Wisconsin Beaches: Six Different Experiences You Don't Want to Miss
Last Updated: 6/9/2014
When you think of a beach, do you think white sand and big waves? What about a beach with fishing or boats? In Wisconsin, you can have all of that—sandy beaches with ocean-like waves, beaches in the mountains with waterfalls and fresh water rivers, city beaches and even resort beaches with more things to do than you can fit in your vacation. Here are six different beach experiences offered in Wisconsin!
The Urban Beach
When you’re stuck in the city, sometimes you want nothing more than an escape to a tropical paradise. Although Wisconsin may not be exactly tropical, it has plenty of beaches with warm sand, clear water and that fun beach environment you’re looking for. Even when you’re downtown, you’re not far from a water haven.
Play in a volleyball tournament, have a few drinks with your friends at the beach house or frolic in the water and soak up the sun—all within a few miles of downtown Milwaukee.
The Mountain Beach
If you’re looking to reward yourself after a long mountain hike by cooling off in a refreshing lake, Wisconsin is the place to be.
Devil’s Lake State Park is known for its outcropping of Quartzite rocks. Devil’s Lake offers a plethora of trail options at all difficulty levels. The park is also great for those who love the thrill of rock climbing or scuba diving.
Interstate State Park is comprised of two parks that straddle the Wisconsin-Minnesota border. Interstate’s star feature is The Dalles of the St. Croix River, a deep gorge created by ancient glaciers and the St. Croix River. There is rock climbing at various sites throughout the park along both sides of the river. Although swimming in the river is dangerous, visitors can enjoy a beachy swimming experience at the Lake O’ The Dalles.
The Dune Beach
What goes better with a sandy beach than a sandy dune? Feel the wind rush around you as you race down the dune hills and into the water at these beaches.
The Kohler-Andrae State Park has more than two miles of beaches and dunes stretching out along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Further from the water are woods and wetlands that are ideal for observing nature. Open year-round, Kohler-Andrae is great for winter activities like cross-country skiing or winter camping.
Comprised of the most substantial sand dunes in Wisconsin, the Whitefish Dunes reach up to 90 feet at their peak. The park offers 6 miles of hiking trails through the beach and beyond.
The Waterfall & Beach
Want to have a little more excitement as well as gentle waves and warm sand? How about a crashing waterfall? Wisconsin has plenty! These parks have scenic waterfall views with a neighboring beach only a short walk away.
Pattison State Park is home to Wisconsin’s beloved waterfall, Big Manitou Falls—165 feet of majestic, crashing water. Its smaller sibling, Little Manitou Falls, is a 31 foot split waterfall a few miles upstream from Big Manitou Falls. After you’ve had your fill of the thrilling rush of water, head over to Pattison’s Interfalls Lake and beach.
Willow Falls, the waterfall in Willow River State Park, tumbles beautifully through a 200-foot deep gorge. The river was originally used for local farming and logging industries with multiple dams along its path. Now, the Wisconsin Conservation Commission has removed all but one of these dams to improve the condition of the landscape. The Little Falls Lake acts as a reservoir from the Willow River and is complete with a beach for visitors to swim, boat, camp and fish.
The Variety Beach
If you’re looking for more to do than lay at the beach, consider these park beaches with additional activities to fill your time.
While Peninsula State Park is a great place to get away for the traditional hiking, biking and forested beach-going, it offers so much more. The park has an 18-hole golf course, outdoor theatre for professional summer performances, climbing tower and a 1860s lighthouse. You’ll never get bored at this eclectic park.
Not only does North Wood County Park have a great beach along the Yellow River, but it also features a magnificent 225 foot suspension bridge over the river. North Wood offers hiking trails, camp sites, a stone shelter, playground and even a frisbee golf course for its visitors.
The Resort Beach
Basking in the sun and lounging in the sand on a beach is even better when you can pair it with luxurious amenities great for a getaway with family or friends. These resort beaches can make your escape exactly what you need it to be.
- Fine dining and conference center
- Indoor pool, tennis courts, shuffleboard, playground, and a basketball court
- 6,000 feet of wooded shoreline and gradual sandy beach
- Fishing, boating, hiking, bicycling, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing
- Horseback riding
- Nearby golf
- Lodge with bar, food, ice cream parlor and game room
- Seasonal heated pool, playground
- Motel rooms with full baths and fireplaces, equipped kitchens, private decks and charcoal grills
- Marina rentals: fishing rigs, pontoons, kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, and tubes
- RV camping spaces available