Complete Guide to Harrington Beach State Park
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Harrington Beach State Park offers a little bit of everything. Visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach at Lake Michigan, but Quarry Lake and Puckett’s Pond also provide enjoyable picnics and outdoor activities. Visitors to this park are likely to see something new every time they visit.
This park is in Ozaukee County in Wisconsin’s southeastern tip. The park is located between Milwaukee and Sheboygan and is about thirty minutes away from both towns. Harrington Beach State Park is in the town of Belgium.
The seven-hundred-and-fifteen-acre park is located on Lake Michigan. Harrington Beach has a mile of shoreline, a pond, a lake, restored wetlands, and wooded areas. This park is a hidden treasure in Wisconsin’s state park system. Take a day trip or camp here to enjoy the sunsets over Lake Michigan, as well as hiking and other outdoor activities.
History of Harrington Beach State Park
This park is a reclaimed limestone quarry area, including the mining town of Stonehaven. Limestone was mined here from the late 1800s to the 1920s. Visitors learn about the history of the park from the markers along the Stonehaven Historic Trail. The quarry was filled in and is now the 26-acre Quarry Lake. The park is also a historical site for the shipwreck of the paddle-wheel steamer ship Niagara.
Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources began purchasing land in this area in 1968 after the closure of the quarry in 1966. Harrington Beach Park opened in 1992 and is named after a Wisconsin state park superintendent. The park’s campground opened seventeen years later in 2009.
Harrington Beach State Park Observatory
A special feature of this park is the Jim and Gwen Plunkett observatory. This observatory in the park has a powerful telescope for stargazing. The observatory is open to both the public and a membership group. The Northern Cross Science Foundation opens the observatory during the months of summer and fall to the public.
Check out the Northern Cross Science Foundation’s Public Events calendar to stargaze with the telescope at the Harrington Beach observatory.
Things to do inside Harrington Beach State Park
There are endless activities to do at Harrington Beach State Park. In addition to relaxing on the beach, there is also a dog beach, fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping.
Puckett’s Pond is a great place to watch herons, frogs, and other local wildlife. Visitors love observing the wildlife and wildflowers that frequent this area.
Another highlight of Harrington Beach State Park is the local history that can be learned while walking along a trail that includes the former limestone quarry, the mining town, and a shipwreck. Not only are there trail markers, but there are building foundations and a ship anchor along the trail.
There are also the remains of a pier left from the early 1900s that separates the north and south beaches. North Beach is for people only, and South Beach is for people with dogs.
Visitors may relax and enjoy their meals at the picturesque Quarry Lake and Puckett’s Pond picnic areas. Harrington Beach has seven miles of hiking trails used for exploring the park. There are benches in spots along the trails, and many scenic views can be enjoyed while walking.
A major highlight of this park is the observatory, which is open to the public at specific times. As well as the fishing opportunities in Quarry Lake and Puckett’s Pond. There’s also a biking and equestrian trail.
This park also has many areas that are accessible to people with disabilities. There are trails that people with disabilities can access that go through the woods and near the water. There is also an accessible cabin here available for rent.
Harrington Beach State Park has lovely campsites for those who want to stay in their RV, tent, or paddle in.
Harrington Beach State Park Camping
Harrington Beach State Park has a nice family campground for RVs and tents. The sites are in a non-wooded, grassy area, but each site is separated by thickets, which gives each campsite privacy.
The family campground has sixty-nine sites available with a fire ring and picnic table at each site. Thirty-one of these sites also have electrical hookups. During the warm weather, there are showers, flush toilets, and laundry facilities available. Water and a dump station are also conveniently located near the campground. The family campground is not open all year.
The group campsite has thirty tent-only sites. One camping vehicle is allowed in the parking lot next to this campsite. There are fourteen parking spots available in the same lot. The group campsite area has five picnic tables and two firepits.
The kayak campsite has six sites available with a campfire ring and a picnic table. Kayakers who stay here need to park north of Harrington Beach at Kohler-Andrae State Park.
Harrington Beach is one of the ten parks in the Wisconsin State Park system that has an accessible cabin available for people with disabilities.
Harrington Beach State Park Water Sports
Kayaking and paddle boating are popular here on Lake Michigan. Due to the strong winds, only experienced paddlers should explore Lake Michigan.
Scuba divers enjoy exploring the wreckage of the wooden steamship Niagara. The wreck is located a few hundred yards offshore in Lake Michigan.
Harrington Beach State Park Fishing
There’s a great opportunity here for anglers to surf fish for salmon and trout on Lake Michigan. Anglers also take advantage of the fishing available in Quarry Lake and Puckett’s Pond.
