ROCKY ARBOR STATE PARK
C/O E10320 FERN DELL RD (MAIL)
BARABOO WI 53913
Phone: (608) 254-8001
Rocky Arbor State Park is located only 1 ½ miles from the Wisconsin Dells. The campground offers 90 sites, 61 of which are electric. There is no water at the sites, however, there is a water-filling station and dump station located in the park. Campers should be aware that sites 66-82 are close to the interstate which carries significant traffic noise. We stayed at site #60 and did not hear too much traffic noise. The campground has an office with a very friendly staff. They were very helpful with their advice. However, we were disappointed the office lacked a store. The only thing they sold was firewood since you are not allowed to bring in any firewood from more than 25 miles away. Checkout time is 3:00 which is about three hours later than most campgrounds. We enjoyed the extra time.
In order to camp at any Wisconsin state parks, you must obtain a vehicle admission sticker. For non-Wisconsin residents that is $10/day. If you plan to spend more than three days in their state parks, we suggest buying the annual sticker for $35. Our campsite was $19/night. If you tack on the vehicle sticker cost that’s $29/night which we felt was quite reasonable.
Appearance: We thought this park was beautiful. There are several cool rock formations and a very wooded park-like setting. Like most state parks, campers give up some of the conveniences and luxuries of private campgrounds for the benefits of state park camping. The sites at Rocky Arbor were large and very shaded. Each site offered a sense of seclusion from other campers. We were surrounded by nature, especially birds. Although any wooded state park is going to have the issues of bugs, the mosquitoes were quite a problem. Bring plenty of bug spray and citronella candles.
There is a lot to do within minutes of this campground. The Wisconsin Dells is what we like to call the “Gatlinburg of Wisconsin”. This is a great destination for families. The Wisconsin Dells is the water park capital of America. Noah’s Ark is the largest water park in America. This water park boasts seventy acres of water fun including 51 water slides, four children’s play areas, two wave pools, and the Scorpion’s Tail, America’s first looping waterslide. The cost of an adult pass for Noah’s Ark was $38/person, which we felt was a bit pricy. So, we went to the Polynesian Waterpark Resort and paid $19/person instead. It has less water slides and such but we had a great time! If you like pizza and microbrews let us suggest Moosejaw Pizza & Dells Brewing Company. The pizza was excellent and the microbrews were thirst quenching. Downtown hosts a variety of attractions mostly geared towards kids such as Ripley’s Believe it or Not, ziplines, putt-putt, amusement parks, etc, etc. If you love birds you will want to visit the International Crane Foundation. This park is home to every species of crane throughout the world. Although most can only be viewed behind fences, we had an enjoyable time seeing the birds and felt it was worth the $8 admission price. We only stayed in the Dells for two nights. It would take an entire week just explore a fraction of what this place has to offer. For more information about the Dells go to www.dells.com
Family/Pet friendly: In addition to the many activities near the park, there is also a small playground within the park and decent gravel roads for bikes. The campground has a nature trail which we used to walk the dogs. At one point on the trail there was a wooden staircase that really could use some improvements. Our Corgi struggled on the uneven steps and wide spaces between steps. There is no fenced-in area for dogs which we found disappointing.
Bathrooms/Showers: The campground consisted of four loops, each with its own shower house. Additionally, there were pit toilets scattered throughout the park. The shower houses were average. Showers did not include a separate changing station and the showers themselves were on timers. We understand the importance of conservation, however, ten seconds of water is not adequate. If campgrounds decide to put their showers on timers, we believe that it should last at least 30 seconds if not a full minute. It’s a minor annoyance but one to consider. There were flush toilets in the shower houses and were generally clean. The pit toilets were, well pit toilets.