A few weeks ago I posted about the hiking at Peninsula State Park in Door County. If you missed it, I encourage you to check it out.
The hiking alone is enough of a reason to visit this park, but if you want to make it more of a trip, or are looking for a more cost effective lodging option in Door County, the park offers plenty of camping opportunities.
Peninsula State Park has an impressive 468 family campsites across five campgrounds and several group camp locations. All of the campgrounds offer showers and flush toilets in addition to the standard vault toilets and drinking water.
With so many sites to choose from, it’s important to consider what you want from your campsite. Do you value space? Privacy? Proximity to flush toilets? Whatever it is, the campground maps on the park’s website will be a key tool in helping you decide what site to reserve. (Especially if this is your first visit to the park.) Another player is the actual campsite photo (if available) on the reservation website. This can offer a real, although limited, view of the site.
On this trip, I decided waterfront camping was important to me. After much research (a.k.a. looking at the photos of many available sites) I had a winner!
South Nicolet Bay Campground, Site #844
Using this map of the campground alone would not lead me to believe that site #844 is right on the water. That’s where the actual campsite photo came in.
This small photo of questionable quality from the Reserve America website told me everything I needed to know. Yes, the site is indeed on the water.
Picking the perfect site in a park you’ve never been to can be a challenge, especially in larger parks. But I promise you, it’s worth the extra legwork in the end.
Anyway, on to Site #844.
The sound of the rolling waves is loud and welcoming.
While I knew the campsite had views of the bay, I didn’t expect a private trail down to the rocky shoreline.
Ice cold water with a stunning view.
The bad part of being so close to the water? Lake flies. Tons and tons of lake flies. While these guys don’t bite and honestly don’t mess with humans all that much, the number of them swarming overhead and landing on your gear can be deeply unsettling. (This photo doesn’t really do the number justice.)
Campsite #844 Pros:
- Right on the water with private access to the shore
- Next to a trailhead, allowing for quick access to the trail system
- Semi-private – Thanks to the trail on one side, only one side of the site had nearby neighbors
- Vault toilets across the street (I guess that could be either a pro or a con depending on the user’s personal preference and the, um, level of smell. These were fine.)
- Short walk to the showers and flush toilets
Campsite #844 Cons:
- Next to a trailhead – While this has pros, it also means there is a lot of foot traffic next to your site. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is where the weird nighttime bikers would start down the very dark and bumpy trail. To where? The mystery remains.
- Colder than other campsites – The breeze off the water makes sites along the shore noticeably chillier than others farther away
- Lake flies and other bugs – The numbers increased as you neared the water
When it comes to this site, the pros greatly outweigh the minor cons for me and I highly recommend this specific site. The constant background noise of waves is always pleasant and I think it’s worth getting as close to the water as you can in this park.
Another great experience camping in a Wisconsin state park!