15 Best Things to Do in Kewaunee, WI

Kewaunee, WI
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Nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, Kewaunee is a serene and charming city that provides children and adults with various seasonal activities.

False reports of gold discoveries in the Kewaunee River led to a small migration of Yankee settlers in 1836, which marked the beginning of the current Kewaunee city.

Joshua Hathaway, a land trader, surveyed and laid out the community.

When no gold was discovered, the inhabitants built a sawmill and developed the surrounding port for the lumber industry.

Established in 1852, the city was designated Kewaunee's county seat, and the neighborhood drew several German and Czech immigrants in the late 18th century.

Today, Kewaunee is a historic city with a quaint downtown area and several public parks that offer scenic views of the river and Lake Michigan.

Take a stroll around the Marquette Historic District, go deep sea fishing on Lake Michigan, or unwind on the serene beach and breathtaking harbor area.

Here are the best things to do in Kewaunee, Wisconsin:

Take a Snap of the Square-Shaped Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse

Daytime view of the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse
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Located on Ellis Street, the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse is one of the city's most iconic landmarks and a postcard-perfect spot for photography enthusiasts.

The 43-foot lighthouse tower sports a red roof, white body, and lime-green base.

Made of steel, the lighthouse has a quarter-inch steel plate surrounding it, making it a prime example of the architecture and technology of early 20th-century lighthouses and fog signal buildings on piers.

The top part of the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse
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The Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse still reflects the historical traits of authenticity, quality, sentiment, and association of the time it was built.

The best time to take a picture of the lighthouse is in the morning when the sun casts a beautiful hue on the structure.

Far view of the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse
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Go Birdwatching at the Kewaunee Marshland Walk

The Kewaunee Marshland Walk is a hidden gem perfect for birdwatching.

This attraction combines a stunning waterfront at Lake Michigan and the Kewaunee River's marshes and estuaries.

Visiting the walkway during migration season will let you witness a wide variety of birds, as common snipes and American woodcock are common in the area.

The Kewaunee Marshland Walk spans 980 feet of nature, allowing you to see rare bird species, Thayer's gulls, glaucous, and great black-backed.

Whether you're into birdwatching or want to explore the area, this is the perfect place to go.

Get Your Adrenaline Pumping at Riverview ATV Park

Situated on County Road L, Riverview ATV Park is the only public trail for ATV and UTV in the Northern part of the state and is an excellent place if you're looking for adventure.

It offers at least 20 miles of trails that wind through the beautiful forests of Wisconsin, with ravines, a hill climb section, and a challenging course not for the faint of heart.

Visitors can bring their trucks, RVs, and campers to the ATV Park, which boasts a spacious gravel parking lot.

A covered picnic ground and restroom facilities are available.

Whether you're an experienced rider or a beginner, Riverview ATV Park has something for everyone.

Get up Close with the Animals at Bruemmer Park Zoo

Aerial view of Bruemmer Park Zoo
Chris Rand, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A small zoo on Co Road F, Bruemmer Park Zoo is an eight-acre zoo that cares for North American and exotic animals.

Bordering the Kewaunee River, it features forested trails where animal exhibits like bobcats, arctic foxes, peacocks, deers, and pheasants can be seen.

The zoo is perfect for your kids with its playground equipment and Storybook Trail, where they can have fun and learn simultaneously.

There's also a picnic shelter and grills should you want to spend more time outdoors, or you could explore the Kewaunee River.

During your downtime, you can explore the African Animal Statue Garden and take some photos as souvenirs.

If these aren't enough, try spending some energy discovering the magic of the Ahnapee State Trail near Bruemmer Park Zoo.

Enjoy a Winter Wonderland Weekend at Winter Park

Located on Ransom Moore Lane, Winter Park is a ski area that offers a range of winter activities for outdoor enthusiasts and families.

It has five downhill ski slopes, perfect for those who want to try snow tubing, with each run having a vertical drop suitable for all levels.

If you're not into skiing, you can go snowboarding on the terrain park's trails, as Winter Park allows visitors to rent equipment.

It also provides ice skating rinks and a heated chalet should you need to take a break and have some snacks.

On select days, the park offers night skiing for those who want more of a challenge.

Enjoy a Taste of Ice Wine at Cold Country Vines & Wines

Sitting atop the East Twin River Valley, Cold Country Vines & Wines is a 16-acre vineyard and winery that offers a stunning view of its surroundings.

The family-owned vineyard produces award-winning wines, including ice wine made with grapes frozen on the vine, and dessert wine with high sugar content.

Musical events are also held at the winery; you can purchase wine by the glass or bottle to enjoy during the live music.

The vineyard also offers a variety of red, white, and ports, with ice wine as its specialty.

Whether you love wine or are just looking for a unique experience, Cold Country Vines & Wines is the perfect place for you.

Delve into the Past at the Kewaunee County Jail Museum

Welcome sign and facade of the Kewaunee County Jail Museum
User:Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The Kewaunee County Jail Museum is housed in a former county jail on Dodge Street.

