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Kenosha, WI Lakefront: Things to Do

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Since the beginning of the new millennium, Kenosha's downtown and Lake Michigan lakefront area has undergone a huge transformation from an abandoned industrial area to an aesthetically pleasing public space. The new Harbor Park combines residential housing with a marina, public museum, parks, and lots of open space. It is a wonderful destination for people of all ages, as there is something here for everyone. There are lots of daily activities as well as special events throughout the year.

Please note that all of the information in this article pertaining to specific events and locations is subject to change at any time without notice.

What can you do at the Kenosha lakefront?

Trails for walking, running, biking, and skating

Find a scenic spot to people watch

Playgrounds

Garden Arbor

Navy Park

Picnic

Boating

Swimming

Kite flying

Feed the ducks

Museums

4th of July fireworks

Other lakefront events

Lakefront restaurants

HarborPark Sculpture Walk: Kenosha, WI

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Trails

The Kenosha lakefront trails offer opportunities for:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Biking
  • Dog Walking
  • Skating

Are you planning a longer outing? Check out the map link on the right to figure out how you can link up to the Kenosha lakefront from other trails in the area.

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Scenic Spots to Relax and People Watch

One of the best aspects of the Kenosha lakefront is there are so many areas to hang out while you people watch, read, listen to music, and whatever else you enjoy doing to relax. All of it is in full view of gorgeous Lake Michigan. What's not to love?

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Playgrounds

There are a couple playground areas along the lakefront that are appropriate for children of a wide variety of ages. There is a variety of climbing equipment as well as swings and slides.

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Wolfenbuttel Park / Garden Arbor

Wolfenbuttel Park, also known as the Garden Arbor, is an ideal spot for photography. Many people like to use this location for weddings, senior portraits, engagement photos, and more. It is also simply a nice area to sit and enjoy the scenery.


Tips For Outdoor Photography With Portrait And Camera Lighting Techniques

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Navy Park

The Navy Park is dedicated to Kenosha's Coast Guard and U.S. Marines. The location for the park is very fitting, as it provides a view of the Kenosha Lighthouse, Marina, and North Pierhead Light. The park includes a handful of maritime artifacts including a torpedo that is no longer activated and an anchor.

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Picnic

There are a number of picnic tables throughout the lakefront area. There are no provided grills, but you can bring your own. The lakefront offers lots of space to spread out for your picnic with blankets and chairs with lots of family and friends.

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Boating

Many people from Chicago, Milwaukee, and many locations in between opt to boat in Kenosha, as it is not as crowded as either of the larger cities. Kenosha has two boat docks: Simmons Island Boat Harbor and Southport Marina. Simmons offers a fish cleaning station, fueling and pump-out, and both seasonal and temporary slip rentals with 24 hour security. Southport has 158 full-serve and 56 limited boat slips. Their facilities include laundry, showers, boater restrooms, winter storage, fuel and pump-out stations, and boat repair. Check out the boating website link for more information about both locations.

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Swimming

There are no beaches in Kenosha with lifeguards. However, there are still a number of areas that offer wide expanses of sand with shallow inclines that are great for swimming. If you're swimming with kids, just make sure that you take extra caution watching them.

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Kite Flying

Beaches can be a great locations for kite flying because of the strong, regular winds. The Kenosha lakefront is no exception. There are a handful of uninterrupted stretches of sand and grass that are perfect for launching your kite.

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Feeding the Ducks

I don't know if there are always this many ducks at the Kenosha lakefront, but the last few times I have been there, the ducks were rampant. There are several ideal places to feed them as well as simply watch them swimming at the edge of the lake. Bring a bag of bread or buns and watch your fingers.

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Museums

  • Kenosha Public Museum. Free admission. Permanent collections of Wisconsin history including the Ice Age, mammoth digs and replicas, Native Americans, and coral reefs. Regular rotation of temporary exhibits.
  • Civil War Museum. General admission: $7. Kenosha/Somers residents: $5. Children age 15 and under with adults and Friends of the Museum members get in for free. Rotating temporary exhibits including art and artifacts.
  • Dinosaur Discovery Museum. Free admission. The Dinosaur Museum boasts more meat-eating dinosaurs in their displays than any other museum in the United States.

Check the museum web sites for current hours and special exhibits as well as upcoming events.

