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Top 7 Reasons My Family Loves being Madison Boats Members.

Updated: Feb 15, 2022

Camp Wingra's Director, Summer, share's how her family spends their time on the lake in the summer.

Growing up, I was a Wingra Boats member child- jumping off paddle boats, searching for turtles in the lagoon, learning to SUP, canoeing with friends down to Vilas beach and then landing my first job as a crew member when I was 14. It was this carefree childhood, and the memories spent on Lake Wingra, that has brought me back to Madison and exactly the way I want to raise my own two boys. So why does my family love being members and spending our summers at the lake?

1. We can take out a paddle boat for only 15 mins.

My boys love paddle boats. But if I am alone, this is one of the HARDEST boats to manage. Actually, even with another person paddling it doesn't get much easier.

But a paddle boat is the best way to take a picnic out on the water; get out past the weed line to go for a swim; or to invite another mom and her child along for a playdate. My boys love climbing up and down the ladder on the back of the sparkly blue boats. And as a member, I never feel guilty, when we I’ve hit my limit of peddling after just 15 mins, and we turn around and head back to the dock.

2. My husband can take our boys out paddle boarding while I am at work.

My husband, a teacher, gets to take on the stay-at-home parenting role during the summer. This past summer going paddle boarding together was one of their favorite daily activities, plus it allowed my husband to get a work out in while the boys “fished” or searched for turtles.

With the boys getting bigger, I think the mini-mega will be his new go to boat of choice or a double kayak.

3. We can Spend Sunday mornings taking mini-canoe trips down pheasant branch.

With two little toddlers, we haven’t yet managed the multi-day canoe trip as we had hoped. But paddling from Marshall Boats into Pheasant Branch has been our favorite family canoe trip. Within seconds of paddling into the waterway of Pheasant Branch you instantly feel like you’re miles away from Madison exploring uncharted waterways, with eagles flying overhead and perfect shallow & sandy areas to get out and swim- or take a nap.

4. My boys have learned to be comfortable swimming in the lake.

As an outdoor educator, I am very familiar with the risks around water. Because I know how quickly things can happen, I am considerably more nervous with my kids in the water. However, by instilling a few rules, "never go on the dock without a life jacket," "always keep your life jacket on in the boat," "don't stand up in a boat," I have been able to teach the boys how to have a healthy relationship with boating and water.

From the beginning of the summer to the end it is amazing to see their comfort levels rise, their swimming skills and their knowledge of the lake and ecology improve.

5. We get a discounted rate on Pontoon Boats.

We have loved having a pontoon boat almost anytime we want one. When Grandparents come into town there is no better way to give them a luxurious tour of Lake Mendota while making it easy to keep a hold of the kids. And watching the boys take turns being ‘captain’ makes for life long memories (and pictures).

Little insider tip: If you think your family will use pontoon boats a lot and you would like to get a discount... sign up as a Marshall Member, or a member with all lakes access to get discounted rentals.


6. We get discounts on all the awesome boat house events.

Full moon paddle's will be back again this summer, and those are my husband and my favorite date nights. There is nothing better than paddling at Wingra or Brittingham under the moonlight. The boys on the other hand love the Ice Cream Boat Floats.

7. My family spends time together outdoors!

The main reason that my family loves being boat house members is because it helps my family connect after I am gone for the day. It helps us get out of the house and be active. Whether we are paddling in front of the Monona Terrace, in Pheasant Branch or just in the middle of Lake Wingra it connects us to nature. It gives my boys the same carefree summer memories that I had growing up.

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