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Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Is there any reason to bring cash to Rock Island?
  2. Can we get drinking water on Rock Island?
  3. What kinds of toilets are available on Rock Island?
  4. What do we do with our garbage when camping at Rock Island State Park?
  5. Can we buy ice on Rock Island?
  6. Do we need a Wisconsin State Park sticker to park our vehicle at the Rock Island Park dock area parking lot?
  7. Are there carts or some other conveyances to get our camping gear from the Rock Island boat dock to our camping site?
  8. Can we ride our bicycles on Rock Island?
  9. Is there phone service on Rock Island?
  10. Do cellular phones work on Rock Island?
  11. Are there public showers at Rock Island State Park?
  12. How do we find wood for campfires at our campsite?
  13. Can we dock our boat at Rock Island's boat dock overnight?
  14. Is there a swimming beach on Rock Island?
  15. Are there rock carvings on Rock Island?
  16. Can you fish at Rock Island State Park?
  17. Are weddings and other special events allowed at Rock Island State Park?
  18. Can you kayak around Rock Island?


  1. Is there any reason to bring cash to Rock Island?
    Yes, there are souvenirs and T-shirts for sale at the Park contact station and at the Lighthouse. Also, donations are accepted for Lighthouse tours.   Bottled drinking water can be purchased at the Lighthouse shop as well.  You will need cash to buy firewood if you are camping on Rock Island as well.  Credit cards are NOT accepted for either wood or merchandise.
  2. Can we get drinking water on Rock Island?
    Yes, there are wells with faucets near the boat house and near the maintenance shed. You have to carry your drinking and cooking water to your campsite or when hiking, so bring suitable containers for carrying water.  Drinking water is available at the Lighthouse too.  The old handpump in the yard is no longer in service, so ask the Lighthouse Docents about purchasing bottled drinking water.  The new solar well offers water, usually when the sun is out.
  3. What kinds of toilets are available on Rock Island?  As of May, 2009, there are flush toilets on the lawn near the Boathouse on Rock Island.  There are recently refurbished pit toilets in the campgrounds and there is a composting outhouse at the Pottawatomie Lighthouse.  Flush toilets are also available in the Park Office building at Jackson Harbor on Washington Island.
  4. What do we do with our garbage when camping at Rock Island State Park?
    The park provides garbage and recycling cans near the boat dock. There are no garbage receptacles at the campsites, so bring plastic garbage/recycling bags with you to transport your refuse from your site to the cans at the dock.  Please try to minimize your waste as much as possible.
  5. Can we buy ice on Rock Island?
    No, there is no ice vending on Rock Island. You will have to take the Karfi ferry back to Washington Island to get ice at one of the commercial outlets like the Mann Store.
  6. Do we need a Wisconsin State Park sticker to park our vehicle at the Rock Island Park dock area parking lot?
    No, you don't need a sticker like at other parks. You cannot buy a park sticker on Washington Island.
  7. Are there carts or some other conveyances to get our camping gear from the Rock Island boat dock to our camping site?
    Carts are available for moving your camping gear to your site at no charge. Some campers bring their own carts - garden carts, 2-wheelers, etc. to move their gear to their site, but the Karfi charges an extra fee for transporting camper carts.  The sites are primitive/cary-in sites situated a quarter to a half-mile from the boat dock.
  8. Can we ride our bicycles on Rock Island?
    No, bicycle riding is prohibited at the park. You can lock your bike up at the parking lot on Washington Island while you visit Rock Island State Park.
  9. Is there phone service on Rock Island?
    There is no public phone at the park.
  10. Do cellular phones work on Rock Island?
    There is spotty cell phone service only.  US Cellular, Cellcom and Verizon cell phones work best on Rock Island.
  11. Are there public showers at Rock Island State Park?
    No.  Many campers bathe in the lake or bring solar shower bags to use at their campsites.
  12. How do we find wood for campfires at our campsite?
    FORI operates a wood concession near the maintenance shed that is open early each evening where you can buy wood by the rick. The cost varies from year to year, but plan to bring cash with you for the purchase of wood for your campfires.
  13. Can we dock our boat at Rock Island's boat dock overnight?
    Yes, but there is a dock fee just like a campsite fee. Check-in at the contact station to pay your fee and get the rules for docking overnight. Please keep the park's docking area clear as well as the Karfi ferry's docking area. Both are clearly marked as you approach the boat dock.
  14. Is there a swimming beach on Rock Island?
    There is a beautiful crescent sand beach on the south side of the island that can be wonderful for swimming, depending on the temperature of the lake. Lake water levels determine whether how much sand beach there is each year, but it is one of the features of Rock Island State Park. Walk straight across the island from the Boat House on the beach path called Michigan Avenue, over a high sand dune and the beach will reveal itself to you in its crescent splendor.
  15. Are there rock carvings on Rock Island?
    There are carvings at a couple of locations on the island. Ask how to find them at the contact station when you visit.
  16. Can you fish at Rock Island State Park?
    Yes, most people fish off the boat dock or off the rocks on the western shore. Bring your gear and your own bait if you like to fish. There is no bait for sale on Rock Island.
  17. Are weddings and other special events allowed at Rock Island State Park? 
    Yes, contact the Property Manager at the park for more information on what is allowed.  All food, furniture and decorations need to be brought to the island and removed after the event.
  18. Can you kayak around Rock Island?
    You may paddle to Rock Island or bring your kayak on the Karfi ferry, but should you experience trouble in crossing the passage between Washington Island and Rock Island or any other difficulty while on the water, the park staff are not allowed to provide rescue services.  They may not assist outside of park boundaries and the lake is not within the park borders.  Call 911 for help when not on park property.