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Water Recreation

Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit

Swimming at a Park Swimming at a Park. Photographer: Bill McClenahan


The southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest has two swimming beaches, at Ottawa Lake and Whitewater Lake. Lifeguards are not provided. Pets, soaps, food and beverages are prohibited in marked swim areas. Ottawa Lake and Whitewater Lake are open from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. year-round. Picnic tables, grills and toilet facilities are available near the beaches. The state parks' carry in, carry out policy applies at these areas. Both lakes are tested regularly for bacterial levels. Information is posted to notify swimmers of the water quality of the lake.

A beach wheelchair is available at Ottawa Lake and can be checked out from the park office at no charge.

Boating, canoeing and kayaking

Boat launches are located within the Forest at Ottawa Lake, Rice Lake and Whitewater Lake. The use of gas-powered motors is prohibited on Ottawa Lake. A vehicle admission sticker is required at all three launches. All watercraft must be equipped with a wearable Coast Guard approved personal flotation device for each person on board.

There is an adaptive kayak available through the rental program.