"Lake, City, Lake." The City of Madison's trademark perfectly reflects the geography of Dane County. Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa, as well as a couple of smaller lakes, are all interconnected via the Yahara River in a watershed system called the Yahara Chain of Lakes. Often described as The City of Four Lakes, Madison and a number of communities situated on the chain of lakes throughout Dane County boast homes with lake frontage ranging from 50 to 300+ feet. For more information about real estate on Dane County's chain of lakes, lakefront lifestyles, and to browse listings by lake, scroll down or Click Here.
During the last Ice Age that took place approximately 15,000 years ago, the last of four large glaciers originating in Canada blanketed much of Wisconsin, sliding over what geologists believe were ancient river and valley park lands, creating a wide terminal moraine a few miles south of Lake Kegonsa. As the glacier melted it carried massive amounts of sand, rocks, and sediment into the old river valley, partially filling it. The melting ice also dropped huge loads of glacial rock and debris on the park lands. The old valley, now dammed in areas by glacial debris, is now home to Madison’s famous “Four Lakes”: Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa. The chain of beautiful lakes that resulted was formed on top of the glacial debris that buried the ancient valley floor. Present-day Yahara River serves to connect all four lakes.
Lakefront Home Styles in Dane County
Thinking of buying or building of one of Dane County's lakes? Be prepared to tear down a small cottage or, if you're lucky, you might find something that can be renovated, restored or added onto. The closer you buy to the capitol the more you'll pay of course. And most likely you'll be looking at building a 2 or 3-story home since lots are often narrow and there are strict setback and zoning laws that prohibit homeowners from blocking the lake views of their adjoining neighbors. When building new you can choose from a wide variety of architectural styles of course, however some styles work better than others for maximizing outdoor spaces such as a deck off a Master bedroom or main floor, or a patio off a walk-out basement. If you have a long narrow lot you might consider a detached 3 or 4 car garage where you can store your boat in the off season rather than pay to have it dry docked. Older homes more typically have partial basements or crawl spaces with varying degrees of accessibility. Living on the lake is not particularly conducive to a dry basement so when building new, you'll want to consider eliminating basement crawl spaces and relocating your storage to above a garage, or in a spare room along a hallway on a high floor. Leave room for an oversized mudroom with shower facilities as you and your guests will be frequently in and out of the lake and may easily drag dirt, sand, or lake water into the house if you're not careful.
Lake Living & Lifestyles
Be prepared to put up with bugs when you buy a home on a lake. It's true, you'll encounter a lot more bugs due to the proximity of the water but that's just a reality of living on a lake. More importantly, whether you decide to make your Dane County lake home your permanent full-time residence or to take up residence in warmer climes in wintertime, you'll have regular access to gorgeous sunrises and sunsets that will make you forget all about inconveniences like bugs or pulling up your pier at the end of the season. Whether you want to spend your free time boating, sailing, water skiing, fishing, birdwatching, canoeing, kayaking, ice skating, ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or sipping cocktails on your patio or pier, we've got a lake and a lakefront home to fit your lifestyle! If a lakefront home is not for you, check out our lakefront condos page.
Browse All Dane County Waterfront Real Estate
Regardless where you plan to make your next home, we've got the lakefront expertise to guide you. Contact a Lake & City lake homes specialist today!