With coastlines along two of the Great Lakes – Lake Superior and Lake Michigan – there’s no shortage of charming lakeside towns in Wisconsin. From smaller lakes located in the heart of the state to major cities like Madison, there’s a lake that’s right for you in Wisconsin.

To help you get started, Redfin has collected a list of 12 lakes in Wisconsin to live on this year. Whether you rent a home in Madison near the water or in the rugged wilderness, you’ll find a lake on our list. Let’s dive in.

1. Castle Rock Lake (Friendship)

Nearest city: Friendship, WI
Median home sale price: $106,000
Population: 7,000
Homes for sale in Friendship, WI
Apartments for rent in Friendship, WI

The first spot on our list of lakes in Wisconsin to live on this year is Castle Rock Lake. This lake is a haven for anglers and boaters alike, boasting a variety of fish species and ample space for water sports. The surrounding area is dotted with parks and recreational spots, like Buckhorn State Park, Juneau County Castle Rock Park, and Yellow River State Wildlife Area. Just east of Castle Rock Lake is the town of Friendship. With a population of 7,000, this small town offers a peaceful lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

2. Devils Lake (Baraboo)

Nearest city: Baraboo, WI
Median home sale price: $242,000
Average 1-bedroom rent: $960
Population: 12,000
Homes for sale in Baraboo, WI
Apartments for rent in Baraboo, WI

Devils Lake is a natural wonder that attracts visitors and residents alike with its stunning landscapes and outdoor activities. The lake’s clear waters are perfect for kayaking, swimming, and fishing, while the surrounding state park offers miles of hiking trails through picturesque terrain. Baraboo, with its 12,000 inhabitants, combines small-town charm with a range of amenities and attractions, including local shops, restaurants, and cultural venues. The city’s proximity to Devil’s Lake makes it a great location for those who cherish nature and access to a smaller town.

3. Geneva Lake (Lake Geneva)

Nearest city: Lake Geneva, WI
Median home sale price: $400,000
Population: 8,000
Homes for sale in Lake Geneva, WI
Apartments for rent in Lake Geneva, WI

Geneva Lake is surrounded by the charming city of Lake Geneva and has a great blend of lakeside luxury and recreation. This lake is surrounded by luxury homes and resorts, like Black Point Estate and Gardens, and offers a plethora of water activities such as sailing, water skiing, and fishing. The city of Lake Geneva, with a population of 8,000, is a hub of activity year-round, hosting events and festivals that draw visitors from across the region. The historic downtown area, with its unique shops and gourmet dining, adds to the allure of living in this lakeside community.

4. Green Lake (Green Lake)

Nearest city: Green Lake, WI
Median home sale price: $399,000
Population: 1,000
Homes for sale in Green Lake, WI
Apartments for rent in Green Lake, WI

Green Lake is a hidden gem in the vibrant community of Green Lake. Known for its crystal-clear waters and peaceful surroundings, the lake is a favorite among those who enjoy fishing, boating, and serene lakefront walks. The town of Green Lake has a strong sense of community and a love for outdoor activities. The town offers a variety of local eateries and shops, maintaining a cozy, small-town atmosphere. For those seeking a quiet retreat with the benefits of lakefront living, Green Lake is a great option.

lake mendota on a cloudy day

5-6. Lake Mendota and Lake Monona (Madison)

Nearest city: Madison, WI
Median home sale price: $425,000
Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,627
Population: 272,900
Homes for sale in Madison, WI
Apartments for rent in Madison, WI

Madison is the bustling capital city of Wisconsin and is positioned between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, offering residents access to waterfront recreation and beauty. These lakes are central to the city’s lifestyle, providing endless opportunities for water sports, fishing, and scenic lakeside picnics. Madison’s lively downtown area, situated near the lakeshores, has a blend of attractions, dining options, and entertainment venues. With a population nearing 273,000, Madison has the atmosphere of a large city with the tranquil charm of lakeside living, making it a great lake town in Wisconsin.

