Rock Island is located off of the thumb of Wisconsin in Lake Michigan.
Since it is reached via two ferries, the visit to Rock Island State Park proved to be a challenge on my quest to visit all of Wisconsin State Parks in a year.
The ferry to the island runs Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day. My parents and I planned on taking the ferry on the last weekend that the ferry would be operating to Rock Island.
On day one, the ferry did not go because the Lake Michigan waves were too big. The next morning at, 6am, we arrived to catch the first ferry to Washington Island and then hopefully the first ferry to Rock Island.
Rock Island has hiking trails, the oldest lighthouse in Wisconsin and 2000 feet of beach. Vehicles are not allowed on the 912-acre island, making for an experience unlike any other Wisconsin state park. Stone buildings, built by a wealthy inventor and his family, house interesting exhibits.
There are fees for both the Washington Island Ferry and the Rock Island Ferry. There is also a nightly fee of $1 per foot of boat length for all boats mooring overnight at Rock Island State Park. Dock space is limited and cannot be reserved.
** Jonathon Ringdahl visited all of Wisconsin’s 64 State Parks, State Forests, and recreational areas in 2012. This is another in a series of articles he is writing for the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s.