Newport State Park | Ellison Bay | Door County

Contact Info for Newport State Park

475 County Highway NP
Ellison Bay, WI  54210

fax (920)854-1914

Newport State Park’s website.

For a “lightweight” backpacking experience Newport State Park is the place to go. Several times now I’ve taken a solo backpacking retreat in the Spring of the year at Newport. The solitude, closeness of nature, and lack of motorized noise make this perfect for such a retreat.

All sites are on, or very close to, the water. Except for site #6, which is in the middle of a piney forest. But, considering the lake level has severely retreated in the past several years, the distance to the water’s edge keeps increasing. On the upside, the lower water has revealed some interesting geology.

I say this is “lightweight” backpacking because the trails are generally quite level and wide. There’s really no need for special hiking boots here, just sturdy athletic-type shoes.

A couple times I’ve even experimented with using a bike-trailer-turned-cart to push by stuff in. Although that’s really best done on the slightly wider 2-track trails, which is about half of the trail mileage available. This makes hiking in with kids and all their stuff easier.

Poison ivy can be bad in spots. Sites 3 & 4 are very close to each other and have an abundance of poison ivy around their sites.

The sites only have one or two “Leopold style” benches in each one–no picnic tables. In the past I have written to the Park supervisor about putting small picnic tables in the sites. With vehicle access on the 2-track trails I’m supposing this wouldn’t be too difficult. She responded saying that she felt picnic tables would not be very “wilderness-like”.

I disagree. Putting a small picnic table in most of these sites would not adversely affect the wilderness experience. Now if we’re talking about a hot tub at each site, then yes, something like that would be disruptive. I wonder if it’s more a matter of avoiding vandalism to the tables by the occasional immature camper.

The greeter at the Park office indicated that a new visitor center is in the works (late 2007). This is definitely needed as the current office and nature center are a couple small rooms carved out of the maintenance garage. Water is available there to fill up your bottles before your hike in.

Newport State Park is almost at the very end of Door County, but the drive is worth it if you’re seeking solitude and a first time backpacking experience.


How Do They Rate?

1) Overall well-keptness: 9

2) Cleanliness of bathrooms & showers: 7

3) Organization & cleanliness of main camp office & store: 8

4) Cleanliness & maintenance of pool: NA

5) Safe & updated playground: NA?

6) Clean & updated game room: NA

7) “Spaciness” of sites: 10

8) Availability of WiFi: NA

9) Friendliness & congeniality of staff: 10

10) Ease of access to amenities away from camp: 3

11) Overall “ambiance” of the place: 10

See my rating system.


Camper Reviews for Newport State Park

by Shelly T. (Idaho)

We are a family of two adults and 4 children, ages 4 and 15. Our children were so caught up in video games and television that we thought it would be nice to take them camping, and expose them to the beauty of nature. New Port state park is a safe, clean place for families to enjoy various activities together and to relax or be as active as desired. Hiking, swimming in Lake Michigan and meeting new friends are always a part of the experience. The facilities are clean and the water is very good for drinking. Camping at its best.


by Vicki  (Des Plaines, Illinois)

My mother is recovering very nicely from a recent cancer surgery. Last month we spent the week together in Newport State Park, in Ellison Bay, and we had a wonderful time together enjoying all the silence, and each other, next to the water. It was as peaceful as it was beautiful. Loved it!


by Sabeena Ibrahim  (Madison)

My self and my husband went to New Port state park for our winter. We really enjoyed it much. Skiing is very amazing. There are more beautiful and wonderful natural scenes. We were feeling very happy when we saw those natural scenes. There is more scenery everyone should watch. Hiking to the lake is very interesting. We planned to go with our family for next winter. You also must go and enjoy it.


by Michael (Charlottesville, VA)

Last winter my wife and I backpacked through areas of Newport State Park. We used one of the backpack camping sites, and were able to use it as a base to explore the area. We appreciated the many areas for cross-country skiing, and the scenery was beautiful. Hiking along the lake was a very peaceful experience. We don’t do a lot of winter backpacking, but we would definitely consider this area again for our next winter trip.


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