20 Best Places to Camp Within Two Hours of Madison WI (2022)

A yellow train in Madison, WI.
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    Up in Wisconsin, you’ll find some of the most widely varied weather, camping, and wildlife. The Great Lakes have given us sandy beaches and bitter winters, and the towering pine trees make camping in seclusion a given in nearly every single campground you can find.

    If you’re ready to take a long well-deserved break and unwind in the woods for a while, the last thing you want to do is research. We’ve gathered together 20 of the best places to camp near Madison, and done the heavy lifting for you!

    A barn in a field.

    Getting out of your bubble is a great way to learn more about the state you live in.

    1. Blue Mound State Park

    Blue Mound State Park features 77 wooded sites, 12 bike/hike-in sites, and a rustic accessible cabin for people with disabilities. Up in the highest point in southern Wisconsin, you’ll find Blue Mound, State Park. The elevation here offers spectacular views and unique geological features. 

    The park is open all year, but if you come during the summer you’ll be greeted by their swimming pool. If swimming during your camping trip isn’t your thing there are over 20 miles of scenic hiking as well as plenty of off-road biking and cross-country ski trails. The family campground is a definite plus for the Blue Mound State Park, ensuring everyone has the room to stretch their legs once you’re on top of the Blue Mound. 

    Despite its incredible elevation, Blue Mound is extremely accessible to everyone. The Military Ridge State Trail and bike-in campsites are great for folks likely to go the extra mile before settling in, and the rustic cabin is easily accessed, especially for folks with disabilities. Blue Mound is a popular spot no matter the time of year, and you owe it to yourself to pop by at least once.

    2. Christmas Mountain Village Campground

    Christmas Mountain Village is where you go when you’re ready to get some skiing done in the winter or golfing done in the warmer months. The mountain village is inviting and entertaining. There’s Mulligan’s Bar and Grill for when you’re not quite ready to stomach another campfire hot dog and a fully fleshed out resort area for fancy campers looking for a nice warm bed after a long day on the fresh powder.

    3. Breezy Hill Campground

    Breezy Hill Campground is a lovely little family-owned campsite. The Wiltzius family works hard to create a welcoming environment for campers of all stripes. The campground is open all year and they’ve planned seasonal events, like the winter sleigh rides and the Halloween festivities. 

    The campground is simple and straightforward with plenty of activities and amenities ranging from wagon rides on the weekends to a well-kept dog park for the pets.

    4. Yellowstone Lake State Park

    Yellowstone Lake State Park is an excellent place to get some of your best fishing done. The lake here is well stocked, and the camping is near the boat landings. Coming out here is an excellent way to set up a one-stop line casting shop. 

    The campsite houses almost 130 individual campsites, as well as a handful of group campsites. If you’re planning on being here for a while, know that there are vault toilets and drinking water available all year, but if you come at the right times you’ll have access to the dump station and showers.

    5. Harrington Beach State Park

    This mile-long stretch of Lake Michigan’s beach is home to Harrington Beach State Park. It’s perfect for sunbathing, hiking, and, of course, camping. 

    If you’re a stargazer, make a note to come out to the observatory’s monthly public viewings. The conditions here are ideal for grabbing a peek at the stars in an intimate capacity. If you’re feeling inspired after a gander into space, you can sleep out under those very same stars at one of Harrington Beach’s 69 family campgrounds. 

    6. Kettle Moraine State Forest-Southern Unit

    Kettle Moraine is massive, and the southern unit is a testament to that. These glacial hills and frosted forests span 22,000 acres of land, and every single inch of them is beautiful and excellent for camping. You don’t have to limit yourself to hiding out in your tent, though. You can find lots of mountain biking, boatings, swimming, and fishing out in the Southern Unit. There’s so much to explore here, it’s hard to imagine this won’t become one of your favorite haunts after repeated exposure.

    The campsites here are dedicated to respecting the wild wonder of this area. In fact, one of the three loops is a 24-hour designated quiet zone. If you’re looking to reset yourself and get away from the constant buzzing, then you should find yourself out in Kettle Moraine.

    7. New Glarus WI Woods State Park

    New Glarus Woods is 435 acres of hiking, snowshoeing, and camping that just can’t be beaten. The park will give you direct access to the Sugar River State Trail. The compressed limestone surfacing this 24-mile trail makes traversal, be it with shoes or tires, a comfortable breeze.

    A girl at Lake Michigan.

    Lake Michigan gives us a beach experience comparable to states all the way on the other side of the county.

