Pack your swimsuits and hiking boots and get ready to feel the sun on your face. Lake Geneva offers a failsafe way to get your beach and nature fix. With several public beaches and parks that are easily accessible to visitors, out-of-towners have endless options on how to spend their days. From kayaking along the lake, to diving off a dock, to hiking along a trail, here’s your guide to the area’s best beaches and parks.
Name: Riviera Beach
Location: Wrigley Drive in Lake Geneva.
Best for: Families, Riviera Beach is a designated kid-friendly area where alcoholic beverages are not permitted, keeping the beach a low key environment.
About: Riviera Beach is an oasis with sandy white beaches, sparkling clear water, and scenic views far across the lake. For a slightly different perspective, swimmers take respite on the assembled docks located just a few feet from shore. A bathroom and washroom facility are conveniently accessible to beachgoers. Purchase a seasonal summer pass or a daily wristband. Children younger than six years old get in free.
Open: Summer months (Memorial Day to Labor Day). Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Name: Williams Bay Beach
Location: In Williams Bay, an approximately 10-minute drive west of Lake Geneva.
Best for: More secluded location and privacy.
About: This lesser known beach provides a laid-back environment with shaded areas, soft grasses and towering trees. Williams Bay Beach is a designated kid-friendly beach, complete with floating buoys at different distances, alerting families to the various depths of the water. There is a daily admission fee; children under five get in free.
Open: Summer months. Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Name: Fontana Beach
Location: In Fontana, an approximately 20-minute drive west of Lake Geneva.
Best for: Beach access with small-town feel and kayaking.
About: Fontana is a small village nestled right next to Geneva Lake, with cafes and shops just steps from the beach for that after beach experience. While sunning or swimming in the lake, guests may glimpse some of the famous historical mansions that line the banks. Want to explore the lake by boat? You’ll find a kayak rental facility (Fontana Paddle Company) located nearby.
Open: Summer months. Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Location: Lake Shore Drive in Lake Geneva, an approximately 10-minute drive from downtown.
Best for: Access to wilderness for hiking and camping. Pet friendly beach destination.
About: Looking to kill two birds with one stone by getting a beach and wilderness experience? Just head over to Big Foot Beach State Park with its own sandy white beach strip and park area surrounded by dense forests and campsites. Right across from the beach, guests can access a fire pit and picnic tables. Camp overnight in the park’s designated campsite to watch the sunset over the lake and sleep under the stars.
Open: Year-round. Open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Location: Fontana, an approximately 20-minute drive west of Lake Geneva.
Best for: Rare plant sightings.
About: Located off Highway 67, Duck Pond Recreational Area is a little-known conservation area of up to 10 acres. The center is home to some of the rarest plants in the world due to its unusual prairie-like wetlands, including the calcareous fern. There are three separate walkways for exploring the center and seeing the flora, fauna, and an idyllic landscape of gazebos and bridges.
Name: Flatiron Park
Location: Wrigley Drive in Lake Geneva
Best for: Festivals and live shows.
About: Nestled by Geneva Lake, Flatiron Park is a popular area with scenic views of historic houses in the distance and its own outdoor pavilion. Plan ahead to come by on Thursday nights for free music concerts on the lawn (only hosted during summer) or catch some of the many summer events held here, such as Art in the Park and Lake Geneva Jaycees Venetian Festival.
Name: Seminary Park
Location: South Lake Shore Drive in Lake Geneva.
Best for: Family and group outings.
About: Looking for a place to grill hot dogs, have access to public boat docks, and enjoy the warm sun? Then Seminary Park in Lake Geneva is your place. Located in the downtown area of the city, the park is walking distance to the lake, as well as shops and restaurants. Bring the kids, the park has its own impressive playground with nearby picnic shelters, complete with public grills that are ideal for family reunions or group gatherings.
Location: Williams Bay, an approximately 10-minute drive west of Lake Geneva.
Best for: Gorgeous gardens.
About: Take a stroll around Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy to find a wide array of rich vegetation. Expect to see a cluster of geranium flowers, tall oak trees, hilly meadows and more in this 231-acre park. Lore has it, the area was once inhabited by the Potawatomi people and the center honors them by preserving this site with the original Indian name for clear waters. Visitors can explore four-miles of hiking trails and lush landscapes of wetlands, meadows, forests and prairies.
White River County Park photo by Lynn M. Ketterhagen
Name: White River County Park
Location: Sheridan Springs Road in Lake Geneva.
Best for: Hiking along a river
About: At 200 acres wide, White River County Park is a natural marvel where visitors can hike along a river surrounded by deciduous forest. The walking trail goes on for five miles, giving hikers a fantastic glimpse of untamed wilderness. This newly-developed and protected park is currently undergoing plans to build a nature center and several shelters to provide a more fun and educational environment for visitors.