Lake Michigan. We haven’t yet found a spot that isn’t unique… pebble rock beaches, huge sand dunes, surfable waves, Chicago sailing, and gentle shores perfect for littles. All surrounded by hiking trails and huge trees. It’s always an adventure to get there, but well worth the drive out of the Madison area. Kohler Andrae State Park lived up to the hype and expectations.
Kohler Andrae State Park | 1020 Beach Park Lane Sheboygan, WI
Over 1,000 acres of forest and 2.5 miles of beach front was donated to the state of Wisconsin by the Kohler and Andraes families to make up this gorgeous Lake Michigan state park. The iconic Kohler dunes cordwalk is unique and dreamy. There’s 2 main beach areas – one for humans and another for humans and pets. There’s also miles of hiking trails amongst the dunes and forest along with biking, horseback riding, and campgrounds for both small and large groups. The open/closed shelters and amphitheaters are available for rent as well.
The Sandling Nature Center is currently closed, but does provide a rich history of the wildlife in this protected area. The parks’ geological, indigenous, settlers/pioneers, and marine history is substantial.
Parking, Reservations, and Conditions
Vehicle admission stickers are required and can be purchased online. Rates differ depending on the type chosen. Camping reservations are required. The DNR manages the beach conditions and water temperature. They post the information on their site.
Bookworm Gardens | 1415 Campus Dr, Sheboygan, WI 53081
A vibrant, botanical garden filled with children’s book interactive life size displays. Advanced ticket purchase is required with timed entry.
Lottie Cooper Shipwreck at Harbor Marina | 821 Broughton Dr, Sheboygan, WI 53081
A schooner shipwreck from 1896 that is partially rebuilt on land at the Harbor Marina. It’s free to walk around.
Our Peaceful Afternoon
From Madison, it takes about 2 hours to get to Kohler Andrae State Park. We brought our dog who absolutely loves to swim so we headed straight to the park and didn’t detour along the way, but for a different visit, we would absolutely stop at Bookworm Gardens or the Lottie Cooper Shipwreck. There’s nearby wineries and distilleries to visit, too!
Family vote left us hunkered down at the beach for a picnic and lots of time to wade in the water and play in the sand. Our dog didn’t mind the cooler temps and enjoyed running in the peaceful waves. The water is a bit higher than usual this summer so the beach is smaller. It’s still picturesque and oh so nice to have a gorgeous sandy beach (without sharks) nearby. Maybe I’ve watched too much shark week? And added bonus, you don’t have to travel all the way to the coast.
What’s your favorite Lake Michigan Beach?