Forty-five-foot Quarry Lake is stocked with fish, and Puckett’s Pond is also popular among anglers for catching trout, panfish, and bass.
Harrington Beach State Park Swimming
The water is typically a shallow depth along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. When enjoying the Lake Michigan beach, be sure to consider the weather and wind. Lake Michigan’s water can be cold, so be careful to not swim for too long, even if you are “used to it”.
Be certain that any floatables or swimming rafts that you have in your beach area are firmly anchored.
Remember that the Lake Michigan shoreline can be rugged at Harrington Beach State Park. The shoreline becomes broader or narrower as the lake’s water levels increase and decrease. Swimming is not permitted in Quarry Lake or Puckett’s Pond.
Harrington Beach State Park Boating
Paddle boats, especially kayaks, are the most popular boats used on this part of Lake Michigan.
The park doesn’t have a boat launch. Larger boats typically use launches at Kohler-Andrae State Park or the Port Washington Marina.
Boating is not permitted in Quarry Lake or Puckett’s Pond.
Boat Rentals near Harrington Beach State Park
If you want to rent a watercraft for your visit to Harrington Beach State Park, check out Lake Winnebago Boat and WaveRunner Rentals. This watercraft rental business in Fond du Lac is within an hour of Harrington Beach State Park, Milwaukee, and Sheboygan.
Lake Winnebago Boat and WaveRunner Rentals
Location: N7044 Winnebago Drive (Pier on Luco Creek), Fond du Lac, Wisconsin 54935
Lake Winnebago Boat and WaveRunner Rentals lives up to its name. There are four pontoon boats available for rent that hold up to fourteen passengers. There are also four passenger deck boats for rent. These hold between ten and fourteen passengers.
The WaveRunners can only be leased for two hours, making them unsuitable for a visit to Harrington Beach State Park.
Hiking at Harrington Beach State Park
The hiking map is a bit confusing as it does not coincide with the markers on the trails in the park. Most of the trails are easy-skill level and stroller-friendly, with wide, even paths. To make things easier, we have a summary of the trails here:
Hardwood Swamp Trail: This trail is almost a mile long one way. It is a moderately difficult skill level since you literally walk through a swampy area and may need your waders to stay dry.
Bobolink Loop Trail: This easy, one-mile loop trail is across from the Puckett’s Pond picnic area. It is a grassy trail surrounded by more grass. This trail is recommended for bird watching and passes near Puckett’s Pond. It also connects with the half-mile Whitetail Trail.
Whitetail Trail: This dirt trail connects Puckett’s Pond picnic area to Quarry Lake. The Whitetail trail is an easy skill level and goes into forest areas. This trail is almost a mile long and goes to Quarry Lake, Quarry Lake’s picnic area, and the North Beach on Lake Michigan’s shoreline.
Quarry Lake Trail: This one-mile trail goes around the 26-acre Quarry Lake. This trail is accessible for people with disabilities.
Meadowlark Trail: This super-short trail connects the campground to Puckett’s Pond picnic area.
Service Road Trail: This was the road for the shuttle bus. There is no longer a shuttle service provided at Harrington Beach State Park.
This road is no longer a road for vehicles due to the erosion and washouts from Lake Michigan.
This Service Road Trail is now perfect for hikers, bikers, and other non-motorized vehicles like strollers and wheelchairs. The service road goes from the Puckett Pond area to the Ansay Welcome Center.
White Cedar Nature Trail: This half-mile trail is in the eastern section of the park, behind the north picnic area. Pets aren’t allowed on this trail.
Lakeview Trail: This 3/4 mile trail is made up of South Lakeview Trail and North Lakeview Trail. The Lakeview Trail parallels the shoreline of Lake Michigan, so it provides scenic views. Then it goes inland and provides a view of Quarry Lake. It meanders and ends up at the south picnic area.
Bridle Trail: This trail is for equestrians and goes for a little over two miles. The trailhead is at the park office and runs to the south side of the park and back. The trail is mainly flat with a few seasonably wet areas to cross.
Equestrians and Cyclists trail rules:
Horses are only allowed on the Bridle trail. Horses cannot go off-trail or on the beach.
Biking is only allowed on the Service Road trail and public park roads.
Picnicking at Harrington Beach State Park
There are picnic tables and benches throughout the park, including benches that overlook the beach. The Welcome Center has a picnic area, and there are two picnic areas in South Beach. There is one picnic table located near Quarry Lake. The most popular and centrally located picnic area is Puckett’s Pond picnic area.
Golfing Near Harrington Beach State Park
Harrington Beach State Park is within a thirty-minute drive of three top-notch golf courses. Anyone who enjoys playing golf is certain to find something about one of these courses to their liking.
