Real Estate

Wisconsin’s 12 Best Lakes to Live in 2024

With coastlines along two Great Lakes—Lake Superior and Lake Michigan—Wisconsin has no shortage of charming lakeside towns. From small lakes in the heart of the state to big cities like Madison, Wisconsin has a lake that’s right for you.

To help you get started, Redfin has put together a list of 12 lakes in Wisconsin to visit this year. Whether you rent a home near the water in Madison or in the rugged wilderness, you’ll find a lake on our list. Let’s dive in.

1. Castle Rock Lake (Friendship)

Closest city: Friendship, WI
Median Home Sales Price: $106,000
Population: 7,000
Homes for sale in Friendship, WI
Apartments for rent in Friendship, WI

First on our list of lakes in Wisconsin to stay this year is Castle Rock Lake. The lake is a haven for anglers and boaters alike, with plenty of room for a variety of fish and water sports. The surrounding area is full of parks and recreation areas, such as Buckhorn State Park, Juneau County Castle Rock Park, and the Yellow River State Wildlife Area. Just east of Castle Rock Lake is the town of Friendship. With a population of 7,000, this small town offers a peaceful lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

2. Devil’s Lake (Baraboo)

Closest city: Baraboo, WI
Median Home Sales Price: $242,000
Average rent for 1 bedroom: $960
Population: 12,000
Homes for sale in Baraboo, WI
Apartments for rent in Baraboo, WI

Devil’s Lake is a natural wonder that attracts visitors and residents alike with its spectacular scenery and outdoor activities. The lake’s clear waters are perfect for kayaking, swimming and fishing, while the surrounding state park offers miles of hiking trails through beautiful terrain. Baraboo, with its 12,000 residents, combines small-town charm with a variety of amenities and attractions, including local shops, restaurants and cultural venues. The city’s proximity to Devils Lake makes it a great location for those who love nature and small-town access.

3. Lake Geneva (Lake Geneva)

Closest city: Lake Geneva, WI
Median Home Sales Price: $400,000
Population: 8,000
Homes for sale in Lake Geneva, WI
Apartments for rent in Lake Geneva, WI

Lake Geneva is surrounded by the charming city of Lake Geneva and offers a great combination of lakeside luxury and entertainment. The lake is surrounded by luxury homes and resorts, such as Black Point Estate and Gardens, and offers many water activities such as sailing, water skiing and fishing. The town of Lake Geneva, population 8,000, is a hub of year-round activity, hosting events and festivals that draw visitors from across the region. The historic downtown area, with its unique shops and fine dining, adds to the appeal of living in this lakeside community.

4. Green Lake

Closest city: Green Lake, WI
Median Home Sales Price: $399,000
Population: 1,000
Homes for Sale in Green Lake, WI
Apartments for rent in Green Lake, WI

Green Lake is a hidden gem in the vibrant community of Green Lake. Known for its crystal clear waters and peaceful atmosphere, the lake is a favorite among those who enjoy fishing, boating and leisurely lakeside walks. The town of Green Lake has a strong sense of community and a love of outdoor activities. The town offers a variety of local eateries and shops, maintaining a relaxed, small-town atmosphere. For those looking for a quiet retreat with the benefits of lakefront living, Green Lake is a great option.

Lake Mendota on a cloudy day

5-6. Lake Mendota and Lake Monona (Madison)

Closest city: Madison, WI
Median Home Sales Price: $425,000
Average rent for 1 bedroom: $1,627
Population: 272,900
Homes for sale in Madison, WI
Apartments for rent in Madison, WI

Madison is the bustling capital of Wisconsin and is located between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, giving residents access to waterfront recreation and beauty. These lakes are central to the city’s lifestyle, providing endless opportunities for water sports, fishing, and lakeside picnics. Madison’s charming downtown area, located on the lakefront, is a mix of attractions, dining options and entertainment. With a population of around 273,000, Madison has the atmosphere of a big city with the quiet charm of lakeside living, making it a great lake city in Wisconsin.

