15 Best Things to Do in Sheboygan, WI

Sheboygan, WI
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Lying on one of Lake Michigan's shores is the charming summer destination of the region: Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Dubbed as the Malibu of the Midwest, this city offers an array of nature and water-related activities comparable to that of the Californian beach city.

Hiking, surfing, exploring—the list is endless!

The town is also teeming with a rich history and colorful culture that are worth knowing and preserving.

So bring your family, friends, and kids, and have fun at this scenic and exciting destination.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Sheboygan, Wisconsin:

Ride the Freshwater Waves in Lake Michigan

Sunrise Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Sheboygan has also earned the nickname “Fresh Water Surf Capital of the World” for a good reason.

Lake Michigan is known for its harsh winds, and the city just happens to be located in an area with long shores and big waves.

During late summer and fall, surfers flock to the city and ride the incredible swells brought about by storms forming over the lake.

If surfing is too intense for you, then paddleboarding on Lake Michigan and Sheboygan River is a great alternative.

During milder seasons, the calmer surfaces of these bodies of water are ideal for a thrilling paddling adventure with your friends.

Bring Your Kids at Bookworm Gardens

The Bookworm Gardens is a botanical facility with a theme inspired by famous children’s books.

It’s one of the most famous attractions in the area, so make sure to add this to your itinerary to see why it receives many visitors.

The young and the young-at-heart individuals will have a magical time exploring all the plant collections and gardens housed in whimsical structures.

With its landscape teeming with flowers and vibrant decor, the facility is also ideal for photoshoots.

So bring your kids to this enchanting destination and join them in fun!

Your inner child will thank you.

Take an Enchanting Tour at John Michael Kohler Arts Center

Outside John Michael Kohler Arts Center
self, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Lovers of the arts will have a grand time exploring John Michael Kohler Arts Center's galleries.

This museum houses contemporary art and artist-built environments, making the facility a one-of-a-kind destination in the state.

With the spaces filled with unusual but enchanting visual media, visitors will have an enthralling experience unlike any other.

On certain occasions, there will be performances, such as dance routines, theater plays, and concerts that showcase various forms of media.

There are also limited exhibits of the state’s most prolific artists, with some lasting for only a few weeks.

This nationally recognized visual and performance art complex is truly a must-add destination to your itinerary.

Kayaking in Sheboygan River

Sheboygan River snakes its way beyond the city proper and into wilder areas, creating great opportunities for kayaking.

Rent a kayak and prepare for an arm workout as you explore the river's winding waterways under the tunnels of trees and over serene—and occasionally turbulent—waters.

You’ll spot many aquatic life forms swimming under the depths, as well as local wildlife like birds and mammals.

Kayaking is also a relaxing activity for those who want to spend a peaceful few hours just floating on the river.

There are, however, certain areas with rapids where you’re going to get splashed and shaken.

Whatever your preference, make sure that it’s included in your tour to have a great experience.

Remember History at Sheboygan Indian Mound Park

Sign at the entrance of Sheboygan Indian Mound Park
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The region once served as a home for nomadic Native American tribes, and their past records are now enshrined in sites like Sheboygan Indian Mound Park.

The destination is a 15-acre wooded area with effigy burial grounds found in few other places in the US.

Because of this status, the park was listed under the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.

You’ll find geometric and animal designs marking graves of long-gone people.

Within Sheboygan Indian Mound Park
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There is also an open mount exhibit that contains replicas of skeletal remains and artifacts from these indigenous groups.

It’s quite a grim but fascinating sight.

While there, you can also explore the nearby boardwalk trail and see the many plant species that are native to the area.

Try Shore Fishing at South Pier

While you could book a charter and head out to Lake Michigan, there is also another option that lets you catch the freshwater game fish swimming in the lake's depth.

Shore fishing is an alternative for those who do not have time to ride all the way to the middle of the lake and those who might have motion sickness.

One of the favorite local destinations for shore fishing is South Pier.

Fishing is allowed in other locations, such as parks, but South Pier has deeper waters where fish like carp, salmon, and yellow perch abound.

It’s also near outfitters where you can rent lines and other equipment.

So head on to the pier, and soon enough, you’ll catch something you’d be proud to bring home.

Bring the Family to the Sheboygan County Fair

Ferris Wheel in Sheboygan County Fair
Phyllis Deicher-Ladwig / Shutterstock.com

Another favorite summertime festival of the city is the Sheboygan County Fair.

Held during the last weeks of August or the first weeks of September, this festival highlights the region's farming and agricultural heritage.

Locals and visitors will have fun watching cute animals races, meat sales, dog shows, tractor pulls, and other entertaining activities.

There will also be exciting carnival rides as well as tasty food that are stapled in country fairs.

For live entertainment, there are exhilarating track races and concerts by famous bands from all over the country.

Bring your whole family and experience this memorable event together!

Biking Around the City

Riding a bike is one of the best ways to explore Sheboygan's scenic roads.

It’s the perfect method for those who want a slower pace while still feeling the breeze rushing around them.

Because of the many trails in the parks around and within the city, biking is also an ideal mode of transportation to explore the city's natural features of these destinations.

One of the most famous biking routes in the city is the Interurban Trail, a 14-mile route that takes you to some of Sheboygan County's scenic coastline views.

You can bring your own bike, but there are many businesses within the city that offer equipment for rent.

