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  • Writer's pictureDanielle St. Louis

Lakeshore State Park

Updated: Jun 3, 2022

This year, Subaru teamed up with REI to encourage dog owners to #optoutside on Black Friday. Since we were in Milwaukee for Thanksgiving and have an official state park visit planned for Saturday, we did an impromptu visit to Lakeshore State Park on Friday. It was a chilly overcast day with intermittent sprinkles, but that wasn't going to keep us from participating and contributing to the #makeadogsday donations to the ASPCA.

Lucky intensely staring at some seagulls.

Date of Visit: November 25

Trails Hiked: Lakeside Trail*

*DOH! Once again I forgot to stop MapMyRide! We got in the car and headed to Colectivo Coffee to warm up with a hot coffee. The trail itself is a bit over a mile, and it took us about 30 minutes to walk slowly and take a ton of pictures.

Best for Breeds: XS, S, M, L, XL

Dog Fitness Level: couch potato

Human Fitness Level: couch potato

Water Availability: No water fountains in the park, but there may be access to water on the Summerfest grounds. (I didn't think the Summerfest grounds were open to the public, but there were two points (one north and one south) where it appeared we could have just walked right onto the grounds. I can't seem to find any information about public access to the grounds, so if anyone has insider info, let me know!)

Bathrooms for Humans: None in the park, but there may be access to public bathrooms on the Summerfest grounds or at the Discovery World museum.

Trashcans for Dog Waste: We found one trashcan by the north entrance to the park.

What We Liked: Lakeshore State Park is a perfect urban oasis. City dogs need to be able to #optoutside too, and this state park is a great option for dogs and their owners in the Milwaukee area who can't make it out to other more rural state parks. It's also a great option for beginners, since the trail is completely paved and the terrain is flat.

Plus you don't have to have a state park pass to get into the park, and there are plenty of additional trails accessible from the park. So if the mile loop within the park isn't enough to tire your dog out, you can continue on the Hank Aaron State Trail or head north along Lake Michigan on the Oak Leaf Trail. With views of Lake Michigan, the Hoan Bridge, downtown Milwaukee, the Discovery World museum and even the Milwaukee Art Museum in the distance, there's plenty to take in. And on a less gloomy day, I'm sure even amateur photographers like myself could get some great looking shots.

What We Didn't Like: So much goose poop. If you visit the park in the fall, be prepared for lots of birds (both geese and seagulls) and lots of goose poop along the path and in the grass. While my mom and I were dodging goose poop land mines, Lucky kept trying to eat the goose poop. Ew.

I'm fairly familiar with this area of Milwaukee, but to keep things simple, we opted to start from the north entrance to the park, which is accessible near the Discovery World museum. There is some metered parking available in that area, but again to keep things simple, I parked in the Discovery World parking garage. This meant I had to bring Lucky up through the Discovery World lobby, since there wasn't a pedestrian exit from the parking garage to directly outside. In the future, I would attempt to find the south entrance where there is free parking. However, even the DNR site suggests "visitors from outside the city may wish to view a map of the area to better understand the written directions." The directions to the south parking area are a bit complicated.

Have any additional questions? Have your own experiences at Lakeshore State Park? Let me know!

Want more information about hiking with your dog at Lakeshore State Park? Order your copy of A Dog Lover's Guide to Hiking Wisconsin's State Parks now!

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