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Wisconsin Dells Camping Checklist

A family camping in Wisconsin Dells.

Dells Camping Essentials

Wisconsin Dells camping is a family tradition for lots of Midwest travelers. For all you campers out there, we bring you our camping checklist, complete with camping essentials for your next Dells visit.

Wisconsin Dells camping has so much going for it. It’s wholesome, a terrific value, puts you in touch with nature, and creates memories that are bound to inspire the next generation of Dells camping enthusiasts to explore the great outdoors.  

We’ve broken up this story into three categories of camping essentials: Where to Camp, What to Pack, and How to Keep the Nature Vibe Going.

Where to Camp

For anyone looking for a recommendation on the best Wisconsin Dells camping resorts, our first question might be, what kind of camping do you like to do? 

If it’s good old-fashioned family tent or RV camping you’re after, then Sherwood Forest Camping & RV Park is a fine choice, as is Dell Pines Campground and Bonanza Camping Resort. Make s’mores over a campfire, swim in a pool, take part in planned activities, and enjoy quality family time.

Maybe themed camping is your jam. Then reserve one of the themed cabins at Yogi Bear Camp-Resort & Water Playground, where they also offer rent-a-tents, retro family lodges, even a glamper yurt. At Natura Treescape Resort, you get to stay in a treehouse – how fun is that! There are also tiny homes to rent here. The lodging is all within steps of their natural swimming lagoon. Mt. Olympus Camp Resort has bunk cabins that sleep up to four.

A family playing in the Natura Treescape Resort natural lagoon.

For a secluded back-to-nature choice, try Red Oak Campground with tent sites along with sites for pop-ups and RVs. Organize a game of sand volleyball, eat in the picnic shelter, and take a dip in the heated outdoor pool.

Want to camp on the water? Then Holiday Shores Campground & Resort is an ideal choice. Situated on the Wisconsin River, you’ll fall asleep to the gentle sounds of the water and wake up to the beauty of the Upper Dells. There are also shady sites nestled among towering pines. The lodging choices go all the way from tent sites to deluxe park models and guest houses. A ton of watersports to be enjoyed here as well.

For a classic camp experience, you can’t go wrong with KOA. RV, cabin, and tent sites are available here, so choose what suits you best. There’s a heated outdoor pool, nightly movie features, music, s’mores, volleyball and basketball, and fun cycles for rent. 

Finally, if you’re camping with friends and without kids, might we suggest Ho-Chunk Gaming RV Park or Edge-O-Dells Campground for some grown-up camping recreation. You’ll find opportunities for casino action and live music events.

Bonus idea: try camping at one of the nearby state parks. Roche-A-Cri State ParkRocky Arbor State ParkMirror Lake State Park, and Devil’s Lake State Park are popular camping destinations, with various sites, picnic tables and fire rings.

What to Pack When Camping with Kids

We informally polled some frequent campers to find out what they like to pack when camping with the kids in Wisconsin Dells. Here is your camping list!

  1. Camp chairs, and make sure they’re assigned so the kids can’t quibble over who sits where.
  2. Sand-free camping mats for campground picnics.
  3. Lantern or solar lights to place by the tent poles and walkways. 
  4. Color-changing packets to throw on the fire for brilliantly hued campfires.  
  5. Glow sticks for everyone, including family pets, to keep track of everyone in the dark.
  6. Sweet treat makings for pudgie pies and s’mores.
  7. Scavenger hunt printouts, nature-themed of course, available online.
  8. Wisconsin Explorer booklets available for kids ages 3-9+ when you stay at a state park. After completing the explorations, the kids can earn a different patch each year.
  9. A thirsty beach towel to handle multiple trips to the pool, lake or waterpark!
  10. Head lamps and activity books for bedtime. The “find it” and word searches are perennial favorites.

And don’t forget to pack these campground essentials specifically for Wisconsin Dells:

  • Multiple swimsuits for those dips in the campground pools and visits to your favorite area waterparks.
  • Comfortable shoes for hiking campground trails.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray, floppy sun hats to keep sunburn at bay when you’re outdoors playing all day.

Activities to Keep the Dells Camping Nature Vibe Going

Along with the actual Wisconsin Dells camping experience, there are lots of ways to add to the fun while breathing in the fresh air and taking in the beautiful scenery.

Start with some fishing. B & H Trout Fishing is the perfect introduction to fishing for little ones. Grownups, Redbeard Bowfishing tours offer a chance to catch the big one using a traditional bow or crossbow. 

Go paddling or tubing. Dells Watersports: Full Service Marina & Boat Rentals has kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals. Same goes for Holiday Shores Watersports Center. Take a tube float on the Wisconsin River with tube trip tours from River’s Edge Resort.

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