Family Nature Adventures in Wisconsin Parks


Ahhh, spring is approaching! For our family, this means not just warmer temperatures but the frequency of our family nature adventures in Wisconsin parks will increase. Our family has an affinity for exploring new areas and Wisconsin offers beauty and variety. Did you know Wisconsin has a long list of beautiful state parks, county parks, and national reserved land (national forests, national lakeshore, and national scenic ways)?

For us, family nature adventures happen in one of two ways: a day trip or a family vacation. Every summer, we take a family summer vacation and I always include at least one hike at a state or county park. It’s a great way to nurture the girls’ budding love of the outdoors and the hiking location is providing another layer of something new.

Day trips are a fun way to shake up an otherwise low-key weekend. I simply say the words “nature adventure” and before you know it, the girls are running to find their rain boots or asking if they need a flashlight and I’m packing up snacks and extra pieces of clothing.

How do I find a state park to visit?
Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources offers an interactive site to help narrow down which parks you’d like to visit. You can even search by activity, such as hiking or cross country skiing, and the website will tell you which parks can accommodate the activity.

How do I find a county park to visit?
Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources offers a list sorted by Wisconsin counties to help narrow down where you’d like to visit and search for parks. These county lists also include county trail systems and forests.

How do I find a national reserved land?
The National Park Service website lists all the opportunities in Wisconsin. You can find this list here.

Things to keep in mind
1. Many parks and trails require some sort of trail and/or park pass. Be sure to research online before visiting. COVID has also had various impacts but details are documented on each park’s website for further information.

2. “Pack it in, pack it out” and “leave no trace” are two nature principles to visit by; if you bring in something (food, etc), bring it back out. Nature can only stay clean and beautiful if we leave it that way.

3. Check out my post: Family Nature Adventures: Hiking with Children for additional tips and tricks.

We are all so lucky to live in such a beautiful state. Get outdoors and take advantage of what Wisconsin has to offer for parks and natural resources! You may be surprised by how exciting family nature adventures in Wisconsin parks can be for you and your kids!

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Amanda was born and raised in Green Bay and returned to the area after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where she obtained her degree in psychology and business. Shortly after moving back to Green Bay, Amanda attended Silver Lake College where she completed the master's program in management and organizational behavior. Amanda works full time and when she is not caring for her family or being a focused employee, she enjoys running, biking, skiing and hiking. Amanda lives in Green Bay with her husband and two children. She and her husband look forward to teaching their daughters how to ski and bike and hope their children enjoy being active outdoors. Amanda loves that the Green Bay area has a lot to offer in terms of trail systems (great for biking, running, hiking and skiing!) and Green Bay is conveniently located to some great ski hills all within a few hours drive.