Blake Walsh

18 Best Things to Do in Manitowoc County, WI

  • Published 2022/10/29

Manitowoc County is in the coastal section of Wisconsin, right along Lake Michigan.

Because of its location, it has a lot of outdoor attractions complemented by several interesting urban areas throughout its cities and towns.

Besides tourist hotspots along Lake Michigan, the county is well known for various museums, parks, and historical maritime sites.

You’ll have lots of fun visiting this coastal county during your trip to Wisconsin.

Here are the best things to do in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin:

See the USS Cobia in the Wisconsin Maritime Museum

View of the docked USS Cobia at Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Bill Chizek /

One of Manitowoc County’s best destinations that honors Lake Michigan is the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, located in Manitowoc City along Maritime Drive.

Founded in 1969, the museum has become one of the largest maritime museums on the East Coast.

Inside, you’ll see tons of artifacts, documents, and all sorts of exhibits about the heritage of Manitowoc Two Rivers and the maritime history of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes region.

Main guns of USS Cobia at Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Bill Chizek /

The biggest highlight here is the USS Cobia, docked right outside the museum.

As one of the World War II submarines found in the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, the USS Cobia lets you take a tour and learn about submarine technology.

Exterior of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and USS Cobia

Bill Chizek /

Travel to Rich Marshlands at Woodland Dunes Nature and Preserve

Woodland Dunes Nature and Preserve is a fun family destination to enjoy the marshlands of Manitowoc County.

A boardwalk lets you observe the marsh without getting dirty, so it’s perfect for children and seniors.

A frog pond also adds another fun place for kids to interact with nature.

There’s also an observation tower and an indoor educational area discussing the area’s ecology.

Woodland Dunes Nature and Preserve is in Two Rivers City, along Hawthorne Avenue.

Take Scenic Photos of Lake Michigan at Manitowoc Breakwater Lighthouse

Far view of the Manitowoc Breakwater Lighthouse

Images By Ian /

Just a few walks from the Wisconsin Maritime Museum lies the Manitowoc Breakwater Lighthouse, accessible along Quay Street.

While you cannot climb the lighthouse, it’s one of the most picturesque landmarks in Manitowoc County in Lake Michigan.

Since it’s by the breakwater, you’d need to cross a bridge that connects the lighthouse to the mainland.

Pier leading to Manitowoc Breakwater Lighthouse's entrance

Michael Tatman /

The walk is an excellent experience because of the scenic waters you’ll see; approaching the lighthouse from this angle will show you a beautiful sight.

The little beach area is another great spot to take photos near the Manitowoc Breakwater Lighthouse.

Take a Stroll around the West of the Lake Gardens

West of the Lake Gardens is another beautiful area in Manitowoc County, along Manitowoc City’s Memorial Drive.

This botanical garden features a lot of flora, beautifully arranged along its walkways and greenery.

You’ll see koi ponds and other exciting gardening layouts as you explore West of the Lake Gardens.

They also have staff in the area who can offer you a guided tour and discuss the history of the garden.

Whether you’re going with family or alone, it’s a great place to relax after a long day.

Visit Neshotah Park for a Fun Beach Day

Aerial view of the beautiful Neshotah Park

MJH Photography10 /

If you’re looking for the best beach in the county, look no further than Neshotah Park.

With fine sand and moderate waves, Neshotah Park’s beach area is almost reminiscent of the Caribbean beaches.

There are a lot of amenities like restrooms, picnic areas, and a concession stand here, so you won’t have any problems spending hours with friends or family.

People enjoying the sun at Neshotah Park

Michael Tatman /

Because Neshotah Park has a sizable beach, it is a great place to relax or do activities like surfing and kitting.

Located in Two Rivers City along Pierce Street, Neshotah Park is a must-visit if you mean to enjoy the waters of Lake Michigan.

Picnic tables at Neshotah Park

Bill Chizek /

Hunt Game or Observe Wildlife at Killsnake State Wildlife Area

Killsnake State Wildlife Area is in Chilton, closest to the village of St. Nazianz.

