When you think of beaches – Wisconsin is probably not the first place that come to mind. BUT. Even here in WI… smack dab in the middle of the country – we do have a lot of great beaches on the shorelines of our lakes! In addition to the regional beaches, there are also neighborhood beaches.
We have compiled Madison, WI area beaches here – if we missed one (or if you have a favorite) please leave a comment so we can add it.
Be sure to also check out Lakeforecast.org which does water quality monitoring and shows open/closed for blue green algae and water clarity.
*While several of these are free to access/use; some may require a fee, including the State Parks beaches.
Fireman’s Park Beach
A beach found in Verona, WI, Fireman’s Park Beach is a family-friendly choice covering about 18 acres of space. The beach offers plenty of fun with fishing, playground equipment, a diving board, a large water slide, splash pad, and more.
Ripley Park, located on the west shores of Lake Ripley, is an 18 acre park privately owned by the Cambridge Foundation and managed by CAP. Ripley Park is open seasonally from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.
This beautiful park has something for everyone! Bring your family and friends to the park and enjoy a day at the beach. Ripley Park is home to two tennis courts, a basketball court, a children’s play structure, 9-hole disc golf course, volleyball courts, and much more.
A neighborhood beach found on Lake Monona, Esther Beach offers great views of the Downtown Madison skyline. It offers a playground, picnic tables and kayak and canoe storage.
Found on the Monona Bay shore, Brittingham Park offers Brittingham Beach. This beach provides plenty of fun with rentals for canoes and kayaks. Brittingham Park also offers fishing, play structure, pickleball courts, sand volleyball and so much more!
James Madison Beach
A beach offering beautiful views and plenty to do, James Madison Beach is found on Lake Mendota. The beach offers picnic tables, a playground, and a volleyball court.
Frost Wood Beach
Another beach found on Lake Monona, Frost Wood Beach is found on Squaw Bay. It’s a heavily wooded park with plenty of shade. You can enjoy picnicking here and swimming.
B.B. Clarke Beach
It’s not the largest beach in the area, but it’s a good choice. B.B. Clarke Beach is found on Lake Monona and offers a playground and a diving float. You can enjoy time at this beach without having to leave Madison, but there won’t be a lifeguard on duty, so swim at your own risk.
Devil’s Lake State Park
Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo is the largest state park in Wisconsin and offers 30 miles of hiking and amazing views. This state park offers plenty of swimming beaches, kayak and standup paddleboard rentals, concessions and much more!
Governor Dodge State Park
A huge state park covering more than 5,300 acres, you can enjoy more than just the beach here. The park offers two lakes and a waterfall, along with bluffs and deep valleys.
Governor Dodge State Park is found in Dodgeville and provides beaches you can enjoy along the lakes. A concession stand is found at the Cox Hollow beach area, along with boat and canoe rentals.
Looking for a place to catch a few rays, play in the sand, and enjoy the cool waters of Lake Monona? Head to Schluter Beach. There’s a small gazebo, grills, picnic tables, a playground, and bathrooms on site, as well as a 35-stall parking lot and a handicap-accessible pier. There is no lifeguard on duty, swim at your own risk.
Pack a picnic and cool off after a day at the zoo! Vilas Beach on Lake Wingra offers a sandy beach and picnic tables.
If you want to enjoy the beach this summer, these are some beaches right in Madison. You don’t have to go too far to find a beach!