Fischer Creek State Recreation Area and Harrington Beach State Park
Updated: Jun 3, 2022
One thing I love about the Sheboygan area is that there are a number of state park options nearby that all give you a different experience of Lake Michigan. Lucky and I took the long Fourth of July weekend to check out two of the other parks in the area, Fischer Creek State Recreation Area and Harrington Beach State Park. Departing from my parents' house in Milwaukee, we went north on Highway 43 past the exits for Harrington Beach, Kohler-Andrea, and Sheboygan to the exit for Cleveland, WI. From here, the directions to Fischer Creek are fairly easy, even if GPS doesn't quite take you to the exact spot (it's just a bit further north than what Google says).
Fischer Creek is a small park with wide open picnic areas on top of the bluffs that overlook the lake. These scenic overlooks offer amazing views of the water, framed by vibrant green foliage, wild flowers, and "DANGER DROP OFF" signs. All of the picnic furniture is chained to posts; I'm assuming so no hooligans try to toss the tables over the side of the bluff. If I hadn't seen picnic tables tossed to their demise over the Niagara Escarpment at High Cliff State Park, I wouldn't have thought this was a legitimate concern. But apparently it is. Stupid hooligans.
We walked from one picnic area to the other on a trail that took us through the woods, and we explored a little detour off of the main trail that descended to a tiny little beach. When I say tiny little beach, this is no exaggeration. It was very small, but super quaint. We would have stayed there longer and taken more photos, but the rocky beach was littered with dead fish that Lucky was voraciously gobbling up. I was thoroughly grossed out and concerned that Lucky was going to get sick on all of the dead fish he was eating; I literally had to drag him from the beach and back up the short embankment to the trail.
After taking in the views at the other picnic area, we climbed back in the car and headed to Sheboygan to grab some lunch. This is really my kind of state park adventuring: a perfect combination of the great outdoors and the amenities of civilization. We walked the Sheboygan River boardwalk and got a great table on the dog friendly patio of Parker John's BBQ & Pizza. The weather was perfect for dining al fresco with a dog, and Lucky was one of four pooches there at the time. He waited mostly patiently for us to finish our food, and when he started losing his patience, we plied him with French fries. That did the trick.
Full and reenergized, we got back in the car and headed south on Highway 43 again, this time taking the exit for Harrington Beach State Park. We stopped in the office to pick up some maps and ask about pet friendly areas. Then, we made our way to the parking lot at the very end of the main road through the park. From here, getting to the beach is done mostly along the paved road for the shuttle bus. On our way to the beach, we decided to take the loop around Quarry Lake and were in for an unexpected surprise. Considering this park is on Lake Michigan, and the word "beach" is in it's name, I wasn't expecting there to be much more here than the main attraction, the beach. I was so wrong. Quarry Lake is striking; the water is crystal clear, cobalt blue, and complimented by the vibrant greens of the forest that is reflected in it. The trail around the lake offers many opportunities to get right to the water's edge and to even stand at the mouth of a tiny waterfall as it descends into the lake below. I could have spent all day here, but we needed to see if the beach was as impressive as Quarry Lake . . . .
Want more information about hiking with your dog at Harrington Beach State Park? Order your copy of A Dog Lover's Guide to Hiking Wisconsin's State Parks now!
Through the University of Wisconsin Press site.
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