Madison Parks has some of the best lake views in the area with beaches located throughout the city. Seasonal lifeguard service is provided at select beaches, beginning in June and continuing into early September at select locations. See below for specific days and times for each location.
BEACHES with multiple lifeguards
BEACHES with a single lifeguard ( through Sunday, August 18)
• BB Clarke, daily 11am to 7pm (through Monday, September 2)
• Olbrich, Wed. - Sun., 11am to 5pm (through Sunday, August 25)
• Tenney, Wed. - Sun. 11am to 5pm (through Sunday, August 25)
• Vilas, daily 11am to 7pm (through Monday, September 2)
• Bernie's, Friday - Sunday 12 to 4pm
• Esther, Friday - Sunday 12 to 4pm
• Spring Harbor, Friday - Sunday 12 to 4pm
• Warner, Friday - Sunday 12 to 4pm
No lifeguard is on duty, if the beach is listed as closed due to the water quality, tested by Public Health Madison & Dane County
, the weather or other factor.
WATERCRAFT RENTALS & MORE
(see also Canoe & Kayak Rentals
• Brittingham Park: Madison Boats
• Olbrich Park: Rutabaga Paddlesport
• Marshall Park: Madison Boats
BEACHES with no lifeguard service
• Brittingham • James Madison • Marshall • Olin
2019 Beach Conditions:
Thank you for your patience as we continue to recover from last year's flood. We are working to secure proper permits to replenish the sand at our beaches. We anticipate this work happening in early July. Please continue to enjoy the beaches in the meantime.
FAQ: IF A BEACH IS CLOSED DUE TO THE WATER QUALITY, IS THE PARK STILL OPEN?
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Yes. Water quality testing is performed by Public Health Madison & Dane County
Memorial Day to Labor Day. If a water test shows concerning results, the beach is listed as closed until bacteria or blue-green algae levels decline. During this time, there is no lifeguard service and you are advised to avoid the water. The park remains open to the public for other activities. It is also advised to avoid the water after heavy rainfall. MORE INFORMATION
Public Health Water Testing:
2802 Waunona Way
Picnic Tables, Playground
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 12:00pm - 4:00pm, 06/14/2019 - 08/18/2019
Canoe & Kayak Launch Site
Madison Parks offers various locations to launch a canoe or kayak and is allowed at all of Madison Parks motorboat launch sites. Additionally, the parks listed below have a specially designated area for launch.
If you are looking to store your kayak or canoe in a park, please visit the storage webpage
James Madison Park pier update (07/31/19)
: The pier at James Madison Parks sustained significant damaged during the flood of 2018 and was removed. Due to FEMA regulations and approvals, the replacement of this pier has been delayed. Unfortunately, we do not have a timeline for its replacement.
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Canoe & Kayak Storage
New Watercraft Spaces Available (07/30/19)
We have new watercraft storage spaces available at Vilas, Warner, and Olin. Call (608) 266-4711 or EMAIL to reserve yours!
Watercraft Storage Spaces
Explore Madison's beautiful lakes, rivers, and creeks by paddle and store your canoe, kayak or paddleboard on the shores of your favorite park. All storage racks are outdoors and uncovered. The annual storage period begins each year on April 1 and ends on March 31 of the following year.
How to Reserve:
2019 Storage costs
- You may be placed on our waitlist at no charge by call (608) 266-4711 or EMAIL.
- Current users will be able to renew their boat storage for 2019 beginning in February 2019. All current users must renew or vacate before April 1, 2019.
- As spaces become available, those on the waitlist will be contacted after April 1 and given the opportunity to reserve a space.
$110 Madison Resident
Watercraft storage rules include:
If you believe your watercraft has been stolen or removed by Parks staff:
- Watercraft must not exceed 80 pounds, 18' length, 42" width or 24" height.
- Storage is for permitted watercraft only. No personal property.
- Only one watercraft is allowed in each space.
- Watercraft must be secured to the boat storage rack. Owner accepts all liability for theft or damage to their property.
- Parks Staff reserves the right to cut any lock and remove any watercraft, under any condition it deems necessary for the function of the boat storage program.
- See agreement for complete rules.
Call a Park Ranger to report at (608) 235-0448.
Additional storage may be available at the following:
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View all Fishing
Wisconsin residents aged 16 years old or older need a fishing license to fish in any waters of the state. Nonresidents aged 16 years old or older need a nonresident fishing license to fish in Wisconsin waters with hook and line. Visit the Wisconsin DNR website
for more information.
Every year, the first consecutive Saturday and Sunday in June and the third Saturday and Sunday in January, are designated as Free Fishing Weekends throughout the state of Wisconsin. Residents and nonresidents of all ages can fish without a fishing license (and trout stamps) over these two days. Visit WI DNR
Parking lots are available in these parks for the programs or events in these parks. Parking lots are available from 4:00 am to 10:00 pm. Overnight parking is not allowed. Parking regulations specific to that park are posted at the entrance of the park.
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Madison Parks offers smaller picnic shelters that may be reserved for exclusive use or are available on a first-come, first served basis when not previously reserved. Please call (608) 266-4711 to check availability and reserve your favorite shelter. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm.
2019 FEES & PERMITS:
- Additional large shelters are reservable online (except Gates of Heaven)
- Madison Parks does not guarantee absolute privacy to any group. Your reservation will reserve only the facility you are using, not the entire park or other facilities within the park. If you are interested in reserving the entire park, please visit Special Events.
- Alcohol is permitted in most Madison Parks. There are a handful that are alcohol-free. In order to have alcohol in these parks, you must have a reservation and an alcohol permit, which can be obtained when placing a reservation.
- All picnic shelters are open year-round, however, if the picnic shelter has restrooms, these are open seasonally (closed winter/cold months).
- Firearms or weapons are not permitted at any of the shelters. Violators may be considered trespassers and may be subject to forfeiture or arrest.
- **IMPORTANT**Public improvements and/or construction may be underway during the time of your reservation. The City of Madison Parks Division makes every attempt to schedule around events and shelter reservations whenever possible, however, this is not a guarantee. Please keep in mind improvements to parks and infrastructure continues throughout the year. Please visit the Park Projects website for a partial list of major capital improvement projects.
CHANGES & CANCELLATIONS OF PICNIC SHELTER RESERVATIONS:
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- Cancellation requests must be submitted to the Parks Administration Office in writing to:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, #104, Madison, WI 53703 or by email.
- There is no charge to change the date and/or location, if the request is received 28 days or more prior to event date.
- Full refunds are given, at no charge for cancellation requests received at least 28 days prior to the event date.
- Cancellations and changes received 27 to 11 days prior to the event date (counting notice date and event date) will incur a $10 administrative fee.
- No cancellations or changes will be accepted 10 days or fewer before the event date (counting notice date and event date).
Esther Beach Park Shelter
Madison Parks has 175 playgrounds to spark your imagination right in your neighborhood. In fact, the City of Madison has the most playgrounds per resident of any city in the nation, with almost 2 more playgrounds per 1,000 residents than the city that got second place! From swing sets, to unique climbing features our playgrounds are perfect for your toddler to your teen.
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Esther Beach Park - Playground
Restrooms are located throughout the parks system and in most cases in a park with a reservable shelter. Most of the restrooms are available only during the summer months. Restrooms available during the winter months include those open for winter activities at the following parks: Tenney, Vilas, Elver, Olbrich, Warner and Westmorland Parks.
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No firearms or weapons are permitted on this property. Violators are considered trespassers and subject to forfeiture or arrest.
Esther Beach Park - Restroom
Open Year-Round: No