If you’re seeking to live in a small town that also provides access to a lot of outdoor activities, then you should strongly consider Waunakee, Wisconsin. Whether it’s summer or winter, you will never find yourself bored.
The population of the town itself is only 12,097. In 2009, CNN Money ranked it #78 for “Top 100 Places to Live” for Small Towns. A lot of that had to do with the location, as is always the case with real estate.
Let’s first take a look at a popular place to play directly in Waunakee, followed by some places to play in the surrounding area.
Governor State Park
This 422-acre park is location on the north shore of Lake Mendota. More on the lake soon. For now, let’s focus on the park itself.
You will find a lot to do here, and for many people, it’s their weekend hangout. The beach is a hot spot in the summer because of the clean and wide expanse of sand for a lake, and because of the beach volleyball court. For the beach, you can swim between Memorial Day and Labor Day. There are buoys but no lifeguards. Pets are allowed to swim in the water as long as they’re kept on a leash that is less than eight feet.
Hikers will have plenty to explore because there is 8.4 miles of trails throughout the park. The ecological communities differ throughout these trails, and you will find many wildflowers as well as two viewing platforms. Pets are allowed on the trails during the summer, but they are only allowed on the Morningside Trail during the winter.
Winter activities in the park include skate skiing and cross-country skiing.
This 10,000-acre lake isn’t just popular for locals, but many people living in Wisconsin (it’s worth the drive). Boating and fishing are popular here.
For boating, it never gets too crowded, which has a lot to do with the size of the lake. For fishing, which is the reason for most visits, you will be angling for musky, panfish (abundant), largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, sturgeon, and catfish.
One funny side note is that there is a remote sensor in the lake that UW-Madison Center uses, and they refer to it as David Buoy.
Schumaker Farm Park
This is a 40-acre park that consists of trails that lead through a 10-acre prairie. This is not something you will often find, even in Wisconsin. Other offerings at Schumaker Farm Park include music festivals and summer camps.
If you’re the active type, then you’re going to love Ripp Park. This is where you go to play baseball, softball, soccer, and tennis. There are also walking trails (not hiking trails), and families will enjoy the park because there are picnic tables and a playground.
Pheasant Beach Conservatory
This park is 160 acres of hiking and biking trails. You can visit dozens of times and still not cover the entire park. You will also have an opportunity to enjoy views of Downtown Madison, Wisconsin.
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