Are you looking for some of the best beaches in Milwaukee? Then you’re in the right place! Beaches don’t necessarily spring to mind when thinking of Wisconsin. But head to Milwaukee and you’ll discover a variety of public beaches. There are actually nine public beaches in Milwaukee County located along Lake Michigan.
Though you can visit year-round, the summer months are an ideal time to visit these Milwaukee beaches. Of all the things to do in Milwaukee, you’ve got to check out one of these beaches. There are sandy beaches and ones located in parks, providing you with plenty to do. Visit two of the most popular beaches in Milwaukee such as Grant Park Beach and Bradford Beach. Or head to some more secluded spots like Tietjen Beach and Big Bay Park Beach.
Whether you visit with kids or friends, these Milwaukee beaches are a fantastic day trip. When looking for things to do in Milwaukee make sure to visit at least one beach!
Does Milwaukee have any beaches?
Milwaukee has an array of beaches, though not traditional ocean beaches. Located on Lake Michigan, Milwaukee has some lovely lakeside beaches. With more than 1,400 acres of beach, Milwaukee is great for a beach trip. Choose from sandy shorelines or rocky ones, there’s a beach for everyone in Milwaukee. There are even opportunities to surf at some of these beaches in Milwaukee.
How many beaches are there in Milwaukee?
There are eight public beaches in Milwaukee, waiting to be discovered. These beaches are located along Lake Michigan in Milwaukee County. Each beach has something different to offer, you are spoiled for choice. Check out eight of the best beaches in Milwaukee and pick your favorite.
Can you swim in Lake Michigan in Milwaukee?
You can certainly swim in Lake Michigan during summer. Visiting Lake Michigan is one of the best things to do in Milwaukee. Atwater Beach is even a surfing hotspot, perfect if you’re looking to start a watersport. Though you can swim at these beaches, it’s considered to be ‘at your own risk’. Some of these beaches don’t have permanent lifeguards so you should take caution swimming.
1. Atwater Beach
Atwater Beach is a great Milwaukee attraction that’s a little off the beaten track. If you want to avoid the crowds this is an ideal beach spot. To reach the beach you must climb down steep stairs or a winding path. Accessing the beach only adds to its intrigue.
This is a really family-friendly beach with other activities to entertain the little ones. There’s a large playground that the kids will love. The Spillover II sculpture by Jaume Plensa is an excellent addition for art enthusiasts.
If you’re looking to try some Milwaukee watersports head to Atwater. Believe it or not, this is actually a great beach for surfing. Yes, you can surf on Lake Michigan! Wisconsin actually has an exciting freshwater surfing scene. For the best surfing conditions, you should check out Atwater from September to May. This time of year, the wind and waves are stronger.
During the summer months, you’ll also find a variety of events being hosted at Atwater. There are July 4th fireworks and also Memorial Day celebrations.
- Address: 4000 N Lake Dr, Shorewood, Milwaukee
2. Bradford Beach
Bradford Beach is one of the best beaches in Milwaukee and a local favorite. It’s a popular spot for nearby college students looking for relaxation and a good time. If you’re visiting Milwaukee with friends, be sure to check out Bradford Beach. There’s an electric summer party vibe at Bradford and you’ll be sure to have a good time.
Back in 2008 Bradford Beach received a serious facelift. It had suffered from issues due to stormwater. Today Bradford is one of the best beaches in Milwaukee. You’ll have to arrive early for a good spot, Bradford Beach is packed on weekends.
This half-mile stretch of sand is fun-filled and there are plenty of beach volleyball courts. Bradford Beach has everything you need to spend the entire day enjoying the good weather. There are tiki huts to catch some much-needed shade. You can rent a cabana, perfect if you’re spending the entire day at the beach. There are restrooms and a number of concession stands too.
After a day at the beach make sure to check out some of these best restaurants in Milwaukee.
- Address: 2400 N Lincoln Memorial Dr, Milwaukee
3. McKinley Beach
Head south of Bradford Beach and you’ll find McKinley Beach. Escape the crowds at Bradford Beach by heading to this beach instead.
