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Sprawling across more than 90 acres in the north end of Jefferson, the Jefferson County Fair Park Campground is a convenient base for exploring southeast Wisconsin. It’s around an hour’s drive from the heart of Milwaukee and just 45 minutes from the state capital, Madison, with plenty of recreational reserves in the immediate surrounds.
RV camping at the Jefferson County Fair Park Campground includes access to 199 sites, with full hookups offering 20/30/50-amp electrical connections available. Jefferson campers can take advantage of the numerous bathrooms and shower facilities at the campground, as well as a dump station and a kid-friendly activity center. WiFi is available for a small fee, and there are three kitchen buildings with all the amenities you need.
A short drive east of the Jefferson County Fair Park Campground is the Jefferson Tamarack Swamp State Natural Area, which is one of the most extensive forested wetlands in southeastern Wisconsin. It’s dominated by large stands of mature tamarack and patches of sedge meadow, as well as covers of sphagnum moss and bog birch. The Jefferson Tamarack Swamp State Natural Area is an important refuge for numerous bird and animal species while also being home to a ten-acre upland oak island that’s home to one of the largest Native American mounds in Wisconsin.
Head south from the Jefferson County Fair Park Campground, and you’ll arrive at the Rose Lake State Natural Area, which centers around a shallow water body surrounded by wetlands and oak trees. Exposed mudflats attract a variety of shorebirds that include sandpipers and lesser yellowlegs while the adjacent wetlands provide breeding habitat for great blue herons, blue-winged teals, and ruddy ducks. Large numbers of American white pelicans can also be spotted, together with a variety of dragonflies that frequent the park’s restored prairie and savanna.
The Jefferson County Fair Park Campground can also be used as a base for exploring the Capital Springs State Recreation Area, which sprawls across 3,000 acres along the north shore of Lake Waubesa. Aside from six miles of hiking trails and a nine-mile cycling section of the Capital City State Trail, the park is a popular birding and fishing destination. The Capital Springs State Recreation Area also encompasses the Lake Farms Archaeological District, a heritage-listed collection of Native American archaeological sites. Coincide your visit with a stop in the Waubesa Wetlands State Natural Area at the opposite end of the lake, home to one of the most diverse wetland ecosystems remaining in southern Wisconsin.
Campsites at the Jefferson County Fair Park Campground are just 15 minutes' walk or three minutes’ drive from the center of Jefferson, where you’ll find supermarkets for stocking up on grocery supplies. There are also gas stations here if you need to fill up your RV rental plus a variety of cafes and restaurants for when you don’t feel like cooking.
A highlight of Jefferson is the Richard C. Smith House, a Usonian home designed by renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It was constructed in 1950 with an H-shaped floor plan and features coursed limestone on the exterior and a private terrace around a mature old oak tree. A short drive from the center of Jefferson is the Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre, a seasonal drive-in where double features are screened on weekends.
The Jefferson County Fair Park Campground is a good base for visiting Madison, which is renowned for the iconic Wisconsin State Capitol that was completed in 1917. Gaze up at the “Wisconsin” statue sculpted by New York-based artist Daniel Chester French before touring the interior of the building, then take in the panoramic views across Madison’s surrounding lakes from the observation tower. If you’re interested in the local history, stop in at the Wisconsin Historical Museum, which explores the state’s immigrant and agricultural history. Learn how malted milk was invented here in the 1870s and browse the collection of Big Boy mascots that were rescued from a local hamburger chain when it closed in 1985.
Drive in the other direction from the Jefferson County Fair Park Campground, and you’ll arrive in Milwaukee, which lies on the western shores of Lake Michigan. Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum, which is famed for its contemporary architecture, while there’s an impressive collection of classic motorcycles on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Also not to miss is the Milwaukee Public Museum, with highlights including the Streets of Old Milwaukee and a recreated European Village where more than 30 cultures are depicted as they would have appeared during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Whether you want to birdwatch in the wetlands of southeastern Wisconsin or discover the cultural sights of Madison and Milwaukee, book an RV rental in Jefferson County and start planning your next vacation.