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Lakeside Parks

2013 Summer Guide

May. 23, 2013
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Milwaukee County is known for great parks, which consistently rank among the top 20 park systems in the nation. In addition, several communities in the area operate their own parks. Several of these well-loved spots are along the Lake Michigan shore. For those not interested in taking a dip in the bracing water of the lake, these parks offer much more than beautiful views and sandy beaches.

Atwater Park

4000 N. Lake Drive, Shorewood



Begin your visit by enjoying a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan from the top of the bluff. Then take the sweeping staircase down into this beautiful little lakeside park. Do some fishing from one of the piers, bring a picnic or simply sunbathe on the immaculate beach. Looking for a community event? Atwater has you covered with Shorewood’s annual Memorial Day celebration, Independence Day fireworks, a summer concert band series and the beloved Shorewood Men’s Club chicken barbecue. (Selena Milewski)


Doctors Park

1870 E. Fox Lane, Fox Point



This peaceful park is bordered on the north by the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, and quiet neighborhoods to the south and west. The top-of-the-bluff picnic area and playground are lovely, but the real gem is Tietjen Beach at the bottom of the bluff. Unlike some beaches where crowds like to cruise by in cars to survey the scene, this somewhat hidden beach at Doctors Park involves a decent hike down a paved path, dirt path or stairs to get to the water. Visitors will discover it is worth the effort and, on quiet days, relish the feeling of being on a (nearly) private beach. (Susan Harpt Grimes)


Grant Park

100 E. Hawthorne Ave., South Milwaukee



With 380 acres to explore and a long and colorful history, Grant Park is the perfect place for a summer picnic or bicycle adventure. Sprawled along the shores of Lake Michigan in South Milwaukee, Grant is the second largest park in the county system. Attractions include a large golf course, the historic Clubhouse built in the 1860s, a pristine stretch of beach and the Seven Bridges Trail. Be sure to check out the famed covered bridge that marks the trail’s entrance at South Lake Drive and Park Avenue, but be careful—it’s allegedly haunted. (S.M.)


Klode Park

5900 N. Lake Drive, Whitefish Bay



Bluff top tennis courts, playground equipment and a picnic area connected to the quiet swimming beach by a winding paved path are just some of the great features of Whitefish Bay's lakefront park. New this year: free Wi-Fi! Grab your iPad or e-reader, beach blanket or perhaps a well-stocked cooler, and you're all set for some relaxation at Klode Park. Be sure to note that dogs and grilling are not allowed, so leave Fido and the charcoal at home. (S.H.G.)


Lake Park

3233 E. Kenwood Blvd.



As he did with Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted saw something glorious in the cascading coast he transfigured into Lake Park. This summer, partake in this relatively pristine refuge of beauty and recreation: the waterfall (restored from flooding), shadow-catching ravines, and stunning glimpses and eyefuls of the mighty lake, extending the sprawling bluff to blue infinity. Try perfectly situated Bartolotta’s Bistro, the bowling greens and nifty 3-par golf range. See bronzed Civil War hero Erastus Wolcott, and North Point Lighthouse (now a fascinating museum) from its vertigo tip to its deep history of heroic sailors and lighthouse keepers. Lake Park is Milwaukee’s loveliest inmost leaf. (Kevin Lynch)


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