Port Washington Town view with lake Michigan

Wisconsin's Most Charming Beach Towns

Visitors from all over the country, and even the globally, come to Wisconsin to experience its abundance of clean, sparkling lakes and rivers. Wisconsin, a state in the upper Midwest, is known for its natural beauty, verdant forests, unique wildlife and gently rolling farmland. Nestled in the middle of all of this are several charming beach towns, which beckon a visit, whether for a day or a month. Whether lounging on the beach or partaking in water adventures, these quaint towns will not disappoint.

Port Washington

Port Washington harbor. Image credit Bradley Baack via Shutterstock. 
 Port Washington harbor. Image credit Bradley Baack via Shutterstock. 

Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, the city of Port Washington is known for its New England-esque charm, historic downtown and various water activities. Fishing enthusiasts can rent a boat or take a tour on a charter boat. Exploring shipwrecks and other things of interest in Lake Michigan on a scuba diving tour is another amazing offering. History lovers will want to check out the 1860 Lighthouse and Light Station Museum, which features a fully restored 19th Century lighthouse, complete with artifacts and stories depicting the light keeper's life.

The Luxembourg American Cultural Center showcases a stone barn that was built in 1872, as well as a window into the lives of its 1800s immigrants.Nature lovers will not want to miss Lion's Den Gorge Nature Preserve, which treats visitors to some of the last stretches of undeveloped bluff land along Lake Michigan.


Farmers market in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Farmer's market in Sheboygan. Image credit Fern M. Lomibao via Shutterstock. 

Nestled on Lake Michigan in the central part of the state, Sheboygan draws visitors in search  of maritime adventures, waterfront activities, outdoor recreation, and the arts. Located 60 miles from both Milwaukee and Madison, charming Sheboygan is the quintessential Wisconsin town. 

During the warm time of the year, take advantage of the city's Lake Michigan location by renting a pontoon or sailing boat, and enjoying a day on the water. For fishing, head to the pier or sign up for a fishing charter excursion.Other water activities include kayaking, canoeing and even diving. 

For those who prefer to stay on land, check out the Parnell Tower, a 60-foot-tall wooden observation tower overlooking the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Boughton Marsh State Park offers 14,000 acres of natural land to explore, as well as 64 campsites.

Two Rivers 

Sandy beach and winter shoreline of Lake Michigan in Two Rivers, WI.
Sandy beach and winter shoreline in Two Rivers. Image credit Barbara Smits via Shutterstock. 

Also located on Lake Michigan, the city of Two Rivers is known as the birthplace of the ice cream sundae. Whether an exciting water adventure or a relaxing beach day is on the docket, this coastal Wisconsin city is a great destination option. 

Take a hike to Two Rivers escape at the Point Beach State Forest, which features miles of sandy beaches, the famed 1856 Rawley Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse overlooks Lake Michigan, and offers campgrounds for those wishing for more than a day trip. Another attraction that is popular among locals and tourists alike is Neshotah Beach.

Angling, shopping and history meet at Two Rivers' Roger Street Fishing Village. The quaint village is home to the comprehensive Great Lakes Coast Guard Museum, which features historic lighthouse and shipwreck exhibits. Climb to the top of the North Pier Lighthouse to get an aerial view of the village!

Lake Geneva 

Lakeside of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Lakeside of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Image credit VinayPathak87 via Shutterstock. 

Just over the Illinois border sits the charming city of Lake Geneva, which is known for its sandy beach, historic downtown, and an annual winter ice castle display. Spend some time relaxing on the beach, admiring the view of Lake Geneva or head out on a thrilling boating excursion! 

If visiting the beach town with family, check out Lake Geneva Ziplines and Adventures, or Safari Lake Geneva, at which kids can view a variety of exotic animals up close! On a hot day, cool off at Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark. Scooter rentals are also available making trips from the beach to boutiques even faster! 

Take a relaxing walk around the Lake Geneva Shore Path, which meanders along the lakefront, passing historic homes and gardens. Also located directly on Lake Geneva, Big Foot Beach State Park, which offers 5 miles of hiking trails, a swimming beach and a campground.


Wisconsin portion of Lake Superior. 2 kayakers.
A kayaker on the Wisconsin part of Lake Superior. Image credit Gottography via Shutterstock. 

The city of Superior is located in the far northwest region of Wisconsin, directly on Lake Superior. Superior and its neighboring city across the bay, Duluth, Minnesota, form a metropolitan area called the Twin Ports. 

Blessed with lush forests and breathtaking scenery, Superior is an ideal vacation destination for people who want to immerse themselves in nature. Relax on a pristine Lake Superior beach, or embark on a fishing, kayaking, canoeing or boating adventure directly from the city's shoreline. Wisconsin Point offers three miles of natural coastline where you can view local wildlife, hunt for shells and beach glass, or enjoy a picnic lunch.

History lovers can check out the city's Fairlawn Mansion, which was constructed in 1890, or spend some time at the S.S. Meteor Maritime Museum. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this museum features a look into the Twin Ports' shipbuilding history and Great Lakes shipwrecks.

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