Data from the Department of Natural Resources revealed that Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo has emerged as Wisconsin’s most popular public camping destination.
Devil’s Lake State Park, known for its captivating natural features such as Devil’s Doorway and Balanced Rock, has become a prime choice for campers.
The park’s allure is further enhanced by its connection to Parfrey’s Glen Natural Area and the scenic East and West Bluff Trails. Its popularity is evident, with the park often being fully booked months ahead, especially during the warmer months.
The data from the Department of Natural Resources as of November 28 shows that Devil’s Lake had a total of 21,780 reservations this year.
This figure surpasses the 21,419 reservations recorded in 2022. The park’s roughly 430 campsites were occupied for a total of 35,790 nights. Although these numbers are impressive, they are slightly lower than the 36,113 nights occupied in the previous year.
While Devil’s Lake leads in popularity, Wisconsin boasts several other noteworthy campgrounds. Peninsula State Park in Door County, for instance, stands second in the 2023 rankings with 19,282 reservations. This park, along with others, contributes significantly to the state’s outdoor recreation industry.
The Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, sprawling across more than 225,000 acres in Vilas, Oneida, and Iron counties, ranks third in terms of reservations. However, it leads in the number of nights occupied, with a staggering 52,558 nights. Despite this high figure, the occupancy rate at its over 950 campsites is only 54%.
These statistics are not just numbers; they represent a growing trend in outdoor recreation and a boost to the local economy. Campgrounds like Devil’s Lake State Park are not only recreational spaces but also vital contributors to Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation sector.
The increase in camping reservations is a positive indicator for campground, glamping, and RV park owners, as well as outdoor hospitality operators. It highlights the potential for growth and development in these areas, encouraging investments and improvements in facilities and services.
Moreover, the popularity of these campgrounds underscores the importance of preserving natural spaces. As more people seek outdoor experiences, the need for sustainable practices in managing these areas becomes crucial.
For the outdoor recreation industry in Wisconsin, these trends offer a roadmap for future planning. Understanding the preferences and behaviors of campers can lead to better marketing strategies, enhanced customer experiences, and ultimately, a stronger industry.