Geography of Kenosha County, Wisconsin

Geography of Kenosha County, Wisconsin

Kenosha County is a diverse and picturesque county located in the southeastern part of the state of Wisconsin, United States. Situated along the western shore of Lake Michigan, Kenosha County boasts a rich natural landscape, including pristine beaches, rolling farmland, and scenic waterways. Covering an area of approximately 754 square miles, the county is home to several towns, villages, and cities, each contributing to its unique character.

Location and Borders

According to Ezhoushan, Kenosha County is situated in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin, bordered by the state of Illinois to the south and the counties of Racine to the north and Walworth to the west. To the east, the county is bounded by Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes of North America. The county seat is the city of Kenosha, while other significant communities include Pleasant Prairie, Twin Lakes, and Salem Lakes.

Topography and Terrain

The topography of Kenosha County is diverse, consisting of rolling hills, fertile plains, and low-lying marshlands. The county lies within the Eastern Ridges and Lowlands geographical region, characterized by its gently sloping terrain and glacial features.

The terrain of Kenosha County is relatively flat near the shores of Lake Michigan, gradually becoming more hilly as one moves inland towards the Kettle Moraine area to the west. Elevation in the county ranges from around 580 feet above sea level along the lakefront to over 900 feet in the western part of the county.

One notable geographical feature in Kenosha County is the Pike River, which flows through the eastern part of the county before emptying into Lake Michigan. The river and its surrounding wetlands provide habitat for a variety of wildlife and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.


Kenosha County experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by four distinct seasons, with warm summers, cold winters, and moderate precipitation throughout the year. The region’s climate is influenced by its proximity to Lake Michigan, which moderates temperatures and affects weather patterns.

Summer temperatures in Kenosha County typically range from the 70s to 80s Fahrenheit (around 21-32°C), with occasional heatwaves bringing temperatures into the 90s Fahrenheit (around 32°C) or higher. Humidity levels can be high during the summer months, particularly in the lakefront areas.

Winter temperatures are cold, with average highs in the 20s to 30s Fahrenheit (around -6 to -1°C) and lows in the teens to single digits Fahrenheit (around -13 to -7°C). Snowfall is common during the winter months, with several inches of snow accumulating each year.

Rivers and Waterways

Kenosha County is traversed by several rivers and waterways, which play a vital role in shaping the region’s landscape and providing habitat for wildlife. In addition to the Pike River, other notable rivers in the county include the Des Plaines River, the Root River, and the Fox River.

These rivers and streams provide opportunities for fishing, boating, kayaking, and other water-based activities. They also support a variety of wildlife, including fish, birds, and aquatic mammals, making them popular destinations for nature enthusiasts.

Lakes and Reservoirs

While Kenosha County does not have any large natural lakes, the region is home to several smaller lakes and reservoirs that provide water for recreation, irrigation, and wildlife habitat. Notable lakes and reservoirs in the county include Silver Lake, Paddock Lake, and Lake Mary.

These lakes offer opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, and picnicking, with public access points and recreational facilities available for visitors to enjoy. In addition to these larger bodies of water, there are numerous ponds, wetlands, and marshes scattered throughout the county, providing important habitat for plants and animals.

Parks and Recreation Areas

Kenosha County is home to several parks, nature preserves, and recreational areas that showcase the region’s natural beauty and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation. Notable parks in the county include Petrifying Springs Park, Richard Bong State Recreation Area, and the Kenosha County Bike Trail.

Petrifying Springs Park is a popular destination for hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing, with scenic trails winding through wooded areas and along the Pike River. Richard Bong State Recreation Area offers camping, fishing, and boating opportunities, as well as miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

Agriculture and Economy

Agriculture is an important part of Kenosha County’s economy and heritage, with the region’s fertile soils and favorable climate supporting a variety of crops and livestock. Corn, soybeans, hay, and vegetables are among the primary crops grown in the county, while dairy farming and poultry production are also significant industries.

In addition to agriculture, manufacturing, retail, and healthcare are important sectors of the economy in Kenosha County. The county is home to several manufacturing companies, particularly in the automotive, food processing, and consumer goods industries, which provide employment opportunities for residents and contribute to the local economy.

Historical Sites and Landmarks

Kenosha County has a rich history dating back to its early settlement by Native American tribes, followed by European explorers, fur traders, and pioneers. The county is home to several historic sites and landmarks that tell the story of the region’s past, including historic homes, museums, and cultural institutions.

One notable landmark in Kenosha County is the Southport Light Station Museum, located in the city of Kenosha. The museum preserves the historic lighthouse and keeper’s quarters, offering exhibits on the history of navigation on Lake Michigan and the role of the lighthouse in maritime commerce.

Other notable historical sites in Kenosha County include the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, which showcases fossils and exhibits on prehistoric life, and the Civil War Museum, which explores the history of the Civil War and its impact on the region.


Kenosha County, Wisconsin, is a region of natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. From its scenic lakefront and rolling farmland to its historic sites and recreational opportunities, the county offers something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether exploring the trails of Petrifying Springs Park, fishing in Silver Lake, or learning about the region’s history at the Southport Light Station Museum, visitors to Kenosha County are sure to be captivated by its charm and hospitality. With its diverse geography, vibrant communities, and strong sense of history, Kenosha County is a hidden gem of the Midwest, inviting travelers to explore its wonders and create lasting memories.