Manitowoc County shares this preserve with Wisconsin’s Calumet County; this place is one of the more sizable wildlife areas in the state.

The wildlife area features tall grass, swamps, and muddy terrains, so it’s more for the veteran outdoor goer than the casual one.

You can do lots of wildlife observation and photography.

Many locals go there to hunt pheasants, rabbits, and deer.

If you’re a wildlife wanderer, Killsnake State Wildlife Area is a must on your list.

You can find it along U.S. Highway 151.

See the Falls at Lower Cato Falls Co Park

The waters of Lower Cato Falls Co Park

Craig A Walker /

Lower Cato Co Falls Park is one of the prettiest forestry in Manitowoc County, situated in the village of Reedsville along County Road.

There are many things to do in Lower Cato Falls Co Park, such as playing disc golf, hiking, and cycling.

Enjoying its scenic waterfalls, however, is the main attraction in this gorgeous park.

The river trail here is an adventurous way to reach the park’s beautiful waterfalls.

Just be ready with some waterproof gear because it can get muddy!

When you reach the waterfalls, you’ll have complete access to its cooling atmosphere and serenity.

Indeed, this place is a can’t-miss site in Manitowoc County.

Feel the Thrill at Haunted Voyage

Are you a horror movie lover?

The small village of Mishicot has something nice in store for you: the Haunted Voyage.

A haunted house, Haunted Voyage, is an unassuming place that packs a lot of scares for even the bravest of hearts.

The ambiance inside makes it popular among locals, as it’s packed full of jump scares amid the intense darkness.

Along with their talented actors, they also have several claw machines that add a unique horror experience.

Located at 915 Tapawingo Road, the Haunted Voyage should give you the scare of your life.

Go Spelunking at Cherney Maribel Caves County Park

Cave entrance at Cherney Maribel Caves County Park

Joshua Mayer, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cherney Maribel Caves County Park is an exciting spelunking area in Manitowoc County that also doubles as a family park.

The park has several caves, but you can only access one cave, called “New Hope,” via seasonal guided tours.

There are also hiking trails and forestry in the park, along with some fascinating ruins that are a treat to take photos of.

Forest at Cherney Maribel Caves County Park

Joshua Mayer, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Because it’s kid-friendly, the park has complete amenities, from restrooms and picnic areas to playgrounds and shelters.

Cherney Maribel Caves County Park is an all-rounder for adventurous families; visit the park along Maribel Village’s County Road.

Learn about Agriculture at Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center

Do you have a love for farming and agriculture?

Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center invites families and children to learn about farming on Gass Lake Road, Newton Town.

Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is a sizable interactive learning center spanning 10,000 square feet and includes a cow birthing center and farmland.

The birthing center for their cows is a must-see, as it provides both kids and adults with an experience you won’t see often.

Several interesting exhibits are also here, such as a cow’s anatomy, an overview of the country’s produce, and an introduction to food technology, to name a few.

Another great addition to Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is the Wisconsin Cafe, highly rated for its farm-to-table menu packed full of flavor.

Collect Pretty Sea Glass at Fischer Creek Conservation Area

The waters of Fischer Creek Conservation Area

Yinan Chen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in Cleveland village, north of Manitowoc City, lies Fischer Creek Conservation Area, another stellar place to appreciate the waters of Lake Michigan.

The beach here is known for sea glass hunting, where you collect lots of frosted and weathered “glass stones.”

You can also enjoy Lake Michigan through its scenic trails, too.

Some of their trails will also lead you into the woods, adding even more charm to this underrated lakeshore in Manitowoc County.

You can access Fischer Creek Conservation Area along Cleveland’s Lakeshore Drive.

Meet the Cute Alpacas at London Dairy Alpacas

Two Rivers City is home to the London Dairy Alpacas, a farm along Wisconsin Highway 147 home to many cute Alpacas.

London Dairy Alpacas provides educational tours of their farm, giving you a comprehensive understanding of how their ranch works.

One of their highlights is their gift shop, which has all sorts of products made from alpaca wool.

You can buy socks, yarns, scarves, sweaters, and more.

Of course, the main event here is meeting their adorable alpacas, who are friendly even to little children.