7. Lake Michigan (Sheboygan)

Closest city: Sheboygan, WI
Median Home Sales Price: $232,900
Average rent for 1 bedroom: $1,350
Population: 48,000
Homes for sale in Sheboygan, WI
Apartments for rent in Sheboygan, WI

Sheboygan’s picturesque coastline along Lake Michigan is a big draw for those looking for the beauty and recreational opportunities of one of the Great Lakes. The city’s waterfront is perfect for sailing, fishing and enjoying the sandy beaches. While there are countless towns on the shores of Lake Michigan, we decided to include Sheboygan over greater Milwaukee. With a population of 48,000, Sheboygan offers a friendly, community-oriented lifestyle with the added benefit of lakefront living. The city is known for its vibrant arts scene, food offerings and events, making it a desirable destination for individuals and families. The vast waters of Lake Michigan provide a stunning backdrop to this bustling lakeside city.

8. Lake Pepin (Pepin)

Closest city: Pepin, WI
Median Home Sales Price: $240,000
Population: 800
Homes for sale in Pepin, WI
Apartments for rent in Pepin, WI

Lake Pepin, a naturally occurring lake along the Mississippi River, extends into both Wisconsin and Minnesota. Famous for its boating and fishing, the lake is a peaceful retreat for those who want to escape the fast pace of city life. Along its beaches, you will find The small town of Pepin with its natural beauty, campgrounds and parks. The town boasts charming cafes, local art galleries, and a waterfront perfect for a leisurely stroll. For those dreaming of a quiet, lakeside existence, Lake Pepin offers a quiet atmosphere combined with the warmth of a small community.

Lake Superior rock formations

9. Lake Superior (Superior)

Closest city: Superior, WI
Median Home Sales Price: $227,000
Average rent for 1 bedroom: $1,400
Population: 27,000
Homes for Sale in Superior, WI
Apartments for rent in Superior, WI

Superior, located on the shores of majestic Lake Superior, is a city that thrives on its connection to water. The largest of the Great Lakes, the lake offers residents unparalleled opportunities for boating, kayaking and enjoying the natural beauty of the Northland. Superior’s 27,000 residents enjoy a lifestyle that blends outdoor adventure with the conveniences of city living. From waterfront restaurants to outdoor outfitters, this city really fits the lake. The vast beauty of Lake Superior makes Superior a perfect destination for those seeking a life full of natural wonders.

10. Lake Winnebago (Oshkosh)

Closest city: Oshkosh, WI
Median Home Sales Price: $187,500
Average rent for 1 bedroom: $750
Population: 67,000
Homes for sale in Oshkosh, WI
Apartments for rent in Oshkosh, WI

Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin’s largest inland lake, is a charming place with countless lakefront towns. The lake is a focal point for recreation, including fishing, boating and water skiing, drawing both locals and tourists to its shores. Oshkosh is one of the many cities with access to the lake. A rich history and strong connection to water. With a population of 67,000, Oshkosh combines the amenities of a big city with the charm and sense of community of a lakeside town. Oshkosh’s vibrant downtown area, with its cultural events, museums and galleries, adds to the city’s charm.

Pattonville Lake in Archdale Wisconsin

11. Pattonville Lake (Archdale)

Closest city: Archdale, WI
Median Home Sales Price: $270,000
Population: 200
Homes for sale in Archdale, WI
Apartments for rent in Archdale, WI

Pattonville Lake, Wisconsin’s largest man-made lake, is a hidden treasure in the small community of Archdale. Located north of Castle Rock Lake, this expansive body of water is a paradise for anglers, boaters and nature lovers, offering spectacular views and a peaceful atmosphere. The lake is dotted with cozy cabins and houses, making it an ideal place for those looking for a quiet retreat in the heart of nature. The natural beauty of Pattonville Lake and the community of Archdale offer a unique and tranquil lakeside living experience.

12. Pewaukee Lake (Pewaukee)

Closest city: Pewaukee, WI
Median Home Sales Price: $552,500
Average rent for 1 bedroom: $1,012
Population: 15,000
Homes for Sale in Pewaukee, WI
Apartments for rent in Pewaukee, WI

Pewaukee Lake, nestled in the vibrant city of Pewaukee, is a hub of activity and community life. The lake is beloved for its recreational opportunities, including water skiing, fishing, and sunset cruises, making it a popular destination. The city of Pewaukee, with its 15,000 residents, offers a combination of suburban comfort and lakeside living. The downtown area, with its unique boutiques and waterfront dining, reflects the city’s vibrant spirit and community. If you’re looking for a lake in Wisconsin that combines city life and nature, check out Lake Peukee.

Note, this list is not comprehensive of all lakes in Wisconsin. Average home sales price data from Redfin Data Center through April 2024. Population data obtained from April 2024 United States Census Bureau.

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