In the heat of summer, who doesn’t love escaping the humidity by way of a lake retreat?

In Madison, we’re lucky to be surrounded by these natural beauties. Five of them to be precise. Not only do they represent an important part of our rich history, but they play a pivotal role in servicing our community. The Clean Lakes Alliance, an organization near and dear to our hearts, is committed to preserving and protecting our lakes so future generations can enjoy them as much as we do. From summer activities like boating, water skiing, kayaking, canoeing, and sailing – to winter fishing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating – our lives can often revolve around these earthly wonders.

So today and everyday, we celebrate our historic landmarks for giving us a natural playground that never disappoints.

For those unfamiliar – or simply in need of a refresh – the greater Madison area is comprised of five major lakes:

These lakes vary in size and location, but all are within a short, convenient drive from central Madison. Understanding each one can help you understand where you want to live, where you want to spend your time, and which lake best fits your lifestyle.

Let's give you a quick rundown of each lake so you know what to expect on your next nautical outing:


The largest of our lakes in the greater Madison area, Lake Mendota offers community members access across a variety of neighborhoods. From Maple Bluff and Westport, to Middleton and Shorewood Hills, the lake offers entertainment all year round. Depending on the season, you will often find lake enthusiasts sailing, fishing, ice skating or even walking on Lake Mendota. Located on the north end of downtown and along the shores of the UW-Madison campus, Lake Mendota is arguably the most central and convenient of the five lakes. It boasts an impressive 83’ depth at its deepest, and offers five sets of beaches for access.


Much like Lake Mendota, Lake Monona is centrally located and offers Madison locals plenty of options for activities year-round. In fact, Mendota and Monona serve to create an isthmus in the heart of downtown as they round out their southeast side (Mendota) and northwest side (Monona). A big attraction of Lake Monona is the 11-mile loop that spans the outside of the lake. Here you’ll find the locals enjoying walks, jogs, and bike rides and taking in the views of the downtown Madison skyline. Lake Monona not only services those living in the immediate downtown area, but borders the town of Monona which is situated along the eastern banks of this lovely lake. 


Lake Waubesa has a more laid back feel than the others on this list (outdone only by the yet-to-come Lake Kegonsa). Situated further down the Yahara river chain, sandwiched between McFarland and Fitchburg, Waubesa contains three county parks making up the majority of her 15-mile shoreline. With less traffic on this lake than Lake Mendota or Lake Monona, Lake Waubesa is a great option for recreational pastimes and calm, sun-soaked afternoons. 


At Lake Kegonsa, you’re surrounded by countryside. Gone are the metered parking spots and businesses. The shorelines of Lake Kegonsa are made up largely of natural countryside and private beaches. More circular in nature than its counterparts, Lake Kegonsa very much carries the vibe of a quiet and peaceful body of water. Watching the wildlife and enjoying leisurely boat rides are just a few perks residents enjoy along this lake. 


Lake Wingra is smaller than the surrounding lakes. Shining and shimmering year-round, boasting her convenient location bookmarked by the neighborhoods of Nakoma and Dudgeon-Monroe, and touting the Henry Vilas Zoo as a friendly neighbor. Lake Wingra is calm and hospitable, allowing for ample paddle boarders during the warmer months. This lake has several designated areas dotting the shoreline, allowing convenient access for patrons.

So there you have it, a quick overview of the lakes that serve as the building blocks of our wonderful community. 

Maybe you’re interested in buying or selling a home on the lake? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Sprinkman Real Estate has been the leader in lake home sales the past nine years and counting. Owning a lake home comes with many considerations and variables outside of owning other types of homes. It’s a different lifestyle, and it’s important to know all the facts.

Have questions? We’ve got answers! Contact us today to get started. And until then, don’t forget your SPF!

Posted by Sprinkman Real Estate on
Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.
An interior view in the living room with nice view.
Considering A Move?

Let us help you in your journey home.