7. Lake Michigan (Sheboygan)

Nearest city: Sheboygan, WI
Median home sale price: $232,900
Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,350
Population: 48,000
Homes for sale in Sheboygan, WI
Apartments for rent in Sheboygan, WI

Sheboygan’s picturesque shoreline along Lake Michigan is a major draw for those seeking the beauty and recreational opportunities of one of the Great Lakes. The city’s waterfront is perfect for sailing, fishing, and enjoying sandy beaches. While there a countless towns along the shores of Lake Michigan, we decided to include Sheboygan over the larger Milwaukee. With a population of 48,000, Sheboygan offers a friendly, community-oriented lifestyle with the added benefit of lakefront living. The city is known for its vibrant arts scene, culinary offerings, and events, making it a desirable location for individuals and families alike. Lake Michigan’s vast waters provide a stunning backdrop to this bustling lakeside city.

8. Lake Pepin (Pepin)

Nearest city: Pepin, WI
Median home sale price: $240,000
Population: 800
Homes for sale in Pepin, WI
Apartments for rent in Pepin, WI

Lake Pepin, a naturally occurring lake along the Mississippi River, extends into both Wisconsin and Minnesota. Known for its sailing and fishing, the lake is a peaceful retreat for those looking to escape the fast pace of city life. Along its shores, you’ll find the small town of Pepin with its scenic beauty, campgrounds, and parks. The town boasts charming cafes, local art galleries, and a waterfront that’s perfect for leisurely strolls. For those dreaming of a quiet, lakeside existence, Lake Pepin offers a tranquil setting combined with the warmth of a small community.

lake superior rock forms

9. Lake Superior (Superior)

Nearest city: Superior, WI
Median home sale price: $227,000
Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,400
Population: 27,000
Homes for sale in Superior, WI
Apartments for rent in Superior, WI

Superior, perched on the edge of the majestic Lake Superior, is a city that thrives on its connection to the water. The largest of the Great Lakes provides residents with unparalleled opportunities for boating, kayaking, and enjoying the natural beauty of the northern landscape. Superior’s 27,000 residents enjoy a lifestyle that blends outdoor adventure with the conveniences of city living. From waterfront restaurants to outdoor outfitters, the city truly fits in alongside the lake. Lake Superior’s vast beauty makes Superior a great location for those seeking a life filled with natural wonders.

10. Lake Winnebago (Oshkosh)

Nearest city: Oshkosh, WI
Median home sale price: $187,500
Average 1-bedroom rent: $750
Population: 67,000
Homes for sale in Oshkosh, WI
Apartments for rent in Oshkosh, WI

Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin’s largest inland lake, is a picturesque spot with countless lakefront towns. The lake is a focal point for recreation, including fishing, sailing, and waterskiing, drawing both locals and tourists to its shores. One of the many cities with access to the lake is Oshkosh which has a rich history and a strong connection to the water. With a population of 67,000, Oshkosh combines the amenities of a larger city with the charm and community feel of a lakeside town. Oshkosh’s lively downtown area, with its cultural events, museums, and galleries, adds to the city’s charm.

petenwell lake in arkdale wisconsin

11. Petenwell Lake (Arkdale)

Nearest city: Arkdale, WI
Median home sale price: $270,000
Population: 200
Homes for sale in Arkdale, WI
Apartments for rent in Arkdale, WI

Petenwell Lake, Wisconsin’s largest man-made lake, is a hidden treasure in the small community of Arkdale. Located north of Castle Rock Lake, this expansive body of water is a paradise for anglers, boaters, and nature lovers, offering stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere. The lake’s surroundings are dotted with cozy cabins and homes, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a quiet retreat in the heart of nature. Petenwell Lake’s natural beauty and the community of Arkdale offer a unique and tranquil lakeside living experience.

12. Pewaukee Lake (Pewaukee)

Nearest city: Pewaukee, WI
Median home sale price: $552,500
Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,012
Population: 15,000
Homes for sale in Pewaukee, WI
Apartments for rent in Pewaukee, WI

Pewaukee Lake, set in the vibrant city of Pewaukee, is a hub of activity and community life. This lake is beloved for its recreational opportunities, including water skiing, fishing, and sunset cruises, making it a popular destination. The city of Pewaukee, with its 15,000 residents, offers a blend of suburban comfort and lakeside living. The downtown area, with its unique boutiques and waterfront dining, reflects the city’s lively spirit and community. If you’re looking for a lake in Wisconsin to live on that blends city life and nature, check out Pewaukee Lake.

Note, this list is not comprehensive of all the lakes in Wisconsin. Median home sale price data from the Redfin Data Center during April 2024. Average rental data from Rent.com April 2024. Population data sourced from the United States Census Bureau.

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