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Camping Rules

Wisconsin State Park System

Below is a list of general camping rules for Wisconsin State Park System properties.


Camping reservations are required and can be made for the same day of your arrival or up to 11 months in advance of your planned date of occupancy. Campers must make a reservation before setting up on any site.

Reserve a campsite online or by calling 1-888-947-2757.

Vehicle admission sticker

A vehicle admission sticker is required for any motor vehicles brought into the property.


Cancellations may be made online or by calling 1-888-947-2757.

If you cancel no later than 3 p.m. Central Time two days before the day of the reservation, you'll be credited a full refund of camping fees, but not the reservation or cancellation fees.

If you cancel after that, you'll be credited a refund of camping fees for all but the first night. You will not be refunded the reservation or cancellation fees or the first night's camping fee.

No refunds are made for any part of a three-night holiday reservation once the site has been occupied.

Vehicles and tents at the sites

Motor vehicles are restricted to the designated parking area on each campsite. No more than two motor vehicles (except as many as six motorcycles) are allowed per campsite.

No more than one recreation trailer, pickup truck camper or motor home may occupy a campsite. Pickup campers or motor homes pulling a trailer are treated as a single unit.

The number of tents allowed depends on the sizes of the tents and of the site. Call the park or forest office if you're considering bringing multiple tents.

Check-in/Check-out time

Campsite check-in / check-out time is 3 p.m. for all outdoor campsites. You may set up earlier if the site was not occupied the night before. If you are unable to leave by 3 p.m., contact the park or forest staff immediately.

Automatic Check-in

Campers should proceed directly to their reserved campsite after the designated check-in time of 3 p.m. Campers will be automatically checked in through their reservation.  

DNR staff may periodically stop by campsites to verify check-in. Campers should keep a copy of their reservation on hand or available on a mobile device for staff to verify the reservation.

Campground hosts are present in many but not all campgrounds. Information regarding how to get in touch with property staff or conservation wardens will be available at kiosks located in campgrounds.

Yellow phones

Yellow courtesy phones are available at many properties to help connect campers with a reservation agent and/or other necessary services. Reservation agents are available via a yellow phone (automatic or speed dialing) from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily from April 1 to Oct. 31, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Nov. 1 to March 31.

Occupying the campsite

A camping unit must occupy the reserved campsite by 3 p.m. on the second day of the reservation and be present for the duration of the reservation. If you do not check in and occupy your reserved site before 3 p.m. the day after the scheduled arrival date and remain for the duration of the reservation, you will forfeit the site.

Campers on first-come, first-served sites must occupy the site the first night and any consecutive nights for which they have registered.

Camping party

A family campsite may be occupied by a parent or parents with their dependent children and not more than two guests or a group of not more than six persons, regardless of age. Designated group sites allow more occupants.

Length of stay

Wisconsin State Park campsites are enjoyed by millions of people each year. To ensure the greatest access to campsites, a maximum length of stay has been established. No one may camp or leave a camping unit in a family campground for more than 14 days in any 21-day period.

Minimum Stays

For family campsites, advance reservations booked prior to May 15 for stays between May 15 and Oct. 31 require a minimum two-night reservation. Sites that are still available after May 15 for the current camping season, may be reserved for one night. Backpack sites and group campsites are available for one-night reservations.

A minimum three-night reservation is required on holiday weekends.

Extending a stay

Campers may not extend the departure date of a reservation until they are checked in at the property. Extensions can be done through the property office if the site is available and must be made no later than the day before your scheduled departure. Campers should call the property office directly. Extensions can also be made through the reservation system, however, canceling and reservation fees apply. Any campsite extensions are part of the original reservation and cannot exceed the 14-day maximum length of stay.

Leaving early

If a camper decides to leave early, they may be entitled to a refund. No refund will be given for the current night after the 3 p.m. checkout time. Any refunds must be done through the property office, and campers should call the property office directly. If a staff member is not present, please leave a message.

Switching campsites

Campers can change campsites in advance using the reservation system. After arrival, campers will need to work with the property office directly or cancel and rebook online. Cancel/change fees will apply.


