We’d rather be camping right now. How ’bout you?

A Village of Tiny Homes

In this golden age of TV, at least six shows about tiny houses have been made. It was only a matter of time before some enterprising entrepreneurs capitalized on the craze by renting out micro homes to glampers.

In 2017, the tiny house construction company Escape did just that, unveiling a “village” of tiny homes in northwestern Wisconsin. Connected to a larger luxury resort called Canoe Bay, the village has become a big draw, figuratively speaking. Partly because of its proximity to the Ice Age Trail and a constellation of inland lakes where guests can kayak, canoe and fish. But partly because of the novelty factor of staying in a fully furnished tiny home.

According to Escape founder and CEO Dan Dobrowolski, the village appeals largely to couples looking for a quiet, romantic getaway. “It’s an adults-only place,” he says. “We don’t get college kids coming up here to party.”

The smallest Escape units clock in at 160 square feet, the largest at 400. Some can be purchased outright. The rest can be rented for $125-$295 a night. And the rental units are outfitted like the hip glamping destinations that they are, with pale wood paneling and floor-to-ceiling windows that keep the diminutive dwellings from inspiring claustrophobia.

Each comes equipped with at least one queen-sized bed, wet bar and flat-screen TV. In other words, you could watch episodes of “Tiny House Hunters” from inside a tiny house of your own.

Where to Go Camping in Wisconsin

Sure, you could pitch a tent in your own backyard. But if you want stunning vistas, hiking trails and water sports, you’d be better off venturing a little farther afield. All three of these scenic destinations are located in state parks with multiple campsites, picnic areas and fire pits available for use.

Mirror Lake State Park

in Sauk County

As soon as you see the calm, clear water of Mirror Lake, you’ll understand how it got its name. The park is also close to the Wisconsin Dells and all the water parks, golf courses, shopping and other attractions that make it a perennially popular tourist destination.

Wyalusing State Park

in Grant County

At this 2,600-acre park near the Iowa-Wisconsin border, you can snap photos from a scenic overlook rising 500 feet above the mighty Mississippi River. There’s also a canoe trail (you can rent a boat if you didn’t bring your own) and ancient Native American burial mounds.

Rock Island State Park

in Door County

You’ll have to board two ferries to reach this remote island – located off the northern tip of the Door Peninsula – but the views are worth all of the effort. No wheeled vehicles are allowed on the island, so pedestrians have the run of the island’s great hiking trails and beaches.

New Nonprofit: A Wealth of Nurture

Mauthe Lake campsite. Photo courtesy of Eddee Daniel.

Eddee Daniel, project director of the new nonprofit A Wealth of Nature, has traveled to a lot of campsites. He thinks of camping as a great way to commune with nature and build bonds with friends and family.

“We have taken our granddaughter camping two years in a row to give her a taste of the outdoors,” he says. When asked to share a photo from one of his recent trips, he picked this snapshot, taken at Mauthe Lake in the Kettle Moraine.

For more information about A Wealth of Nature and its initiatives to preserve and promote area parks throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, visit preserveourparks.org/wealth-nature.

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“Happy Campers” appears in the July 2019 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning July 1, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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