Want to know where to find a "Wibit"? Find out in our annual guide to local beaches in today's GO Kenosha entertainment section.
Just to put this in perspective, my nephew Nick Stockton, 16, posted a Facebook video last week showing him bungee jumping off a high metal bridge in Costa Rica. He also regularly ziplines and climbs mountains.
Not surprisingly, when he visited Kenosha in July, he eagerly went to Simmons Island Beach to jump into Lake Michigan.
He didn't get far; in fact, he only put one toe — one! — into the frigid water.
Nick, who lives in Atlanta, learned a harsh lesson the rest of us already know: To swim in Lake Michigan, you need to be tough.
That's one observation. Here are more from my marathon beaches tour as I was putting together our annual GO Kenosha Beach Guide:
Who stole my SpongeBob!?: Normally when I visit Silver Lake Park Beach, I can consume a week’s worth of sugar in one sitting by purchasing a SpongeBob Squarepants popsicle. While I still mourned the loss of my longtime favorite, the Snoopy ice cream bar, at least I still had options. Not so this year. There are no concessions at all at the beach! No Choco Tacos. No pizza. No popcorn. No burgers. Nada. Zip.
If you're heading to Silver Lake, pack your own snacks (it's bad form to beg from nearby families). A staffer at the beach did say concessions will return in 2020 when they secure a new vendor (the person who sold concessions retired). Do we dare to hope that a certain Snoopy ice cream bar will be among the offerings?
Unplugged: Worried that your kids are spending the summer staring at their phones? Throw them into a lake! The kids in the water were actually playing old-fashioned games like “Marco Polo” and showing off their underwater handstands.
Feed me! The world’s cutest little library is on the beach at Lance Park in Twin Lakes. (I love the “Cat in the Hat” painted on the side.) But when we visited, it didn't contain any books, just a few pamphlets.
If you’re heading to that beach, say for an Aquanuts water-skiing show, be a pal and bring a book — or two or eight — to restock that free library.
Ink-spiration: On a related note, if you do forget to bring a book or magazine, try reading the tattoos on your fellow beachgoers. You’ll see plenty of body art. In fact, it’s rare to find someone between the ages of 18 and 50 who doesn’t sport at least one tattoo.
Heavy metal: I thought this hobby had died out, but I saw two men wielding metal detectors while walking through the huge swimming area at Silver Lake. I don’t know if they found anything of value, but at least they were getting in their daily dose of steps.
Grillmasters: If you’re grilling at a beach, could you bring enough meat for a few dozen — or hundred — extra people? Sorry, but when you smell burgers, it’s almost impossible not to run up and grab one.
Covering up: I wore one of those SPF 50 shirts while swimming at the various beaches, and it did prevent me from getting a sunburn. In fact, I think I came home paler than when I started out.
A real shame: The beach house at Simmons Island Beach is still mostly boarded up and crumbling. That’s no way to treat a national historic landmark! The Downtown Kenosha Inc. Beach Party starts Aug. 8, which will bring a ton of people to that beach. Wouldn't it be great to see that building become a vibrant part of the beach scene again? (When we visited, the restrooms were closed, but the city engineers say they should be open again starting Friday.)
Finally, relax and enjoy yourself. When you go to a beach, you’ll see bodies of every size and shape. Including my shape, which is round and squishy. And you know what? Even the folks who don’t have perfect beach bodies were having fun. And isn’t that what a day at the beach is all about?