Is There Surf in Wisconsin?

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Are you a surf enthusiast living in the landlocked state of Wisconsin? You might be surprised to learn that despite its lack of coastlines, there is indeed surf to be found in the Great Lakes region. While it may not offer the same towering waves as popular surf destinations like Hawaii or California, Wisconsin has a dedicated community of surfers who make the most of what nature has to offer.

The Great Lakes: A Surfer’s Paradise

When picturing a surfing destination, most people imagine sandy beaches and crashing ocean waves. However, the Great Lakes provide a unique opportunity for surfers looking for an alternative experience. With over 10,000 miles of coastline shared between eight states, these freshwater wonders offer their own version of surfing.

Surfing Spots in Wisconsin

While not as well-known as some other Great Lakes states like Michigan or Minnesota, Wisconsin has its fair share of surfing spots. Here are a few notable locations:

  • Sheboygan: Located on Lake Michigan’s western shore, Sheboygan is often considered the surfing capital of the Great Lakes. Its consistent wind patterns and sandbars make it an ideal spot for both beginners and experienced surfers.
  • Kewaunee: Another Lake Michigan gem, Kewaunee offers excellent waves thanks to its rocky shoreline and offshore winds.It may require some local knowledge to find the best breaks, but it’s worth exploring if you’re up for an adventure.
  • Baileys Harbor: Nestled on Lake Michigan’s eastern shore, Baileys Harbor is known for its picturesque beauty and occasional surfable waves. While not as consistent as some other spots, it still attracts dedicated surfers who appreciate its tranquil atmosphere.

Surfing in Wisconsin: What to Expect

It’s important to set realistic expectations when surfing in Wisconsin. The waves here are typically smaller and less powerful compared to oceanic surf. However, this presents a great opportunity for beginners to learn the sport in a more forgiving environment.

The best time to catch waves in Wisconsin is during the fall and winter months when strong winds generate larger swells. It’s also worth noting that proper cold-water gear is essential due to the lower temperatures of the Great Lakes.


While Wisconsin may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about surfing, it certainly offers a unique and rewarding experience for those willing to explore its Great Lakes coastline. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer looking for a change of scenery or a beginner eager to learn, don’t underestimate the potential of catching some waves in this unexpected location.

So grab your board, suit up, and head out to discover the hidden surf spots of Wisconsin!

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Emma Gibson