The former jailhouse was constructed in 1876, and until the new jail was built in 1969, it served as both the prison and the county sheriff's residence.

Following a county referendum that preserved the structure for use as a museum in 1970, the Kewaunee County Historical Society acquired the facility and began restoring it.

The museum showcases the history of Kewaunee's law enforcement history, including the original cell block that has been preserved.

It also features several exhibits on the county's history, including its Native American heritage, vintage farm furniture, musical Past, and religious artifacts.

The Kewaunee County Jail Museum is a must-visit for those interested in learning more about the county's history and law enforcement.

Discover the Wonders of Nature at Kewaunee's Parks

With its various parks, trails, and natural attractions, you'll never run out of things to do in Kewaunee.

The city is home to several state parks, including Bruemmerville Park, which offers a variety of activities such as shoreline fishing, hiking, and picnicking.

Winter Park's disc golf course is also nearby and perfect for a day of family fun.

If you're looking for something more adventurous, Kewaunee is home to the only ATV and UTV public trails in Northern Wisconsin at Riverview ATV Park.

Moreover, if you're on the hunt for the perfect winter activity, you can skate to your heart's content at Dana Farm's Ice Rink.

There's something for everyone at Kewaunee's parks.

Explore the Kewaunee County Historical Society History Center

The Kewaunee County Historical Society History Center is located in downtown Kewaunee's historic Water Street District.

The historical society's mission is to "gather, preserve, and disseminate the history of Kewaunee County."

Located on Ellis Street, the center boasts more than 20,000 photos and items that tell the county's stories.

The Kewaunee County Historical Society History Center also offers hundreds of bound newspaper volumes organized in an index for easy access.

It features a variety of exhibits on the county's history, including its settlement, maritime, townships, and people.

The Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse's Fresnel Lens and an autographed presidential photo collection by Alvin O' Konski are among the center's most important displays.

Discover a Piece of American History at the Tug Ludington

View of the docked Tug Ludington boat
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Built in 1943, the Tug Ludington is an attraction in Kewaunee Harbor and is available for self-guided tours.

It was the fourth of eight seagoing tugboats built expressly for World War II in 1943 at the Jacobson Shipyard in New York.

It was first christened as Major Wilbur Fr. Browder and was equipped with a machine guns chatroom.

Daytime view of the Tug Ludington boat
Christopher Rand, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The tug was moved to Kewaunee in 1947, was renamed the Tug Ludington, and was then used in the building and maintaining several harbors in the Great Lakes.

It's now a popular tourist attraction in Kewaunee and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Tug Ludington is located on Harrison Street.

Gain More Knowledge at the Kewaunee Public Library

Located on Juneau Street, the Kewaunee Public Library is a member of the Nicolet Federated Library System.

It's home to documents and images of the county's local history, categorized according to types of resources.

If you're curious about your family history, access the Heritage Quest Collection, which features a vast collection of genealogical sources.

For those who want to know the city's historical places, you can access Recollection Wisconsin, which has over 200,000 historical resources from all over the state.

The Kewaunee Public Library also has Historic Newspaper resources, featuring more than 700 Wisconsin newspapers dating back to 1813.

Discover the Charms of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy

A family-owned and operated business, Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kewaunee County.

It's a working dairy farm available for tours.

The tour includes a look at the daily tasks and events on the dairy farm.

The dairy farm is located on County Road C and proudly produces cheese from cow's milk in just six hours.

Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy offers tours of the dairy farm, the cheese factory, and the milk processing plant.

Marvel at the World's Tallest Grandfather Clock

Daytime view of the World's Tallest Grandfather Clock
Chris Rand, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A completely functional giant clock, the World's Tallest Grandfather Clock stands proudly on Milkwaukee Street.

Built as a project by Svoboda Industries in 1976, the clock is 35 feet high and 10 inches wide.

It possesses three elements on its face: morning, afternoon, and night.

The clock is made of redwood and features authentic clockwork; it contains a motor, a set of gears, and chimes.

The World's Tallest Grandfather Clock is fully operational and chimes every 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and by the hour.

The clock was initially placed at the Top of the Hill Shop; after it went out of business, it was transferred to Kewaunee's downtown area.

Have a Blast Playing with Friends at Kewaunee Bowl

Boasting the best quality of food and exemplary service, Kewaunee Bowl is where you can enjoy a day of fun with family and friends.

The bowling alley is located on Ellis Street and can accommodate special requirements.

Kewaunee Bowl is also the venue for various local leagues, such as Morning Glories, 3-Man Classic, Women's Classic, and Friday Mixed.

It also features occasional dine-in-only promos, which may feature 12-in pizza and Summer Hummers.

For those kids who want to try out bowling, they also offer Kids Bowl Free as Spring & Summer Program.

Final Thoughts

Visit Kewaunee, a modest yet lovely up-and-coming tourist attraction, and be astonished by the great activities and locations you can encounter in this undiscovered location.

Include this city in your trip itinerary, and you'll thank yourself for it later.

From exploring the wonderful outdoors to discovering the city's history, you'll surely enjoy all the best things to do in Kewaunee, Wisconsin.