5 Family Friendly Things to do at Devil’s Lake State Park, Wisconsin

Devil’s Lake is such a wonderful place to visit and a must-see destination if traveling to Wisconsin. As Wisconsin’s largest and most visited State Park, Devil’s Lake has something to offer to everyone!

Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

We took a break from home renovations and kicked off our camping season this past weekend with a three night stay at Devils Lake State Park in Wisconsin. The last time I was here, I was 16 years old and was camping with my family, a group of our friends and my now-husband. HA!

We were a part of a YMCA group called Indian Princesses for many many many years. One summer, we went on a group trip/campout to Devils Lake. My dad (of all people!) asked my 17 year old boyfriend if he wanted to come along (I kid you not, I didn’t ask if he could come! I was a typical 16 year old girl and mad at him for who knows what and actually didn’t want him to come…hahaha!)

So of course, he came along. I think those two were plotting against me! LOL! As he drove me in his dad’s Ford Ranger from IL to WI, I decided to not be mad at him and all was well for a few more weeks…until I’d break up with him and eventually, 3 years later, get back together when I was 19. The life of a teenage girl!

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Now, 21 years later (I mean…ummm, like 5 or 6 years?? — ahh! where did the time go??) we took our three kiddos, 2 dogs, our tent and our Ford truck (ha) back to where memories were made many years ago!

Where is Devil’s Lake State Park?

Devil’s Lake State Park is located in central, southern Wisconsin, near Madison at S5975 Park Rd, Baraboo, WI 53913. Devil’s Lake is the most visited state park in Wisconsin with over 3 million yearly visitors. It is located 150 miles from Chicago and 95 miles from Milwaukee, making it a great travel destination for those coming from the cities.

Things To Do?

There are so many things to do at Devil’s Lake from hiking to rock climbing to paddle boating to bird watching! Our family loves to hike, so we hiked most of the time we were there. Before making the trip, make sure you have the basic outdoor essentials to ensure your trip is enjoyable! p.s. always prepare yourself for possible tick exposure when you’re in the great outdoors!

1. Hiking

Devil’s Doorway is one of the most photographed locations in the entire park and an easy jaunt off of the more difficult East Bluff trail. Dogs are allowed on the trail while on a leash, albeit active athletic dogs will fare best. While exploring the East Bluff trail you can also make a detour onto the Balanced Rock Trail, which will lead you to another of the parks iconic photo locations. If you are choosing to go to Balanced Rock from the East Bluff trail, know that it will require you to descend roughly .2 miles down narrow trail of mostly rock steps. Alternatively, you can reach Balanced Rock from the Grotto’s Trail which will require you to ascend roughly .2 miles and from there you can continue your way up the hillside to the East Bluff trail and head toward Devil’s Doorway.

Be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks!

Devil’s Doorway:

Devil's Doorwat at Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Balanced Rock:

Balanced Rock at Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

2. Kayaking & Paddle Boating

We rented a paddle boat and a kayak to enjoy the {cold} water! Water crafts can be rented right at the North Shore beach and are billed by the hour. The paddle boats are pet friendly, so that was a perk!

Kayaking at Devil's Lake State Park, Wisconsin
man, boy and dog on paddle boat in water and girl in kayak

3. Camping

There are many camping opportunities in and out of the state park for tents to RVs. However, camp sites fill up very quickly and it can be very difficult to get a spot. Planning your trip several months is advance is best. If you do however secure a site, many of the sites, particularly the non-electrical tent sites, are gorgeous and private! Not really a camper? Don’t worry, check out my 10 camping beauty hacks!

Bring your bikes for additional fun as there are many areas to ride your bike throughout the campground!

Camping at Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

4. The Beaches

There are two beaches located along the sandy shores of Devil’s Lake. One on the north shore and one on the south shore. Both beaches offer bath houses, picnic tables and more. The beach is open year round from 6am to 11pm.

Sitting at the beach is also a fantastic way to see birds of all kinds! We saw Peregrine falcons, hawks and vultures!

Swimming at Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

5. Rock Climbing

Devil’s Lake State Park is noted for the many rock climbing opportunities that can be had here, unlike elsewhere in Wisconsin. Climbers can climb on their own using their own equipment or you can book a rock climbing trip with the many local adventure companies in the area. There are also many opportunities to climb big boulders that don’t require climbing gear that are particularly fun for children.

Rock Climbing at Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Wildlife at Devil’s Lake State Park

The state park is home to many amazing animals! Turkey vultures, Peregrine falcon, rattlesnakes, bald eagles, great blue herons, deer and coyotes are some of the many animals that can be spotted! Black bears can be seen on rare occasion.

Devil’s Lake is such a wonderful place to visit and a must-see destination if traveling to Wisconsin! If you’re passing through Milwaukee, I highly suggest booking a reservation for the Afternoon Tea at the Pfister Hotel! It’s a wonderful experience and kid friendly!

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5 Family Friendly Things to do at Devil's Lake State Park, Wisconsin


  1. Lorena Culver says:

    Just visited there and the mosquitoes were lousy-everywhere! Lorena

    1. oh man, really? Probably because there has been a lot of rain recently. When we went, there were none! We were definitely spoiled! Hope you still enjoyed your trip though!

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