MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Camping near Fourth of July celebrations

Where are some great Fourth of July celebrations? I'd like to make camping reservations at a Minnesota or Wisconsin state park that has a nearby celebration -- parade, fireworks, other fun activities. Bonus for small towns or parades where they still throw candy. - Jill, Minneapolis

You might have a hard time making a Fourth of July reservation at a state park in Minnesota, they go as soon as reservations open, a year in advance, and in Wisconsin, 11 months in advance.

Parks in both states have first-come, first-served sites, but you'd want to try to claim one by Thursday at the latest, preferably Monday.

Every small-town parade is fun. In my experience, someone always throws candy.

If you're open to going anywhere, first go to the Minnesota or Wisconsin tourism site events page, plug in your dates and see who has a Fourth of July celebration.

Pick one, then go to the Minnesota or Wisconsin DNR state-park maps to find a nearby place to camp. Remember, you also can camp in state forests.

For more, see Camping in state parks and How to find the best campsites.

In Wisconsin, I can vouch for the old-fashioned parade and celebration on Madeline Island, which ends with historical figures giving speeches on the museum green.

There are fireworks there and in Bayfield. You also can go to the powwow in neighboring Red Cliff. Camp at Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island.

For more, see Beloved Bayfield and Madeline's magnetism.

Devil's Lake State Park is one of the hardest reservations to get, but there's a Fourth of July celebration in nearby Baraboo. For more, see Devil's heaven and Baraboo's gilt complex.

Peninsula State Park in Door County is the other ultra-coveted camping spot, but if you camp there, you can bike to the Fourth of July fest in Fish Creek. There are also celebrations in Gills Rock, Egg Harbor, Baileys Harbor and Sturgeon Bay. For more, see Outdoors in Door County.

If you camp in Point Beach State Forest on Lake Michigan, you can bike to the Fourth festival in Two Rivers on the Rawleys Point Trail. For more, see Two trails from Two Rivers.

In Minnesota, the Minneapolis suburb of Excelsior has a wonderful Fourth of July celebration. If you camp in Carver Park Reserve in Victoria, you can bike there on the Lake Minnetonka Regional LRT Trail. That's a real benefit, because there's a huge traffic jam after the fireworks.

For more, see Cruising around Excelsior and Camping in the Twin Cities.

Duluth has a big Fourth Fest in Bayfront Festival Park. You could camp in Jay Cooke State Park or in private campgrounds in West Duluth. See Watching fireworks from a Duluth campground.

On the St. Croix River, Marine on St. Croix is known for its old-fashioned parade. Camp at William O'Brien State Park. There's also a parade in Afton; camp in Afton State Park. For more, see A sortie along the St. Croix.

There's a parade and fireworks in Crane Lake; camp in Voyageurs National Park. For more, see Land of big water.

On Lake Superior, Grand Marais holds a parade; camp at its municipal campground, Cascade Falls State Park or Judge C.R. Magney State Park. For more, see Artistic Grand Marais.

The possibilities are endless.

Last updated on June 22, 2014