Even if you know nothing else about La Crosse, you probably know it has rivers. The Black River runs 190 miles from Taylor County in north central Wisconsin to its mouth here in La Crosse, where it mingles with the nearly 8,000-acre Lake Onalaska and the mighty Mississippi. The La Crosse River begins some 60 miles northeast of La Crosse in Monroe County and joins the Mississippi just north of Riverside Park in downtown La Crosse. And of course there’s the Mississippi itself, over 2,300 miles long, the lifeblood of La Crosse and communities like it for hundreds of years. The confluence of these rivers means miles and miles of winding channels, hidden backwaters, and open river–basically, a boater’s dream, perfect for water skiing, fishing, or just cruising and relaxing. La Crosse County is well-provisioned in resources and outfitters to make any boating excursion possible for you. And be sure to check out our paddling and fishing pages for more information specific to those topics.

Marinas, Launches, and Harbors:

Black River Beach & Boat Landing

Black River Beach was opened in June of 1947 and is located on the north side of La Crosse. During the summer, you can swim, fish, play volleyball, take your boat out on the river, and enjoy the open area. There also is a bath house and restrooms for washing up.

La Crosse Municipal Boat Harbor

The La Crosse Municipal Boat Harbor is maintained and operated by the City of La Crosse, and is located on Isle la Plume on the east bank of the Mississippi. Open to the public–permit required (Daily: $3/5 residents/non-residents, Annual: $10/15 residents/non-residents).

Boat Sales & Rental:

S&S Houseboat Rental

Since 1960, the Stirn family has been committed to serving their customers with clean, quality, affordable houseboat vacations. Their training staff has 50+ years of experience instructing customers. Their in-house, factory-trained service technicians have 30+ years. No one else on the Mississippi River has that kind of experience! S&S Rentals knows what it takes to make your vacation a carefree, relaxing adventure.

American Marine

Spend a day on the river in a pontoon, sport boat, or fishing boat. Take a look at their pull along water toys for rent too and make it a full day of fun on the river!

Sail Pepin

Enjoy a cruise on Lake Pepin; sail boat charters, sail boat rides, sail boat rentals, sailing instruction and bareboat charter certification programs.  Pepin is a charming river town north of La Crosse on the beautiful Great River Road.  A perfect day trip.

Schafers River Rentals

We rent canoes, kayaks, pontoons, and fishing boats and can direct you to the best fishing spots on the lake. Pontoon boat captains available for your event!


Trempealeau Refuge to Celebrate Annual Birding Festival

Saturday, May 12th, Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge invites everyone to our Annual Birding Festival to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)! Each year the Refuge celebrates WMBD to encourage support for migratory bird conservation. This year...

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