Located roughly between Milwaukee and Green Bay, the Lake Winnebago area offers affordable housing, low unemployment, cost-of-living under the national average, and convenient access to year-round outdoor recreation, medical facilities, cultural events, and several universities.
The Lake Winnebago area has four true seasons with winter lows averaging in the teens, highs near freezing and an average of 8 inches of snow a month. Summers are mild, with average highs in the seventies and lows in the sixties. Rainfall in the warmer months averages approximately 3 inches per month. The lake covers 137,000 square acres (or 215 square miles) and averages approximately 15 feet deep.
Several smaller towns and recreational communities surround Lake Winnebago. The two largest towns are Oshkosh, with a 2012 population of 66,653 and Fond du Lac with 43,045 people. The region has a slightly lower median age (32.8-36.9), median income ($44,293 – $45,587), and average per capita income ($23,340 – $22,376) than Wisconsin as a whole, due to the high college student population.
Housing in the Lake Winnebago area is significantly less expensive than the Wisconsin average of $165,200. For Oshkosh, the median housing value, including both single family and attached units, was $120,300 in 2012 and the average monthly rent was $636. As for Fond du Lac, the median housing price was $119,736 and rent fell right around $665. A wide range of houses are available for every budget, with Adashun Jones Realtors showing over a thousand listings ranging from luxury waterfront mansions to affordable family housing, and from compact condos to parcels of farmland. The Oshkosh and Fond du Lac markets are seeing steady but modest price increases, which are projected to continue over the next few years.
There is an outdoor activity for every season. In summer, residents enjoy hiking and camping in state parks, while cyclists and joggers can use a local network of multi-purpose trails including the 22-mile WIOUWASH trail built on an abandoned rail corridor and the 5.3-mile Mascoutin Valley State Trail. Municipal and county parks such as Winnebago County Community Park, Menominee Park in Oshkosh and Lakeside Park in Fond du Lac offer a wide range of activities for the whole family. These activates include but aren’t limited to; sports complexes, playgrounds, picnic shelters, and an off-leash dog area. The more popular activities during winter include snowmobiling, skating, and cross-country skiing. Anglers enjoy year-round fishing, Thanks to the many groups plowing roads and testing ice during the winter ice-fishing season. Among the most popular catches are bass, walleye, sturgeon, pike, musky, catfish and perch. The Winnebago Audobon Society and Oshkosh Bird Club offer information about local birds, including the varied and plentiful waterfowl, as well as seminars and bird-watching events.
Cultural and Higher Education
The Lake Winnebago area stands out as much for its schools and cultural opportunities as its access to recreation. It is home to two 2-year colleges, Moraine Park Technical College and Fox Valley Technical College, four 4-year institutions, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Lawrence University, Marian University, and Ripon College. Fond du Lac is home to Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts and Goodrich Little Theater, while Oshkosh offers Paine Art Center and Gardens, the Grand Opera House, Leach Amphitheater, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Time Community Theater and several museums, cinemas, and galleries.