Nature lovers will love the Lakes In Wisconsin. Choose from swimming in Lake Geneva’s crystal-clear waters or enjoying the best musky fishing in the Northwoods while watching eagles soar overhead—more than 15,000 lakes can be found throughout the state.
Take a summer day to go boating on Lake Superior or paddle along the rocky shores of Lake Michigan in Door County. You have a wide variety of lake options in Wisconsin. The lakes cover areas as large as the Great Lakes to just a few acres in some inland lakes, and their depths range from hundreds of feet to just a few feet.
Go to the Northwoods if you want to be in a peaceful, remote area with stunning scenery. If you prefer living in a city, Madison’s surrounding lakes should be a perfect fit. With our list of Wisconsin’s top lakes, you can find a destination that fits your personality.
1. Lakes In Wisconsin: Lake Michigan
If you’re thinking about Wisconsin lakes, you must go to Lake Michigan. One of the two Great Lakes that the state shares a border with is situated on its eastern side, just off the Door County coast.
One of the best lakes in the state for vacations, the Door County peninsula has 300 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Whether you are kayaking around Cave Point, swimming at one of the 53 Lake Michigan public beaches, or scuba diving to see some of the 275 shipwrecks in the waters off Door County, it is the best place to experience the lake.
Milwaukee and Sheboygan are two locations further south of Door County where you can access Lake Michigan and board a fishing charter to go deeper in the water. One of the best lakes for perch and walleye fishing is Lake Michigan.
North Beach, which has 2,500 feet of sandy shoreline close to the city of Racine, is another location where you can take in the scenery and sunsets because Lake Michigan’s shores extend all the way down to southern Wisconsin.
2. Lakes In Wisconsin: Green Lake
One of Wisconsin’s deepest lakes, Green Lake is located nearby the city of Green Lake in the state’s east central region. It should come as no surprise that it is one of Wisconsin’s best lakes for fishing given that it drops to a depth of 237 feet. Anglers visit Green Lake in search of largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, Northern pike, walleye, and trout.
At Green Lake, there are three public beaches (Hattie Sherwood Beach, Dodge County Park Beach, and Sunset County Beach), as well as eight boat launches, one of which is designated for canoes. Six public parks surround the 27 miles of shoreline at Green Lake, making it a fantastic location to plan a day of outdoor recreation. Visit the city of Green Lake for lodging and a meal.
3. Wisconsin Lakes: Geneva Lake
The lovely spring-fed Geneva Lake is a popular location for cottage homes and lovely lakefront resorts because it is one of the most pristine and cleanest lakes in all of Wisconsin. More than 5,000 acres of the crystal-clear lake are available for boating, fishing, and relaxing shoreline activities.
Six public beaches are located close to Geneva Lake, two of which are the swim area at Big Foot Beach State Park and the City of Lake Geneva Public Beach. The state park where you can hike, swim, and enjoy a picnic by the water is not far from the beach.
Geneva Lake is one of the best lakes to live on, so the neighborhood around Lake Geneva is full of charming stores and eateries. Kayaking, charter fishing, and sunset boat cruises can all be started from the Lake Geneva village.
4. Wisconsin Lakes: Lake Monona
The lovely Lake Monona is the center of Madison, the state capital of Wisconsin. The city’s recreation and leisure area is the 3,359-acre lake. What makes it particularly exceptional and beautiful is the backdrop of the capitol dome as you kayak, windsurf, or sit on a park bench to watch the sunset.
Wintertime activities among Madison residents include ice fishing, ice skating, and snowkiting across the lake. There are 18 parks and open areas close to Lake Monona where you can go swimming, boating, or fishing in the summer.
The lake’s many miles of walking and biking trails, combined with Madison’s walkable downtown, make it simple to combine lake activities with visits to other attractions in the same day. There are seven public beaches, five boat landings and launch sites, and these locations are well-liked summertime destinations.
5. Wisconsin Lakes: Lake Winnebago
One of the most breathtaking lakes to visit in Wisconsin is Lake Winnebago, one of the biggest inland lakes in the country. Its approximate 132,000 acres make it the state’s biggest lake.
Lake Winnebago is easily accessible due to its location in Fond du Lac and proximity to important Wisconsin cities such as Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Madison. You can base yourself in one of these cities and take a day trip to the lake.
Lake Winnebago has a public beach where you can swim, as well as 13 public parks where you can go boating and fishing. The High Cliff Escarpment State Natural Area stretches for a mile along the shore of Lake Winnebago. Because of the habitat, you can see some striking limestone cliffs formed by the escarpment, as well as rich forests that are home to numerous fern species and unusual flowers.
6. Lake Pepin
Lake Pepin’s waters are among the most natural in the state. It is a Mississippi River lake that borders western Wisconsin and Minnesota. Waterskiing is said to have originated on the 24,500-acre lake, and water sports are popular.
There are seven boat landings on the lake, but the Pepin Town Landing is the easiest to reach from the village of Pepin. Boating, fishing, and swimming are all popular activities on Lake Pepin. If you are visiting Lake Pepin, there is preserved parkland nearby that is worth a visit.
The source of Lake Pepin is the Rush River Delta State Natural Area. It is a stunning natural area that is well-known for bird watching, but it is undeveloped and lacks facilities for the general public, like restrooms.
7. Devil’s Lake
Devil’s Lake is well-known for its dramatic appearance, which includes 500-foot-high bluffs built by a glacier during the last ice age. The 975-acre lake near Baraboo, Wisconsin, is popular for swimming and sightseeing because the cliffs provide breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. It’s a beautiful location for photography.
Devil’s Lake State Park, Wisconsin’s largest state park, contains the lake. There are two public beaches on the north and south sides of Devil’s Lake. Both beaches have restrooms where visitors can change.
8. Lake Mendota
Lake Mendota is one of Madison’s four lakes and a popular spot for water recreation. Wakeboarding, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, and fishing are all popular summer activities on the lake. The 10,000-acre lake is just as popular in the winter for ice fishing, ice boating, ice hockey, and cross-country skiing.
Around Lake Mendota, there are seven public beaches that are popular with locals. Because boating is a popular activity on the lake, there are 11 launch ramps on various sides for easy access.
The location of Lake Mendota is one of its appealing aspects. It is not only in the state capital, but it is also close to 11 parks, including Governor Nelson State Park, which has eight miles of walking trails, picnic areas, and a sandy beach.
9. Castle Rock Lake
Castle Rock Lake is a massive lake in Wisconsin’s Central Sands Prairie Region. It encompasses over 16,600 acres. The lake’s sandy banks form several beaches along its shoreline.
Castle Rock Lake is best accessed from Castle Rock County Park in Friendship, Wisconsin, which has a boat launch, public beach, playground, and amenities such as restrooms and concessions. There are 300 campsites with easy access to the lake.
Much of the lake’s coastline is still undeveloped, making it ideal for viewing local wildlife, particularly birds such as sandhill cranes, ducks, and herons. Castle Rock Lake is close to Buckhorn State Park and Wilderness Area, which you can visit while you’re there to see more wildlife in its natural habitat.
10. Beaver Dam Lake
Beaver Dam Lake is a beautiful recreational lake in central Wisconsin, just a short drive from Milwaukee and Madison. The man-made lake has nearly 40 miles of shoreline and over 5,500 acres of water.
Beaver Dam Lake has a maximum depth of only five feet, making it ideal for fishing and kayaking. Public launch ramps can be found along the shoreline and at the marina.
While many of Wisconsin’s best lakes are surrounded by forest, Beaver Dam Lake is surrounded by farmland. The lake was named after beavers who built natural dams on the river in the 1800s.