20 Best Things to Do in Sturgeon Bay, WI

Sturgeon Bay, WI
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Sturgeon Bay is a very beautiful city in Wisconsin's Door County.

It's surrounded by a vast amount of nature, and the two parts of the city are divided by a waterway.

It is very common for visitors to come to Sturgeon Bay and spend a lot of time exploring the city due to the large number of activities it offers.

While it isn't a very big city, it has its own charm and presents visitors with plenty of things to see and experience.

Are you intrigued about what else awaits you in the charming city of Sturgeon Bay?

The following article will detail the best things to do in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin:

Check Out the Interactive Exhibits at Door County Maritime Museum

Exterior of Door County Maritime Museum
McGhiever, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Door County Maritime Museum is one place in Sturgeon Bay that will surely make a significant impact on you.

Established in 1969, this museum is home to a total of four galleries.

In addition to the galleries, the museum also comprises lighthouses, model ships, boats, shipwrecks, as well as ship constructing companies.

What makes it different from a typical museum is that Door County Maritime Museum has an indoor exhibition that includes water.

The museum also has a submarine periscope, which visitors can use to enjoy views of the nearby area and look at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding.

The place is quite fun for visitors of all ages and offers very insightful details into the shipbuilding industry.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Whitefish Dunes State Park

Cave point at Whitefish Dunes State Park
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Originally established to protect and preserve the Great Lake Dune ecosystem in the Door County area, Whitefish Dunes State Park is a beautiful place for taking walks near Lake Michigan.

The state park is also great for enjoying leisure activities at Clark Lake.

You can watch the waterfalls, enjoy fishing, or stroll around the wetlands.

Forest trail at Whitefish Dunes State Park
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The park offers more than 14 miles of trail areas that are spread throughout the park's sand dunes and forested areas.

However, take note that the dunes are restricted from being climbed in order to protect the park's rare plant and animal species.

You can also enjoy various displays, ecology exhibitions, geology exhibitions, programs, and historical events that take place in this park throughout the year.

Wooden bench in front of Whitefish Dunes State Park's gazebo
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Surround Yourself with Beautiful Flowers at The Garden Door

Garden Door
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The Garden Door is a beautiful garden that was opened in the University of Wisconsin Peninsular Agricultural Research Station in 2005.

Located right off of Highway 42, it was designed by the associates of the Door County Master Gardener's Association.

The same people are responsible for maintaining it presently.

The garden houses a small fairy garden, a children's play area, a koi pond, kaleidoscopes, a memorial tunnel, a pollinator garden, and seasonal and perineal natural beds.

In addition to the already mentioned areas, The Garden Door also has a specific community garden that serves as a meeting point for volunteers and researchers.

This part of the garden is used to harvest crops in the summer season and acts as a UW extension plant.

The garden is very picturesque and is definitely a must-visit place, whether you're traveling with friends, a loved one, or your children.

Watch a Live Performance at Third Avenue Playhouse

A famous professional theater, Third Avenue Playhouse is a very important and inseparable part of Sturgeon Bay's local art and culture scene.

The theater was opened in the year 1950 and was initially called the Donna Theater.

It was eventually transformed into a performing arts center in the year 1990.

Third Avenue Playhouse was moved to its current location in June of 2012.

It offers visitors a very intimate artistic experience and allows them to expose themselves to powerful stories.

The theater is reputed for producing more than 50 professional plays, concerts, musical acts, short films, staged readings, as well as other events since its establishment.

It is also famous due to the large number of educational opportunities it provides, teaching attendees about the city's history and culture.

Third Avenue Playhouse is a must if you're a lover of the fine arts or want to experience an intense, emotional story.

Tour the Heritage Village at Big Creek

The Heritage Village at Big Creek is a place to head to if you are interested in learning about Sturgeon Bay's history and development.

This area is made up of nine buildings that are historically important to the area.

In addition, the place also offers various tours, demonstrations, a tool museum, as well as special events and live performances at various times throughout the year.

The village was established to enable the city's residents to live a simple and organic life.

Established in 1991, the Heritage Village at Big Creek is presently managed by more than 350 volunteers from the Door County Historical Society.

Treat Yourself to a Rewarding Workout at Crossfit Armati

CrossFit Armati is one of the handful of premium CrossFit facilities in Wisconsin.

The facility has a large, clean, top-class collection of the best workout equipment and supportive coaches to help the fitness community grow.

It provides various programs, among which the strength and conditioning program is the most famous.

The program is largely taken up by police academics, special military operations, martial art performers, and other athletes all around the world.

You can also participate in this program and learn life-improving skills like combat, rescue, survival, basic sports, and ways to a healthy lifestyle.

