Southeastern Wisconsin is home to hundreds of ponds and lakes, but of course not all of them have public beaches for swimming.
There are a select few in the Milwaukee area, and each of their sandy beaches is a popular summer destination for both onshore and water recreation. They’re the best places for building sandcastles, having a picnic, beating the heat and lazing the day away.
Caution! There are often no lifeguards on duty. Swim at your own risk.
Here are 9 local lakes and ponds that have the best beaches for cooling off this summer:
1. Brown Deer Pond
4920 W. Green Brook Dr., Brown Deer, WI 53223
Located just off the Oak Leaf Trail in Village Park, Brown Deer Pond is a one-acre, chlorinated swimming facility with a sand beach. Maximum depth is 11 feet, but there is also a large shallow water area for young kids. Other features include a diving board, concessions and Red Cross-certified lifeguards. Daily admission fees apply, but individual and family memberships are also available. Dog swims are offered on select dates in August.
2. Fox Brook Park
2925 N. Barker Rd., Brookfield, WI 53045
If you’re looking for a slice of classic Americana, head to Fox Brook Park on a summer afternoon. This man-made lake has a sandy bottom and clean, warm water to swim in. The beach and surrounding park offer many recreational activities, from High Roller boat rentals to fishing and scuba diving. The lifeguards will help keep your little ones safe during on-duty hours. There are also full-service concessions, a well-maintained bathroom and showers nearby.
The Tap Yard Beer Garden hosts fun events and visiting food trucks.
Helpful hint: Take a hike around the mile-long paved trail that winds around the lake. You’ll discover three wildlife viewing areas!
3. Lakefront Park – Pewaukee Lake
222 W. Wisconsin Ave. Pewaukee, WI 53072
Lakefront Park boasts small town charm and quaint shops along the shores of Pewaukee Lake. Spend the day relaxing in the park or swimming in the lake. Stroll down Main Street or across the street to grab lunch or an ice cream cone at one of the local eateries. Free summertime events include live music on Waterfront Wednesdays (6 p.m.) and action-packed waterski shows on Thursday evenings.
Pro tip: Parking is limited right by the lakefront, so plan to arrive early with all of your beach stuff. Additional parking is available a few blocks away at H.C. Koepp Village Park.
4. Menomonee Park
W220 N7884 Town Line Rd., Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Nestled in Menomonee Park and just off the Bugline is the 16-acre Trout Lake, formerly known as Lannon Quarry. The water is clean and clear. There is a swimming area for toddlers and small children, and there are full-service concessions. It’s a lovely place to go hiking, fishing, or camping. Small boats and recreational watercraft are available to rent through High Roller Fun Rentals.
5. Minooka Park
1927 E. Sunset Dr., Waukesha, WI 53186
The largest park in the Waukesha County Parks System offers plenty of family-friendly hiking over hundreds of acres, and you can cool off in the swimming beach and pond. Pack a picnic or order from a food truck at one of the pop-up beer gardens scheduled throughout the summer. You can even bring your pets along to visit the fenced-in dog park. Be forewarned: There are no showers on site.
6. Mukwonago Park
S100 W31900 County Hwy LO, Mukwonago, WI 53149
Swim At Your Own Risk (SAYOR) hours: Sunrise-Sunset, May 27-September 25, 2022
About 40 minutes southwest of Milwaukee, you’ll find Mukwonago Park. This park is typically less crowded and, for a small car fee, you’ll enjoy a swimming pond, hiking trails, a dog park, and campgrounds. There are changing rooms, bathrooms, and a shower at the pond.
7. Muskego Park
S83 W20370 Janesville Rd., Muskego, WI 53150
Hike through the hardwood forests of this peaceful 193-acre park, and swim in the small pond with a swimming beach. Small children will love building a sandcastle on shore or wading in the shallower waters near the beach. Beyond the sand is a grassy area with trees that offer shade for several picnic tables. There is a building nearby with restrooms, vending machines and showers for cleaning off sandy feet before heading home. Also at the park: tent camping sites and horseback riding trails.
8. Naga-Waukee Park
651 Hwy 83, Hartland, WI 53029
Naga-Waukee Park offers swimming in pretty Nagawicka Lake, along with a playground nearby, plenty of camping grounds, and a chance to spot wildlife in their natural habitat. Take a peaceful moment to walk along the boardwalk that runs through the trees and along the lake. There are also showers and vending machines near the expansive, sandy beach.
9. Ottawa Lake
S59 S36630 County Road ZZ, Ottawa, WI 53118
This 17-acre lake is located in Waukesha County in the Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Division, Ottawa Lake Recreation Area. State park fees apply.
You’ll find picnic areas, restroom facilities, grills, a special dog swim area, a boat launch, and more. It is a non-motorized lake, making it great for practicing kayaking, paddle boarding, and other water activities.
There are no lifeguards on duty. Swimmers can use floatation devices.