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Best Beaches In Wisconsin

Last update: 2023-12-25

Wisconsin, located in the Midwestern United States, is a state that is known for its natural beauty. While not located along the coasts, Wisconsin still has some fantastic beaches that residents and visitors alike flock to during the warm summer months. With two Great Lakes bordering the state, there are certainly no shortages of beaches to explore in Wisconsin.

The beaches in Wisconsin range from sandy expanses along Lake Michigan to secluded riverfronts. The water conditions also vary from beach to beach, with some featuring calm, shallow water perfect for swimming and others having waves and currents better suited for surfing. Families, couples, and outdoor adventurers will all find their ideal beach destination somewhere within the state.

When it comes to the best beaches in Wisconsin, there are a few that stand out above the rest. Here are some of the top beaches to check out in the Badger State:

North Beach, Racine

Located along the shores of Lake Michigan, North Beach in Racine is a popular beach destination. The sandy beach stretches for over a mile, with plenty of amenities like volleyball courts, snack bars, and grassy areas for picnicking. The water is shallow and calm, making it a great beach for families with small children. North Beach is also located close to Racine's downtown area.

Looking at North Beach from Racine Harbor Park

Atwater Beach, Shorewood

Nestled along the shore of Lake Michigan, Atwater Beach is considered one of the best beaches near Milwaukee. It features over a quarter mile of fine, white sand for sunbathing and swimming in the calm waters. There are also concessions, a playground, and volleyball courts onsite. The beach gets quite busy during summer weekends but remains a favorite spot for locals and visitors.

Doctor's Park, Eau Claire

For a riverfront beach scene, head to Doctor's Park in Eau Claire. Situated along the Chippewa River, the park has a nice sandy beach area for swimming and sunbathing. There is also a bathhouse with restrooms and changing areas. Fishing is allowed along the shoreline. Trees provide pockets of shade along the beach. Doctor's Park offers a quieter beach experience away from the crowded lakeshores.

The Iron Bridge spans the Eau Claire-Wisconsin River

Green Bay City Beach, Green Bay

As its name suggests, Green Bay City Beach lies along the shores of Green Bay in the city of Green Bay. It's a popular beach with nearly a mile of sandy beachfront featuring playgrounds, concessions, volleyball, and fishing access. The beach tends to be less crowded than other Green Bay beaches, yet still offers plentiful amenities. The sheltered location protects swimmers from dangerous currents.

Nicolet Beach, Peninsula State Park

Within the beautiful Peninsula State Park, Nicolet Beach has long been a cherished beach destination in Wisconsin. It sits along the Green Bay side of the Door County Peninsula and features clear waters and white sand. Swimming areas are divided into sections with shallow water for families and roped off areas for sports like kayaking. Hiking trails connect the beach to the rest of Peninsula State Park.

Rocks on the beach

What Makes the Beaches in Wisconsin Special

When compared to coastal beach destinations, the beaches of Wisconsin definitely have their own unique charm and advantages. Here are some factors that make the beaches in Wisconsin a great choice for a beach vacation or getaway:

  • Freshwater Setting - The beaches border the freshwater lakes and rivers, which many people prefer over saltwater. The water is gentle, clear, and refreshing.
  • Beautiful Backdrops - From the sand dunes of Lake Michigan to the bluffs along Lake Superior, the beaches come with scenic backdrops. Forests, glacial terrain, river valleys, and other natural scenery surround the beaches.
  • Recreational Diversity - The Lake Michigan beaches offer swimming, kayaking, windsurfing and kiteboarding, while inland rivers have fishing and boating. Many beach parks also have trails, playgrounds, sports facilities, and concessions.
  • Fewer Crowds - Aside from major summer holidays, most Wisconsin beaches are less crowded than beaches along the coasts. There is more room to spread out on the sand and water.
  • Lower Costs - Hotels, dining, and other amenities near Wisconsin beaches tend to be more budget-friendly compared to other beach destinations. This makes it a very affordable beach vacation option.
  • Convenience - For millions of Midwestern residents, the beaches in Wisconsin are far closer than coastal beaches. The convenience makes them popular easy weekend and day trip destinations.

So while Wisconsin is landlocked in the center of the country, it still boasts some amazing freshwater beach destinations that rival coastal beaches in beauty and amenities. The beaches bring a taste of paradise to the Midwest.

What To Know Before Visiting the Beaches

If you plan on visiting the beaches in Wisconsin during the summer, there are some important things to keep in mind:

A wave crashes into a broken wall at Coral Dock Park in Port Washington, Wisconsin
  • The beaches can get very crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. Arrive early in the day to secure parking and a good spot.
  • Make sure to bring sun protection. The sun reflecting off the water increases your UV exposure. Apply waterproof sunscreen regularly.
  • Swim only in designated areas. Steep drop-offs and heavy currents can make swimming dangerous in unmarked areas. Look for lifeguards on duty.
  • Be mindful of beach rules and obey posted signs. Many beaches ban pets or glass containers.
  • Keep the beaches clean by properly disposing of trash and waste. Help preserve the natural beauty.
  • Check the lake conditions and weather forecast. High winds or storms can create large waves and dangerous swimming conditions.
  • Come prepared with essential beach gear. Bring water, snacks, towels, umbrellas, beach toys, and other items you may need.

With proper preparation and precautions, you are sure to have an amazing beach day along Wisconsin's beautiful shores. The variety of beach settings offer something for every interest and age group. Just use good judgment and be respectful of the natural environment.


The beaches in Wisconsin provide the perfect escapes to enjoy sun, sand, and freshwater during the summer months. From the shores of Lake Michigan to the banks of the Chippewa River, there are scenic beach settings across the state that offer recreation, relaxation, and natural beauty. Families, couples, and outdoor enthusiasts will all find their ideal beach destinations in Wisconsin like North Beach, Atwater Beach, and Nicolet Beach. With fewer crowds, lower costs, and convenience, the beaches in Wisconsin makes for an affordable and memorable vacation option right in the Midwest. Just come prepared, be safe, and enjoy everything these freshwater beaches have to offer.

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