Be sure to check out CrossFit Armati if you're feeling the urge to get your blood pumping.

Book a Luxurious Stay at Inn at Cedar Crossing

Inn at Cedar Crossing is a very beautiful and nicely decorated inn that is located only a few minutes from the city's major attractions.

The inn has various rooms decorated with textiles and antique furniture that give the place a very rich vibe.

All the inn's rooms boast various luxurious amenities.

The visitors also get to enjoy free parking, which is quite handy while staying in a city.

Delicious and freshly prepared breakfasts are served in the morning, and the inn also has its own bakery, library, bar, shared lounge, and kitchen.

The in-house restaurant is also open to the public daily and serves excellent food at affordable prices.

Have a Delicious Meal at Door County Fire Company

Opened in the year 1907, Door County Firehouse Company is a famous family-friendly restaurant in Sturgeon Bay.

The story of the operations of this restaurant is quite unique.

When the restaurant originally started, it operated from a fully functional firehouse.

Later, the restaurant was renovated and completely modified after the firefighters moved out of the firehouse.

It stayed abandoned for more than seven years and started operating again after 2017.

At present, the restaurant operates in two locations.

The dining room and the bar are located in the old garage, while the banquet facility is located in the spaces that originally served as firehouse offices and the town hall.

This restaurant offers a variety of mouth-watering American classics you won't want to miss out on.

Explore Door County's Famous Lighthouses and Join the Lighthouse Festival

Cana island light House
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Sturgeon Bay is surrounded by a number of lighthouses.

These lighthouses are not only massive structures that are cool to look at; they also play a major role in defining a part of Wisconsin's history.

Sturgeon Bay and its surrounding areas in Door County are known for three major lighthouses.

Located in Baileys Harbor, the Cana Island Lighthouse is the most iconic and picturesque lighthouse in the entire Door County region.

It was established in 1869 and was operational for many years, though now it is merely a beautiful tourist spot.

The Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead Light is another famous lighthouse that surely cannot be missed.

Exterior of Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead Light
Gerald A. DeBoer / Shutterstock.com

Red in color, this lighthouse in Sturgeon Bay is operated by the US coast guard.

Finally, OldBaileys Harbor Lighthouse is famous for its strangely shaped lightroom and is aptly known as the "Birdcage Lighthouse."

It was established in 1852 and served only for a short duration until 1869.

For all the people who are fascinated by lighthouses, the Door County Lighthouse Festivals are the perfect time to visit.

These events are organized two times a year, in the spring and in the fall.

The Door County Lighthouse Festivals are a celebration to provide some insight behind the establishment and the journeys of the county's famous lighthouses.

In addition to the lighthouses, the festival also takes the visitors to various islands where these lighthouses are secured.

Since some of them are not generally open to the public, this festival offers the only chance for you to get a closer look at them.

The top of OldBaileys Harbor Lighthouse
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Enjoy a Memorable Sturgeon Bay Fishing Experience

Fishing boats in Sturgeon Bay
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One of the most common ways to enjoy vacationing in Sturgeon Bay is to go fishing.

The city offers the best fishing opportunities to visitors.

In addition to the natural opportunities, there are a large number of service providers who can take care of all your requirements and make your fishing excursion a memorable one.

Sturgeon Bay also hosts a number of fishing tournaments around the year, offering prizes for winners.

Participating in this fishing tournament will help you earn some prizes and familiarize you with locals and their fishing traditions.

The most famous fishing tournament is the Open Bass Tournament, which is organized every May and is definitely worth checking out if fishing is your thing.

Tour the City in a Unique and Exciting Way

Kayaking in Sturgeon Bay
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If you are an adventurous person and enjoy activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding, Sturgeon Bay is the perfect destination for you.

The most famous service provider, Bay Shore Outfitters will provide you with some of the best opportunities and equipment for enjoying kayaking.

Another way you can enjoy the beauty of the city is by taking the DC Adventure Center zip line.

Canoe docked at Sturgeon Bay
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The zip line allows you to enjoy the views of the nearby areas while simultaneously getting your adrenaline pumping.

If you feel a bit lazy or are not in the mood for physical activity, you should consider checking out Segway The Door Tours.

This tour operator allows you to explore Sturgeon Bay's major attractions and more.

Get a Taste of Farm Life at The Farm Historic Living Museum

Established in 1965, The Farm Historic Living Museum is a great place to visit with family, especially if you're traveling with kids.

This attraction is a prototype of rural and agricultural life in America.

It offers various enjoyable activities that allow you to be in close connection with nature and its bounties.

You can bottle-feed goat calves or milk the grown-up goats, cows, and other animals.

You can also learn the basics of gardening, fielding crops, and using farm tools.

