Newport State Park may not be the most popular park in Wisconsin’s Door County, but that may be why we like it best.
Looking for a place to get away and look at the stars? This is your park.
Looking for great views and places to explore? Again, Newport State Park is your spot.
Vacation Victory has compiled this comprehensive guide so you might enjoy it as much as we do.
Important Things to Know
- Open Year Around
- Hike-in Camping Only
- 11 Miles of Lake Michigan Shoreline
- 30 Miles of Hiking or Skiing Trails
- Annual State Park Admission Sticker – Required
- Current Conditions
- Printable Map
Things to Do in Newport State Park
There are plenty of things to do in Newport Park.
Summer, winter, fall, and spring are all perfect times to visit.
The following sections outline the best options for experiencing this Door County park.
Stargazing and Newport State Park’s Northern Lights
The ability to clearly see stars in the night sky is an important aspect of visiting the great outdoors.
Nothing beats taking a cool night’s walk away from the campfire after a hot day of hiking to look up and see a dark sky full of bright stars.
Newport State Park is recognized, with only a handful of other locations, as an International Dark Sky Park.
That means you don’t have to take our word for the fact that Newport Park will certainly satisfy your need for stargazing.
For the best stargazing locations, we recommend finding a clearing where the sky breaks through the trees just enough to see a good batch of stars. Go ahead, lay on your back.
You may have heard that the Northern Lights are visible from the park.
And now that we’ve told you that it’s internationally recognized for a lack of light pollution, this shouldn’t be surprising.
You can catch this magnificent dancing of lights in the sky at various times throughout the year.
However, don’t leave it to chance. If you really want to see Newport State Park’s Northern Lights, do some research online before committing to a night under the stars.
Newport State Park Camping
Below are three things to remember before committing to Newport State Park camping:
- The campsites are hike-in only, which means you won’t be able to drive up to your campground.
- Reservations are still needed for most of these backpack campsites.
- State passes for Newport State Park are required to visit the park.
Being originally from Montana, we miss the ability to truly getaway.
Newport State Park is a hike-in only park for backpack campers, which makes it perfect for getting some nice quality alone time in the great outdoors.
This exclusivity is, in part, what gives the Newport State Park night sky it’s beauty.
Packing in your tent, food, water, clothes and everything else will mean you’ll need to plan ahead.
The distance to each site varies but seems to average around two-miles.
The closest campsite to parking is only about ½ mile.
But if you’re looking for the best site, we found a raving review for number nine. Located off of Varney Point, the reviewer says there’s rocky water access. The next time we are up for a little backpacking, you can bet we’ll be heading for campsite number nine.
Make your Newport park campsite reservation here.
Support a local Door County business and purchase firewood once you arrive on the peninsula.
The DNR recommends getting firewood in the same area that you plan to use it and leaving it when you go. This helps to protect our forests.
Wagon Trail Campground near Newport Park
If you aren’t the hike-in type camper and prefer the comfort of car camping or even an RV you still have options!
Wagon Trail Campground is only a 15-minute drive to the park.
Another nearby option is Hy-Land Court RV Park but if you want a full list of Door County campsites organized by proximity to all the different parks, press the button below and you’ll get our ultimate list.
Newport State Park Hiking
Our next options for things to do in Newport State Park is hiking.
With over 2300-acres of parkland, our list wouldn’t be complete without it.
The park offers about 30-miles of trails.
Here is another link to that useful DNR map. We recommend printing it out for the hike.
For your first time hiking Newport Park, Lynd Point and Europe Loop are both great options.
For a handicap accessible option, the Newport Wilderness Society put together this useful guide.
Use the official DNR trail descriptions to get accurate trail lengths and locations.
If you can’t decide on a trail, Google Maps has a few incredible 360-degree images like the one below taken along Lynd Point Trail.
Cross Country Skiing and Fat-tire Bikes
There are also plenty of things to do in Newport State Park in the winter as well!
And yes, trails are groomed for those looking.
Winter is also a great time to visit Door County when it’s not the busy season. In fact, its one of our favorite times of year on the peninsula.
We’ve explored a few of the Newport trails on skis, but you can also ride fat-tire bikes if sounds better.
There is an article linked below that we wrote a while back compiling all the best cross-country skiing in Door County, WI.
Can I bring my dog?
You can certainly bring your dog to Newport Park.
In fact, pets are allowed at all Wisconsin State Parks as long as you abide by a few rules.
Your dog must be on a leash at all times and it can’t be longer than eight-feet.
Make sure you pick up after your dog, obviously.
For all rules and regulations, you can visit the DNR’s pet policy page here.
Newport State Park Events
The park hosts a few events throughout the year like Earth Day Work Day, Universe in the Park, and Newport Wilderness Days.
At the Universe in the Park event you’ll hear from university astronomers and explore the stars through a high-powered telescope. Head to the University of Wisconsin Website to make check the schedule and learn more.
You can also check out the Door County Pulse for more info on events and dates.
Newport vs Peninsula State Park
Yes, there is another state park option in Door County you’ve probably heard of it.
Peninsula State Park is one of the area’s most popular destinations and for good reason.
But when choosing between Peninsula or Newport parks, there are a few things to consider.
Newport is best for those trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of city living.
Peninsula offers better campsite options for those with campers and RVs, and there’s a lot of them! You don’t have to hike-in to camp.
Both parks have lake access and plenty of trails although Peninsula State Park is a little more expansive.
As we’ve said before, Newport State Park is one of our favorites. You will ultimately need to decide for yourself.