On the Water

Set on the coast of Lake Michigan and at the confluence of three rivers, Milwaukee is truly a water city – even the United Nations has recognized us as an international hub for water research and technology! But more importantly for you, all that water sets the stage for unbeatable outdoor fun.

Bradford Beach (2017) by VISIT MilwaukeeVISIT Milwaukee


The “Fresh Coast” has a sandy summertime scene that might surprise you! Milwaukee is home to 1,400 acres of beaches and parkland adjacent to the water, including Bradford Beach, located downtown, which was named one of Travel Channel's top 11 city beaches.

Sailing on Lake Michigan (2018) by VISIT MilwaukeeVISIT Milwaukee


Get out on the Lake Michigan with Captain Bob of Sea Dog Sailing for public day and sunset sails.

S/V Denis Sullivan (2018) by VISIT MilwaukeeVISIT Milwaukee

Set Sail!

Maritime history buffs can sail in period style aboard the S/V Denis Sullivan, the world’s only recreation of a 19th century three-masted Great Lakes schooner and the official tallship of Wisconsin; sit back and enjoy the ride, or become part of the crew and take a turn at the helm! 

Lake Michigan Surfing (2017) by VISIT MilwaukeeVISIT Milwaukee

Surf Milwaukee

Surf’s up! Milwaukee probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think about hanging ten, but Lake Michigan is home to a vibrant and growing freshwater surfing scene. Keep your eyes peeled - surfers tend to congregate on Atwater Beach on windy days.

Ice Fishing (2018) by VISIT MilwaukeeVISIT Milwaukee


Milwaukee is a four season destination. Year round fisherman can be spotted along the lakefront. The summer is filled with charter fishing for salmon, trout, and more. In the fall, head down to the harbor gaps at the lakefront to see salmon gather before heading upstream for their yearly salmon run. Or bundle up in the winter for ice fishing in the frozen harbor. 

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (2017) by VISIT MilwaukeeVISIT Milwaukee

Lake Views

Explore nature across Schlitz Audubon’s 185 acres, from the turtles living in Mystery Lake to the 60-foot observation tower with beautiful views of Lake Michigan. The 6 miles of trails include wheelchair-accessible routes as well as sandy routes to the beach. During summer, enjoy guided hikes with a Nature Ambassador each weekend at no extra charge.

Kayaking on the Milwaukee River (2017) by VISIT MilwaukeeVISIT Milwaukee

Paddle On

Aquatic adventure doesn’t stop at the lake. Explore Milwaukee’s rivers in a kayak, canoe, or SUP from Milwaukee Kayak Company; no experience is necessary – they’ll get you ready to go and offer up a map of recommended routes. You can also join in on guided treks, including the popular sunset paddle! Brew City Kayak is another option for paddlers of all kinds. Rent your kayak or SUP to explore at your own pace, or join a tour to learn more about the history of Milwaukee from a unique perspective.

RiverWalk (2017) by VISIT MilwaukeeVISIT Milwaukee


Want an easy, scenic way to explore the city on foot? The Milwaukee RiverWalk winds through the heart of the city, tying together three distinct riverfront neighborhoods — the Historic Third Ward, Downtown, and Beerline B – and bringing you to the doorstep of some of the city’s best restaurants, brewpubs, shops, and nightlife. Plus, enjoy an outdoor sculpture gallery along the way.

Milwaukee River Challenge (2016) by VISIT MilwaukeeVISIT Milwaukee

River Challenge 

Competitive rowing teams from across the nation head to the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers for this annual race. Grab a spot on the RiverWalk or one of the bridges spanning the river to cheer on the racers.

Lakefront Brewery (2018) by VISIT MilwaukeeVISIT Milwaukee

Brewery Crawl by Water

Did you know you can enjoy Milwaukee's craft beers...by river? Take a guided kayaking beer crawl from MKE Tours or plan your own route - start at the public docks outside Lakefront Brewery and paddle your way through downtown to the Historic Third Ward for another brew.

Milwaukee River (2017) by VISIT MilwaukeeVISIT Milwaukee

Boat Tours

Milwaukee is a city on the water! Built along the lakefront of Lake Michigan with the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers weaving throughout the city, you won’t want to miss the unique opportunity to see a city from a whole new vantage point: water-level! Sightseeing tours, cocktail cruises, and even concerts take place on cruises down the Milwaukee River and out into the harbor.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Milwaukee: Fiercely Independent, Wholly Unexpected
From custard to contemporary art, murals to Lake Michigan
View theme
Google apps