Check Out Native Wildlife at Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo

Entrance to Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo

Asher Heimermann, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo is an excellent destination for the family if you want something to do in Manitowoc City’s urban districts.

Found along Manitowoc Street, the zoo is small but packed with fascinating animals such as lynxes, owls, and alpacas.

Most of the animals come from Wisconsin.

Likewise, you can observe bigger animals like bison and mountain lions.

There’s also a corral in the zoo where you can interact with farm animals like geese, turkeys, goats, and sheep.

While the Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo is small, it is full of animals and scenic walking trails.

This zoo is a can’t-miss for the animal lover.

Sip Fine Wine at Silarian Vineyards

Taking a sip of wine in the fertile lands of Wisconsin should be a calming experience.

Silarian Vineyard is a place that delivers on this calming and serene adventure.

Located in the farms of Reedsville along Hilltop Road, Silarian Vineyards offer exquisite wine with a fantastic view of their vineyard.

They also have local Wisconsin craft beer if you’re not into wine.

Whether you’re drinking or not, the scenery here is unmatched.

Take a stroll in their five-acre vineyard on a fine day for the best experience.

Check the Collections and Exhibits at Rahr West Art Museum

Exterior of the Rahr West Art Museum

AltioraPeto, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Rahr West Art Museum is one of the best art destinations you can visit in Manitowoc County, located at Manitowoc City along North 8th Street.

Constructed as a Victorian mansion, the museum’s architecture and interior design is an attraction by themselves.

There are a lot of prominent collections here from historical art masters, such as Georges O’Keefe, Andy Warhol, and Pablo Picasso.

Check their annual exhibits, which range from three to five per year.

Rahr Art Museum is an excellent addition to your itinerary if you love the arts and architecture.

Play Baseball or Visit the Memorials at Red Arrow Park

Red Arrow Park is a great place for a game of baseball.

It’s one of the few parks with baseball diamonds but has many other amenities.

There are biking trails here for cycling enthusiasts and a sandy beach along Lake Michigan for the swimmers.

Likewise, World War II memorials should pique the interest of any history buff.

Red Arrow Park is in Manitowoc City, along South 9th Street.

Explore the Sprawling Trails at Point Beach State Forest

A lighthouse along Point Beach State Forest

EPG_EuroPhotoGraphics /

Point Beach State Forest is another outdoor adventure hotspot in Manitowoc County, located in Two Rivers City along County Road.

The park is an all-rounder, having a sandy beach along Lake Michigan, a forest trail, and a historic lighthouse.

Spanning 3,000 acres, this is one of the biggest parks in Manitowoc County; it’s great to spend a whole day exploring Point Beach State Forest.

Sandy beach of Point Beach State Forest

Barbara Smits /

If you’re feeling adventurous, this is also a popular campsite for locals.

Point Beach State Forest is a great family destination if you want to have a full-on outdoor adventure in Manitowoc County.

Marsh along Point Beach State Forest

Nejdet Duzen /

Enjoy the Sunset at Two Rivers North Pierhead Lighthouse

Winter scene at Two Rivers North Pierhead Lighthouse

MJH Photography10 /

Two Rivers North Pierhead Lighthouse is another great attraction if you want another lighthouse in your itinerary.

Located along Harbor Street in Two Rivers City, the lighthouse has a boardwalk you can cross to reach the structure.

The stunning sunsets make for fantastic photography.

Snow-covered Two Rivers North Pierhead Lighthouse

MJH Photography10 /

The scenic winter look at Two Rivers North Pierhead Lighthouse is also a unique attraction.

During winter, tons of snow pile up on its boardwalk, giving the lighthouse a mysterious look.

Two Rivers North Pierhead Lighthouse from afar

Bill Chizek /

Final Thoughts

The prosperous cities and villages of Manitowoc County are home to various activities and attractions for all sorts of travelers.

Many of its hotspots are natural wonders, such as wildlife areas and the beautiful coastal zones along Lake Michigan.

However, amusement centers, museums, to even a haunted house will diversify your adventure.

Try the best things to do in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin!

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