Complete Guide to Kohler-Andrae State Park
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Kohler-Andrae State Park offers a unique opportunity to explore the shore at one of Lake Michigan’s last natural preserves. Whether it’s enjoying the two miles of sandy beach, fishing in the pond, or hiking through dunes and woods, Kohler-Andrae has something for everyone.
The park comprises John Michael Kohler State Park on the north end, Terry Andrae State Park on the south end, and the area in between.
Kohler-Andre state park is in eastern Wisconsin, six and a half miles from Sheboygan. Sheboygan is located on the western side of Lake Michigan and is about a fifty-minute drive from Milwaukee.
History of Kohler-Andrae State Park
Native Americans were the original inhabitants here about 9500 years ago. Several tribes ceded their territory along Lake Michigan’s western shoreline and left by 1900. Settlers gave way to pioneers, and pioneers became fishermen. Following that, the area became a residential area for rich Milwaukeeans looking to get away from the city.
Mrs. Elsbeth Andre gave her lakefront property to the state of Wisconsin in 1928. The park was named for her late husband, Terry Andrae, the president of a Milwaukee power company.
Fast forward to 1966, when the Kohler Company donated 280 acres to the state in memory of its founder, John Michael Kohler.
Over the years, the state of Wisconsin purchased another 600 acres. The state then began overseeing the entire region, including both the parks and the land between them.
Kohler-Andrae State Park Geology
Lake Michigan was formed over the course of the last two million years. At least four Ice Age glaciers went through the area, and the effects of the last glacier created the Lake Michigan basin. The ice sheets melted about 10,000 years ago, leaving the waters of Lake Michigan much higher than they are today.
It took thousands of years for the waters of Lake Michigan to recede. The dunes that remain serve as a reminder that the park was once entirely submerged under water. On the 1.3-mile Ancient Shores Hiking Trail, people can see where the shoreline used to be about 5,000 years ago.
Things to do Inside Kohler-Andrae State Park
On a warm day, the park’s sandy Lake Michigan beach is ideal for picnics, swimming, and paddle boating. Adventurers of any age can enjoy the entire park using the boardwalk, cordwalks, and hiking trails.
There’s plenty of room for adventurous cyclists and horseback riders along the Black River Trail as well. Anglers of any ability can fish in the park’s pond. The different habitats within the park host a wide range of wildlife. In addition to deer and shorebirds, dune foxes and marsh muskrats can also be seen. Finally, camping is available year-round in the park.
We put together a Wisconsin State Parks Bucket List Free Printable for you – to keep track of all the state parks and nature areas you visit.
Camping at Kohler-Andrae State Park
This is a popular campground, so be sure to reserve your campsite at least six months in advance for the summer season.
There are 135 family campsites; 68 have electric hookups. Each campsite has a fire ring and a picnic table. There are trees at all the sites, but many of the sites aren’t “wooded” for privacy. There are no water or sewer hookups, but showers, flush toilets, and laundry facilities are available.
When camping here, you may have to do some creative parking with your vehicles. At some sites, you will need to park your trailer at the site, then park your vehicle in a nearby parking lot. There are also campsites that are set well back from the road but require you to park your vehicle roadside.
The two group campsites for tents have a combined capacity of fifty people total. A vault toilet is provided near these campsites.
Single tent camping can be done at any of the other campsites, but visitors who tent camp typically reserve one of the sites in the “200 loop”.
The “Tipi site” used to be at #106 but is now a family campsite.
The accessible cabin is equipped with modern conveniences. The cabin sleeps 6 people and may be rented for up to 4 nights each year by the same person.
The campground in Kohler-Andre State Park also has a dump station, a garbage and recycling center, and a freshwater fill-up station.
Sanderling Nature Center
The Sanderling Nature Center is named after the sanderling shorebird, which can be seen along the shoreline here. The nature center offers a fun experience with its interactive exhibits, nature films, books, and educational programs.
The rooftop observation deck provides a great view of Lake Michigan’s watercraft and waterfowl. The center also sells souvenirs and firewood. While you are here, be sure to see the nearby keel of an 1853 shipwrecked schooner and explore the Creeping Juniper Nature Trail.
Kohler-Andrae State Park Water Sports
The park offers a range of water recreation activities to enjoy. Swimming, paddle boating, and fishing are all enjoyed here. There is no boat ramp, but boating is allowed.
Swimming at Kohler-Andrae State Park
The shoreline of Lake Michigan is not rocky here, so swimming is a popular activity at Kohler-Andrae. Use caution when swimming, as the water can be chilly and there is wind on Lake Michigan. No lifeguards are available, so visitors swim at their own risk.
Fishing at Kohler-Andrae State Park
The Friends Fishing Pond is two acres in area and fourteen feet deep. This is an “Urban Fishing Pond”. Urban fishing ponds have special regulations with the intent of promoting recreational fishing. Check the park’s website for fishing regulations. Both the pond’s loop trail and pier are accessible. Because of the private property section, the best way to get to Friends Fishing Pond is to take Old Park Road.
Boating at Kohler-Andrae State Park
There are no boat rentals or boat launches at Kohler-Andre. Park visitors are welcome to bring their own floatables and paddle boats. Make sure to secure floatables as they can be blown away by the lake’s breeze.
Biking at Kohler-Andrae State Park
Bring your bike and cycle the park roads and the 2.5-mile Black River Trail. This trail is a great way to observe wildlife, so keep a lookout as you travel through the fields and forested areas.
