If you are looking for the best beach in Milwaukee look no further than Bradford Beach. On any given hot summer day in Milwaukee this is the place to be!
Milwaukee has a surprising number of urban beaches, perfect for soaking up some summer fun in the city. There are beaches all along the lake, from the south side of Milwaukee up to Shorewood. The most popular is Bradford Beach, which is one of the largest beaches and is centrally located right outside of downtown.
There are all sorts of reasons to visit Milwaukee in summer, whether it’s for one of the many festivals, especially Summerfest, or just to visit a city with lots of museums, great restaurants, and plenty of exceptional bars. One thing to add to your bucket list in Milwaukee this summer is heading over to Bradford Beach. Read below for a complete guide to Milwaukee’s best beach.
We are complete beach lovers and have been to some of the best beaches in the world and are proud to say Bradford Beach in Milwaukee is our hometown beach. We’ve put together everything you need to know to have the perfect day at the beach in Milwaukee.
FAQ Bradford Beach
- Bradford Beach Milwaukee Address: 2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
- Beach Season: May-September
- Hours: Open Daily, 4:30 am-10 pm, basically sunrise to sunset
- Lifeguard Hours: Daily, 11 am-5 pm (Mid-June through Mid-August)
Where is Bradford Beach in Milwaukee
Bradford Beach is located right in the center of Lincoln Memorial Drive, basically, the main thoroughfare that runs along Lake Michigan. Lincoln Memorial Drive is accessible from downtown, Shorewood, and the east side. From downtown, it should take about five to ten minutes to get over to Bradford Beach.
Parking a Bradford Beach
Once there, there are several major options for Bradford Beach parking. The most convenient is a parking lot directly across the street from the beach. The parking lot is pretty spacious but it fills up quickly, especially on weekends. There is also parking right around Northpoint Custard Stand, and a second near the Milwaukee Yacht Club a bit south of the beach, directly across the street from the Collectivo Coffee on the lake. There is also abundant street parking along Lincoln Memorial Drive.
Bradford Beach Amenities
There is one large restroom in front of the beach, right across from the parking lot mentioned above. Like most restrooms at public beaches, it gets increasingly crowded and dirty when the crowds get pretty big. As a result, the best option is to change at your house or hotel before heading out.
The restroom also provides the best option for going to the bathroom, although occasionally there are nearby port-o-johns, or you can take a small stroll to the Collectivo one of the best coffee shops in Milwaukee, where if you buy an iced tea or coffee you can use their bathrooms. There is also a spot to rent a cabana in case you want an upgraded space for relaxing.
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Food and Drinks at Bradford Beach
There are a few options for food and drinks at Bradford Beach. The most affordable option is attached to the restroom. It basically includes really basic fare, like hot dogs and sodas, but still offers a convenient option. A better option is to head toward the end of the beach where you can try NorthPoint Custard Stand, which serves up some famous Milwaukee frozen custard.
This seasonal restaurant also has a location in the airport and basically serves really delicious burgers, awesome custard, and some really tasty sundaes. On really nice days expect a line, but the wait is definitely worth it.
There are also three tiki huts on the beach. Each one serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, along with basic food options like tacos and ice cream. The tiki bars have stools where you can comfortably sit and enjoy a pina colada. They also have LED TVs in case a Brewers game is on.
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Bradford Beach Activities
Most people head to the beach with one thing in mind – relaxation. If laying out in the sun and getting a tan is your main priority, there is nowhere better in Milwaukee than Bradford Beach. There are other activity options at Bradford Beach, beyond relaxing and sipping a pina colada.
The most popular activity is volleyball. Bradford has forty-three volleyball nets and always draws a crowd, including league play all the way to total amateurs. Many groups show up looking for extra players or for a team to play against, so feel free to hang around to join the fun.
Besides volleyball, Bradford Beach is also enclosed by over three miles of paved walking trails, all of which runs along the lake. If looking for some exercise, this can be a great option, in addition to the outdoor workout equipment a bit north of the beach. Finally, there are nearby playgrounds perfect for the kids.
Bradford Beach Rules
Like any other beach, there are certain rules and etiquette to follow when at Bradford Beach. These obviously include following the open hours, but here are a few others to keep in mind:
- No grilling or bonfires on the beach
- No carry-in alcohol allowed
- Swim in designated areas
- Watch for signs alerting of “no-swim” days based on water pollution
- No glassware allowed on the beach
- No smoking near the bathhouse
- No dogs on the beach
- Clean up your garbage before leaving