The Wisconsin Union's Outdoor UW makes it easy to escape the hustle and bustle of city and campus life and experience a different part of Wisconsin for a night, a weekend or a full week with camping tent rentals.
Four-person Kelty tents are rented from the Outdoor UW office in Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St. Prices range from as little as $6 for one night for Wisconsin Hoofers members to up to $55 for a full week for Union guests. Tents cannot be reserved in advance and are rented on a first-come-first-serve basis. For full pricing information, visit union.wisc.edu/outdooruw.
Olivia Bruce, a UW-Madison junior from Rochester, Minnesota, is a Wisconsin Basecamp leader. Through Wisconsin Basecamp, a program run by Outdoor UW, Bruce and other student leaders take incoming UW-Madison students on 4-day camping trips in conjunction with their summer orientation session.
"By camping and getting outside, you get to experience some of the greatest places in Wisconsin," Bruce said. "It brings a good side out of people and by pushing your limits, it makes the best out of you."
Bruce and the Wisconsin Basecamp leadership team shared some of their favorite camping spots within driving distance of Madison:
Devil's Lake State Park (38 miles away): During the summer, you can rent rowboats, paddleboats, kayaks and canoes through the concessions buildings. All year round, the state park offers great climbing and hiking with phenomenal views of the lake.
S5975 Park Road, Baraboo, WI 53913, (608) 356-8301
Yellowstone Lake State Park (44 miles away): Open year round, the lake offers swimming, fishing and boating in warm weather and ice fishing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter. The 4,000-acre wildlife area surrounding the lake includes horse trails and a shooting range, as well as great hiking, biking and picnicking.
8495 Lake Road, Blanchardville, WI 53516, (608) 523-4427
Governor Dodge State Park (46 miles away): With over 5,000 acres of hills, valleys and smaller lakes, Governor Dodge is a great nearby location to hike, horseback ride or explore rolling hills and waterfalls.
4175 State Highway 23 N, Dodgeville, WI 53533, (608) 935-2315
Mirror Lake State Park (47 miles away): Named for its centerpiece, with water so calm that a ripple marks the surface, Mirror Lake reflects a wooded shoreline that you can boat along with cliffs up to 50 feet tall, a swimming beach and wetlands.
E10320 Fern Dell Road, Baraboo, WI 53913, (608) 254-2333
Cave of the Mounds (25 miles away): You've never been caving so close to home! The cave's year-round 50-degree temperature feels cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Perfect for all ages, get a guided tour and stay the night at some of the nearby campsites.
2975 Cave of the Mounds Road, Blue Mounds, WI 53517, (608) 437-3038