Community Spotlight: Wyalusing State Park

Posted by Laura Daly on

First off, I need to put some serious gratitude out on the table. This last week, I took a vacation and when I came home, my inbox was full of orders from local shops. When I am not sending out the orders myself, I don't get to thank you personally, which I regret. So, please accept this blanket thank you to all of you who continue to support my small family business at your local grocery store. 

On to today's post. One of my favorite things about Wisconsin is the awesome camping. There are so many reasons I love to camp, but the one that comes to mind as I reminisce on this past week is the sense of pride kids get from doing things by themselves. Whether it's making a fire, washing the dishes or solving a conflict, the camping atmosphere allows for a lot more experimentation than home. I love to let my kids put up their tent by themselves and I'm pleasantly surprised when they take ownership over its cleanliness. They decide what they will eat and cook it themselves. They decide what they will do and when they will do it. When we run out of gas, they figure out how to cook out of a can :) There's just so much room for learning and growth. Those who know have told me that the key to a self-confident child is one who can take pride in the things they are able to accomplish. This is why I love camping.

 

Sharing a little Shel Silverstein while taking in the view.

Last week, I took my two lovelies for 5 days and 4 nights of unplanned chill and relax time (we have officially dubbed this "chax time") at Wyalusing State Park. This is our very favorite campground in Wisconsin. Not to say that we've seen them all, but when I find something awesome, I tend to stick to it like glue. 

I'd like to take a moment to tell you all the reasons I love Wyalusing State Park. Who knows, maybe you'll want to take a trip there some day. Here goes:

1) The Bathrooms

Call me crazy, but when I'm camping, having a nice clean bathroom and warm hot showers is very important to me. At the ridge campground (our favorite), there are 8 clean tiled showers, free of charge and a perfect temperature. These bathrooms are cleaned an maintained on a very regular basis by very friendly staff. They even have a trash can in the shower (and another in the 8 stall bathroom!) I can't rave enough about these bathrooms.

2) The View from your Campsite

The place to be is the Wisconsin Ridge Campground, on the ridge itself, overlooking the Wisconsin River where it intersects the Mississippi River. Park staff recommends that you reserve a site before you come, just in case. But, if you are unable to reserve on the ridge, you can try to switch to the "unreservable" sites when you get there, which are right on the ridge. You may need to stay one night at another site until one opens up on the ridge.

 

Swinging ever so gently in the hammock. "I can feel the g-force, mom!" (He learned about g-force from a great NPR podcast called "Wow in the World," also very highly recommended.

3) Things to do!

There is so much to do here, we never have time to do it all. You can rent kayaks, canoes, fish or hike on some really fun trails! Our favorite trail is the sand cave trail, which is kid friendly and includes not one but TWO fun sand caves! We also love to take our mountain bikes out to the Mississippi Ridge Trail. When my son was 4, he biked the Mississippi Ridge Trail on his pedal-less push strider (bmx push-bike). That is to say, it is a wide, kid-friendly trail. It's about a mile long, very well cleared and has only small hills, making it perfect for kids and beginners. You can either bike there from the ridge campground or drive, park and ride if the kids couldn't make it the whole way. There is a playground on the way from the ridge campground to the trail if you needed a halfway point to stop and rest.

 

We took the kayaks out on the Wisconsin River for 4 hours, $30/kayak for all 4 hours. It would have been $10 for 1 hour and the same price for canoes. There is a clearly marked path from where you put in on the Wisconsin River all the way to the Mississippi River. Folks aren't allowed to go out on the Mississippi anymore due to an unfortunate mishap with a canoe and state troopers last year. Everyone was OK, but no more Mississippi for water crafts.

Girl gone nature on the Sand Cave Trail. This trails is about 2 miles with nice stopping points and even a safe log to climb across (just like that scene in dirty dancing).

4) The Camp Stores

There is an incredibly convenient camp store very close to the ridge campground that sells firewood, ice, slushies, food like brats, worms for fishing, tylenol and even soccer balls! This is also where you can get the kayak and canoe rentals. This store makes camping convenient and so much less stressful than other places. There is also the cutest camp store right at the park entrance that sells firewood, almost everything you may have forgotten (we got some ketchup), honey and maple syrup from their farm and even kittens. Beware the kitten draw if you have children. They are very cute kittens and they are free to a good home.

As you can see, Wyalusing State Park is incredible. I highly recommend it for camping solo, as a couple or with family. 

Take care,

<3,

Laura

 


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