While traveling, follow the road signs and watch for hazards like cars and wild animals that sometimes cross the nature trails.

Try Various Beachside Activities at Deland Park

Aeriel view of Deland Park
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For those who want a more action-packed experience than what Kohler-Andrae State Park offers, Deland Park is a great alternative.

It sits closer to the Sheboygan City proper, and along with that are many modern amenities and facilities.

Here, you’ll find green spaces, volleyball courts, play areas, fish cleaning stations, and boat ramps where charters usually launch their water vessels.

There is also a lakefront trail where you can take relaxing nature walks and a biking trail.

Sea in Deland Park Sheboygan Wisconsin
Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps the most striking feature of the park is the large beach with fine white sand.

It’s perfect for many fun beachside activities, such as making sandcastles, playing frisbee, and sunbathing.

The Sheboygan Breakwater Lighthouse is also visible here, so there are plenty of opportunities to take breathtaking landscape photos.

Play a Few Rounds of Golf

Sheboygan is a well-known golfing destination in this region, with about 16 courses within the city and surrounding areas.

Golfers of all levels will have a great time playing rounds in these green and well-maintained facilities.

Try The Bull, Whistling Straits, and Blackwolf Run courses for those who want to play professionally.

Harbor Pointe Miniature Golf and the nearby Riverdale Country Club Golf Course Bar & Restaurant are perfect for those who want to play recreationally and in a more relaxed setting.

All these locations have modern amenities and well-equipped facilities managed by friendly and professional staff.

So if you’re a golfing enthusiast, then make sure to add these places to your itinerary for Sheboygan.

Bring Your Kid to Above & Beyond Children's Museum

Outside Above & Beyond Children's Museum
self, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

If the kids are coming on your getaway, don’t forget to bring them to the Above & Beyond Children's Museum.

This interactive and educational facility houses many engaging exhibits where kids can learn, create, discover, and socialize with others their age.

Some of the most well-loved exhibits in the museum are the Flight Site, Sky Crawl, Toddler Barnyard, and Festival Foods Fresh Marketplace.

Aside from learning about various topics, children will also enjoy the activities that take place regularly, such as music classes and storytime sessions.

The fun never stops, whether they are playing or learning.

Buy Fresh Produce at Farmer’s Markets

A girl in Farmer’s Markets
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Experience Sheboygan's community spirit while browsing fresh and high-quality products at the city's farmer’s markets.

Several locations within Sheboygan hosts regular farmer’s markets, including Downtown Sheboygan, Plymouth, and SCIO Winter Farmers Market.

Aside from their nutritious fruits and vegetable selections, some stalls also offer freshly cut and fragrant flowers.

Bring home a bouquet and add vibrance to your interiors with these colorful blooms.

While at the farmer’s markets, take the time to get to know the locals and understand the agricultural practices and heritage that allowed them to harvest premium produce.

You’ll be surprised by the things you’ll learn and the new friends you’ll make!

Join the Outrageous Fun at Brat Days

Nothing says summer than a loud and bombastic sausage festival!

Sheboygan’s Brat Days is an August time event that is wildly known throughout the region.

People from all over the world come to the city to have fun, listen to music, and watch as the competitors stuff their mouths with as much Bratwurst sausage as they can.

Of course, you’re welcome to try these delicious cased meats, as there’s practically an unlimited supply during the festival.

Have them grilled, fried, stuffed in between buns—the people of Sheboygan have a hundred and one ways to prepare these beloved sausages.

There is also free music to accompany your meal, with Kiwanis Park serving as the venue for concerts by talented local and national bands.

It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience in America’s Bratwurst capital.

Sit Back and Relax at Kohler-Andrae State Park

A walkway at Kohler-Andrae State Park
Tony Savino / Shutterstock.com

Established in the 1920s, this lakefront park offers a peaceful ambiance and panoramic vistas of Lake Michigan.

You’ll find long, golden beaches, majestic sand dunes, curious wildlife, and towering pine trees whispering as the fierce winds blow through.

Bring your family over to one of the many picnic areas scattered along the shores.

If you want to stay for a while longer, there are camping sites where you can set up tents or park an RV.

While there, you can go sunbathing, swimming, shore fishing, and explore the many secret wonders hidden behind the marshes and wooded areas.

You’ll spot birds like ducks, gulls, and sandhill cranes resting or flying within the evergreen forests or along the shores.

Better yet, you can just sit back and take in the brisk air and let your worries fade with every exhale.

It’s a relaxing and invigorating experience to stay in this park!

Splash Around at Quarry Beach Adventure Park and Water Sports

Quarry Beach Adventure Park and Water Sports offer many water-related activities for the whole family.

This forested area’s main attraction is the quarry lake and beach.

Floating on the lake is inflatable play equipment where kids and adults can have lots of fun.

There are slides, trampolines, and jumping platforms where you can bounce around before diving into the cool depths.

Once you’re done playing in the water, you can try disc golf, hiking, and fishing away from the recreational area.

It’s a great way to spend a day outdoors with your family!

Final Thoughts

As a lakeside city, Sheboygan offers many water-related activities that are great for the young and old alike.

Its rich history and heritage also manifest in the many festivals, museums, and historical sites.

Whatever your preference, Sheboygan will have something to offer.

Visit the city on your next vacation and find out why it’s a favorite Wisconsin destination.