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

Lakefront Restaurants and Hotel

Restaurants

  • Boat House Pub & Eatery. Award winning décor paired with daily specials, excellent sandwiches, and fish specialties. Try the smoked fish or BBQ ribs.
  • Breakwater Bar & Grill. Check out the Happy Hour specials.
  • Frank's Diner. This Kenosha institution is housed in an old train car and is worth the visit. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.
  • Harborside Common Grounds. Homemade sandwiches made to order, excellent coffee and tea selections. Enjoy the deck overlooking the lake.
  • Trolley Dogs. Hot dogs and sandwiches. Ccombo specials.
  • Wine Knot Bar & Bistro. In addition to white and red wines, enjoy appetizers, entrees, desserts, and live music.

Hotel

kenosha-wi-lakefront-attractions-things-to-do

4th of July Fireworks

One of the most well known and well attended Kenosha lakefront events is the annual 4th of July fireworks show. The fireworks are launched from the east end of Harbor Park and can be viewed from a wide range of areas along the lakefront. The fireworks start around 9:30 p.m. Arrive early to get a good spot with your blanket and chairs and consider hanging out afterward to avoid the worst crush of the traffic.

2011 Wisconsin Marathon

Other events at Harbor Park

2012 Bristol Renaissance Fair

2012 Bristol Renaissance Fair

What else can you do in Kenosha?

Wisconsin has so much to offer! Check it out.

Comments

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 03, 2012:

Cyndi, it's Wisconsin, not Michigan, but Kenosha still has a beautiful Lake Michigan waterfront.

tipstoretireearly, yes, for sure! Thanks.

tipstoretireearly from New York on December 03, 2012:

Kenosha's done a tremendous job transforming its lakefront into a scenic area that's great for walking. They deserve lots of credit. Nice hub!

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on December 03, 2012:

This sounds like an awesome place to hang out! If I'm ever up in the Michigan area, I'll take a look at this. :) It sounds great!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 19, 2012:

Thanks so much, Thelma! I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on September 19, 2012:

Beautiful! Thanks for the tour. The photos are awesome. Great hub! Thanks for sharing.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 18, 2012:

Yes, for sure!

agusfanani from Indonesia on September 18, 2012:

A very beautiful all-in-one recreation place.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 18, 2012:

Thanks, Jackie!

BusinessTime, neat!

Sarah Kolb-Williams from Twin Cities on September 18, 2012:

I grew up near Kenosha -- great hub, makes me homesick!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on September 18, 2012:

So beautiful, you really do it justice. Thanks.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 17, 2012:

Thanks! I'm glad that you enjoyed them.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on September 17, 2012:

Thank you for these great ideas.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 17, 2012:

Thanks, Bill! My pleasure. :)

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 17, 2012:

Very pretty area! Thanks for the tour, Rose!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 17, 2012:

Thanks, ercramer! Yes, they have completely transformed it over the past ten years. I hope that you get back to visit sometime.

Eric Cramer from Chicagoland on September 17, 2012:

Beautiful hub with great pictures! I have been to Kenosha a few times, but never knew that they had cleaned up the lake front area so nice. I will have to go back for a vist.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 17, 2012:

Leah and Kelley, you'll have to plan a trip out there sometime so your boys can check out the Dinosaur museum and you can visit the boats. :)

kelleyward on September 17, 2012:

Wow this place looks amazing. My boys would love to fly kites and visit the Dino museum for sure! Voted up, useful, and I love the pics! Kelley

Leah Lefler from Western New York on September 17, 2012:

The harbor in Kenosha is so beautiful - I want to take a stroll and look at all the boats! I love serene, lakeside settings. My kids would really love the dinosaur museum there!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 17, 2012:

That's awesome, Carol. :) My in-laws live in Kenosha, and my husband and I spent a lot of time there when we were first dating, so we also have a lot of early memories in the area. I'm glad that you enjoyed this.

Kelly, this would be a great place to go with your girls!

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on September 17, 2012:

I'd be all about that Rose! Sounds like a perfect place to enjoy taking the girls! I'd love to go boating and fishing and hiking...that's totally my style:). Awesome!

carol stanley from Arizona on September 17, 2012:

Kenosha , Wisconsin has brought back some memories. Many years ago when my first husband was in school and we were very poor..we drove up to play at a golf course there with one set of clubs. Those were good days. It was a lovely city...and your photos are marvelous. Voted UP.