Hiking at Kohler-Andrae State Park
Kohler-Andrae State Park features nine trails ranging in difficulty from easy to moderate skill levels. Here are the trail highlights:
- Where to walk and learn: The Black River Marsh Boardwalk, the Woodland Dunes Nature Trail, and the Creeping Juniper Nature Trail are all self-guided nature trails.
- Where to walk along the Lake Michigan shoreline: from “Old Park Road” to “Parking Lot 2”, which is informally known as the “Cordwalk-Boardwalk Trail”. This trail is an easy 3-mile journey to the end and back.
- Best places to see wildlife: The Ancient Shore Trail and the Black River Trail.
- Best trail for a challenge: The Dunes Cordwalk is a 2-mile trail and the only moderate-to-difficult hiking trail in the park.
- Where to eat berries: Berries typically grow seasonally along the Marsh Trail. Park visitors are allowed to pick and eat edible fruit and nuts found in the park.
Horseback Riding at Kohler-Andrae State Park
Horseback riding is allowed on the 2.5-mile Black River Trail. While riding through open fields and forests, keep an eye out for songbirds and wildflowers.
Picnicking at Kohler-Andrae State Park
Enjoy picnicking at the south end of the park, the Terry Andrae State Park section. There are several picnic tables near playgrounds and restrooms located in the beach area. There are also two picnic shelters and an amphitheater available for reservations.
Hunting at Kohler-Andrae State Park
There is no deer hunting with guns within the park. Muzzleloader and archery deer hunting is allowed during certain seasons. There is gun hunting, archery hunting, and trapping of other animals allowed during certain seasons in designated use areas. Make sure to check the map for the rules and regulations for hunting and trapping at Kohler-Andrae State Park.
Kohler-Andrae State Park Winter Activities
Winter camping, hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are all available here. Cross-country skiers enjoy the easy skill level, 2-mile loop trail that is groomed. Snowshoers have a couple of options. Take the moderate 1-mile loop trail, the Black River Trail, or an extended trail that loops through the entire park.
There is also a campground open in winter, but none of the park’s facilities are open. Family campsites 3, 22, 23, 28, 32, 33 and group sites A and B are plowed for winter camping.
Dogs at Kohler-Andrae State Park
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 must always be on a leash no longer than 8 feet. If they are not kept 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 may encounter, so make sure your pooch has all current vaccinations.
Places where leashed dogs are allowed:
- Park Roads
- Black River Hiking Trail
- Black River Marsh Boardwalk
- Fishing Pond Trail
- Marsh Trail
- Kohler Dunes Boardwalk- designated sections only
- Beach area north of the Sanderling Nature Center
Places where leashed dogs are not allowed:
- The Creeping Juniper Nature Trail
- Anywhere on the beach area south of the Sanderling Nature Center. This includes areas with picnic tables, playgrounds, buildings, or trails in this section of the beach area.
- Pets are not allowed on ski trails.
Of course, if your dog is a service animal, these regulations do not apply.
Restaurants near Kohler-Andrae State Park
If you are looking for somewhere to eat nearby, we’ve got you covered. Both eateries are within a ten-minute drive and have great food and service.
Name: Parkside Family Restaurant
Location: 6727 S Business Dr, Sheboygan, WI 53081-8990, Sheboygan, WI, United States, Wisconsin
More Information: https://www.facebook.com/Parksidefamilyresaturant
Cuisine Style: American
This restaurant serves big breakfasts with all the trimmings as well as different daily specials. Soups and sauces are homemade, and there are entrees to suit every palate. Menu items range from BBQ brisket to turkey-cranberry paninis. Parkside Family Restaurant is the perfect place to eat for an early breakfast or late lunch in a comfortable atmosphere.
Name: Majerle’s Black River Grill
Location: 5033 Evergreen Drive, Sheboygan WI 53081
More Information: https://blackrivergrill.com/
Cuisine Style: American
This locally owned and operated bar and grill is nestled in the woods. We highly recommend trying one of the dinner specials. The specials change, but whether it’s a Friday fish fry or Prime Rib, it’s always good. Majerle’s also makes its own desserts. This restaurant is typically open from late lunch to late dinner. Majerle’s is quite accommodating, but it is also quite popular. We recommend making dinner reservations ahead of time.
Where is Kohler-Andrae State Park?
Kohler-Andrae State Park is located at 1020 Beach Park Lane, Sheboygan, WI 53081.
Directions to Kohler-Andrae State Park from Sheboygan:
Head south on N. 9th Street towards Pennsylvania Ave. for 0.2 miles, then continue onto S. 8th Street for 0.3 miles. When you reach the traffic circle, stay on 8th street by taking the first exit. Continue for 1.4 miles until you get to Wilson Ave.
Turn right on Wilson Ave. and, in 0.3 miles, turn left onto S. 12th Street. Travel 3.5 miles and turn left onto Beach Park Lane. Once you turn onto Beach Park Lane, you will see the entrance to Kohler-Andrae State Park on the left in 0.2 miles.
Directions to Kohler-Andrae State Park from Milwaukee:
Get on I-794 and drive for 0.6 miles. Follow 1-43 to County Road O K/County Road V in Wilson. Then, take exit 120. Travel for about 49 miles. Continue on County Road V which will take you to Beach Park Lane and the park entrance.