The parks are closed to non-campers between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. All visitors must leave the park by 11 p.m. During closed hours, campers must be in or be en route to their registered campsite. No camping party may set up or take down a camping unit between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Fires and firewood

Campers are reminded that only certified firewood or firewood originating from within 10 miles of the park is allowed into the park.

  • Firewood is available for sale at or near most state park properties.
  • Certified firewood dealers can be located through the DATCP website.

Fires are allowed in fire rings and grills only. Do not leave fires unattended and put out all fires before leaving. Do not burn garbage, plastic, glass, cans or other recyclable items. Know before you burn.

Propane camping stoves like the classic Coleman models are generally allowed for use in campsites.

It is important to be aware of fire conditions and use extreme caution during times of elevated fire danger when starting a fire or using a camp stove. A map of the current fire situation throughout Wisconsin can be found on the DNR WisBurn website.

Remember to watch children very closely around fires. When setting up to use an area, become aware of the location of the fire ring. Watch the wind direction to ensure sparks are not getting on flammable materials and put the fire out if wind changes begin to cause concern. Do not remove hot materials from the fire ring or grill and make sure the fire is out and the grill or fire ring cool before leaving the area.


Please be courteous to your camping neighbors. At no time may the noise on a campsite create a disturbance or interfere in any manner with other people's enjoyment of the park.

Generator use


Pets are allowed in almost all campgrounds in Wisconsin State Parks and Forests with a few simple rules. Pets are not allowed in buildings, beaches, playgrounds and picnic areas, including shelters and amphitheaters. For more information, see Pets in the state parks.


Fireworks are illegal. Anything that flies or explodes is considered a firework. "Snakes" and sparklers are allowed. Always ask a ranger before using anything that may be questionable.

Recycling and refuse

Plan your camping to produce as little trash as possible. Campsites, buildings and picnic areas do not have trash cans. However, there are some dumpsters in the campgrounds for use by registered campers. Bins are also available for recyclable items of glass, plastic, aluminum and tin.

If using your own grill, place coals in an available park grill or fire ring or at designated coal disposal sites.

Always remove garbage and recyclables from your site daily to discourage nighttime visits from animals. Do not feed animals; feeding conditions them to expect food and causes future problems. 


Please collect and dispose of dish and hand washing water at a sanitary dumping station or in campground toilets. It is against health and safety rules to dump this "gray water" on the ground.

Dumping stations

Dumping stations are available at several properties and are free to use by all registered campers at those properties. There is a $10 fee for others to use our dump station.

Campground roads

State Statute defines all roads in State Parks and Forests as highways and all traffic laws apply. Scooters/coasters, Big wheels, skateboards and roller skates are prohibited on campground roads and parking lots.

Bicycles, in-line skates, electric scooters and registered motorized scooters (mopeds) are allowed on campground roads and must observe all rules of the road (Wisconsin state laws and administrative rules). Motorized scooters must have valid registration, be operated by a licensed driver and display a state park sticker. When a scooter is towed into the park, you may request a courtesy vehicle pass at the entrance station.


If you or any member or guest of your camping party violate any state law or Department of Natural Resources rules, you may be evicted from the park, have your camping permit revoked and lose any fees you have paid.

Remote, Non-reservable campsites

All state parks, southern forests and state recreation areas are completely reservable. There are no non-reservable (first-come, first-served) campsites available at these properties. Some remote, non-reservable sites remain available at northern forests and flowages. Most of these non-reservable sites are more rustic, backpack or boat-in sites, and do not have electricity. Check with the property office for the availability of these sites. Due to unpredictable demand, we cannot guarantee that a site that's vacant when you call will still be available when you arrive.

Winter Camping

Not all properties offer camping during non-summer months. Camping seasons vary by property. During winter, some campsites may be plowed as staffing allows.   

Reservations are required for all sites. Available camping opportunities during fall, winter and spring can be found on the Wisconsin State Park System reservation website.

Seasonal water systems

Water systems (flush toilet buildings, shower buildings, drinking fountains and dump stations) at Wisconsin State Parks and Forests are weather-dependent and may not be available fall through spring (approx. Oct. 1 through May 15). If you have questions about water system availability during your stay, please contact the property office.