Warmer weather is upon us! And that means sandy beaches and family beach days are in our future.
There are nine public beaches in Milwaukee County along the Lake Michigan shoreline, and you can enjoy them all year round, not just in the summer months.
Here they 9 local beaches, listed from north to south, along with what you’ll find at each one.
1. Doctors Park
1870 E. Fox Ln., Fox Point, WI 53217
Located north of downtown Milwaukee in Fox Point, Doctors Park is a great place for families. It boasts nearly 50 acres of natural beauty on a bluff overlooking the lake. Near the parking lot, you’ll find a playground and practice fields. From there, you can take a paved trail, stairs, or a dirt trail down to the clean beach, called Tietjen Beach. It’s the perfect length nature hike for any child 4 and up, or a baby in a carrier.
Fun Fact: Doctors Park is located on the “point” from which Fox Point gets its name.
2. Klode Park
5900 N. Lake Dr., Whitefish Bay, WI 53217
Located north of downtown Milwaukee in Whitefish Bay, Klode Park offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, a winding path down to the beach, picnic areas with picnic tables, tennis courts, open fields for running and sports, and a nice-sized playground for the kids.
Helpful hint: There’s a clean, well-kept indoor bathroom in the shelter next to the playground.
3. Big Bay Park
5000 N. Palisades Rd., Whitefish Bay, WI 53217
Big Bay Park is a bit of a hidden gem. You'll find this small and quiet oasis tucked away in Whitefish Bay. You can enjoy a scenic overlook of the water, or walk down to the Big Bay Beach.
4. Atwater Beach
East Capitol and North Lake Drive, Shorewood, WI 53211
When you first arrive, you’ll see a playground in the park overlooking the lake. When you’re ready to head down to the beach, you can get there via an impressively steep set of stairs, or a more gentle winding path. Once there, you’ll find 800 feet of flat open beach. You’ll be steps away from the city and shops on Capitol Drive, but the wild foliage of the tall bluff behind you will make you feel far from the city streets.
The park is also home to local family-friendly events throughout the summer, including July 4th fireworks, a Memorial Day celebration, and the annual Shorewood Men’s Club Chicken Barbecue.
Don’t miss it! Look for an impressive sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa of a contemplative man overlooking the beach. The sculpture was the center of controversy when passersby believed they saw anti-semitic messages in what was supposed to be random letters that make up the statue. The sculpture was later reinstalled without the controversial lettering.
5. Bradford Beach
2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53211
A popular spot for college students, Bradford Beach is bustling and boisterous. On a hot summer day, you can watch or play on any of the 35 sand volleyball courts, grab some shade in a tiki hut, or rent a cabana. There’s also a boat house building with convenient restrooms and a concession stand.
1750 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202
Grab a fruit smoothie and iced coffee from local cafe Colectivo on the Lake and head north to the bay-shaped McKinley Beach in downtown Milwaukee. It's less crowded than neighboring Bradford Beach and has a playground to wear out your little ones. You can also catch beautiful views of the boats in McKinley Marina. If you’re up for a walk, check out Veterans Park, just south of McKinley Beach. There’s lots of space to run, fly a kite, or enjoy the lagoon.
South Shore Beach
2900 S. Superior St., Milwaukee, WI 53207
On the shores of Milwaukee’s funky Bay View neighborhood, this beach offers picturesque views of South Shore Yacht Club and the downtown skyline. There’s a large playground and a park with picnic tables and a sand volleyball court. In the summer, you can walk to South Shore Terrace, one of Milwaukee’s newest beer gardens. However, this beach frequently closes due to bacteria levels. The Milwaukee County Parks system has implemented a green infrastructure project to improve the conditions.
Grant Park Beach
100 S. Hawthorne Ave., South Milwaukee, WI 53172
“Enter this wild wood and view the haunts of nature.”
This message, written on a sign atop a covered bridge, welcomes you to the Seven Bridges Trail in Grant Park. So it’s no wonder that there are rumors the trail is haunted. But if you head there during the day, there’s nothing spooky about it. The nature trails run along a babbling creek, and lead all the way down to Lake Michigan, where you’ll find a beautiful beach, a clean playground, and a beachside grill serving food and alcohol. The Sprecher & Milwaukee County Parks traveling beer garden typically stops by this park. You can also get a fish fry during the summer in the clubhouse.
To get there, enter Grant Park at South Lake Drive and Park Avenue, and travel about 1/8 mile. On your left you will find parking spaces with a path leading to the trail's main entrance.
Bender Park Beach
4503 E. Ryan Rd., Oak Creek, WI 53154
Bender Park is one of the county’s newest parks, and it feels that way. It is well-maintained, not too crowded, and spacious. It has a harbor and large boat launches, but the dramatic bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan are what steal the show.