Ottawa Lake Campground – Kettle Moraine State Forest (Wisconsin)

Ottawa Lake Campground

A few weeks ago we loaded up and headed north, to Ottawa Lake Campground.  This campground is within the 22,000 acre Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit.  We reserved a site several months ago, due to the popularity of this area.  And it sure was worth the wait!  If you would like to camp there, but haven’t made a reservation yet, don’t worry.  There are 20 campsites that are set aside for walk up only, so make sure to get there early!


Located near the small town of Dousman, WI, Ottawa Lake Campground is very conveniently situated only 45 minutes from Milwaukee, and  2 hours from Chicago.

Sites and Amenities

Every site in the campground is within walking distance of the swimming beach, which is great on hot summer days!  There are even 3 water view sites (380, 382, and 388).  The number of sites with and without electrical hookups is split pretty evenly.

Along with a pit toilet for off season camping, there are 2 shower houses with flush toilets, and another building with just flush toilets.

Also, there are a few different playgrounds, making this place great for kids.

There are no real hiking trails there, but within this area of the State Forest, many trails are nearby.  In fact, a portion of The Ice Age Trail runs through the area.  Here is a List of all trails inside Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit.

There is a nice little camp store where you check in.  You can purchase souvenirs, ice, and firewood for $5.50 a bundle.  As an added bonus, everyone who worked there was super nice and happy.  How could you not be when you work in such a beautiful place?


Making a reservation is very easy.  Just follow this link to Wisconsin’s new reservation website, and pick your date and campsite.

As mentioned above, try and plan at least a few (if not several) months ahead in the summertime.  This campground fills up fast!

Our Experience

We showed up Ottawa Lake Campground around 4:30 P.M. on Friday April 27th.  The drive there was definitely a fun one.  First off, it stated raining when we got within 15 minutes of the campground.  Then, when we were about 5 minutes away, our cat (Henry) pooped in his carrier!  So here we are, driving in the rain with our windows down because of the horrible smell, and I then miss the turn to go to the campground.

Finally, we arrived, got checked in, and headed to our campsite.  We stayed at site number 339, which was fairly level, and private enough to where our dogs weren’t barking at people walking by all day.

While there, we took several walks, went to one of the playgrounds, went to the beach, and basically just stayed outside all weekend.  It was around 50 degrees and sunny, which was a nice break from the winter weather that we experienced on Our last camping trip, at Rock Cut State Park.


I would say that this is one of our favorite campgrounds.  It is perfect for a laid back camping trip, or for a place to stay while checking out the numerous local hiking trails.

We like this place so much, we have made reservations to stay here for the 4th of July this year.  We are looking forward to it!

-Kyle G.

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