Fire Ridge Golf Club
Location: 2241 County Road W • Grafton, WI 53024
More Information: https://www.fireridgegc.com/
Fire Ridge Golf Club has an 18-hole course that includes “Downhill Landing”, “Thread the Needle”, and “Bankshot” playing areas. Fire Ridge Golf Club also has a restaurant and serves food and beverages on the premises.
Why this golf club is top-notch: The club includes a practice area with 30 grass stations, a practice putting green, and a 2-level, 8500-foot clubhouse. There is also a fully stocked golf shop here.
Hawthorne Hills Golf Course
Location: 4720 County Highway I, Saukville, WI 53080
More Information: https://www.ozaukeecountygolf.com/
This golf course has an 18-hole layout that includes four water hazards and fourteen bunkers. There is also a restaurant and a golf shop here.
Hawthorne Hills Golf Course is associated with Mee-Kwon Park Golf Course, another 18-hole course located fifteen minutes away.
Why this golf course is top-notch: The practice facility has a putting area and a bunkered green that is free of charge.
Blackwolf Run Golf Course
Location: 1111 W. Riverside Drive, Kohler, WI 53044
More Information: https://www.destinationkohler.com/golf/blackwolf-run
Golf Digest ranked this course 16th out of all the best public golf courses in America. The 18-holes of the course wrap around the Sheboygan River and were designed by well-known architect Pete Dye. There is also a restaurant and a golf shop available on the premises.
Why this golf course is top notch: Blackwolf Run offers golf package experiences that include golfing rounds and lodging.
Hunting and Trapping at Harrington Beach State Park
Hunting and trapping are allowed in the open areas of the park during the Wisconsin state park hunting and trapping time frame. Trapping is not permitted in closed areas as noted on the park hunting map or within 100 yards of any designated use area, including trails.
Certain trap types are restricted on state park properties. There is only muzzleloader and archery deer hunting allowed; there is no gun deer hunting. Make sure to check the map to read all the rules and regulations for hunting and trapping at Harrington Beach State Park.
Harrington Beach State Park in Winter
Visitors enjoy this park in the winter months as well as in the summer. Harrington Beach State Park has a cross-country ski trail and a snowmobile trail. There are candlelight skis and hikes sponsored by the Friends of Harrington Beach State Park. Visitors who bring bird feed have had success with persuading birds to eat from their hands on the trail bridge in winter.
Harrington Beach State Park and Dogs
Let’s start with the obvious: dogs shouldn’t be left unattended and you should pick up the poop. Waste should be disposed of in dumpsters or trash receptacles.
Dogs are allowed in most campgrounds, trails, roads, and outlying areas of the parks. They must be on a leash no longer than 8 feet at all times, if they are not under control at all times, they can be seized and subject to local laws pertaining to stray animals.
Rabies could be a thing as there are wild animals like raccoons your pooch could come in contact with so make sure your pooch has all current vaccinations.
Other animals like deer, chipmunks, squirrels, gray wolves, skunks, fishers, elk, and porcupines can be found there.
Pets are not allowed in the following places:
- Picnic areas and picnic shelters
- Marked Nature Trails.
- No Pets are allowed on the ski trails when they are snow-covered.
Of course, if your dog is a service animal, those rules do not apply.
You will need a Wisconsin State Park System vehicle admission sticker to get into Governor Thompson State Park. This permit also allows you to get into all the state parks, forests, and recreation parks in the State.
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Restaurants near Harrington Beach State Park
There are a handful of places to eat near Harrington Beach State Park. The best places to eat near Harrington Beach State Park are right around the corner in the town of Belgium. Okay, technically Belgium is eight miles away from the park. Here are our favorite places to eat nearby:
Kyote’s Bar and Grill
Location: 129 Spring St., Belgium, WI 53004
More Information: https://www.kyotesbar.com/
Cuisine Style: American
Kyote’s Bar and Grill offers a wide range of entrees, from onion rings to tator tot poutine to sandwiches. Kyote’s has a breakfast menu, appetizers, sandwiches, and other entrees on the menu. There is also a kids’ menu, a Friday fish fry menu, and a late-night snacks menu. Kyote’s prides itself on offering good food in a welcoming and warm atmosphere.
Big Ed’s Smoke Pit
Location: 746 Main St, Belgium, WI 53004
More Information for hours and orders: https://www.facebook.com/bigedssmokepit/
Menu Information: http://bigedssmokepit.com/
Cuisine Style: American Barbeque
Big Ed’s Smoke Pit is a self-described “hole in the wall” barbecue spot that is take-out only. His slow-smoked ribs, pulled pork, and hot links dishes, as well as sides, are in high demand and sell out quickly.
