Activities on Southeastern Wisconsin Waterways

Activities on Southeastern Wisconsin Waterways

Our community is full of rivers, lakes, and other refreshing areas for plenty of fun activities on the water all summer! In this blog, we’ll give you a rundown of some our local Wisconsin waterways, as well as suggestions for how to enjoy the water whether you’re a thrill-seeker or looking for relaxation.


Bradford Beach

2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee

When the sun is out, Milwaukee’s Bradford Beach, on the shores of Lake Michigan, is always hopping! Aside from swimming, there’s plenty of room for various beach activities like volleyball, sandcastle-building, and Frisbee, as well as spreading out on a towel to catch some rays.

Milwaukee Urban Water Trail

Various Entry Points

You don’t need to be in the wilderness to explore rivers by kayak or canoe. The Milwaukee Urban Water Trail – made of up the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers that connect to Lake Michigan – offers city dwellers the opportunity to get some relaxation in on the water. This trail can take you anywhere from the majestic Pabst Theater downtown to Miller Park on the Menomonee River to scenic boat marinas on the Kinnickinnic. Don’t feel like putting in the energy of paddling? You can find plenty of guided Downtown Riverwalk tours and cruises with groups online that are available seasonably, as well.

Simmons Island Beach

Kenosha, WI

If lounging in the sand isn’t your thing, Simmons Island Beach in Kenosha has a paved bike trail, two historic lighthouses, playground and open-air picnic pavilion nearby to make the most of your day.

Atwater Park and Beach

Shorewood, WI

Take in some breathtaking views of Lake Michigan from high atop this five-acre park with 800 feet of sandy shoreline. This location has events all summer long as well, including a concert series, July 4th fireworks celebration, and the Shorewood Men’s Club Chicken BBQ. You can also view the mesmerizing Spillover II sculpture by artist Jaume Plensa.

Pewaukee River

Waukesha, WI

The Pewaukee River offers a mix of easy paddling and fun rapids as you go through quiet streams and alongside busy highways.

Fox River

Waukesha, WI

This slow-current waterway meanders through Waukesha, Racine, and Kenosha counties before leading into Illinois.

Lake Country

Oconomowoc, WI

Named for its expansive amount of lakes, Lake Country in Oconomowoc provides access to Oconomowoc Lake, Lac La Belle, Okauchee Lake, Pine Lake, and many more.

For more information on additional lakes and rivers within the state, visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources online.

Suggestions for Water Fun

If you haven’t had many aquatic experiences, here are some ideas for recreational activities out on the water this Summer!

Kayaking / Canoeing – Whether you’re seeking fast rapids or a leisurely coast, you can canoe or kayak solo or with a partner. You can often go to different counties and cities within one trip, allowing you take in your surroundings, whether they by urban or forest-like. Launching points however are specific, so definitely consult the proper rules before jetting out.

Fishing – You don’t need to be an expert in order to have fun with friends and family trying to catch some fish. Whether on a boat or standing on the shore, part of the enjoyment is from connecting with nature and not necessarily what you catch.

Pontooning – Pontoon boats are different from other boats in that they rely on pontoons (airtight, hollow structures) to float. Pontoon boats vary in size – usually 10-15 people can safely ride at a time – and many different businesses close to lakes and rivers rent them.

Tubing – While you can certainly enjoy hanging out on a lazy river on an innertube, getting pulled on one by a fast boat is thrilling, especially for kids!

Water Skiing – If getting pulled out on the water sounds great but you’d like to be upright, water skiing is a phenomenal way to enjoy the outdoors in an exciting way.

Jetskiing – Revving the engine of a jetski out on an open lake is thrilling and refreshing.

Do you have any other ways to enjoy the water this summer? Leave them in the comments below and share them with our Elite community!