    8. Yukon Trails RV & Camping Resort

    The first thing you need to know about Yukon Trails is that they’ll feed you breakfast on the weekends. That hospitality trickles down throughout the entire experience of staying at Yukon Trails Camping Resort. There’s everything from cornhole to movies here, you’ll never encounter a dull moment. If you find yourself bored somehow, then take the ten-minute drive to Wisconsin Dells, the waterfall capital of the world, and bask in some natural falls for a while before heading back to the mini-golf.

    9. Kohler-Andrae State Park

    There aren’t a lot of sandy beaches in Wisconsin, but you’ll find miles of it here, with beautiful rolling sand dunes to match. Kohler-Andrae State Park gives you access to the beautiful freshwaters of Lake Michigan. The pines and wildlife are captivating, and the camping here is easy and enjoyable. This state park is one of the last nature preserves along the shore of Lake Michigan, so make sure you come on out to drink it all in.

    There are freshwater fill stations available in the park as well as weather-dependent laundry facilities, showers, and flush toilets. Group sites A and B are snow plowed during the winter, so you’ll never be out of luck if you’re trying to have a big event under the stars.

    10. Mirror Lake

    The beautiful placid Mirror Lake gets its name from its trademark stillness. Coming out to Mirror Lake is an opportunity for reflection in both senses. Seeing a lake like this in person is humbling, the surface is beautiful, and depending on where you’re used to visiting, it may be the first time you’ve had the opportunity to bask in something like this. The cliffs and trees reflected in the lake make the effect even more entrancing. 

    There are 68 campsites with one accessible site. Almost 30 of those campsites have electrical hookups. The flush toilets onsite are weather dependent, so come prepared during the colder months. If you’re planning to make your way out on the lake, you’ll be happy to know that the campsites aren’t very far from the boat landings and fishing piers.

    11. Viking Village Campground

    Viking Village calls to mind the chaotic past of the Vikings, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This quiet campsite is all about accommodation, silence, and relaxation. It’s a short drive from Milwaukee, Chicago, and Madison, and once you’ve arrived you might never want to leave.

    It’s a modestly sized site with 71 campsites are dotting the beautiful countryside surrounding Stoughton. Stoughton a sportsman’s mecca. It’s an oasis for the weekend camper, it’s top tier outdoor recreation. Folks make their way up here to enjoy some of the most beautiful lakes in all of Wisconsin. The golf courses are engaging and challenging and there are way more recreational activities for you to discover once you’ve made your way through the others.

    Check ahead of time if you’re looking to bring your boats along. If there’s room for it, you’re good to go, otherwise, you’re going to have to figure out a secondary location for your watercraft or cut your trip short.

    12. High Cliff State Park

    This is the only state-owned recreational area on Lake Winnebago. If you’ve ever wondered where the park gets its name, check out the large limestone cliff. It’s part of the Niagara Escarpment, which parallels the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago. 

    There are 112 campsites. 32 of them are set up for electricity, and two of them are accessible along with the eight group sites. There’s a compound for flush toilets and showers as well as vault toilets scattered throughout the campsite. There’s a sanitary dump station on-site for folks staying overnight making it that much easier to leave no trace on your way out. 

    If you feel like treating yourself to four walls and a roof there’s an accessible cabin on-site ready to accommodate up to six people for a maximum of four nights. 

    13. Tower Hill Campground

    If you’re looking for a history lesson Tower Hill Campground is willing to show you how we used to produce lead shots in the 1800s. If a peek into the past isn’t your speed then hiking trails on the bluff will give you an excellent view of the rivers outside of Spring Green. This campground is also great for canoeing, there’s a landing on the Wisconsin river if you’re looking to earn your sea legs. 

    The campgrounds are a little small, with only 10 reservable tent sites on the premises. That’s not all bad, though. If you’re looking for intimate camping and you hate crowded campgrounds, then a smaller spot like this is going to be right up your alley. The sites are non-electric and there are no flush toilets, but if you need drinking water you’ll have easy access to a filling station. Make sure you reserve a spot ahead of time, and you’ll be golden.

    14. Hartman Creek State Park

    Hartman Creek State Park is home to 103 family sites, and five much larger group camping sites for all of your camping needs. Located on the gorgeous Chain O’ Lakes, Hartman Creek State Park is a tranquil and inviting little slice of central Wisconsin. The campsites are nestled in red pine forests and an old apple orchard/hardwood mix of trees. The canopy they create makes for quiet and private feeling campsites. The campgrounds themselves are spacious and the family campground has two showers and flushes toilet buildings.

