The state of Wisconsin wants to share a very important message with the world - its beaches are as beautiful as its cheeses. The northern state has an array of impressive scenery that travelers often overlook while seeking a relaxing getaway. In reality, Wisconsin has all the ingredients for a laid-back, budget-friendly vacation. These beaches promise visitors wholly fulfilling days of fun in the sun, with loads of nearby adventure to boot.
10 Schoolhouse Beach
Door County has long been a weekend getaway destination for residents of Wisconsin and Illinois. The region is known for its charming small towns, fruit orchards, and specialty shops. It's also home to Schoolhouse Beach Park, a stunning stretch of shore that might surprise travelers unfamiliar with the area.
The beach on Washington Island is covered in smooth limestone rocks instead of sand, a feature unique to only five beaches worldwide. The waters are crystal clear and twinkle under the shining sun. To preserve the beauty of Schoolhouse Beach, visitors are prohibited from removing rocks. Doing so results in a hefty fine (and possibly gnawing feelings of guilt.)
9 Big Bay State Park
Travelers don't need to venture into the ocean to visit a picturesque island. Madeline Island is the largest of Wisconsin's Apostle Islands. Along the shores of Lake Superior sits Big Bay State Park, where visitors can enjoy a day filled with adventure both on and off the beach.
The beach has everything a person needs - a pillowy, sandy shore, calming waves, clean water, and fresh air. The surrounding area contains trails that carry hikers across sandstone bluffs overlooking Lake Superior. An easygoing boardwalk trail goes through an enchanting stretch of red and white pine forest. The park is a popular destination for birders, as over 200 species call the island home.
8 Point Beach State Forest
Six miles of sand line the Lake Michigan shores at Point Beach State Park. The park tends to be on the quieter side, making it ideal for beachgoers who want to feel like they've got the place to themselves.
In addition to comfy sands, rolling dunes, and soothing waters, the park contains the Point Beach Ridges, a National Natural Landmark. The ridges run parallel to Lake Michigan, formed over thousands of years by the recession of a glacial lake. The area is also surrounded by dense hardwood and conifer forest, with plenty of trails worth meandering through.
7 Simmons Island Beach
Just over the border of Illinois in southern Wisconsin is Kenosha's Simmons Island Beach. The beach attracts tons of Chicagoans looking for some respite from the crowded city shorelines. Two historic and colorful lighthouses overlook Lake Michigan, and an expansive swath of comfortable sand ensures beachgoers have plenty of space to stretch their legs. After a day at the beach, visitors can check out the unique bars and restaurants in Kenosha's super chill downtown.
6 Newport State Park
Like so many of Wisconsin's beaches, Newport State Park is a delightful combination of forest and sand. The wilderness-designated state park protects over ten miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline and often provides visitors with a more isolated experience. Camping is a popular activity among visitors due to the park's designation as a Dark Sky Place. Nothing beats a star-studded sky complemented by the soothing sound of waves washing over the shore.
5 Lion's Den Gorge
Lion's Den Gorge is the best for people looking to bring their four-legged friends on a satisfying beach adventure. The nature preserve features delightful trails through the undeveloped wilderness. Hundred-foot tall bluffs overlook the beautiful blue waters of Lake Michigan. A nice little staircase off one of the trails leads to a small slice of beach where pups can enjoy splashing in the water and barking at the waves.
4 Meyers Beach
Lake Superior is the largest of America's Great Lakes, and its shores are some of the most beautiful. The sunsets over the water at Meyers Beach are as soul-soothing as the stunners in Hawaii. Several sea caves are hidden within the bluffs and ready to be discovered by kayakers who paddle across the calm, turquoise waters.
3 Devil's Lake State Park Beach
Only a short drive from Wisconsin Dells is a natural playground that's been a favorite amongst locals and visitors for decades. Devil's Lake State Park sees nearly three million visitors annually, and it's no wonder why. The lake itself was formed by the melting of large glaciers, resulting in stunning clean water with no visible inlet or outlet. Surrounding the lake are towering quartzite bluffs covered in trees. The most popular state park welcomes rock climbers, hikers, anglers, kayakers, and those who just want to enjoy a casual picnic on the beach.
2 North Beach
The family-friendly North Beach in Racine has been named by USA Today as one of America's 51 Great American Beaches. The National Clean Beaches Coalition also designated the pristine destination a Certified Blue Wave clean beach. To put it simply - North Beach is one of the best in Wisconsin. The gorgeous stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline features sand volleyball courts, clean bathhouses, and a fantastic playground. During the summer, Racine's Beachside Oasis provides concessions and live music to amp up the fun.
1 Baileys Harbor
Bailey's Harbor is a charming town located along the Door County Peninsula. There's not one, but three wonderful beaches worth exploring. For a more wild experience, visitors can head to the Moonlight Bay Bedrock Beach State Park, whose shores are lined with swaths of gorgeous forest. Anclam Town Park is ideal for swimming, and Baileys Harbor Ridges County Park contains lovely boardwalk hikes and historic lighthouses.