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Things to Do on the Kenosha, Wisconsin, Lakefront

Boats docked on the Kenosha waterfront

Boats docked on the Kenosha waterfront

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
Walking along the lakefront

Walking along the lakefront

Trails

The Kenosha lakefront trails offer opportunities for:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Biking
  • Dog Walking
  • Skating

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

A scenic jetty

A scenic jetty

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?

Playgrounds are available

Playgrounds are available

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.

Wolfenbuttel Park

Wolfenbuttel Park

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.

Navy Memorial Park

Navy Memorial 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.

A group of friends picnicking

A group of friends picnicking

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.

Sailboarts docked

Sailboarts docked

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.

Swimming on the beach

Swimming on the beach

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.

Flying kites

Flying kites

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.

You can also feed ducks!

You can also feed ducks!

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.

There are several museums to stop by as well.

There are several museums to stop by as well.

Museums

  • 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.

Lakefront Restaurants to Try

4th of July fireworks

4th of July fireworks

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.

Other Events at Harbor Park

2012 Bristol Renaissance Fair

2012 Bristol Renaissance Fair

What Else Can You Do?