RACINE — Racine’s sandy crown jewel, North Beach, has scored yet another honor.
USA Today has named the popular attraction — located at Michigan and Kewaunee streets — the best beach in Wisconsin.
The beach was listed by the national paper as one of “51 Great American Beaches.” The paper asked experts to select one beach in each state and the District of Columbia, according to a press release from Real Racine, Racine County’s convention and tourism bureau.
“At Racine’s North Beach, everyone from beach bums to pro volleyball players share a 50-acre stretch of well-groomed sand along Lake Michigan,” the May 25 article said.
USA Today isn’t the first publication to recognize North Beach’s excellence. It was named a Top 10 Family Friendly Beach by Parents magazines in 2011, and it made Midwest Living magazine’s Top City Beaches list in 2010. In 2004, it earned the Certified Blue Wave Beach designation, following grooming changes and the construction of runoff retention ponds.
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“This is just one more great accolade for North Beach,” Real Racine Marketing Director Paul Holley said. “Racine should be incredibly proud.”
On Friday, the hot weather forecasted for Memorial Day weekend had yet to begin but people were already itching to sit by the lake and wiggle their toes in a little sand.
Pam Rondone, 52, of Racine, was among dozens of people enjoying the first few hours of the weekend lounging at a table at the new Beachside Oasis concession stand, 100 Kewaunee St.
There with her son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, it was Rondone’s second weekend enjoying the new stand.
“We used to live on Goold Street. We pretty much grew up on this beach,” she said.
Inside the concession stand, workers were busy preparing food for hungry customers, while the owners prepared for the stand’s grand opening weekend, which started Saturday and continues through today.
“We have been very surprised by the reception,” said Greg Allan, who owns the business with Scott and Cindy Jensen. “We’ve had a lot of compliments on our menu.”
With the hot weather expected to draw even more people to the beach today, Interim Director of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services, Tom Molbeck on Friday encouraged people to use common sense when enjoying the water.
Lifeguards will be posted at North Beach this summer, but they won’t start work until early June. They’ll work June 2 and June 3, and then starting on Saturday, June 9, they will be at the beach seven days a week until early September. Lifeguards will only be at Zoo Beach on Saturdays and Sundays, however.
Lifeguards won’t be on duty today, but the Racine County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol will be. They will be running patrols from their office at Reef Point Marina, 2 Christopher Columbus Causeway, Deputy Dan Riese said.