When you recall your summer memories from childhood, we’re guessing one jumps to the top of the list – sunny days spent at the beach. Now, as a parent, you can recreate those sandy and gleeful experiences for your own kids. Luckily, Wisconsin has a huge variety of beaches that will appeal to every member of the family, all within an easy drive from Chicago and Milwaukee.
From the coolest playgrounds around to drippy and delightful ice-cream cones, many beaches throughout our state have a lot more than sand. They’re known for unique amenities, safe swimming areas and a dizzying array of summer activities that will have your kiddos saying, “Again! Again!”
Here are four popular Wisconsin beaches that will inspire good, old-fashioned summer memories for you and your kids.
In Racine, you’ll discover a slice of paradise situated on 2,500 feet of pristine shoreline. Just a hop, skip and a (barefoot) jump from downtown, North Beach is a Wisconsin favorite. Dotted with breezy palm trees, your kids will love the summery feel here. But we’re betting they’ll love the playground even more.
Alongside the beach, your kids can play the day away at Kid’s Cove, a nautical-themed playground brimming with entertaining features. They can pretend that they’re steering their very own boat, glide down slides or even crawl through a wooden fish.
Parents magazine named this beach a Top 10 Family-Friendly Beach, famed for its playful atmosphere and dedication to safety. Lifeguards are on duty from June through September.
This charming Wisconsin village is home to a beach that’s ideal for the littlest members of your family. Williams Bay Beach rests along Geneva Lake, and since it’s small and shallow, you can easily keep an eye on your adventurous kids and keep worries at bay. Lifeguards are always on duty, too.
The beach has shaded areas underneath trees so your family can take a break from the sun or catch a cat nap. Just be sure to pack some cash in your beach bag – kids 6 to 11 are $4, 12 and up is $8 and children under 5 are free.
The Lake Geneva Shore Path is within eyeshot of the beach, so you can always take your merriment on the road with an afternoon hike.
People love South Milwaukee’s Grant Park for its beautiful Seven Bridges Trail. It’s also where you’ll find a stunning beach that feels as if it’s beside an ocean. At Grant Park Beach, soak up aqua-blue views of Lake Michigan and feel sugary sand between your toes. Your kids will have ear-to-ear grins as they frolic around the nearby playground and build sandcastles.
But the sweetest surprise of all is the old-school malt shop, located only steps from the beach. Ferch’s Beachside Grille was made for balmy beach days and magical summer nights. You and your kiddos can sit on the patio (in your swimsuits!) and savor beach eats like root beer floats, chicken tenders and sprinkle-topped waffle cone delicacies.
Think of Neshotah Beach in Two Rivers as a one-stop-shop for kid-approved summer activities. This 50-acre Lake Michigan gem offers activities that every member of your family will enjoy. Softball? Volleyball? Horseshoes? Biking? Playground? Picnic shelters? Yup, they’ve got it all, along with kayak launches if your kids are thirsty to get out on the water.
The beach is also the headquarters for colorful summertime events, like the family-friendly Kites Over Lake Michigan that takes place every August.