Big Ed’s is only open on weekends during the summer but provides catering all year. This is the ideal spot to pre-order meals for family and group events at Harrington Beach State Park.
Los Tacos Bar and Grill
Location: 117 S Royal Ave, Belgium, WI 53004
More Information: https://www.lostacosbarandgrill.com/
Cuisine Style: Mexican American
Lost Tacos Bar and Grill offers everything from breakfast to lunch and dinner combinations to Parrilladas combinations. What this eatery is known for, however, is its tacos and “build your own taco” bar. This cheerful restaurant is also known for its friendly staff.
Cedar Valley Cheese Store
Location: W3115 Jay Road Belgium, WI 53004
More Information: https://cedarvalleycheesestore.com/
Check out their daily lunch specials on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cedarvalleycheesestore/
Cuisine Style: Wisconsin American
While technically not a “restaurant,” there are a few tables set up inside the store for customers to eat at. The store offers a café menu of sandwiches and daily specials. However, you may also want to pick up any of the 300 different kinds of cheese available to bring along for your park picnic.
Build your own sandwich or have one of the signature sandwiches, which range from a breakfast sandwich to a Mac and cheese grilled cheese. Another great thing about this place is that it has been open for 10+ years and is open seven days a week.
The Cedar Valley Cheese Factory makes all the cheese sold at the Cedar Valley Cheese Store.
Hotels Near Harrington Beach State Park
Here are our favorite places to stay within a thirty-minute drive of Harrington Beach State Park. Whether you prefer basic or luxury accommodations, we’ve got you covered.
Wisconsin Aire Motel
More Information: https://wisconsinairemotel.com/
Location: N535 Hwy 57, Random Lake, WI, 53075
The Wisconsin Aire Motel is a family-operated hotel that prides itself on its personal service while offering the amenities of a larger hotel. This hotel has single and double rooms with a microwave, coffee maker, AC, and wi-fi. The rooms have basic modern décor in a pet-friendly and kid-friendly atmosphere. A bonus of this motel is the gas station and car repair that are available here.
The Village of Kohler
More Information: https://www.destinationkohler.com/lodging
Location: Highland Drive and Woodland Lake, Kohler, WI 53044
The village of Kohler has three different types of accommodation, all of which have been awarded five stars. The American Club is a resort hotel in the middle of the countryside. The Inn on Woodlake is on the edge of the lake and has bedroom suites. There are also high-end, private cabins available to stay in at the Village of Kohler.
More Information: https://theharborview.com/
Location: 135 East Grand Avenue, Port Washington, Wisconsin 53074
While The Harborview is considered a three-star hotel, it is an upscale hotel with amenities and, best of all, it’s adjacent to the Port Washington Marina on Lake Michigan. The rooms here range from standard double bedrooms to a room with a king-sized bed and a whirlpool. There are also Captain’s Corner rooms and suites available.
Amenities include an indoor pool and hot tub, an outdoor patio area, a fitness center, and a restaurant. This hotel is pet-friendly, and, of course, there are flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi.
Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast
More Information: https://hiddenserenity.com/
Location: 1876 Shalom Drive, West Bend, WI 53090
This luxury bed and breakfast lodging offers the best of both worlds. This bed and breakfast is family-owned. It blends elegance with a setting that is ideal for birdwatchers, cyclists, and nature lovers.
There are seven luxuriously decorated rooms available. Six of these have king-size beds, and the other one has a queen-size bed. Five of the rooms have fireplaces, and all but one of the rooms have a heated bathroom floor.
Amenities include a billiard table, outdoor sports courts, 2 and 3-course gourmet breakfasts, as well as the standard amenities of lodging. This bed and breakfast also has an indoor spa with a licensed massage therapist.
Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast is not pet-friendly. Only children sixteen and older are allowed to stay.
Places To Stay Nearby
Where is Harrington Beach State Park
Directions to Harrington Beach State Park from Milwaukee
Get on I-794 and drive for less than a mile for about 2 minutes. Follow I-43 N to Co Rd D in Belgium. Then take exit 107 to Lake Church. Continue to follow Co Rd D until you reach the entrance to Harrington Beach State Park.
Directions to Harrington Beach State Park from Sheboygan:
Take WI-23 W/WI-23 Trunk W/Kohler Memorial Dr to I-43 S in Kohler. Drive for about eight minutes or four miles. Keep left and merge onto I-43 S exit. Drive for about thirty minutes then take Exit 107. Exit 107 takes you toward Co Rd D. Keep left at the fork and follow the signs for Interstate 43. Then follow Co Rd D until you reach the entrance to Harrington Beach State Park.