Your Guide to the Best Public Campgrounds in Northwest Wisconsin

It’s summer in Wisconsin, and that means it’s camping season.  We are pretty lucky in Wisconsin because a lot of the best campgrounds are located near water.  You can camp within steps of Lake Superior, fantastic fishing and swimming lakes, or rivers.  There’s even a bonus that some of the campgrounds offer….waterfalls!  We have a lot of experience camping in Northwest Wisconsin, and are going to share what we consider to be the top picks of the public campgrounds in this area.  Each of the following campgrounds is unique in it’s offerings and one of the best campgrounds around.  Here is your guide to the best public campgrounds in Northwest Wisconsin.

Read This Next:  A List of Things You Don’t Want to Forget for Your Next Camping Trip

The Best Public Campgrounds in Northwest Wisconsin

All information is current for the summer of 2020 camping season.

Copper Falls State Park

Location: Mellen, WI

Number of sites: 56 total, 24 have electric hookups.

Fees: Electric sites $30/night.  Non-electric sites $20/night.  A state park sticker is needed $13-$38 for an annual sticker or $3- $11 daily.

Things to do at the campground: 17 miles of hiking trails, waterfall viewing, 2 mountain bike trails, canoe/kayak on Loon Lake, 5 picnic areas, concession stand (pancake breakfast on Sunday mornings), and playground.

Cascade waterfall at copper falls campground in northwest wisconsin

The Cascades at Copper Falls always remind us of root beer!

Swimming: Swimming beach at Loon Lake, located 1 mile from north campsites.

Showers and bathrooms: Flush toilets and showers.

View from campsites: Many sites are in the trees, some sites are high above the banks of the Bad River.

Better sites (best location, size, view): 16, 18, 20, 21

What’s nearby:  It’s only 25 miles to Ashland, WI where you can explore the Chequamegon Bay or visit the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.  Drive 4 miles to the Chequamegon National Forest and be on the lookout for elk.  Never been to Michigan?  You are only 30 miles away from Ironwood, MI.


Additional information:  Reservations may be made 11 months in advance.  Certain campsites are available first come/first served, if not reserved.  Campground is typically open mid-May thru mid-October.  See website for all rules and additional info.  The highlight of this campground is hiking to the waterfalls.  The hiking trail to the waterfalls is easy and well maintained.  We camped here once during the end of June, and the mosquitoes were outrageous.  Do not forget the bug spray!

Totogatic Park Campground

Location:  Eight miles northwest of Minong, WI located on the Minong Flowage

Number of sites:  75 total, 69 have electric hook-ups.  Two sites are tent sites only.  There are additional campsites being built during summer 2020, and I’m told that these new sites will have full hook-ups.

Fees:  Sites with electric hook-ups are $25 per night.  Non electric sites are $20 per night.  There is a non-refundable online reservation fee of $8.

The best campgrounds in northwest wisconsin totogatic

The perfect site has trees for shade, a waterfront view, and is flat.

Things to do at the campground:  Boat landing, fishing pier, kayaking/canoeing, volleyball court, basketball hoop, playground, picnic area, and geocaching.  There are 3 geocaches in the park ranging from “easy to find” to “I’m about ready to give up”.

Swimming:  There is a swimming beach in a central location.  About half of the sites are located directly on the shore of the Minong Flowage.  The kids can swim within steps of your camper.  The flowage is very sandy and good for swimming.  Be prepared though, the water is rust colored because of the sand.

Showers and bathrooms:  Flush toilets, pit toilets, showers cost 25 cents for 3 minutes.

View from campsites:  3/4 of the sites have a water view.  Some sites are set among tall pine trees and you can see your neighbors.

Better sites:  14 ,15, 16, 47, 49, 50-54, 65-67

What’s nearby:  Minong is the nearest town and it’s eight miles away.  Minong has an A&W Root Beer stand, grocery store, and for a good meal you’ll want to stop at Longbranch Smokehouse and Grill.  Four miles from the campground is a bar and restaurant called Pogo’s Harbor Inn.  Pogo’s is located on the Minong Flowage and County Road T.  They serve up some pretty good pizza.


Additional information:   This campground is maintained by Washburn County and the manager is on site.  Sites 1-50 are reservable 11 months in advance.  Sites can be reserved for the season of May 1 – September 30.  The campground will be at capacity for most weekends in the summer.  Campsites range in sizes and there is a picture of each one on their website.  Ice and firewood is available for sale.  We camp at this campground at least 4 times a year, it’s our absolute favorite because of the waterfront campsites.

Pattison State Park

****Some hiking trails are currently closed in Pattison State Park due to storm damage the area sustained in June 2018.  You can still access overlooks to see the waterfalls.****

Location:  Eight miles south of Superior, WI

Number of sites:  59 sites, 18 are electric

Fees:  Sites range from $20 – $30 per night.  A state park sticker is needed $13-$38 for an annual sticker or $3- $11 daily.

