Rating: ★★★★★(5/5) - Must Visit
About an hour from Milwaukee, you can find this park (partially named for the faucet guy) along Lake Michigan. Known for its sandy beaches, sparkling blue water, and unique sand dune ecosystem, this is a spectacular summer destination and one of the most beautiful Wisconsin State Parks. You can learn more about the unique environment at the Sanderling Nature Center. Although dogs are prohibited on most of the beaches, the beach north of the Sanderling Nature Center is open to pets. Stay overnight at the Family Campground, in the accessible cabin, or in the one available group camp.
The flagship hike in the park is the Dunes Cordwalk, a two mile stretch of planks built to protect the fragile sand dunes (and to make hiking easier than walking on sand). If you only have time to do one hike, do the Dunes Cordwalk. The northern half of the park features the forested Black River Trails, a shady option for days too hot to attempt hiking the blazing dunes. The Fishing Ponds Trail is a 0.3 mile accessible hike, and it connects to the Ancient Shores Hiking Trail, a 1.3 mile hike up and down a beach ridge, the former shoreline of the Great Lakes during a time of higher water levels thousands of years ago. Note that pets are allowed on most trails except for the Woodland Dunes Nature Trail and the Creeping Juniper Nature Trail.