As well as the beach and easy access to the lake, there’s also a playground. Sit on the beach and relax as you watch the boats in the McKinley Marina. If you want to enjoy some Milwaukee watersports, check out the nearby jet ski hut. Located between McKinley and Bradford jet skiing is a fun way to explore the lake. Bring your tennis rackets and play on McKinley’s courts or just relax on the beautiful beach.
- Address: 1750 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr, Milwaukee
4. Klode Park Beach
Head just north of downtown Milwaukee and you’ll find Klode Park Beach. Klode Park is one of the best beaches in Milwaukee, offering beautiful scenery.
The park has a plethora of amenities to make your beach visit even better. There are picnic tables, tennis courts, running and sports fields, and a sizeable playground. If you are looking for restrooms, check out the shelter next to the playground.
This is one of those beaches where you can certainly spend the day. Pack food for lunch and enjoy a nice picnic, a variety of sports, and exploring the beach.
Klode Park Beach is covered in small stones, not sand. So, it’s a better beach for swimming rather than sunbathing on the sand.
- Address: 5960 N Lake Dr, Whitefish Bay, Milwaukee
5. South Shore
South Shore is the perfect beach to spend the afternoon and evening. You can bring a cooler box of beers and drink them right next to the beach. This is the perfect beach to watch a sunset from.
Spend the afternoon or evening eating food at the picnic tables overlooking the water. After the beach, head to the South Shore Terrace, a vibrant new beer garden.
This is a great spot for a day out. The beach has views of the South Shore Yacht Club and Milwaukee’s skyline. Enjoy the beach or venture into the water. There are also beach volleyball courts, the perfect activity for enjoying with friends.
- Address: 2900 S Shore Dr, Milwaukee
6. Tietjen Beach
Tietjen Beach is located at Doctors Park and is one of the best beaches in Milwaukee. The beach is named after a local called George Tietjen. George was the founder of the Milwaukee County Lifeguard Corps.
Reaching this Milwaukee attraction is a beautiful experience. The trail to the beach snakes through trees to beautiful Lake Michigan.
The beach is located around 20 minutes’ drive from downtown Milwaukee. This means it’s one of Milwaukee’s more secluded beaches. Head down to the beach early and you might be the first ones there.
Doctors Park is well worth a visit. The park has nearly 50 acres of space to explore. The park is actually located on a bluff overlooking the lake.
There’s a playground and practice fields as well as a number of trails. Doctors Park is named after a doctor who donated his home to the public.
Tietjen Beach is the perfect spot for families and bird watchers. The beach sits on a popular migratory bird route, so bring your binoculars.
- Address: 1870 E Fox Ln, Fox Point, Milwaukee
7. Big Bay Park
Big Bay Park Beach is a beautiful Milwaukee beach and one you should definitely visit. Big Bay Park is nestled away in Whitefish Bay and receives relatively few visitors.
Just a short walk through the park and you’ll reach this idyllic beach. The beach offers beautiful views of Lake Michigan, and the quiet ambiance is super relaxing. Venture down the old concrete pier for extended views of the lake.
The beach doesn’t have any amenities so come prepared. Though other beaches have amenities, you can’t compete with Big Bay’s unparalleled peacefulness.
Head to Big Bay Park in the evening for incredible sunset views. Vibrant orange skies over the blue water make for beautiful photographs.
- Address: 5000 N Lake Dr, Whitefish Bay, Milwaukee
8. Grant Park
Grant Park Beach is one of the best beaches in Milwaukee for families. This beach is super popular and for good reason.
If you want an adventure before hitting the beach this place is perfect. The Seven Bridges Trail is a picturesque hiking trail. The Trail runs by the side of a creek and leads you right to the beach.
This beach is popular for those with kids as there’s a large playground to visit. For the adults, there are beach volleyball courts and also disc golf. Disc golf involves flinging a Frisbee around a course and getting it into a basket. It’s the perfect activity for golf lovers looking to improve their swing. After all that exercise head down to the beach for a relaxing and refreshing swim.
Grant Park is brilliant for spending the day at because there are tons of amenities. There are concession stands selling burgers and ice creams, perfect for refueling. There is a ton of convenient parking making for a hassle-free trip to the beach.
- Address: 100 E Hawthorne Ave, South Milwaukee