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Beach season starts this weekend in Madison

Being surrounded by lakes, Madison has plenty of beaches where locals can cool down during the warmer months.

BB Clarke Beach

B.B. Clarke Beach is tucked away right off of Willy Street. | Photo by 608today

Beach season in Madison runs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

Keep in mind

  • No dogs are allowed on any Madison beaches, leashed or unleashed.
  • Children under five must be supervised by a friend or family member at least 16 years old.
  • Alcohol is prohibited at Bernie’s, B.B. Clarke, Brittingham, James Madison, and Olbrich beaches.


Here’s where to find Madison’s beaches, and some notable info about each:

B.B. Clarke | 835 Spaight St.
Pack light, this beach is at the bottom of a very steep hill.

Bernie’s | 901 Gilson St.
Grab a post-beach bite at the nearby Lakeside Street Coffee House.

Brittingham | 701 W. Brittingham Pl.
Home to a Madison Boat location, concessions, and watercraft rentals are available here.

Esther | 2802 Waunona Way
Little ones can exert their energy at the on-site playground.

James Madison | 614 E. Gorham St.
Engage in some friendly competition on the volleyball court.

608 james madison beach

Serve, set, and spike at James Madison Beach. | Photo via City of Madison

Marshall | 2101 Allen Blvd.
Beach is too busy? Rent a kayak instead.

Olbrich | 3527 Atwood Avenue
Boat ramp, canoe/kayak rental, concessions, picnic tables, and volleyball

Olin | 1156 Olin-Turville Ct.
After taking a dip, dry off with a hike to Turvilles Point, part of the adjacent conservation park.

Spring Harbor | 1918 Norman Way
Beach access may be limited through July due to Mendota Drive construction.

Tenney Park | 1300 Sherman Ave.
For construction of a new park shelter, the Tenney Park beach is closed for the 2024 season.

Vilas | 1501 Vilas Park Dr.
There is now an accessible mat here, similar to the one at Bernie’s Beach.

608 vilas park beach

Vilas Park Beach is near the Henry Vilas Zoo, making the whole area great for a day with the kids. | Photo via City of Madison

Warner | 1101 Woodward Dr.
Between the beach and large public park, you can spend all day at Warner Park.

Water quality

During beach season, Public Health Madison & Dane County monitors water quality to determine if each beach is safe to swim at. The City’s beach page will be regularly updated, indicating if the beach is “Closed or “OK.”

A closed beach just means that locals shouldn’t enter the water, the sand and/or surrounding park area can still be enjoyed.