Located 51 miles from Madison, 53 miles from Milwaukee, and 106 miles from Chicago, Whitewater Lake is a popular destination for those wanting a weekend getaway into the wilderness or a fishing, boating, or skiing excursion. But many make the city of Whitewater and Whitewater Lake their year-round residence.
Most of Whitewater Lake is a part of the city of Whitewater, but the southern end is part of the Town of Richmond. The city of Whitewater is seven miles northwest of the lake. The central part of the Town of Richmond is a bit to the southwest. They are both in the county of Walworth. The population of Whitewater is around 20,000 people.
The area has a rural feel with large yards and tall trees. There are hills, rocks, and unique landscapes caused millions of years ago by glacial movement. The pinnacle of the area is Whitewater Lake, and that’s where many residents focus their attention.
Whitewater Lake was formed in the 1940s. A dam was closed, and the area was flooded from three smaller lakes to one larger one.
Here are some top reasons people make their homes around Whitewater Lake.
- Whitewater Lake is a 625-acre lake popular with boaters, anglers, and swimmers. The deepest part of the lake is around 35 feet. There are five places to launch your boat and a public beach. Anglers can try their luck catching panfish, largemouth bass, northern pike, and walleye. The lake is stocked and open for ice-fishing in the winter as well. Don’t forget your fishing license before casting your line.
Boaters must follow all Wisconsin Boating Regulations and specific lake ordinances set forth by the Town of Whitewater. Read all signs and obey the strict no-wake zones.
Whitewater Lake Beach is on the northern side of the lake and is a popular place to float and cool off in the hot summer months. JNT Parkside Marina is where to rent boats (pontoons, kayaks, rowboats, canoes) and paddleboards. You can also rent a slip to store your vessel on the water to save effort towing it to and from your home.
- Kettle Moraine State Forest is on the northern end of Whitewater Lake. The forest is named after geological features of the land that are called kettles, kames, and eskers. The forest covers 56,000 acres in 5 separate units. The terrain is hilly and filled with trails for cross-country skiing, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and off-road biking. There are 750 campsites reached by a 115-mile scenic drive that touches all five units of the forest.
From Whitewater, you can catch the Ice Age Trail - a 1,200-mile path that crosses 30 counties in Wisconsin. Just about 18 miles of the trail is in Whitewater. Two million people hike, snowshoe, and backpack the trail each year.
The unit that abuts Whitewater Lake is called the Southern Unit. It has 22,000 acres of forested glacial hills, kettle lakes, and prairies. Features of this area include the Whitewater Lake Recreation Area with boating and camping facilities. Old World Wisconsin showcases farmsteads and recreates the lives and homes of early settlers. McMiller Sportsmen Center is home to public hunting practice ranges. The Natural History Museum and Nature Center have exhibits, educational programs, and a gift shop.
- Natureland County Park is on the southern end of Whitewater Lake. There are 122 acres of land with four hiking trails where you can see springs and wetlands. It’s a great area to see birds and other wildlife. This park is an excellent place to snowshoe or cross-country ski in the winter. There are also picnic areas and a log cabin available for rent.
Homes around the Lake. Ten miles of shoreline and many homesites have property along the shore with private docks to launch your boat or dangle your feet in the cool water. The lake is shaped in an oval with a piece of land down the center.
On this narrow strip of land is Ridge Rd - a single road with a few turnoffs in broader sections of land. On this mile-long road, there are 100 homes on either side. Often the homes are near the road, and then there is a rather steep hill down to the water’s edge. Many properties have private stairs or paths leading to their own docks. Most properties are low-maintenance, with wooded hillsides. This set-up also offers magnificent views of the lake and surrounding forest. Depending on what side of the lake you are on, you will see beautiful sunrises or sunsets.
On Ridge Road, there is a turn-off to Woodchuck Alley. Ten homes overlook the Tamarack Islands and are perfect for birdwatching. You can also bring your pets to splash in the lake at the Oak Hollow Pet Area.
