Guide to Milwaukee Area Beaches

A Guide to Beaches in the Milwaukee Area

Sunrise on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee.
••• Sunrise on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee.   amcimages / FOAP / Getty Images 

Milwaukee is located on the west side of Lake Michigan, and where water meets land one will often find a beach. Warm weather brings the people of Brew City flocking to the lakefront hubs of Bradford and McKinley beaches, but there are other great beaches dotting our shoreline to the north and south as well. But be warned! Taking a dip in Lake Michigan is nothing like sliding into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or diving into a heated pool.

Be prepared for a "refreshing" experience -- especially if you decide to take the polar bear plunge in the middle of winter.

It's always a good idea to check the water quality at any beach before taking a dip. Check out the WDNR'S Beach Advisories for Great Lakes Beaches website for up-to-date beach water quality monitoring data.

Milwaukee Area Beaches

Atwater Beach
Where: East Capitol and North Lake Drive, Shorewood
Atwater Beach is a north shore beach located in Shorewood that can offer a relatively uncrowded visit. Atwater recently underwent a concentrated clean-up effort.

Bender Park
Where: 4503 E. Ryan Rd., Oak Creek
Bender Park is a far southside lakefront gem featuring a safe harbor, boat launch and beach.

Big Bay Park
Where: 5000 N. Lake Dr., Whitefish Bay
Another nice beach tucked away in Whitefish Bay, Big Bay Park is not recommended for swimming, but is great for soaking in some sun on a hot day.

Bradford Beach
Where: 2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee
When it's hot in Milwaukee, the masses flock to Bradford Beach. After undergoing a massive clean-up and concerted efforts by local non-profits, businesses and the County Parks to bring entertainment to this lakeside gem, Bradford Beach is experiencing a renaissance.

Doctors Park / Tietjen Beach
Where: 1870 E. Fox Ln., Fox Point
Nearly 50 acres set on the bluffs north of Milwaukee, Doctors Park is a great place to work off some calories on the hills before you head down to the beach.

Grant Park Beach
Where: 100 S. Hawthorne Ave., South Milwaukee
Grant Park Beach is located in Grant Park (surprise!) in South Milwaukee. Hike the Seven Bridges Trail of Grant Park then hit the cold water of Lake Michigan.

Klode Park
Where: 5900 N. Lake Dr., Whitefish Bay
Located north of downtown Milwaukee in Whitefish Bay, Klode Park offer an uncrowded beach on which to lay a towel in hot weather.

McKinley Beach
Where: 1750 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee
You'll find McKinley Beach south of Bradford Beach on the lakefront. Located on the same stretch of Lincoln Memorial Drive, both are popular warm-weather hang-out spots.

South Shore / Bay View Park Beach
Where: 2900 S. Superior St., Milwaukee
Located in Bay View, south of downtown, South Shore park is a gem of a park with a sandy beach offering beautiful views of South Shore Yacht Club.