Discover

The park, formerly known as Harbor Island, is the only urban state park in Wisconsin and is designed to provide an urban oasis with recreational opportunities and outdoor educational programs.

The 22-acre park includes a 1.7 mile trail that connects to the Hank Aaron and Oak Leaf state trails; a watercraft beach area with access for canoes, paddle boats and kayaks; fishing areas and 20 boat slips for vessels up to 60 feet in length with overnight boat camping available.  A bridge connects the north end of the park to the Summerfest grounds and an extension of the land near the American Family Amphitheater connects the south end.

The Park is located in and along Lake Michigan just east of the Summerfest Grounds and immediately south of Discovery World. A “State Park Sticker” is not required, and free parking is available at marked locations and along the road. Follow the road to the end for parking nearest the south entrance to the Park.

Free parking is available at the south access road to the Park that starts at the end of Erie Street at the river mouth. Turn left at the end of E. Erie St. Follow the road east under the Hoan Bridge and park on the road shoulder nearest the turn-around at the end of the road.

Near the north entrance, there is limited free parking on N. Harbor Dr. near Summerfest's north gate, and along Clybourn St. leading up to Discovery World. Parking near the north entrance is extremely limited during the business week and may be closed off during Summerfest Grounds events.

Paid parking is available at the O'Donnell Parking Garage at 910 E Michigan St, across from the Milwaukee Art Museum. Limited paid parking is available at Discovery World during their regular business hours only.

Dogs are allowed in the Park. For the protection of our wildlife and prairies, all pets must remain on a leash no longer than 8 ft in length and under the owner's control. Please clean up after your pet and dispose of any waste in the trash receptacles at the north and south entrances to the Park.

Portable toilets are available at the south entrance to the Park, behind Summerfest's amphitheater, and at the north end of the Park, at the northwest corner of the Summerfest gates. Discovery World has public restrooms that can be accessed during their normal business hours.

Unfortunately, we do not have water fountains or running water in the Park. Please plan accordingly and bring adequate water/juice/soda, and dispose of empty bottles in the trash receptacles at the north or south end of the Park

Grilling and campfires are not allowed in Lakeshore State Park without a permit.

Throughout the year several special events such as marathons, bike competitions and endurance races take place at Wisconsin state park properties. On DNR lands, special events are defined as a temporary use of department property for an activity that is otherwise not specifically allowed or which involves one or more of the following:

  • Exclusive use or closure of all or part of a property;
  • Restricts or limits use of a property by non-participants;
  • Placement of temporary structures or event apparatus;
  • Sale or offering of beverages, food or merchandise;
  • Non-routine services from a department employee;
  • Takes place during hours beyond normal property open hours;
  • Equipment or facilities not otherwise authorized for the proposed public use;
  • Event participation fees.

Special events require a permit. In specific circumstances, the permit requirement may be waived by the property manager. The permit will describe the terms and conditions under which the event will be allowed.

If you are interested in hosting an event at Lakeshore State Park, please give our property manager a call at 414-274-4281. The Park is a popular site for runs and races during summer months. Scheduling with the property manager is recommended a minimum of 2 months prior to the event date.

Lakeshore State Park has become one of the most photographed backdrops in Milwaukee. Scenes from the Park have been used in television shows, publications and phone apps. It also serves as a popular site for wedding, engagement and graduation photos.

Professional photographers* who are hired for a fee and are taking the pictures at the Park do have to get a Commercial License from the Park before the shoot. The fee for the License is $50, and the permit is good for a year from issuance. We also ask that both professional and amateur photographers stay on the trails or mowed grass, and do not enter the prairies. For more information, to obtain a permit and to ensure your planned photo shoot does not conflict with a major special event, please contact our Park manager at 414-274-4281.

*Professional photography does not include ones for personal use (such as vacation photos or 'selfies') in which no monetary profit is obtained.

As part of the State Park System, motorized vehicles of any kind are prohibited. This includes Segways, hoverboards, electric skateboards/scooters, and motorcycles, mopeds and electric bikes when the motor is engaged. ADA approved mobility devices are allowed to ensure accessibility to all visitors.

As part of the State Park System, motorized vehicles of any kind are prohibited. This includes Segways, hoverboards, electric skateboards/scooters, and motorcycles, mopeds and electric bikes when the motor is engaged. ADA approved mobility devices are allowed to ensure accessibility to all visitors.

The consumption of alcohol is not allowed in Lakeshore State Park without a permit.

Fishing and recreational boating is allowed, but unfortunately, swimming is not. The Park was not designed with a public swimming area, and we have no licensed lifeguard on staff. There are many public beaches North along Lake Michigan (a bit of a hike to walk, but only about a 5-minute drive).

Yes. The Park hosts over 50 events each year. In order to ensure availability and compliance with Park rules, please call the Park manager at 414-274-4281 to schedule your event and obtain a permit. We want to ensure your event runs as smoothly as possible, and that we have any necessary preparations done on our part. Information on special use permits can be found online.

As a state park, the seeds and plants are property of the Park and are not allowed to be taken. The seeds help to establish the high plant density you see in the prairies. The flowers are extremely important for our pollinators and migratory insects. In order to preserve state parks & natural beauty for future visitors to enjoy, it is against Wisconsin law to destroy, molest, deface or remove any natural growth or natural or archaeological feature from the parks without a written permit from the Park manager. This law also includes the moving of rocks from the shore into the lagoon (including ‘skipping' stones).

If you have hired a contracted professional photographer, that photographer needs to have a commercial use permit on file at Lakeshore State Park, along with a yearly $50 use fee to use the Park setting. Commercial use permits can be found online.

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, and other flying related activities, including but not limited to, hang gliding, parasailing, hot air ballooning, land sailing, flying model airplanes, or skydiving, is prohibited except where posted for their use, at state parks, state recreation areas, state natural areas, the Kettle Moraine and Point Beach state forests, and the Lower Wisconsin state riverway per Wis. Adm. Code ch. NR 45.04(1)(c).

The Park is open during these times, but parking may be limited due to high volumes of people travelling to the area.

Summerfest and the ethnic festivals use the big lawn area of the Park to ignite their fireworks. For safety concerns, the ‘island' portion of the Park is closed half an hour before the fireworks start, and up to an hour after they end.

Lakeshore State Park is one of few state properties that does not require a vehicle sticker, and does not charge an admissions fee.

There is no camping allowed at the Park. However, we do welcome registered transient boaters to reserve a spot at our docks for up to 4 consecutive days. See more information about boating policies and fees on the Marina page.

I love coming out on the ice in the early mornings. Great fishing year round! Really a hidden gem as far as I’m concerned. I’m hooking brown trout, smallmouth bass, and steelhead regularly…

Drew (Fisherman)

Join us outside and become one of 350,000 people to visit the park each year. Revel lakeside in the scenic sanctuary and enjoy biking, hiking and running, fishing, boating, dog walking, and outdoor educational events. Free to the public and open year-round, activities for kids and adults alike abound.

The beauty of Lakeshore State Park never stops amazing me. The impeccably maintained bike path connects to the Hank Aaron trail to the south and Oak Leaf trail to the north and makes riding a breeze. I sure don’t miss the honking and potholes!

Luke (Bicyclist)

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Visit Lakeshore State Park for a Bonfire and Celebrate the Summer!

Get outside today and enjoy fun family-friendly activities for free!