Bradford Beach is just one of Milwaukee's great beaches.
Bradford Beach is just one of Milwaukee's great beaches. (Photo: Erika Kent)

A quick guide to Milwaukee's best beaches

In the depths of February, perhaps you are like me. I retreat. I frown. I ask myself, "Why don’t I live in a warmer place where I wouldn’t slip on the ice, drive into a ditch in the middle of a snowstorm, or acquire a Vitamin D deficiency? No really – Why?" And then that first warm day in April (or May) emerges, and I’m like a silly schoolgirl in love again. It’s like February never happened.

Perhaps because we know the alternative too well, we Milwaukeeans truly savor our hot summer days, and we flock to the beach in droves to celebrate our beloved city on a lake. Here is a quick guide to some of Milwaukee County’s best beaches, so you can soak them up enough to last the whole year round.

Listed north to south.

1. Doctors Park / Tietjen Beach (1870 E. Fox Ln., Fox Point): Located north of downtown Milwaukee in Fox Point, Doctors Park boasts nearly 50 acres of beauty on a bluff. Above, you’ll find a playground and practice fields. Take a paved trail, stairs, or a dirt trail down to the beach.

2. Klode Park (5900 N. Lake Dr., Whitefish Bay): Located north of downtown Milwaukee in Whitefish Bay, Klode Park offers breathtaking views, a winding path down to the beach, and a playground for the kiddos.

3. Big Bay Park (5000 N. Lake Dr., Whitefish Bay): Another pleasant beach tucked away in Whitefish Bay, Big Bay Park features a path to the beach and a scenic overlook of the lake.

4. Atwater Beach (East Capitol and North Lake Drive, Shorewood): You can't see the best parts of this beach from the street, so you'll have to head down the steep set of stairs to enjoy the open area to run and play. Don't miss the impressive sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa of a contemplative man overlooking the beach.

5. Bradford Beach (2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.): Defining the classic beach day in Milwaukee, Bradford Beach offers volleyball, upbeat crowds and custard at North Point Snack Shack.

6. McKinley Beach (1750 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.): Grab a Berry Booster smoothie from Alterra on the Lake and head north to McKinley Beach. It's less crowded than Bradford Beach and has a playground to wear out the little ones.

7. South Shore Beach (2900 S. Superior St.): Nestled in Bay View, this beach offers beautiful views of South Shore Yacht Club, a playground and a large park with picnic tables and a sand volleyball court.

8. Grant Park Beach (100 S. Hawthorne Ave., South Milwaukee): Head to South Milwaukee to hike the Seven Bridges Trail of Grant Park, and end with a dip in the lake.

9. Bender Park (4503 E. Ryan Rd., Oak Creek): One of the County's newest parks, Bender Park features a harbor and a boat launch. There are some rumors that it's haunted, so proceed with caution!


egranum | May 25, 2013 at 4:48 p.m. (report)

I love Lake Michigan, but how about some inland beaches? Of those I'm familiar, Pewaukee has the best.

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