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5 of Wisconsin’s Best Spots for Water Sports

person jetskiing in wisconsin on a lake

Now that we’re finally thawed out after the long Wisconsin winter, if you love water sports, you’re probably dying to get out there.

You can always visit good old Lake Michigan for water adventures, but if you’re looking for some inland, local, calmer, or warmer bodies of water for water sports, you’ll want to check out some of the following must-try destinations.

1. Lake Winnebago: Boating’s Big Kahuna

As Wisconsin’s largest inland lake, Lake Winnebago offers plenty of surface area for opening up the throttle on a powerboat or jet ski, cruising around on a recreational boat or pontoon, or catching a good wind on your sailboat. With shores along Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha, Appleton, and Fond du Lac, Lake Winnebago is located in three different counties and spans 28 miles long by 10 miles wide—that’s over 130,000 acres of open water! There are plenty of access points, too—there are 19 different boat landings throughout Calumet, Winnebago, and Fond du Lac counties.

Summers on Lake Winnebago are booming with activities, from boating events and fishing tournaments to concerts. In fact, the lake hosts the annual Four Horsemen Poker Run, in which (besides playing poker), boatmen and women parade their powerboats through the lake and raise proceeds for local charities.

kaukauna wisconsin water sports

Image courtesy of Four Horsemen Poker Run

And in case 130,000 acres isn’t enough, Lake Winnebago offers access to other major bodies of water—the Wolf and Fox Rivers are tributaries of the lake, and Big Lake Butte des Morts, Lake Poygan, and Lake Winneconne are all interconnected with Lake Winnebago (sometimes called the Lake Winnebago Pool).

Like a quieter time on the lake? With so much room, you can be sure to find a quiet spot for catching some of the lake’s abundant supply of walleye, largemouth bass, or northern pike, to name a few.

2. Waupaca Chain of Lakes: Emerald Water Adventures

waupaca chain of lakes

Image courtesy of Explore Waupaca

The Chain of Lakes is comprised of 22 spring-fed lakes, offering ample opportunity for all things water sports. The Chain of Lakes is perfect for jet skiing, as you can pick one of the big lakes for jumping waves, or you can cruise through all of the larger lakes. Visitors can water ski or tube across Long Lake’s 104 acres or one of the Chain’s other “fast lakes.” You can take in the deep emerald tints of Marl Lake on your kayak or canoe as well as paddle through Knight Lake, which is reserved for silent sports. And, if you want to take out your fishing boat, you can expect to catch walleye, trout, or northern pike in most of the lakes in the chain.

There’s something to enjoy for every water sport enthusiast visiting these lakes, and the lakes are only about 45 minutes from the Fox Valley.

3. Shawano Lake: The “Gem off the Beaten Path”

shawno lake water skiing

Image courtesy of The Shawano Leader

At about an hour away from the Fox Cities, Shawano Lake is a short hike worth making, especially if you like water skiing (or even if you just like watching it). In fact, Shawano Lake is home to the Shawano Ski Sharks, a non-profit water ski club that puts on weekly ski shows. At over 6,000 acres, Shawano Lake has plenty of room for skiing and is popular for other water sports, so there will be no shortage of waves and wakes to glide over on your skis.

This lake can become heavily weeded, but that makes it a great fishing spot. Shawano Lake is one of the most heavily-fished lakes in the area since its waters support increasing populations of bass, northern pike, walleye, and muskie. In fact, it’s been dubbed a “gem off the beaten path” by fishing enthusiasts. So, if you’re itching to get out on the water with your fishing boat, this just might be the destination.

4. Sister Bay: Boating Paradise

sister bay marina door county

Image courtesy of Sister Bay Marina

We couldn’t make a list of great places for water sports and not include Door County. Of course, Door County has plenty of good spots for any water sport you can think of, but Sister Bay is one of the spots at the top of our list of places to visit if you love boating. Featuring a beautiful marina and incredible scenery, Sister Bay is a popular spot for freshwater sailing and pontooning, as boaters and sailors can take in the breathtaking view of Door County’s Sister Islands.

But if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, it’s also a popular spot for speedboating, wakeboarding, and jet skiing. Like many of our other destinations, Sister Bay is a place where any water sports lover will find an experience to enjoy.

5. Minocqua Lake: The Water Lover’s Getaway

minocqua water sports

Image courtesy of Minocqua Wisconsin

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, Minocqua Lake just might be your destination. Well-known for its great water skiing and boating waters, Minocqua brings travelers from all over the state and nation. The lake itself offers 1,360 acres of water to cruise around on, and the surrounding area offers plenty of other lakes, too.

In fact, Minocqua holds the title of “Nature’s Original Water Park” because the area is surrounded by thousands of lakes, rivers, and streams. And, Minocqua offers plenty of accommodations, whether you’re looking for a campground or cabin, and several of these accommodations are right on the water. The area is about two hours and 45 minutes from the Fox Valley—well worth the drive for plenty of great lakes to explore on your boat or jet ski.

Set Sail on Your Own Watercraft

All of these spots offer a variety of opportunities for fun on the water, but owning or upgrading your boat adds a new level of excitement. With your own boat or personal watercraft, you’re not restricted to the time you can spend on the water, a specific type of watercraft, or location. If getting out on the water in your own boat is just a dream right now, Unison Credit Union can help make that dream a reality. We offer competitive rates on boat and jet ski loans as well as vehicle loans, along with expert guidance from our friendly Member Advisors.

Visit one of our locations in Wrightstown, Little Chute, Grand Chute, De Pere, or one of our two locations in Kaukauna (North and South) to talk with us about how to get on the path to buying your own boat or vehicle.

Hit the Water with Unison Credit Union at Unison’s Splish Splash Bash

splish splash bash unison credit union wisconsin

This summer, Unison Credit Union is celebrating the season by hosting family-friendly special events at four popular local spots: Ashwaubomay Lake, Doyle Pool, Kaukauna Municipal Pool, and Plamann Lake. Visitors at these events can participate in games, take a swim, learn Hawaiian dance moves, or go kayaking or paddleboarding. Learn more about Unison’s Splish Splash Bash here.

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