Though it probably doesn't feel like it, summer is almost here, and Waukesha County residents have a plethora of beaches to choose from — once the warm weather finally settles in.
Perhaps you're new to or unfamiliar with the area, so here's a not-at-all-exhaustive list of publicly accessible beaches in the county where you can swim and sun all summer long.
Parks or beaches with admission fees will be noted.
1. Pewaukee Lake
The beach at Pewaukee Lakefront Park, 222 W. Wisconsin Ave., is open during the summer from dawn till dusk.
Residents and visitors are welcome to swim in the lake when the park is open (and the swim buoys are out), but lifeguards will not be on duty every day at the beach until from June 13 to about the third week of August. Lifeguard watches last from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The beach is free and open to the public, and conveniently located across the street from several downtown village of Pewaukee businesses and restaurants. It's also the site of the enormously popular and local Taste of Lake Country event in late July.
The Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Club puts on shows just down the shoreline, at Lakefront Park, at 6:45 p.m. Thursdays throughout the summer, beginning June 2.
2. Lac La Belle
The official swim season at City Beach in downtown Oconomowoc kicks off Memorial Day weekend (May 28) and stretches through Labor Day weekend. That's when lifeguards will monitor the water from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
However, anyone can go swimming at the beach any time at their own risk. Groups of people were out romping in the water earlier this month, according to city staff.
There is a daily admission fee to use the beach — $2.50 for city of Oconomowoc residents and $5 for nonresidents — but children younger than 6 get in free with a paid adult. Credit cards are not accepted.
A season pass is available to residents for $20 and nonresidents for $45.
The beach is behind the Oconomowoc Community Center, and its neighboring grassy area is the site of a weekly summer concert series at the Rhodee Memorial Bandshell, 324 W. Wisconsin Ave., and well within walking distance of several downtown businesses and restaurants.
Parking is available on-site, near the bandshell, or across the street from the community center.
3. Minooka Park
Swimming season at Minooka Park, 1927 E. Sunset Drive, Waukesha, opens May 27. The beach is not monitored by lifeguards.
The park is open year-round from sunrise to 10 p.m. and has an entrance fee of $4 per car and $22 per bus.
The beach at Minooka is not the largest in the county, but those looking for summer fun won't need to leave the park to get their fill.
There are two dog exercise areas — one each for smaller dogs and larger ones — and a mountain bike trail and several walking paths, along with five picnic areas available for rent.
Rental costs for the picnic areas vary based on which area is being rented and what time. Weekend rentals at the higher amenity areas cost $130, and weekday rentals cost $65. Rentals at the lower amenity areas cost $71.50 on weekends and holidays and $35.75 on weekdays.
The park is roughly equidistant from busy commercial centers and restaurants along Sunset Drive and the eateries and bustle of downtown Waukesha.
4. Lake Nagawicka
The beach at Lake Nagawicka — inside Naga-Waukee Park, 651 Highway 83, in Delafield — suits a variety of summer activities, including swimming, tanning and watching the annual Fourth of July fireworks display.
Lifeguard watches from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the beach begin June 4. The park is open year-round, from sunrise to 10 p.m.
Naga-Waukee is also a county park, so the $4 per car (or $22 per bus) entrance fee applies.
The park is a popular and less-crowded destination for the annual Independence Day fireworks display, and also offers a variety of amenities to users such as access to the Lake Country bike trail and the historic Ice Age Trail.
5. Ottawa Lake
The beach at Ottawa Lake in the southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest in Dousman is open year-round from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Lifeguards are not provided.
Picnic tables, grills and bathrooms are available near the beach, and lake users can fish for muskie, smallmouth bass, northern pike and trout off a pier.
Motorized boats are prohibited on the lake, but visitors are welcome to paddle across the water in a canoe or kayak — and soak up the sun in the meantime.
The forest also offers expansive hiking and biking trails.
Daily admission to the park costs $8 for vehicles with Wisconsin licenses plates and $11 for vehicles with out-of-state plates.