Big Foot Beach State Park is a modestly-sized park tucked away in southeast Wisconsin in the town of Lake Geneva. RVers from all over the country travel to Big Foot Beach State Park to soak up views of Lake Geneva and enjoy all of the recreation it offers, including boating, fishing, and swimming. You may also choose to venture a little farther from the 900 feet of sandy shoreline to explore the forested areas of the park, including hiking trails and hunting areas.
Although you may be inclined to believe the park was named after the famous Sasquatch, it was actually named after Chief Big Foot, an early leader of the Potawatomi Native Americans that once inhabited the area. The park was originally established in 1949, and despite the park facilities that were developed since, the area still retains as much natural beauty as it had when the Potawatomi called it home.
During the winter, strap on your skis or snowshoes and enjoy some of the eastern trails where you will likely see some wildlife such as white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, foxes, and even coyotes. Whether you're looking to learn more about the park's history or just enjoy a relaxing day lakeside, after hooking up your rig at one of the more than 60 RV-friendly campsites, the park is yours to explore.
Traveling just one mile south of the town of Lake Geneva will lead you to the park entrance, located on Lake Shore Drive. Your specific route will vary depending on your starting point, but any GPS-enabled device will be able to get you there. Just an hour from Milwaukee, this is the perfect opportunity to stop in the town on the western shoreline of Lake Michigan. Check out the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Harley-Davidson Museum while you are there. You can even see a Harley that belonged to the king of rock 'n' roll, Elvis Presley.
All of the roads within the park that are meant for vehicle use are paved and in fairly good condition. The paved roads will take you to all of the major points of interest in the park, or at least get you near them. To reduce damage and preserve the scenic nature of the area, the roads do not go throughout the entire park. Instead, they take you to areas like the campground, service area, lake, and picnic areas, but a large chunk of the park can only be explored using the trails.
Most of the roads are easy to navigate, and since the park isn't too large, you can get around exclusively in your RV if you so choose. However, many visitors choose to tow an extra car to make parking and getting around easier. You can hook up your RV and then use the extra car to get to places like the lake or playground without having to worry about finding enough room for a large rig. Bikes and scooters are also popular choices for getting around the park, although they are much slower than a car.
The pet-friendly campground at Big Foot Beach State Park is split into two sections, a tent-only section, and a drive-in RV-friendly section. A total of 65 of the 100 campsites are RV-friendly, and many of them have electric hookups. No sites have sewer or water hookups, but this issue is easily resolved thanks to the drinking water, showers, and restroom stations located around the campground.
The exact size of the sites vary, but they can all accommodate RVs and trailers at least 25 feet long. Most of them can handle RVs up to 40 feet and a few can accommodate RVs up to 55 feet long. All of the sites also feature a picnic table and fire ring, and firewood is available to purchase within the campground. Whether you want to stay for just a night or two, or take a more extended vacation, you can do it at Big Foot Beach State Park. The only restriction is that visitors cannot camp for more than 14 days in any 21-day period. Reservations are available between late May to early September and can be made up to 11 months in advance.
All of the sites at Big Foot Beach State Park Campground are available on a first-come, first-served basis during the off-season from mid-September to May. In addition, during the peak season, a handful of sites are always available for RVers without reservations and assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. However, it is recommended you make a reservation during the peak months to ensure you have a campsite when you arrive.
The fun at Big Foot Beach State Park doesn't stop when the snow starts falling. During the winter, the park rangers groom and set up tracks on the trails on the east side of the park for cross-country skiing. This can be a great way to spend a day during the winter when there isn't much else to do, and the perfect opportunity to soak up the natural beauty of the park. Gliding down the trails is an experience you won't soon forget, but you'll have to bring your own equipment.
Big Foot Beach State Park features seven different trails, totaling close to seven miles. Most of the trails are under one mile and level, making them good for visitors of all ages and skillsets. Even the longest trail, the three-mile Green Trail, has fairly gentle terrain. It is a favorite for many visitors, taking you around the perimeter of the park and through the various natural landscapes. In the winter, snowshoeing is also allowed on any of the trails in the park.
Gun hunting is not allowed at the park, but archery hunting and trapping are allowed, so pack your bow and arrow if you're visiting during hunting season. There are restrictions on what kind of traps you can use and where, so be sure to brush up on all the hunting and trapping rules in Wisconsin before setting out. Common game in the park include deer, rabbit, and waterfowl, for those who are up to the challenge. Make sure you bring your hunter orange vest or hat in your travel trailer.
If you enjoy hiking during the warmer months, you may want to take a hike during the winter. The changes in the scenery are stunning. Instead of full, green trees and grass, you will see the same trees with glistening snow on their branches rather than leaves. What makes it even more spectacular is the silence. Snow just seems to make everything so quiet. You won’t have to hear boats and other park visitors on the lake or kids in the campground. The off-season is the best time to see wildlife as well because the critters tend to come out when the crowds are gone.
Ceylon Lagoon is ideal for an afternoon of fishing. Whether you're a beginner with no equipment or a pro with your favorite rod and bait, the pier is the perfect spot to see what kind of bites you can get. If you're new to fishing or forgot your gear at home, fishing gear is loaned out by the park office, free of charge, so there's nothing stopping you. However, any anglers over the age of 16 must obtain a license before fishing.
Boating is available in both Lake Geneva and Ceylon Lagoon, so be sure to strap your canoe or kayak to your RV before heading to the park. If you don't have a boat of your own, don't fret, boat rentals are available seasonally at the park. Paddling out to the center of the lake can be more than just a good workout; many people also find it meditative and a great way to recharge, probably because of the gorgeous view.
No RV trip to Big Foot Beach State Park is complete without going for a dip in Lake Geneva, known for its crisp, clear water. You can't swim anywhere you want, but a large 100-foot area of the lake is marked off for swimming only, making it the perfect spot for a family beach day. You can swim, splash, play games, or just soak up some sun. Just be sure to keep an eye on kids because no lifeguards are on duty.
Big Foot Beach State Park has 150 picnic tables and charcoal barbecue grills on more than 40 acres for the public to enjoy. Many of these sites are near playground equipment for the kids and they even have volleyball courts nearby. Don’t have a volleyball? That’s okay. The park office will loan you one for free. If you have a big group or party, you can also reserve the covered picnic shelter in the middle of the park just off of the service road. The shelter can accommodate up to 100 people and can be reserved up to 11 months in advance.