    The park offers camping, boating, swimming, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Make sure you stop by the historic Hellestad House log cabin to round out your trip in this beautiful state park.

    A barn by the water.

    If it weren’t for the waterfall capital of the world, we never would have made it this far.

    15. Bear Lake Campground & Resort

    Bear Lake Campground out in Waupaca County near Manawa, Wisconsin sits on a pretty 26 acres of land. Surrounded by massive towering 170-year-old pine trees. This is the kind of camping they put on wildlife calendars to entice folks that aren’t lucky enough to find themselves in the awe-inspiring trees of Wisconson when they head out for a camping trip. Bear Lake isn’t just a pretty site, their banquet hall is perfect for weddings, class reunions, or just getting the family together once a year. 

    Bear Lake Campground is also massively accommodating, if you catch them at the right time of year you can participate in their Friday night fish fries, which are to die for, and a great time to make some new friends and bond with your community.

    16. Duck Creek Campground

    Duck Creek Campground is great for families and active campers. You can hike the nature trails for a bit to start your days and acclimate yourself to the surrounding nature and warm yourself up for the swimming pond. If you feel like you want a beach getaway, but Florida seems a little too far, the sandy beaches here should be a suitable substitute. 

    Kids are more than welcome here, the fishing in the ponds and on the shore is a reasonable challenge for the little ones, making for an excellent first foray into the sport, and if you get sick of roughing it, the Du Duck Inn Grill & Bar will always be there to lend you a hand and a warm meal. 

    17. Wildcat Mountain State Park

    Wildcat Mountain state park perches you right on the ridges of the Wisconsin mountains. You’ll be overlooking the Kickapoo River from on high. This state park is full of beautiful scenic hiking, nature trails, and plenty of room for equestrians to strut their stuff. The trails are about 21 miles of solitude and nature. 

    If you’re looking to maximize your Kickapoo gazing, there’s an observation point and picnic area overlooking the entire Kickapoo Valley. The views from here are well worth the effort. Make sure to stay the night and make your way down to the Kickapoo River proper and rent some paddle boats from the Ontario village before making your way back to the chaos of civilization.

    18. Merry Mac’s Campground

    Merry Mac’s Campground is a vibrant and useful campground. There are campsites capable of holding Class A RV rigs with full hookups, or something as modest as a two-person tent and your phone charger. The facility has a pair of dump stations for your RV drivers, meaning you can unload and unwind here before you make the next leg of your trek. 

    This site is excellent for families. There’s mini-golf, swimming in pools or ponds, and pedal carts that are a blast to race around the campground. The car-ferry is free and will get you safe and dry across Lake Wisconson for hiking, fishing, and some premium boating.

    19. Madison KOA

    The Madison KOA campground is an excellent place to settle down for a long weekend if you’re having trouble deciding what exactly you’re looking for in a camping spot. This KOA campground is fully loaded, like any good KOA campground. You have your pick of the type of camping you’d like to indulge in, the pull-through RV sites come with full hookups, if you’re the type to rough it a little bit, there are tent sites, and if you’re feeling fancy then you can opt for their KOA deluxe cabins. Whatever the need, this KOA campground will fill it with style.

    20. Plymouth Rock Camping Resort

    This is a gated RV resort with all of the trimmings. The Plymouth Rock Camping Resort will never leave you with an empty calendar. Every weekend there’s some new event, keeping the energy up, and making this RV park well worth the trip. If you’re not up for all of that socializing, you can find your own fun on the mini-golf course or take some time for yourself in the pool. 

    Folks without an RV are welcome as well, you can stay in their cabins or bring along a tent. Their “wagon wheel” campsite is flexible enough to accommodate any kind of camper looking to get in on the fun.

    Final Verdict:

    The first place sash goes to  Blue Mound State Park this time. It’s a large site with a decent amount of different camping spots, it’s flexible and accessible enough to include campers from all walks of life, and it’s just plain beautiful. The view from up here is breathtaking every single time, and it’s the kind of place that’s entertaining no matter when you choose to make your way up the mountains. Summer is a blast because of the pool and the perfect hiking weather, and winters are never so uncomfortable that a nice hike can’t set you straight.

    Bonus tip: It’s easy to take the Great Lakes for granted, so here’s a video reminding us of what makes them so special. 

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    Riley Draper

    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.