ADVENTURE OF THE WEEK!
Katie Here! This past Saturday, my family and I went and visited Kohler – Andrae State Park. This park holds a special place in my heart from all the special memories made there during my childhood. Every summer we went “family camping” with all my aunts, uncles, and cousins from my mom’s side of the family. To this day, I credit my love for the outdoors to the camping trips with my family. This park, in particular, is so fun to explore. You can hike through the sand dunes or swim at the beach. There is an awesome playground (closed now due to COVID) that is great for kids. As kids, we played ghost in the graveyard, swam to sandbars with my grandma, biked around the campground, and “hunted” for skunks. Haha – don’t ask me why, but we did. Coming back here as an adult, it was so fun to watch my own kids fall in love with Kohler – Andrae as much as I did. My husband and I visited the park for a day back in college, and I hadn’t been back since. I’m not quite sure why, but I know I won’t let it be that long before I make it back again.
What we did
Kohler – Andrae is a 2-hour drive from where we live in the Madison, WI area. We left around 9:30 in the morning. Our intention was to get to the park, hike for a little bit and then eat lunch while relaxing on the beach for the afternoon. However, when we got there we wanted to just find our own spot on the beach.
The park has around 2.5 miles of beach along Lake Michigan. This is the main reason why we chose to spend our Saturday at KA park. I wanted to be able to spread out and maintain social distancing. Most other beaches are smaller, making it harder to social distance. It was well worth the 2 hour drive!
There is a south and north beach area. Surprisingly, the beaches were a little different in the two areas as far as sand. Further south there wasn’t the pretty pebbles. The water was clear the whole way though.
We parked at the furthest south parking lot (P8). From there, we walked quite a ways, with all of our stuff for the day. By walking further, we could get our own private spot on the beach. There are much closer beach areas to the parking lot than what we did. But if you are willing to hike a ways – do that.
We packed a small cooler with sandwiches for everyone, watermelon, cheese and sausage, and plenty of water.
We lucked out with the best possible weather. It was 81 degrees, mostly sunny, and light winds. Because lake michigan is obviously so big, with high winds, there can be pretty significant waves. The water was crystal clear and bright blue. I’m not sure how many times my husband and I said to each other “look at this view.” It didn’t even feel like we were in Wisconsin. The landscape and the blue water is unlike anything else.
Before we knew it we had already spent 4 hours at the beach. The kids spent their time going from water, to beach, to jumping, climbing, and hiding in the sand dunes behind us.
After we had enough time in the sun, we decided to pack up our stuff and load up the car. One of the ‘attractions’ at Kohler Andrae is the cord walk through the dunes. The cordwalk is about 2 miles long and runs parallel to the water. You can access the cordwalk from various points in the park. We drove to a spot further north to see a different area of the park. From there we got on the cordwalk and walked for a bit. The kids thought the cordwalk was really neat.
We then walked along the beach on the north end of the park. Up here there were a lot of pretty rocks. The kids had fun finding “the coolest rock,” while my husband had fun seeing how many times he could get a rock to skip.
We couldn’t have possibly seen the park all in one day (not with how much time we spent relaxing at the beach). But that’s ok. We’ll be back soon, i’m sure of it!
Due to COVID, you need to purchase an annual state park pass ahead of time.
The mosquitos and black flies came out in a couple areas, so pack bug spray. After bug spray, we didn’t notice them at all.
See our Adventure Bag post for more about how we pack for a day away.