If you want to spend some time out in nature, Harrington Beach State Park offers you a wide variety of natural habitats that you can hike through or camp in. If your eyes light up at the sight of beaches, you will be delighted to know that Harrington Beach State Park lies on over a mile of beach along Lake Michigan's shore.
In addition to the beach, Harrington Beach State Park possesses a rich variety of natural habitats spread over 715 acres. You can visit the ancient grasslands or hike through the hardwood and white cedar swamps or picnic at the restored pond wetlands picnic area.
You can also get a glimpse of history at the limestone quarry lake. Prior to 1925, the east compartment of the park was a designated limestone quarry. Remnants of the quarry still exist within the park. The Harrington Beach State Park also possesses an observatory so you can observe the glorious night sky using its 20 inch, 2000 pound telescope.
The shores of Michigan Lake and the other sections of the park are densely populated with natural vegetation and wildlife. This creates an exciting opportunity for nature watchers to observe a rich variety of flora and fauna. Bird watchers also get their fair share of delight in this park as flocks of bird migrate over the shores of Lake Michigan during the summer and fall seasons.
There has been extensive development in the park to ensure that the visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities, including but not limited to, hiking, winter snow-based activities, picnicking, fishing and much more!
RV Rentals in Harrington Beach State Park
Transportation in Harrington Beach State Park
You need a vehicle admission sticker before you can enter the park. You have the option to use an annual admission permit or purchase a daily permit sticker for each day you intend to spend in the park. If you are towing a vehicle, you can receive a free sticker for your towed vehicle as long as you have a valid sticker on your tow vehicle.
You can follow the driving directions to Harrington Beach which is located 35 miles north of Milwaukee and 21 miles south of Sheboygan, WI via Interstate Highway 43. From I-43, take exit 107 (Belgium/Lake Church) then head east on County Highway D for one mile. You will find the park entrance on your right. The park entrance's coordinates are as follows: 43° 29' 37.81" N, 87° 48' 8.13" W.
You may only park your motor vehicle at the designated area in each campsite accordingly.
Campgrounds and parking in Harrington Beach State Park
Campsites in Harrington Beach State Park
If you are camping as a large group, this reservable campground can accommodate up to 30 visitors. The capacity of the group camp parking lot can accommodate 14 cars. However, it is a non-electric campground.
It has 2 campfire rings and 5 picnic tables, suitable for group camping and their pets. The camp check-in/check-out time is 3 P.M. However; you can set up at the site earlier than 3 P.M if was not unoccupied the previous night.
The family campground contains a total of 69 campsites, 3 of which are first come, first serve basis. The rest can be reserved all year round, up to 11 months in advance. Quite a large number of campsites contain electric hookups, 33 sites to be exact. All campsites have a picnic table and a campfire ring.
During summers, each campsite is equipped with showers, laundry facilities and flush toilets. There are dump stations available in the park. According to the park policy, you must dump grey water into the designated dump stations.
Seasonal activities in Harrington Beach State Park
Enjoy a spectacular night sky view in the observatory according to scheduled timings. The observatory has a roll-off roof so that you are able to observe and enjoy the night sky without barriers.
The observatory was opened on July 21, 2007, and called the Jim and Gwen Plunkett Observatory. You can peep into the sky using the 2000 pound, 20-inch telescope with its stable base that provides a spectacular view of the night sky.
The Northern Cross Science Foundation uses this observatory to conduct their own astronomical research. During the fall and summer seasons, they hold some outreach programs and scheduled evenings where they involve the public, for an enjoyable and unique learning experience for all participants.
Hunting and Trapping (Open Fields only)
You can enjoy hunting and trapping but only during a permitted time frame, allocated as part of the hunting season in Wisconsin state parks. You may exercise hunting or trapping in open fields only. It is not allowed to hunt or trap within 100 yards from any designated use area, closed areas or even the hike trails.
The park allows a 19-day muzzle-loader and archery deer hunting season from November 15th to January the 6th. You are not allowed to participate in the hunting season using other guns or outside those time frames.
Because the park is open all year round, you can enjoy a range of winter activities when the snow covers the winter trails and sledging hills or when the lake freezes.
The frozen lake Michigan can be an enjoyable sight to observe during your winter stay. You can also cross-ski on the designated trail that extends from the lower parking lot along the shuttle bus trail and to the Hardwood Swamp trail then finally back to the eastern section along the service road.
There are also snowmobile trails available for snowmobiling but due to variation in trail conditions, the responsible county reports its opening and closing time accordingly.
Water Based Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Kayaking, Boating
Because the Harrington Beach Park has over a mile of beach, there is an ample variety of water-based activities that you can do. Although the park does not offer boat rental, you can still enjoy boating via your own raft or rubber boat. However, you are advised to observe safety and weather conditions when rafting using a rubber boat against the wind.
The Park contains a kayaking campsite which is a tent-only site and is located close to the beach. You can park your vehicle in a nearby parking lot and use a kayak to paddle through Lake Michigan.
You can also go swimming or fishing in Lake Michigan, however, you are not allowed to go swimming or boating in the Quarry Lake or Puckett's Pond.
You can go angling in the Quarry Lake or Puckett's pond, provided that you purchase the fishing license available at the local hardware stores. The park can provide you with the necessary fishing equipment to get your journey jump started.
Picnicking and Playgrounds
The beautiful summer weather encourages may visitors to picnic. Moreover, the refreshing lake breeze extending over the one mile of Lake Michigan beach attracts families to gather and children to play. The tree grove overlooking the lake is also an attractive spot for visitors who seek to picnic out in nature.
Other favorable picnic areas include the Puckett’s Pond picnic area as well as the anchor of the freighter Niagara on the shore of Lake Michigan. Scuba divers find it interesting to explore the remains of the wooden steamship, a few 100 yards offshore and about 80 feet deep, a historical landmark of the fire that consumed the freighter Niagara in 1856.
The park offers a variety of hiking trails with varying levels of excitement and natural beauty. There is the one-mile beach shore trail along Lake Michigan. There are also trails across the Puckett’s Pond picnic area and from the campsites to the Puckett’s Pond picnic area. You also have the option to go horse riding on the Bridle trail or explore the wetlands on foot on the hardwood swamp trail.
There is a trail across the Quarry Lake which is also accessible to people with disabilities and is pet-friendly where you can enjoy white cedar trees and view limestone ledges. You can also bicycle along the shuttle bus trail, quickly zooming through the woodland and perhaps taking a glimpse of some of its wildlife.
Whatever trail you use, you will find your hike extremely unique, with a pleasant view of nature and refreshing smell of grass, trees or even mud.