Quick Hike With Kids: Lakeshore State Park


It’s Wisconsin’s only urban State Park, and it’s a beaut. Families with young kids will love the accessible paved paths at Lakeshore State Park, and you’ll all enjoy the unobstructed views of our beloved Lake Michigan and the city skyline.

Lakeshore State Park is an urban oasis located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, adjacent to the Henry W. Maier Festival Grounds and Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin. In addition to the paved paths, there is a small beach and a link to the Hank Aaron State Trail. The park is 22 acres!


Photo Credit: @jser.photography

You’ll see plenty of wildlife at Lakeshore State Park, especially songbirds, shore birds, and waterfowl. You may also see grey and red foxes, mink, woodchucks, muskrats, rabbits, coyote and deer. If you walk around the rock prairie at the south entrance, watch out for Garter Snakes. They are not a threat to humans. If you walk near the rocky shores, you may see some Snapping & Painted Turtles and Bullfrogs laying out in the sun.


Photo Credit: @abrianaluther

The park area used to be part of what was once Lake Michigan, but now it is made up of short-grass prairie habitat. You’ll walk among flowering plants like Butterfly Weed, Purple Coneflower and native grasses. The prairie allows for beautiful views of Lake Michigan and provides a vital habitat for wildlife.

Pro Tips

Photo Credit: @mke.theplacetobe

Before or after your hike, stop by the Wind Leaves outside the Discovery World entrance, a series of soaring aluminum columns that rotate with the wind. The Leaves are covered with thousands of stainless steel disks that dance with the wind, creating a kaleidoscope of reflections from the surrounding lake and city skyline. They are surrounded by musical benches that can be played like xylophones and a musical sculpture that you can play by dropping pebbles into it.

Then, head up the stairs at the Art Museum, over the bridge, and into O’Donnell Park, where you’ll find the iconic “The Calling” sculpture & art installations that are a part of Sculpture Milwaukee.

You can also check out the “LOVE” Sculpture behind the Art Museum, located along the lake.

More info

Photo Credit: @remyandthegang

Dogs are allowed, but they must be leashed and under control. Swimming, motorized skateboards, and alcohol are not allowed.

Parking: According to the Friends of Lakeshore State Park, “Free parking is available at the south access road to the Park that starts at the end of Erie Street at the river mouth. Turn left at the end of E. Erie St. Follow the road east under the Hoan Bridge and park on the road shoulder nearest the turn-around at the end of the road.

Near the north entrance, there is limited free parking on N. Harbor Dr. near Summerfest’s north gate, and along Clybourn St. leading up to Discovery World. Parking near the north entrance is extremely limited during the business week and may be closed off during Summerfest Grounds events.

Paid parking is available at the O’Donnell Parking Garage at 910 E Michigan St, across from the Milwaukee Art Museum. Limited paid parking is available at Discovery World during their regular business hours only.”

Related Posts