8 Best Things to Do in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin (2023)
Sturgeon Bay is a mesmerising Wisconsin city known for its Natural settings and Historic Charm. For the entire year, there goes tourism season throughout the state, which attracts a huge crowd in this city as well. Though Sturgeon Bay is not as rich as other American cities with endless tourist attractions, there are still a lot of things to do. When here, you can go into the far-away trails of nature, enjoy the extensive waterfront, learn about the rich history, and shop, dine, and enjoy various other things.
Especially during the summer holidays, the city of Sturgeon Bay becomes a hub for outdoor recreation and fun.
Sturgeon Bay is not just known for its tourism but also for being the fisherman’s mecca. This sport fishing destination provides regular opportunities and hosts several fishing events. Anglers from all over the country visit here for these annual events. Though the city isn’t huge, it still has so much in the bucket that a visitor will never go back disappointed.
8 Best Things to Do in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
The guide below will introduce you to all such activities and possibilities in Sturgeon Bay which you can enjoy as a local and a tourist. Have a look:
1. Explore the Whitefish Dunes State Park
Whitefish Dunes State Park is a compilation of fragile forests and rigid dunes on Lake Michigan shores. This 867 acres State Park is one of the most popular outdoor attractions to explore in Sturgeon Bay. There are Wisconsin’s highest Sand dunes throughout the park, two miles of rocky shore, a one-mile-long beach, and well-kept hiking trails. Whitefish Dunes offers a rich mix of ecology, geology, and human history for any nature’s enthusiast. It attracts visitors for hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and beach activities throughout the year. When settling towards the colder season, the park operates for cross country skiing, ski touring, and snowshoeing. While exploring through the park, visitors can see a unique variety of rare plants from a distance. Or visit the park’s Nature centre and participate in year-round programs, displays and exhibits. Dune climbing and camping here is not allowed, though.
2. Pay a Visit to the Door County Maritime Museum
Every city has a section of cultural and historical impact. And when we talk about Sturgeon Bay, this section closely compiles inside the Door County Maritime Museum. It is a Great Lakes maritime history centre on Sturgeon Bay’s working waterfront. Inside the museum, there are four galleries, including shipwrecks, model ships, lighthouses, and boats. There is even an in-water exhibit that showcases a restored 1960s tug boat which was built in 1919 and was functional till the year 2000. Further, the museum also is home to a submarine periscope that allows visitors to see the largest shipbuilder of Door County, the Bay Shipbuilding. Regardless of how small the museum looks from the outside, from the inside, it houses a lot of historical information. The museum operates throughout the year from 10 am to 4/5 pm and remains closed on festive and National holidays. The two additional sites of the museum are the Cana Island Light and the Gills Rock.
3. Learn About Region’s History At The Heritage Village At Big Creek
The Heritage Village at Big Creek is basically an open-air museum in Sturgeon Bay. The village is home to nine historically important buildings, all of which tells stories about Door County’s development. It was created in 1991 by the Door County Historical Society, and today more than 350 volunteers manage the same. Participants visiting here can go for tours focusing upon Madden Tool Museum, Blacksmith Demonstrations, Church, Old-style school and more. Upon liking something, visitors can even purchase from their display or ask for custom made items from the local blacksmith. If you happen to visit here during the summer season, visit the absolutely divine flower garden. The best part about the Heritage Village is that for just $6, one gets to see a lot of elements. And for guests below 17 years, a visit here is absolutely free.
4. Explore the Garden Door
The Garden Door is an Otherworldly space and a hidden gem in Sturgeon Bay. It is located on Highway 42, right at the University of Wisconsin Peninsular Agricultural Research Station. Upon walking inside, one can find a specific pollinator garden, a fairie garden, a spectacular ornamental grass area, a koi pond, double kaleidoscope, memorial tunnel, seasonal flower beds and a kid’s play area. Even though the garden is open from Sunrise to Sunset year-round, the best time to visit here is during the flowering season or Fall. It is when the entire green space generously welcomes vivid colours from nature’s pallet. Or check out their official website for an event calendar and plan your trip on a special occasion. Offering free admission but such a level of engagement, you will be glad to pay a visit here.
5. Watch a Show at the Third Avenue Playhouse
The Third Avenue Playhouse is a performing art centre and a professional theatre in Sturgeon Bay. This gem of a place is an integral part of Sturgeon’s art and culture and thus a must-visit as well. Upon visiting here, one can watch comedy shows, high-quality drama, musical performances, and opera. Third Avenue owns their 50 self produced professional events and performances, all of which are intimately exciting. Especially if you are a theatre lover, you are absolutely going to love your experience. Once done with the time here, guests can further move to downtown Sturgeon Bay’s shops, restaurants, and drinking establishments. Thanks to its pristine location, everything here is approachable and within walking distance.
6. Visit the Sturgeon Bay Lighthouses
Sturgeon Bay is home to some visit-worthy lighthouses, especially if such structures excite you. This waterside city has three prominent lighthouse structures every enthusiast must visit. Begin with the most picturesque and iconic Cana Island Light House. This structure belongs to the late 19th century and is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. You can either photograph it from a distance or climb the 97-step spiral staircase and observe stunning Lake Michigan views. Another is the Old Bailey’s Harbor Lighthouse, known for its unique lightroom. Lastly, do not miss the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pier-head Light House known for its Red Paint. Even though one cannot explore it from inside, visitors can stand on the long pier and observe this splendid structure. Or, if you happen to be in Sturgeon Bay during summers, do attend the Door County Lighthouse Festival.
7. Enjoy Water Activities in Sturgeon Bay
Vacationing in Sturgeon Bay not always, but most of the time means enjoying and exploring waters. When in the city, one can go fishing in not one but multiple regions. For beginners, there even are service providers who ensure to make the fishing experience memorable. Or for professionals and enthusiasts, there goes a number of fishing tournaments throughout the year in Sturgeon Bay. Apart from fishing, Sturgeon Bay’s waters also offer kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boating opportunities. There even operates a few over the water zipline tours in the city.
8. Camp Overnight at the Potawatomi State Park
Potawatomi is a huge 1,225-acre State Park located northwest of Sturgeon Bay. These gently rolling upland terrains are home to nature’s best views and possibilities. Miles of multipurpose trails here are available for hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. Further, the park also has two miles of water frontage on Green Bay. Through the same, one can go for leisurely fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and wild swimming as well. Locals from Sturgeon Bay and Door County often visit here to capture the most mesmerising sunset views. Especially watching the sunset from kayaks is one of the popular and favourite activity here. Potawatomi State Park also operates for overnight camping. And the best part is, for doing all of these, they charge no admission fee. However, the park encourages and emphasis leaving no carbon footprints behind.