great shade and is a bit less crowded. If the beach isn't your scene, New Glarus Brewery is less than 20 miles away, where you can enjoy a cold one in the beer garden. Another hidden treasure is this area is Pewit's Nest, where I suggest you leave your towels at the trailhead and hike to the beginning of the spring. It's quite spectacular but water levels fluctuate and fallen debris can obstruct your view. You'll need water sandals or aqua socks. Swim at your own risk.

RTip: Make a reservation one night at nearby Ishnala Supper Club on Mirror Lake and enjoy a little Summer surf and turf off the campfire.


Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Put this camping destination on your list! SBD National Park in NW Michigan is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Reserve a spot at the Platte River Campground, where you can tube the river all the way to Lake Michigan. Or choose the more rustic, D.H. Day Campground, near the popular Dune Climb. Don't miss the breathtaking hikes at Pyramid Point where you can bonfire on the beach. In either case, make sure you set aside some time for the Pierce Socking Scenic Drive and a picnic lunch, at or from Market 22. To get the most from your visit we suggest you make a stop at the visitor center. Nearby Traverse City warrants a post of it's own, with it's charming downtown, many wineries and beautiful bay.

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Madeline Island

A unique Midwest camping experience on the largest of the Apostle Islands is a true nature lovers getaway, and getting there is easier than you think! Head to Bayfield, Wisconsin and drive your car right onto the ferry. Here you can explore the sandstone formations while hiking or kayaking on the shores of Lake Superior. Reserve a campsite at Big Bay Town Park, and if you are so inclined, rent a bike, it is a great way to get around the island. While you are there, don't miss the Madeline Island School of the Arts and the spicy rice bowl at the Island Eats Food Truck.

RTip: Stock up on groceries and essentials for your campsite at the Saturday farmers market in Bayfield or at the Chequamegon Co-op in nearby Ashland.

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Old Barn Resort

The amenities of a lake resort and the charm of a campground. Let your kids run free, sit back and relax. Perfect for families and groups, activities include an 18 hole golf course, a 3-season swimming pool, a playground and live entertainment on the weekend. The Old Barn offers traditional tenting sites, water & electric hook-ups, as well as four hostel rooms inside the barn. Our suggestion is to put a tent on H6-10 to take advantage of the water and electric as well as the proximity to the Barn. The other great part about these hook-up sites is that they are preferred by RVs, where generally guests use their own bathrooms, leaving the public places empty and clean. If you want to explore the area you can access the Root River Trail and bike the 4.7 miles to the town of Lanesboro to enjoy lunch at The Pedal Pushers Cafe. You can also grab a tube and float 2 hours along the Root River, entering and ending directly on the campground. If you aren't in the mood to cook on the fire, they have an on-site restaurant and great nightly specials (our favorite was the fish fry)

RTip: is to spend an afternoon hiking nearby Niagara Cave, where you can tour deep into one of the top 10 caves in the US, play mini golf and pan for treasured gemstones. Afterwards, be sure to stop at Karst Brewing in Fountain, MN to sit on the patio between the buildings and sample a variety of their craft beer. If you're hungry, local snacks and goodies are also sold on-site.


Forestville / Mystery Cave State Park

This beautiful MN state park has so much to offer, you may even want to invite some friends. Walk right from the campground to historic Forestville, where you can shop salt-glazed pottery, play croquet or enjoy a picnic. Alternatively, you can beat the heat and check out all the near-by natural cave systems. Don't forget to bring your bikes, because the Root River Trail runs along the bluffs from Houston to Harmony with some incredible stops along the way. We suggest the Aroma Pie Shop in Whalan. If that wasn't enough, because of it's location near fast moving trout streams, and the animal habitat of Mystery Cave, this park is free from both mosquitoes and black flies.

Rtip: Check out the events calendar in Forestville to experience a barn dance, make apple cider or attend a guided cemetery walk.

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Lamb's Resort / North Shore

Our bonus recommendation is Lamb's Resort, midway between Duluth and Thunder Bay. This 60 acre property is in the perfect spot to explore the beauty of the North Shore. Hunt for Agates or hike along the trails. This is the only resort that offers cabins and private campsites right on the shores of Lake Superior. The property is also dissected by a river, which makes it ideal for access to fishing, swimming and canoeing. Within walking distance to Schroeder Baking Company and a quick drive to Coho Cafe, for one of the best sausage pizzas I have ever had.


Packing to camp is no easy job. Here is what we find it's best not to forget: Walkies aren't just for keeping track of each other, they add hours entertainment. And there's no better place to play bocce than an expansive campsite. If you never feel like you have enough hands, check out these Turkish towel backpacks for kids. Finally, this portable hammock is the best out there, and perfect for napping.

What are we missing? Tell us your favorite Midwest Campgrounds in the comments below.

Ready and Roam / Stillwater, Minnesota

Ready and Roam / Stillwater, Minnesota

The Eats at Tilia

The Eats at Tilia