Open Water Swimming: 

You can definitely swim in Madison's lakes, but be careful! People have drowned while swimming in them, so don't go by yourself or without a safety kayaker.

Dane County and the state of Wisconson test the local beaches for water quality in the lakes - as the summers go on and get hotter, the water quality in the lakes drops because of fertilizers and pollutions. Check the most recent updates on water quality here -

Lake Wingra is probably the most popular lake for triathlon-style open water swimming.

Fun on the Water (Kayaking, Canoeing, Rowing, Stand Up Paddle)
Kayaking and Canoeing: 

From May to September, Wingra Boats is open on Lake Wingra. Lake Wingra isn't open to large motorized boats, and it's smaller than Lake Mendota or Lake Monona, so you won't be as exposed to choppy water. Wingra Boats offers kayaks, canoes, rowboats, stand up paddle boards, windsurfers, and sailboats.

Lake Wingra is also the cleanest Madison lake - water quality is definitely an issue in the summer in Wisconsin lakes, especially with blue-green algae.

You can also rent canoes for Lake Mendota at the Memorial Union Boathouse by the Memorial Union Terrace on the University of Wisconsin campus.

Kayak and Canoe Rentals: 
Stand Up Paddle Rentals: 

Capital Springs State Recreational Area


Capital Springs State Recreational Area is south of Madison Wisconsin, and as a newer park, is not completely developed. The park offers camping and lake access to Lake Waubesa.

The Capital City State Trail goes through the park on its way between Madison and the Military Ridge Trail and offers a 9-mile paved path to use for biking, roller blading, and walking.


Monona Terrace

Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin overlooks Lake Monona on the edge of Madison's isthmus. Built according to Frank Lloyd Wright's designs years after his death after much community debate, the Monona Terrace is now one of the premiere conference and event locations in Madison.

1 John Nolen Drive
Madison, WI