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My kind of beach
Four close getaways where you can splash in the water and feel the sand under your toes while your campsite is just a quick walk away

By GUY FIORITA
Photos by Matt Haas

June 2015

One of the great advantages to living in southeast Wisconsin is the easy access to a variety of beaches. As summer takes hold and the water warms up, there is no better way to spend an afternoon than soaking up the sun on the shores of an area lake. The good news is that you donít have to pack up and head home when evening falls. Some of our favorite beaches offer the chance to pitch your tent not far from the waterís edge. Here are a few of our favorites.

Adventure

Kohler-Andrae State Park

Located just south of Sheboygan, the park offers the perfect opportunity to soak up the sun on the 2.5-mile stretch of golden sand beach or create your own adventure among the dunes or the 1,000 acres of forests, prairies and marshland. Follow the boardwalk over Black River Marsh or take a turn at the The Dunes Cordwalk trail, a 2.5-mile hiking path made of boards and rope that includes some unbeatable views of Lake Michigan.

Camping: 125 sites, electric, non-electric, group sites and one tepee that sleeps six. Showers, flush toilets.


 

 

Kid-centric

Naga-Waukee Park

Nagawicka, the lake at Naga-Waukee Park, is an Ojibwa word that means "there is sand," and the beach here certainly lives up to its name. The abundance and quality of the sand make it our top spot for building castles. Add to that the gradual slope of the beach, the shallow water, a lifeguard on duty, plenty of picnic tables and a new playground area, and you have our favorite beach for a family getaway.

Camping: Five reserved group sites, 33 first-come, first-served sites at $16 per night. No electrical hookup, pit toilets, showers.

 

 


Low-key

Ottawa Lake

Part of the southern Kettle Morraine unit, this 17-acre lake has a quiet, low-key feel that is perfect for an afternoon in the sun. The crystal-clear water, with a maximum depth of just 16 feet, has a no motorized boat policy that keeps things calm and quiet. The bubbling spring that feeds the lake near the east end of the swimming beach is a great spot for a relaxing afternoon.

Camping: 100 sites, including 49 electrical sites, two shower buildings, flush toilets. Accessible sites are available as well as a cabin designed for people with disabilities. M


 

Expansive

Pike Lake

Forty-five minutes northwest of Milwaukee, Pike Lake beach gives you a chance to really spread out. The park has more than 500 feet of beach front and nine hiking trails. Our favorite is the climb up Powder Hill, a 1,350-foot glacial kame that is the second highest point in southeastern Wisconsin. The trail begins near the beach and ends 1.1 miles later at a 60-foot-high observation tower with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Camping: 32 sites, electrical hook-up available, two backpack sites, showers, flush toilets, firewood, reservations available.

 





 

This story ran in the June 2015 issue of: