Although most festivals and major events for this summer are canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, one thing that we can enjoy this summer is a nice day at the beach. With over 1,600 miles of shoreline, there are many Lake Michigan beaches for kids, and Milwaukee is lucky enough to be home to several of them. As summer approaches, here are some great Milwaukee-area Lake Michigan beaches for kids that the whole family will enjoy together.
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1. Bradford Beach (Milwaukee) 2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53211: Bradford Beach is very centrally located and is a long stretch of soft sand, perfect for digging and building. There’s a small parking lot across the street, a snack shack, and three tiki bars on the beach. It is best to enjoy as a Lake Michigan beach for kids early in the day (or even morning) on weekdays, as the parking lot gets full quickly as the day goes on and the beach can be a little less family-friendly as the volleyball courts fill up and the bars get rolling.
2. McKinley Beach (Milwaukee) 1750 N Lincoln Memorial Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202: McKinley Beach is a nice place for families to enjoy playing or picnicking along the lakeshore, though it’s not a swimming beach. There’s a great playground for kids of all ages and lots of swings. There are long stretches of paved trail which are great spots for beginning bikers to practice on a weekday morning, when they’re not as busy. Parking is plentiful in the McKinley Marina Lot and along the street, but it can get busy if there’s a special event. The beach is a short walk from Colectivo if you need a pick-me-up and the view of both Lake Michigan and downtown Milwaukee is awesome.
3. Atwater Park and Beach (Shorewood) 4000 N Lake Drive, Shorewood, WI 53211: Atwater Park is the perfect Lake Michigan beach for kids for a whole day outing. There is a playground with a giant pirate ship at the top of the bluff, and some other play equipment on the beach. The sand is soft, clean, and plentiful- a great spot to bury the grownups! The bluff is steep, and once you’re at the bottom of the walkway, there isn’t a good spot to put a stroller, so consider baby wearing and packing your picnic and toys in a backpack instead of dragging the stroller through the sand. It’s street parking only; be prepared to move your car after a couple of hours or to park a little further away to avoid time limits.
4. Grant Park Beach (South Milwaukee) 100 E Hawthorne Ave., South Milwaukee, WI 53172: Shhh…this Lake Michigan beach for kids is one of the best kept secrets in Milwaukee. The beach is quiet and not crowded. There’s a family friendly snack shack and a play ground. The sand is combed weekly and the water is perfect for swimming. When you are looking for the beach, look for the signs that direct you downhill on a narrow road that veers off Oak Creek Parkway.
5. South Shore Park (Milwaukee) 2900 South Shore Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53207: With a sandy beach, trails, and green spaces, this Lake Michigan Beach is for kids of all ages. This park boasts a large parking lot with boat trailer parking, and the parking lot is right next to the beach, making for easy access. There is a beer garden, too!
6. Klode Park (Whitefish Bay) 5900 N. Lake Drive, Whitefish Bay, WI 53217: This Lake Michigan Beach was designed for kids and families. The park is huge with a great playground, sand pit, and open grass, perfect for kite flying, soccer, or playing tag. There is ample parking all around the park, both in a small lot and on the street. It’s a steep walk down to the beach, so be prepared to have slow moving kid feet on the trek back up. The beach itself is rocky, with a small bit of sand right along the water. It is a quiet, peaceful beach whose small size makes it feel like a private getaway.
7. Doctors Park (Fox Point) 1870 E Fox Lane, Fox Point, WI 53217: This beach is a long trek through the park from the parking lot, but it’s worth it to get to this quiet, secluded beach. It’s perfect for getting away from it all to swim and play in the sand.
If you want to take a day trip, there are many other options for Lake Michigan beaches for kids located outside of Milwaukee, too.
Summer 2020 may not be full of the events that we are used to, but we can still make the most of it with great summer days at the beach. Get out to our local Milwaukee County Parks and enjoy the many Lake Michigan beaches for kids that our city has to offer!