Where to Take a Dip This Summer

Cool off in one of these pristine swimming spots

Lou and Peter Berryman have immortalized Wisconsin’s extreme climate in song: “You’ve heard about the cold, no doubt … Yah hey, have you heard about the heat?”

Madisonians, however, have a wealth of nearby wallows to beat this heat.

Take a dip from a boat in the middle of lakes Monona or Mendota. You’ll be surprised how clean it is. Ditto for the Wisconsin River, where you can wade sandbars or dunk in deep runs.

Devil’s Lake gets a million visitors every year because it’s a stupendous swimming spot—clean, green and deep. Drive thirty minutes west, on Highway 14, to cool your heels in Cross Plains’ spring-fed Salmo Pond. Go thirty miles east, on Highway 94, to Sandy Beach Park on Lake Mills.

Keep going to Harrington or Kohler-Andrae state parks on Lake Michigan for a really bracing bath. Air temperatures are ten or twenty degrees cooler than inland, and Great Lakes waters will shiver your timbers just right.

John Motoviloff is a writer, cook and outdoorsmen

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