I was lucky as a child to grow up near Lake Michigan. My brother and I spent many a Summer day building sand castles and swimming in the usually chilly (but fun) water. Now as an adult, I realize how amazing it is to live in an area that has so much beach frontage, and it makes me appreciate our state that much more! Beaches and being in nature are a part of who I am, and I always come back from a beach day feeling so relaxed and recharged. That is, until I realize how much sand has made it’s way home with us! But it’s a small price to pay for a little slice of summer heaven. So today I am sharing some of my favorite beach picks that are all about an hour or less from Green Bay. Most are free, but several are State Parks that require a day pass or park sticker to gain entrance. My goal is to visit all of these beaches this Summer. Are you up for the challenge too?
Door County Area Beaches
There are SO many beautiful beaches in the Door County area, but here are a few that are on the top of my list.
Baileys Harbor State Park – 30 acres and approximately 550 ft of Lake Michigan shoreline for swimming and sunning on the beach.
Whitefish Dunes State Park – The State Park features a beach, nature center, and trails through dunes and forests.
Rock Island State Park – This primitive island off the tip of the Door County Peninsula and northeast of Washington Island in Lake Michigan offers hiking trails, the oldest lighthouse in Wisconsin and 2000 feet of beach. Vehicles are not allowed on the 912-acre island, making for an experience unlike any other Wisconsin state park. Stone buildings, built by a wealthy inventor and his family, house exhibits. The ferry to the island runs Memorial weekend through Columbus Day.
Newport Beach – Newport State Park, northeast of Ellison Bay, is Wisconsin’s only formally-designated wilderness park. With 2,373 acres and 11 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, the park offers quiet alternatives to bustling Door County. Explore 30 miles of hiking trails with hike-in campsites. There are evergreen and hardwood forests, wetlands and upland meadows
Green Bay Area Beaches
Bayshore Park and Beach – Cecil Depeau Bay Shore Park, situated atop the Niagara Escarpment, offers a breathtaking view of the Bay of Green Bay. Scenic hiking trails follow the ledge of the escarpment – a geologic formation created 400 million years ago by an ancient sea. A breakwater and boat launch facility with protected harbor are also located within Bay Shore Park. Launching ramps and docks provide access for fishing, sailing, and boating enthusiasts. There is a small beach for rock enthusiasts of all ages!
Ashwaubemay Lake – Ashwaubomay Lake is located within Ashwaubomay Park at 2881 S. Broadway Drive. Ashwaubomay Lake opens for daily operation on Thursday, June 9. Hours of operation are daily from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. with Wednesdays open until 8:00 p.m. The lake will close for the season on Wednesday, August 17. Lake Amenities include: Zero-depth entry, sand beach, 1 & 3 meter diving boards, tube slide, sand & water playground equipment, sand volleyball court, sun arbors, picnic areas and concession stand. There are daily admission fees for this lake. Check the website link for the latest pricing.
Duck Creek Quarry – 100 foot man made swimming hole in Howard. Swim at your own risk.
High Cliff State Park
High Cliff State Park Beach – High Cliff has a swim area. No lifeguards are provided. The bathhouse has flush toilets, showers, changing areas and open shelters.
Kewaunee Beaches – Selner Park Beach located at 616 Lake Street and Father Marquette Memorial Park located at 514 Lincoln St.
Manitowoc/Two Rivers Beaches
The Manitowoc area beaches are about 40 minutes from Green Bay and offer some beautiful Lake Michigan beach footage. Here are my two favorites in this area.
Point Beach State Park and Beach – Point Beach State Forest features 3,000 acres of land and six miles of sandy beach along the shores of Lake Michigan. Point Beach offers family campsites, two large group cabins and an outdoor group camp. A popular feature within the property is the Rawley Point Lighthouse, which has been operated and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard since 1853.
Neshotah Beach – Located between 17th & 22nd Streets, along Zlatnik Drive, this beautiful sand beach has volleyball courts, basketball courts, and picnic areas. There is also a jet ski launch area in the parking lot closest to 22nd Street. Swimming is allowed at your own risk–lifeguards are not provided. Watch for the kite festival held at this beach every year!
Shawano Lake Park – 30-acre site with approximately 800′ of shoreline includes a swimming beach with restrooms/showers, 4 ramp boat launch with center access pier, and parking for approximately 45 car/trailer units. Campground area has 90 campsites with electrical hookups, restrooms/showers, and campfire grills. On-site indoor and outdoor pavilion available for reservation, convenience store, playground, picnic tables, grills, tennis court, basketball hoop, and volleyball court.
Sheboygan is about an hour drive from Green Bay, and it offers some beautiful shore lines and family beaches. Here are two of my favorites.
Kohler Andrae State Park
Kohler-Andrae State Park is the home of majestic sand dunes, miles of golden beach, and the shimmering blue Lake Michigan water. This beach has the largest dune complex along Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan coastline and the unique wetlands within the dune complex provide habitat for many rare plants, some of which are only found on Great Lakes shorelines. More than 150 bird species have been spotted within the park, including many species of waterfowl and shorebirds and more than 20 species of warblers.
North Beach Sheboygan
The North Beach offers a beautiful trail just above the beach area. Deland park is located on the beach and includes a shelter and restrooms. On a calm day you can walk out on the pier to the Sheboygan lighthouse.