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  • Writer's pictureThe Tacky Tourist

Madison Beaches

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

The summer of 2021, I made it a goal to visit all the Madison beaches! It then turned into seeing every park that sits along a Madison area lake. So here is a list of every place YOU can check out to enjoy these amazing lakes any time of the year!


Please be aware that during the Winter season (October-April) bathrooms may be closed and parking along streets may be limited if any. These parks are all still great to visit year round, as the changing seasons brings a changing scenery.


Lake Mendota Beaches


Picnic Point Beach

About a 5 minute walk from parking, part of the UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve [Bathrooms, Pay to Park, No Filter]

Spring Harbor Beach Park

Small beach hidden within the Spring Harbor naighborhood. [Bathrooms, Parking on Norman Way, No Filter]


Marshall Park

Nestled along Middleton, the park has a variety of opportunities including boat rentals [Bathrooms, Parking Lot, No Filter]


Mendota County Park

Right off of Hwy M, Seasonal campground [Bathrooms, Filter, Parking Lot]


Governor Nelson State Park

Perhaps the largest beach with a fading view of Downtown Madison [Bathrooms, State Sticker Required, No Filter]

Warner Park

Just outside the main part of the park on the Northside of Madison [Bathrooms, No Filter, Parking]


Beach Park

One of the best views of the downtown area within the Maple Bluff Community. [Bathrooms, Small Parking Lot, No Filter]



Tenney Park

A gorgeous park with a large variety of amenities. [Bathrooms, Parking Lot, No Filter]


James Madison Park

A busy park near the downtown area [Bathrooms, No Filter, Parking Lot to the West]


Lake Mendota Views-No Swimming


Picnic Point

Part of the UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve. There is a beach on the North end of Picnic Point, but the rest is a gorgeous walk for lake views. [Bathrooms, Pay to Park]


Raymer's Cove

Hidden in the Northwest portion of the UW-Madison Lakshore Nature Preserve [Limited Parking, No Bathrooms]


Giddings Park

Small access to the lake. Huge lawn and limited parking. [No Bathrooms, No Parking]


Burrows Park

Grab some Banzo and come watch the boats come on and off the lake. [Bathrooms, Parking Lot]


Wakanda Picnic Area

The Southern part of Governor Nelson State Park, Wakanda Picnic Area has its own parking lot, mysterious buildings, a pit toilet, and a small view of the downtown area. It also leads into a hiking trail starting with a Panther Mound. While called a picnic area, there were no picnic tables available at my visit. [Bathrooms, Parking-WI State Sticker Required]


Merrill Springs Park

View the lake near a spring cistern built in 1934. [No Bathrooms, No Parking]


Tenney Park Lock and Dam

Tenney Park also has a beach but the lock and dam portion of the park is worth the visit to walk out and view the skyline. [Bathrooms, Parking Across at Tenney Park]



Lake Monona Beaches


BB Clark Beach

A popular beach along the downtown area. You can't see the Capital from the shoreline, but a nice side view of Monona Terrace. [No parking lot-available along the street, Filter, Bathroom]


Esther Beach Park

One of the best views of Madison's skyline. [Parking Lot, Newer Bathrooms, No Filter]


Frost Woods Beach

Small beach disconnected from the full "Frost Woods Park". Lots of wildlife was there during my visit. [Parking Lot, No Bathrooms, No Filter]


Schluter Beach

A popular spot for Monona swimmers. Across the street is the Monona Bait and Ice Cream Shop, a perfect stop for lunch or beach day treat. [Filter, Bathrooms, Parking Lot]


Olbrich Park

Everyone in Madison is familar with Olbrich Park. It is no small park. Besides a beach, it also has multiple recreation opportunities, the Olbrich Biergarten, and the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. [Parking Lot, Bathrooms, No filter]


Monona Bay Beaches


Bernie's Beach

Amazing view of Downtown. Be sure to grab a snack and coffee from Lakeside St Coffee House [Bathrooms, Parking Along Street, Filter]


Brittingham Park

A great walking path through the park, shelter, and Brittingham boats is available for rentals. [Bathrooms, Parking Lot]