Looking for primitive, pet-friendly camping in the Wisconsin wilderness? Newport State Park is paw-fect.
Located on the Door Peninsula near Ellison Bay, this 2,300-acre park provides 11 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, 30 miles of hiking trails, and secluded campsites that can only be reached on foot. If you love camping in seclusion and privacy, and if you don't mind "ruffing it" a little bit, you and your dog will love this peaceful park.
The 16 hike-in campsites are designed for backpack campers, so you'll need to carry all your supplies in and out. Sites come with a fire ring, a bench, and a food storage box, while shared vault toilets are provided. However, if you want hot showers or other creature comforts, you're better off staying elsewhere.
Dogs are welcome in the park and can join you at your campsite, but you'll need to make sure your pet is leashed and never left unattended. Please also note that pets are not permitted in the picnic or beach area.
Newport State Park charges an $8 vehicle entry fee for cars with Wisconsin plates, but this fee rises to $11 for out-of-state visitors. Once you've set up your site, you can either sit back and enjoy the waterfront views of Lake Michigan, or head out to do some exploring.
You could do some rock hopping along the shoreline, or perhaps set out to explore some of the trails spread throughout the park. The seven-mile Europe Bay Loop, which takes in the picnic area and Europe Lake in the park's northern end, offers a long-distance challenge, while the five-mile Newport Loop Trail is a great way to see the southern part of the park.
There's no boat launch available, but canoeing and kayaking are popular. Fishing is also offered in the northern portion of the park, and, when the cold weather hits, cross-country skiers can tackle some 26 miles of trails.
Newport State Park is a quiet and tranquil park with an authentic outdoorsy feel. If you want to get away from the rest of the world for a night or two and spend some quality time with your canine companion, it's definitely worth checking out.