The Malibu of the Midwest



Have you ever walked the shoreline of the Great Lakes and looked out at the horizon? No land in sight gives off the illusion of being at the ocean. However, on a lake, you would never expect a landlocked town like Sheboygan, Wisconsin to be a haven for hanging ten.

Great Lakes are for Water Lovers: Kiting in Sheboygan

Resting on the shores of Lake Michigan, the city of Sheboygan, Wisconsin has been affectionately dubbed the Malibu of the Midwest by the surf crowd, but surfers are not the only ones flocking to the shores of Sheboygan. Because of its ideal location and geography, it is a hot destination for kiteboarders as well. Sheboygan’s lakefront has over a mile-long beach that bends, allowing riders to get safely in and out of the water. Sheboygan has arguably the best kite beach and scene in Wisconsin.

When the air is warm, and the water is cold, jump in your car and come for a Sheboygan kite session. Thermals generated over the lake during southerly winds can bring 20-30 kiters to the beaches on weekends. You soon realize that a great day on the water is not the only fun to have during a visit. After a kite session with your mates, take advantage of available opportunities to stretch your legs and enjoy a great meal on dry land.

Tasty Treats along the Shore:  Sheboygan’s Eateries

There is simply no way to describe the full culinary experience of Sheboygan. Sheboygan has all the dining and drinking staples one would expect to find in a waterfront destination. Small cafes with charming atmospheres and way-good coffee. Classy establishments with waterside tables and patios proudly offering Italian, English, Mexican, and American style foods. There are even the family-owned food trucks that are famous for food on a stick, in a basket, or wrapped in waxed paper that gather on Mondays at Vollrath Park in the summer. Libations flow just as freely with local bars, breweries, and eateries pouring a wide selection of craft beers, wines, and cocktails.

If you want to get your fill “The Sheboygan Way,” try our champion bratwursts. Yes, we fry brats, and having fried them to perfection, we dress them on a round (not oblong) Sheboygan hard roll and sprinkle them with onion and brown mustard. There you have it! The Sheboygan brat, fried and dressed, earning Sheboygan the title, Bratwurst Capital of the World.

A Water Lover’s Paradise:  Paddling Sheboygan


With titles like Malibu of the Midwest and Fresh Water Surf Capital of the World, Sheboygan, Wisconsin has some standards to uphold. Sheboygan is home to some of the gnarliest waves on the Great Lakes. People come from all over the world for prime surfing season, winter! However, if you prefer indulging in summer water activities like the average person, Sheboygan is also perfect for kayaking or SUP (stand up paddleboard). Gather with friends and head out for a day of adventure! Paddlers of all levels can ride the waves of Sheboygan’s shoreline or take a trip up the Sheboygan River to explore nature.

Don’t have a kayak or paddleboard of your own? Located on the riverfront, the EOS rental dock provides the opportunity to rent both kayaks and paddleboards. There, even first-timers learn the ropes of paddling. As you paddle down the River, you’ll see old fishing shanties from Sheboygan’s past. But the old shanties, as well as the new ones, are home to coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, and ice cream parlors. The newest additions to the riverfront feature Blue Harbor Resort, mini-golf, festivals, and Sheboygan’s “South Beach.” As you will see, both sides of the river have much to offer old and new.

Relax & Take in Sights from Shipwrecks to Lighthouse

Expand your day at North Beach by soaking up some rays, playing beach volleyball, and watching people fly kites in the large grassy field off to the side. Or, a favorite pastime is taking a walk through the Lottie Cooper, an 1800s wooden shipwreck on display at Deland Park. From there, walk through the marina and towards North Pier to look at Sheboygan’s lighthouse which is a perfect spot to watch the sunset over the land or a sunrise reflecting over the lake. You might even finish the night from the fire rings, provided for public use, along the shoreline of Lake Michigan.

Surfing on Lake Michigan: Winter Worlds & Warriors

Resting on the shores of Lake Michigan, the city of Sheboygan has been affectionately dubbed the Malibu of the Midwest by the surf crowd for over 50 years. You would never expect a landlocked state like Wisconsin to be a haven for hanging ten. Can you really surf in Wisconsin? Absolutely! Sheboygan is not the Fresh Water Surf Capital of the World for nothing. Due to its location and geography, Sheboygan has some of the best waves on the Great Lakes. But what is the catch? The best time to surf is in the fall and winter seasons. While there are rare opportunities to go surfing in the summer, the best experience and the biggest waves happen in late fall through the winter. The season unofficially kicks off Labor Day weekend!

Sheboygan Fall Hiking, Art & Other Entertainment

In autumn, around the time our local surf season kicks off, other aspects of Sheboygan also come to life. Hiking is a spectacular fall pastime in Wisconsin. Take time to escape the noise, hit the trails, and gaze upon the fall colors. Maywood Environmental Park, Evergreen Park, Sheboygan Indian Mound Park, James Tellen Woodland Sculpture Garden, and Kohler Andrae State Park each have unique habitats from grassland prairie, sand dunes, forests, and ponds. It all adds up to an incomparable experience. When the weather is not cooperating, take a dive into Sheboygan’s art culture. Peek at world-renowned John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s award-winning washrooms. Each one is uniquely designed and each year thousands of visitors walk through the museum to experience them as well as world-class exhibitions. Recently opened, the new John Michael Kohler Art Preserve is home to over thirty-five artist-built environments. However, art does not have to be confined to museums and galleries. In recent years, the street-art movement in Sheboygan has been taking off. Artists are using the urban landscape as a canvas for works of art that reflect the city’s people and culture.

For a full list of Sheboygan’s outdoor offerings,

About the Author

I am originally from Northern Wisconsin but spent my college years in Sheboygan. I love exploring new places around Sheboygan and I want you to fall in love with the area just as I did.  I always have my camera on me in order to capture my adventures and share them on the blog. Follow along with me as I give you insider tips on some of my favorite places to eat and drink, the best ways to experience Lake Michigan, and so much more.

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