Things to do:  Seven miles of hiking trails, waterfall viewing, swimming, playground, picnic area, and a nature center.

Swimming:  There is a nice sandy swimming beach with a bathhouse.

Pattison park beach

The beach is fantastic and just a short walk from the campsites.

Showers and bathrooms:   Flush toilets and showers during the summer months.

View from campsites:  Campground is horseshoe shaped with two roads lined with campsites.  Campsites are mostly in the trees with little views of anything

Better sites:  44, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51

What’s nearby:  Many attractions are in nearby Superior, WI and Duluth, MN.  Read this post for eight fun things to do in Duluth, MN.


Additional information:  Pattison Park is home to the largest waterfall in WI and the 4th highest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains.  Some sites are back-in and some are drive thru.  There is a picture of every site on their website.  Sites can be reserved 11 months in advance.  Visit their website for additional info and rules.  This is a popular park and can be busy in the middle of the summer.  Nights will be cool in the early and later parts of the season.

Little Manitou Falls best campgrounds in northwest wisconsin pattison

Little Manitou Falls at Pattison are just a hike away from the campground.

Little Sand Bay Recreational Area

Location:  The town of Russell and located on the shore of Lake Superior, 13 miles north of Bayfield

Number of sites:  48 sites, 32 have electric hook-up

Fees:  $20-$30 per night.  There are 2 group sites that are $40 per night.  There is a $10 non-refundable reservation fee.

Things to do:  Boat launch, kayak launch, agate hunting on the shore of Lake Superior, playground, Little Free Library, picnic area, junior ranger program and nightly sunsets.

Sunset at Little Sand Bay in northwest wi

Everyone goes to the beach to watch the sunset.

Swimming:  The beach is on Lake Superior, which is very cold to swim in…although it has been done!  You’ll see a lot of people hunting for agates or stacking up the driftwood that’s washed ashore.

Showers and bathrooms:  Flush toilets, pit toilets, showers cost $3 for about 5 minutes.

View from campsites:  About 15 sites have partial views of Lake Superior.  Other sites are in the trees and some are more open.

Little Sand Bay Northwest WI

We always stay in site 13 so we have a view of Lake Superior.

Favorite sites:  13, 14, 15, and 28

What’s nearby:  The Apostle Islands are waiting to be explored.  You can get there by boat or kayak.  Bayfield is 13 miles to the south and has good restaurants, fun shops, and a ferry to Madeline Island.  Visit nearby Meyers Beach and hike to the famous sea caves.


Additional information:  This campground is owned by the town of Russell and located within the boundaries of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.  The boat ramp is open to the public and you will see some pretty nice sailboats launching into Lake Superior.  Download the brochure from their website for reservation info and rules.  Ice is available for sale.

Amnicon Falls State Park

Location:  Seven miles east of Superior, WI

Number of sites:  36 campsites, no electric sites are available.  No generators are allowed.

Fees:  $16 per night.  A state park sticker is needed and costs $13-$38 for annual or $3- $11 daily.

Things to do:  1.8 miles of hiking trails, picnic area, swings, nature trail, fishing, and waterfall viewing.

Amnicon State Park campground in northwest wi

The hikes to the falls are short and easy, perfect for the youngest of kiddos.

Swimming:  Swimming and wading in the river is permitted, but everyone is urged to be cautious.  Water levels and the strength of the current varies.

Showers and bathrooms:  Vault toilets

View from campsites:  Most sites are shaded and in trees, some are in an open area.  There are no views of the water.

Better sites:  Avoid the sites by the water faucet, toilets, and trail.  Some sites are double sites.

What’s nearby:  Many attractions are in nearby Superior, WI and Duluth, MN.  Read this post for eight fun things to do in Duluth, MN.


Additional information:  There is a picture and notes about every campsite on their website.  The highlight of this campground is the location to the waterfalls and close proximity to the Duluth/Superior area.  This is a rustic campground and generators are not allowed.  Campsites can be reserved 11 months in advance.

These are the best public owned campgrounds in Northwest Wisconsin and if you do a little planning, make a reservation, and are ready to relax you’ll have a fantastic camping trip.

This guide highlights the best public campgrounds in northwest Wisconsin. You will find out who has the best campsites, where the waterfalls are, and who has the best beaches.z


  • Chelsey Knuth February 5, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    I’ve heard great things about many of these places but have yet to make the trek up from Milwaukee. Thanks for all the easy-to-read information! I pinned this and will definitely be referencing it come summer 🙂

    • Vicki February 5, 2020 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks! Hope you make it up north this summer!


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