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Top 7 Best Beaches in Milwaukee

Most people don’t think of fabulous beaches when Milwaukee comes to mind, even though the city is located right on the shores of Lake Michigan. It may come as a bit of a surprise that Milwaukee and some of the surrounding suburbs have some really great beaches that are perfect for summer fun.

Some of the beaches in Milwaukee are a bit more laid back, perfect for some relaxation, while others are a bit more high-energy on especially beautiful days, with volleyball games and groups of college students having some drinks. Read below for a quick guide to the best beaches in the Milwaukee area.


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1. Atwater Beach

Located in Shorewood, Atwater beach is an enjoyable spot for reading, catching some nice views, or just wasting a Sunday afternoon away with your feet in the sand. The beach itself is surprisingly large, especially since you barely see it from the ledge.

Atwater Beach is part of Atwater Park, which is right at the intersection of Capitol Drive and Lake Drive. There is only street parking available. Once you arrive, prepare to head down a large wooden stairway to stake your spot out on the beach. The hidden away beach rarely feels too crowded, making it especially ideal for kids.

girl on Bradford Beach in Milwaukee

2. Bradford Beach

Bradford Beach is Milwaukee’s largest and most popular beach. Located within minutes of downtown on Lincoln Memorial Drive, Bradford Beach is surprisingly expansive, and given its popularity, gets pretty crowded especially on weekends, though there is almost always a quiet corner for a little peace and relaxation.

There is a  free parking lot across the street, a public restroom area with a quick service food stand, and the beach has permanent tiki bars perfect for grabbing a drink. If volleyball is your thing, then try and grab a group since Bradford has plenty of nets set up for play. Be sure to also check out Northpoint Custard Stand for one of the best burgers in Milwaukee and some refreshing frozen custard, located right on the edge of Bradford Beach.


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3. Doctor’s Park, Tietjen Beach

Doctor’s Park is a beautiful nature retreat in Fox Point, which is about twenty minutes from downtown Milwaukee. With plenty of parking, a trip to Doctor’s Park is an easy retreat from city living.

The park features plenty of walking trails and a playground that’s great for kids. There is also a lengthy paved trail that leads down a bluff to Tietjen Beach. The trail is pretty long, so be sure to pack lightly or to bring a wagon with supplies. The beach itself is a blend of sand and pebbles and is large enough that it never feels too busy. Head north of the city and enjoy your day at Tietjen Beach in Doctor’s Park.


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4. Grant Park Beach

If Bradford Beach is the most popular beach in Milwaukee given its proximity to downtown, then Grant Park Beach is definitely the second most popular beach in Milwaukee. Located on Milwaukee’s south side, Grant Park is a sprawling gem of the Milwaukee park system, with numerous walking trails, various event spaces, a golf course, and a really great beach.

With occasional live music, plenty of gorgeous sand, and enough space for people to spread out, Grant Park Beach basically feels like going on vacation. There is also a great restaurant and custard spot right next to the beach, Ferch’s Beachside Grille, with plenty of affordable and tasty food options, custard, and cocktails. There is also a convenient parking lot, making your vacation-worthy day at Grant Park Beach a breeze.

5. Klode Park Beach

Klode Park sits right on the lake in Whitefish Bay, a quaint suburb located just fifteen minutes from downtown Milwaukee. The park has tennis courts and a really great playground that kids from the area absolutely love. There is also a beach located beyond the bluff of the park.

There is a paved walking trail and a wooden staircase to get down to the beach area. While the beach isn’t very large, there never are too many people so you can still find a relaxing spot to spend part of the day. There are also plenty of large grass areas ideal for a picnic or catching some sun off the beach. The park features a convenient parking lot making Klode Park Beach an easy destination on a weekday or weekend.

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6. Mckinley Beach

Mckinley Beach provides a great alternative to the more popular and crowded Bradford Beach. Mckinley Beach offers the same parking options as Bradford Beach, but is a five-minute walk south of its more popular neighbor, Bradford Beach. Mckinley is definitely smaller but still boasts really nice sand, fabulous views, and a more quiet and relaxing atmosphere when compared to Bradford.

There are also fewer amenities at Mckinley Beach, so if tiki bars and volleyball nets are for you, head a bit north. There is a nearby playground for the kids, and tennis courts right across the street. For a more relaxing day at the beach in downtown Milwaukee, head over to Mckinley beach.


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7. South Shore Park Beach

South Shore Park Beach is one of those Milwaukee best-kept secrets. Located in the popular Bay View neighborhood, South Shore Park has a great beer garden, plenty of green space, a great paved walking trail along the lake, and a small but really endearing beach.

The sand is nice, and although it draws a local crowd on weekends, during most of the week you will never have trouble finding a comfortable spot for some relaxation. The beach also has great views of downtown Milwaukee, making it a perfect spot for snapping photos. Head to Bay View and waste away an afternoon at South Shore Park Beach.