Harrington Beach State Park has more than a mile of beach along Lake Michigan. This 715-acre park also features a white cedar and hardwood swamp, old field grasslands with restored wetland ponds and a scenic limestone quarry lake. Camp, sunbathe, picnic, hike, bird watch, fish or practice astronomy. An observatory is open to the public for monthly viewings.
Activities and recreation
Harrington Beach State Park has seven miles of hiking trails and one mile of Lake Michigan shoreline to explore. Walking the beach along Lake Michigan, hikers can see the remains of a 700-foot pier that was used in the early 1900s for shipping limestone quarried and processed at the park. The old pier is on the point which is the dividing point between the north and south beaches.
Biking is allowed on the shuttle bus route from the Pucket's Pond area to the Ansay Welcome Center.
Harrington Beach State Park has a family campground, with five walk-in sites, a group campsite, an accessible cabin for people with disabilities and a kayak site.
The park has a 69-unit family campground, including 31 sites with electrical hookups, 33 non-electrical sites and 3 first-come, first-served sites. Each campsite has a campfire ring and a picnic table.
The campground is open from the first Wednesday in May to the last weekend in October. During the warm weather season, showers, flush toilet and laundry facilities are available in the family campground. A trailer dump station and a fresh water fill-up station are available in the park.
The group campsite is a non-electric, reservable site for up to 30 visitors. The campsite has two campfire rings and five picnic tables. The site is a tent-only site, but one wheeled camping unit can set up in the parking lot. The parking lot has a capacity to hold 14 vehicles. Pets are allowed.
The kayak site is a non-electric reservable site for up to six visitors. The campsite has a campfire ring and a picnic table. The site is a tent-only site and is intended for visitors that are kayaking along Lake Michigan. This is a kayak site and not for power boats. Kayaks need to be moved from the beach when not in use. Geographic coordinates for the kayak site are 43° 29' 24.815" N, 87° 47' 34.74" W.
Parking is available north of Harrington Beach at Kohler-Andrae State Park. Please inform the park staff that you are kayaking to Harrington Beach and when you will return. A park admission sticker is required. Parking is available south of the park at the marina in Port Washington.
Picnic areas and playgrounds
On hot summer days the prime attraction of Harrington Beach State Park is the mile of Lake Michigan shoreline. Visitors enjoy the refreshing lake breezes while picnicking on the groves of trees overlooking the lake.
Beautiful views of Lake Michigan are a feature of the point and south picnic areas. These areas and the Puckett’s Pond picnic area by the upper parking lot have reservable shelters. There are also sand volleyball courts available in the park.
On display in the point picnic area overlooking Lake Michigan is the anchor of the freighter Niagara that was consumed by fire just off the shore in 1856, killing as many as 169 people (the purser did not have records of the number of passengers). Scuba divers will want to explore the remains of this wooden steamship, located a few hundred yards offshore in about 80 feet of water.
The bridle trail at Harrington Beach runs one mile through the park. There is no horse camping at Harrington Beach. Horses must remain on the bridle trail and are not allowed to ride off trail or on the beach.
Boating, canoeing and kayaking
There is not a boat launch at the park. Users of small watercraft or floatation devices should be aware of the wind conditions on Lake Michigan. Strong west winds can blow watercraft away from the shoreline. Parents, watch your children at all times. Rubber rafts and other boats require personal floatation devices.
Swimming in Lake Michigan is a sure way to cool off during a hot day. Please use caution. The lake can be dangerously cold, so use good judgment in deciding whether to swim and, if you do, how long to stay in the water. No lifeguards are present.
Swimming and boating are not permitted in Quarry Lake or Puckett's Pond.
Surf fishing for salmon and trout draws visitors to Harrington Beach and Lake Michigan. Anglers will also enjoy fishing from the shore of the 26-acre Quarry Lake and Puckett’s Pond. People can catch trout, crappies, bluegills and other panfish. Quarry Lake and Puckett’s Pond are part of the urban fishing program.
A fishing license and a Great Lakes salmon and trout stamp, available at local hardware stores and other outlets, are required for anglers.
Anglers of any age may check out basic fishing equipment free of charge at the park office. This equipment was donated by the Tackle Loaner Program. Call the park office to find out what equipment is available.
Hunting and trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed in the open areas of the park during the Wisconsin state parks hunting and trapping time frame. Trapping is not permitted in closed areas as noted on the park hunting map or within 100 yards of any designated use area, including trails. Certain trap types are restricted on state park properties.
A cross-country ski trail runs from the lower parking lot along the shuttle bus trail to the Hardwood Swamp trail and then back east along the service road. A snowmobile trail crosses the western end of the park. Even the park’s Lake Michigan beach remains an attraction in the wintertime, when a fantastic architecture of ice rims the shore.
The opening and closing of snowmobile trails is at the discretion of each county. Snowmobile trails which cross DNR lands are opened and closed consistent with the surrounding county (or counties). Whenever possible, the opening and closing of snowmobile trails is done on a county-wide basis, however localized conditions may require localized trail opening and closing. It is the responsibility of the county to provide notification about the status of snowmobile trails.