10 Best Lake Michigan Beaches in the Milwaukee Area (2023)

Summer days are made for family beach days full of sand and fun in the sun!

There are nine public beaches in Milwaukee County along the Lake Michigan shoreline, and you can actually enjoy them all year round, not just in the summer months.

Here are some local beaches, listed from north to south, along with info about what you’ll find at each one.

Plus, be prepared with our Ultimate Beach Packing List for Families.

1. Doctors Park

1870 E. Fox Ln., Fox Point, WI 53217

Doctors Park beach on Lake Michigan in Fox Point Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Instagram, @jmsmith325

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

5960 N. Lake Dr., Whitefish Bay, WI 53217

Klode Park beach on Lake Michigan in Whitefish Bay Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Instagram, @4annmfrank

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. Lake Dr., Whitefish Bay, WI 53217

Big Bay Park beach on Lake Michigan in Whitefish Bay Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Instagram, @philclaiborne

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 take the short walk down to Big Bay Beach.

4. Atwater Park

4000 N. Lake Dr., Shorewood, WI 53211

When you first arrive at Atwater, 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 opt for 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, a summer Concert Band series, and the annual Shorewood Men’s Club Chicken Barbecue.

Don’t miss it! Look for this impressive sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa of a contemplative man overlooking the beach.

5. Bradford Beach

2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53211

Bradford Beach on Lake Michigan Milwaukee County Parks Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @BradfordBeachMke

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. Just south of the beach, don’t miss MooSa’s, a cow-themed burger and frozen custard joint.

6. McKinley Beach

1750 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202

rocks and sand at McKinley Beach on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Instagram, @mkebeautiful

Caution! Don’t plan a swim here just yet – the city of Milwaukee identified dangerous rip currents here and they are planning a restoration project to address the problem.

Grab a fruit smoothie and iced coffee from local café Colectivo on the Lakefront 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.

7. South Shore Park

2900 S. Shore Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53207

South Shore Park beach near marina on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Instagram, @wasanodaekwe

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, 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.

8. Grant Park Beach

100 S. Hawthorne Ave., South Milwaukee, WI 53172

Photo Credit: Instagram, @urara_524

“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.

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.

9. Bender Park

4503 E. Ryan Rd., Oak Creek, WI 53154

Bender Park beach on Lake Michigan Oak Creek Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Instagram, @tammylynn72

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.

10. North Beach

North Beach in Racine, Wisconsin is a beautiful and popular public beach located on the shores of Lake Michigan. It is often referred to as “The Crown Jewel of Racine” due to its stunning scenery and recreational opportunities.

Situated on the northeastern edge of Racine, Wisconsin, it covers approximately 50 acres of land and boasts a long stretch of sandy shoreline along Lake Michigan.

The beach offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, with its crystal-clear waters and soft, sandy shores. Visitors can enjoy picturesque sunrises and sunsets over the lake, creating a tranquil and serene atmosphere.

North Beach features a designated area called Kids Cove, which is a large playground situated adjacent to the beach. It offers various play structures, slides, and swings, providing children with additional entertainment options.

About the author

In 2013, Calie Herbst, a former teacher with three little ones, saw a need for a “One Stop Shop” for family fun in Milwaukee. So she founded Milwaukee With Kids. Her goal was to find the best this city has to offer families and share it with other parents. In one place. In 2019, she published "Exploring Milwaukee WIth Kids", a comprehensive Milwaukee travel guide for families and kids. She appears regularly on WISN News, Fox 6's 'Real Milwaukee', B93.3, and Wisconsin Morning News. She has been featured in Medium, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NPR, the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, and on CBS 58 News. Calie is available for hosting, moderating and media appearances.

Related Posts