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Rock Island

Get in the car. Drive to the northern-most point of the Door peninsula. Take the car ferry to Washington Island. Drive or bike across the island, past the verdant green farms and lavender fields. Ditch the car at Jackson Harbor. Hop a second ferry. Dock. Step onto a wooden pier and finally make landfall on the wooded isle. Reaching Rock Island State Park may feel like a one-person relay race, but it's an incredible place that is unequivocally worth the journey. Tour a rustic Icelandic boathouse, trek through an old-growth forest, visit a centuries-old lighthouse in the woods, take in panoramic lake and shoreline views, and listen to freshwater waves as they lap against an ancient shore.

White building in the distance at the lakefront.

The secluded Rock Island is found a few miles north of Washington Island and requires two ferry rides to reach. No cars or bikes are allowed. Kayaks OK.

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The island was originally inhabited by Native Americans and later European and Icelandic settlers. The latter established footpaths, buildings, a water tower, and the iconic Thordarson Boat House.

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In addition to the Icelandic-style boat house and numerous stone structures, the island is home to the Pottawatomie Lighthouse, Wisconsin's oldest.

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Explore all 906 acres to find abundant plant and animal life, cliffside views of the lake, untouched forest, mysterious rock carvings, a vintage 1940s lighthouse dwelling, and primitive lakeside campsites.

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Rock Island State Park offers one-of-a-kind hiking, boating, paddling, fishing, and primitive backpack-camping experiences.

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Plate of salmon with cherries on top

Pecan-Crusted Salmon with Lingonberry Sauce

Buttery pecans encrust fresh-caught lake salmon, and a sweet, tart lingonberry sauce lends a Scandinavian feel.

Island Vibes

Birds, insects, hiking feet, and ferry sounds: the moment of arrival at Rock Island.

A tent set up for camping in the woods

Backpacking & Hike-In Camping at Rock Island

Ever dreamed of packing a bag and heading to a remote island to live outdoors for a few days. Rock Island is your chance.