On the land surrounding the outside of the lake are parks, state forest lands, a beach, boat docks, and homesites. There are established homes, new construction, and plots of land where you can build your dream home. If a home is not on the shore, it is still reasonably close to the water.
West Lakeshore Drive is a premier area with 25 lakefront properties. These homes are larger with flat open yards, many with private docks. Across the lake, East Lakeshore Drive has 80 homes on the shore with similar amenities but a totally different view.
Whitewater Lake has a property owner’s association that sets rules for the lake in terms of wake, how close to shore you can boat, and the direction of the boat traffic when water skiing. They offer protection for lands close to the waters and ensure properties retain their value. The board oversees anything from fish stocking to trash service. The property owner’s association also coordinates social events throughout the year.
Homes on the lake, whether on Ridge Road or Lakeshore Drive across the waterway, tend to sell at a premium for obvious reasons. Further away from the lakeshore, you’ll find reasonably priced homes and lots to build on. With over 400 homes on the waterfront and another 450 more very close to the waters, there are plenty of options.
- There are three elementary schools - Lakeview, Lincoln, and Washington. Lakeview Elementary is closest to Whitewater Lake. The public school kids continue to Whitewater Middle School and Whitewater High School. Kettle Moraine Baptist Academy is a private school option.
For those wishing to continue to higher education, the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater is just up the road in the city of Whitewater. The school offers 47 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs.
- Whitewater Spring Water. The freshest water comes from natural springs that come out of the earth. This spring never stops flowing. Pull into the parking lot and fill up your own containers.
The City of Whitewater is about 7 miles from Whitewater Lake. Here’s where you’ll find great eateries, unique retail experiences, and more.
Places to Eat
- Rose’s Pizza and Ice Cream has Italian and American food, including double-decker pizzas, sandwiches, calzones, pasta, soups, salads, plus ice cream. It’s located on the main street.
- ReVamp Nutrition is the place for healthy shakes, smoothies, and teas.
- Station 1 has hot dogs, fries, and beers on tap. Open until 2:30 am, stop to satisfy your late-night munchies before heading home.
- Lil’ Debbie’s Coyote Grill serves the best cheeseburger in town. They also have live Irish music each week.
- Center Street Cafe is your go-to for breakfast and lunch. If you are a fan of Turkish coffee, definitely stop by.
- Taco Fresco serves made-from-scratch Mexican food - tacos, burritos, quesadillas, chips & salsa, and many vegetarian options. Pair it with a Fresco Horchata or Mexican cola for a perfect meal!
Other Places of Interest
- Whitewater City Market is open in summer or winter. During the summer, farmers, artisans, food carts, craft beer, and live music can be found in Cravath Park. The vendors gather inside the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library Community/Conference Room during the colder months. Find the best of what Whitewater has to offer at the market.
- During the summer, find the freshest produce at the Whitewater Farmer’s Market each Saturday.
- While on Main Street in Whitewater, check out Birge Fountain. Built in 1903, it stands 17 ½ feet high and stands where a small brick school used to stand where the donor, Julius Birge, went to school.
- Kids will enjoy the Rotary Skate Park, with 8,000 feet of concrete where skaters and bicyclists can showcase their talents.
- There’s nothing better than browsing a local bookstore. In Whitewater, that place is The Book Teller. You’ll find new and used books and locally handcrafted gifts.
Living on Whitewater Lake
Whitewater Lake is a gorgeous place to call home. Whether you are looking for a home where you can step out of your backdoor and view the lake from your own private shoreline or a forested acreage with plenty of privacy, you will find your idyllic spot in Whitewater. Rent a cabin to experience the area, and you’ll see why many choose to make Whitewater Lake their year-round home.
Sal Dimiceli, located in Lake Geneva, WI is a detail oriented REAL ESTATE professional that offers his clients total customer satisfaction whether they are first time homebuyer, or experienced seller/buyer relocating to Lake Geneva. This experienced real estate professional knows the industry and thrives on getting the clients exactly what they are looking for.