In a state with more than 15,000 inland lakes, a border defined by the mighty Mississippi as well as borders with two of the Great Lakes, it’s suiting Wisconsin is home to many vibrant communities located on water. From water-based recreation, to parks, entertainment venues and biking and hiking paths. From lakeside restaurants to fairs and festivals. These communities located on Wisconsin bodies of water know how to have fun and soak up all the perks that their lakefront locations have to offer. Here is a list of some of Wisconsin’s lively lake communities.
Made popular by wealthy Chicago families who traveled north after the Civil War and built summer homes here, Lake Geneva today is still a community of elegant lakeside estates. In fact, visitors consider them to be such an attraction that a number of tours are offered to view the mansions. Circling the lake is its famous walking path, 21-mile Shore Path. Don’t leave without touring Black Point Estate, taking a boat cruise aboard Lake Geneva Cruise Line, and eating a lakeside meal at Popeye’s.
Dubbed “Wisconsin’s Event City,” there’s never a dull moment in Oshkosh. Located on the western shore of Lake Winnebago, the water is the backdrop for a variety of the city’s unique shops, art galleries, museums and restaurants. Host to more than 1,000 events a year including EAA AirVenture drawing more than 750,000 visitors and Country USA drawing more than 175,000 spectators annually, there are events of every size for every interest throughout the year bringing fans to Oshkosh. The fishing offered off the shores of Oshkosh in Lake Winnebago is an angler’s paradise. Lake Winnebago is also famous for being one of the only locations with a sturgeon spearing season.
Green Lake, the deepest lake in Wisconsin, is also the name of this hub city of all things Wisconsin-style waterfront fun. Reaching depths of 237 feet, the cool water of Green Lake provides for excellent walleye and trout fishing. Don’t miss a minute of life on the water—stay in one of the many cabins available for rent right on the shores of Green Lake and enjoy swimming, fishing off your pier, canoeing and kayaking or just relaxing next to the water. Green Lake is also home to many of the finest golf courses in the state including Wisconsin’s oldest, Tuscumbia Country Club, as well as hiking trails, unique shopping, numerous parks and much more. For a luxurious resort escape offering big city amenities in a setting removed from the hustle and bustle, a stay at Heidel House Resort & Spa is just the ticket.
Eagle River is located on a chain of twenty-eight lakes, the largest chain of freshwater lakes found anywhere in the world. If it’s a quintessential Northwoods vacation you seek, the Eagle River area has everything you need for fun by the water. The area is a world-class fishing destination for musky, walleye and bass. Each year, the area hosts a number of festivals celebrating the recreational opportunities and heritage of the area through events such as the National Championship Musky Open, Paul Bunyan Fest and Cranberry Fest. Offering waterfront restaurants, unique souvenir shopping and outdoor recreation of every kind, Eagle River is a relaxing retreat not to miss.
Situated on an isthmus between two lakes, Wisconsin’s capital city of Madison takes full advantage of its beautiful setting. The shorelines of both Lake Mendota and Lake Monona are the sites of noteworthy architecture. The Monona Terrace, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building overlooks Lake Monona and can be seen from many driving angles approaching the downtown area. Across the isthmus on Lake Mendota, Wisconsin’s Executive Residence is located on waterfront property. A short distance around the lake from the Residence is the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and the very popular Memorial Union Terrace, an outdoor area offering food and drinks as well as live music. Also located in the narrow downtown area between both lakes is the State Capitol building. The Capitol Square area is vibrant with unique local restaurants and shops, museums and, seasonally, the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the US—the Dane County Farmers’ Market.