No place else in Milwaukee offers such a variety of family fun as the lakefront. From Segway tours and paddleboat rides to custard and coffee, explore these 10 waterfront hotspots this July.
Pick up a burger and shake at Northpoint Custard
You can't go wrong with Northpoint Custard. Located just south of Bradford Beach, this custard stand sells custard, shakes, burgers, fries and more, including cheese curds. The kids (and you) will love The Elvis, a sundae of chocolate custard, peanut butter and banana. Sit on one of the many picnic tables or lawn chairs to take in the lakefront view while you enjoy your food.
Fly a kite from Gift of Wings
Purchase a kite from this colorful kite shop in Veterans Park and then use the open green space to fly it. Gift of Wings also hosts several kite festivals throughout the year.
Rent a paddleboat from Lakeshore Paddle Sport Rentals
Take a one-hour paddleboat ride around the Maritime Water Basin near Discovery World and in the Quiet Water Basin between Lakeshore State Park and the Summerfest grounds. Prices are $8/adult and $6/child ages 1-12. The rentals are available on the south dock of Discovery World. If you go on a weekday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., one-hour rentals are only $5/person.
Play volleyball at Bradford Beach
Enjoy the sand and surf of Lake Michigan at Bradford Beach. This public beach north of McKinley Marina features sand volleyball courts and offers volleyball leagues, including junior leagues for ages 14 to 16. It's fun just to sit in the sand and watch the games, too! The beach also has two concession stands and a beach house.
Grab a bite at Colectivo Coffee Lakefront
Located right on Lincoln Memorial Drive, this Colectivo has lots of outdoor seating with views of the lake. You can catch live music several nights a week, including performances from the Florentine Opera Company on Thursdays at 7 p.m. Also, this Colectivo does serve beer on tap. Prost! The structure itself is worth a look. Built in 1888, this building was used home to the Milwaukee River Flushing Station and still has an active sewer pump.
Rent a bike and explore the lakefront
Whether it's a bicycle built for one or six, Wheel Fun Rentals offers visitors options to bike along the lakefront. At the Veterans Park South location on Lincoln Memorial Drive, you can choose from single, double or triple Surreys, Deuce Coupes, Skelter and Trubo bike and traditional bikes. Rent by the hour for lots of family fun. Bike rental from Bublr Bikes is also available near Discovery World.
Watch an outdoor movie at Veterans Park
Grab a blanket and snacks and head to Veterans Park near Gift of Wings for a free movie. Upcoming movies this summer are 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' on July 9, 'Good Dinosaur' on Aug. 19, 'Zootopia' on Aug. 27 and a double feature on Sept. 6 of 'Galaxy' and 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off.' Movies start at dusk.
Tour the lakefront on a Segway
Not interested in biking the lakefront? How about exploring it on a Segway? Milwaukee Lakefront Segway offers tours that last between 90 and 105 minutes. Riders must be 14 or older. The basic tour of $49 includes training and riding by the Milwaukee Art Museum, War Memorial and Lakeshore State Park. For $65, you can take a historical tour, which takes riders through Lake Park, Brady Street, Villa Terrace and more.
Sail on the Denis Sullivan
Ride on a replica of a 19th century three-masted schooner and see amazing views of Milwaukee's lakefront and skyline. Docked at Discovery World, the Denis Sullivan has special family sails that are offered at a reduced rate. Kids are invited to dress up as their favorite pirate or superhero and are provided a complimentary snack and beverage. A family four-pack is $100. (Regular sails are $45/adult and $40/child ages 3-17).
Explore the North Point Lighthouse
Located north of Bradford Beach within Lake Park, the historic North Point Lighthouse was build in 1855. The Lighthouse is open for tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. Admission is $8/adults and $5/child 5-11. It's free for ages 4 and younger. To climb the tower, children must be at least 5 years old and 38 inches tall. Be sure to explore Lake Park, which includes a playground on the northern end.■
Liz Paulsen is the editor of Metroparent and mom of three beach-loving boys.