A few walking trails can also be found here, which are covered with greenery on either side of the path.

The Farm Historic Living Museum is quite a great place for spending time with yourself or making memories with family that will last you a lifetime.

Recharge Your Weary Soul at Potawatomi State Park

Landscape of Potawatomi State Park
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Potawatomi State Park is a beautiful park in Door County that covers almost 1,200 acres of land.

The park has a very beautiful landscape that is captivating enough to take away your negativity and sadness.

The waters of Potawatomi State Park
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Its diversity allows you to be able to spend the entire day there and remain invested in the various activities it has to offer.

Perfect for walking, picnics, fishing, and similar activities, Potawatomi State Park is just too good not to be visited.

Fall foliage on Potawatomi State Park's trail
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Sample Exquisite Wines at Door Peninsula Winery

Door Peninsula Winery is one of the most famous wineries in Sturgeon Bay.

It is the perfect place to spend some time indoors while enjoying the best-quality wines with friends and family.

The winery boasts a wide collection of wines, gins, vodkas, brandies, and whiskies, some of which have won awards for their exotic taste.

Door Peninsula Winery also offers wine tasting events.

In addition to its wine collection, the place offers a lot of delicious snacks like fudge, jellies, and more.

The winery also has its own distillery.

A great combination of exotic drinks at affordable prices, Door Peninsula Winery is a great place to visit, especially if you need a night away from the kids.

Explore Sturgeon Bay's Famous Shopping Areas

The third Avenue district of Sturgeon Bay
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When it comes to shopping in Sturgeon Bay, there are a number of options available.

Third Avenue Historic District is a place loaded with specialty shops, museums, and art galleries that sell artistic items at affordable prices.

If you are looking for something unique and custom-made, head to the greater west side.

Buildings along downtown Sturgeon Bay
User: (WT-shared) WineCountryInn at wts wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also check out the Sturgeon Bay Farmers Market and buy fresh and organic farm items, vegetables, and fruits.

A large number of vendors present in the market present you with a variety of choices and help you choose the best products for any occasion.

Tour the Tasting Area of Simon Creek Vineyard and Winery

With more than 60,000 tourists annually, Simon Creek Vineyard has swiftly established itself as one of Door County's top tourist locations.

From the lovely tasting room and gift shop to the magnificent vineyards, Simon Creek offers the full winery experience.

Free vineyard tours include every step of the production of wine, from grape harvest to bottling.

The tour concludes in the tasting area, with a view of the wine cellar, the vines, and a picturesque pond.

Wrap off your experience with a bottle or glass of their award-winning wine on the veranda overlooking Simon Creek's gardens.

Feel the Nature around the Cave Point County Park

Small cover near Cave Point County Park's water
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The eastern edge of the Door Peninsula and Lake Michigan are both magnificently visible from Cave Point County Park, as are the dawn and dusk moonrises.

The 18.6-acre park is a well-liked destination for locals and tourists, famed for its limestone ledges and underwater tunnels.

A half-mile hiking track winds through a grove of birch, maple, and beech trees and connects to many miles of trails in the nearby Whitefish Dunes State Park.

The park is a delight for nature enthusiasts, experienced scuba divers, photographers, and fishermen.

Furthermore, weddings frequently take place in Cave Point County Park.

Discover and Learn more about History at Door County Historical Museum

The Door County Historical Museum, built in 1939, has spent more than 80 years educating people and guests about the fascinating history of Door County, Wisconsin.

You'll encounter highly trained and welcoming staff, creative exhibits, and the world's largest collection of Door County relics here.

The Chicago Tribune listed the Museum as one of the "Best Small Museums in the Midwest."

Discover their extraordinary collection, which includes the magnificent "Seasons of Life" nature diorama and the exquisitely restored antique fire engines in their Pioneer Fire Station.

Don't pass up this engaging, pleasant, and fascinating Museum.

Stroll around the Sturgeon Bay Farmer's Market

The Sturgeon Bay Farmer's Market offers a wide selection of locally produced food and beverages, freshly picked flowers, steaks, cheese, and baked goods.

Several welcoming merchants with various goods, such as furniture, arts and crafts, baked goods, fruit, veggies, and much more, are available at the Sturgeon Bay Farmer's Market.

The Sturgeon Bay Farmer's Market carries toys for kids as well.

You will adore the food trucks at the farmer's market; they provide great BBQ, fruit crepes, coffee, Chinese food, and more.

You may be certain to find some of the best products in the Sturgeon Bay Farmer's Market in Wisconsin.

Admire the Scenery at George K. Pinney County Park

Old stone quarry at George K. Pinney County Park
TravelingOtter, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The George K. Pinney County Park is a great place to go if you want to unwind, admire the scenery, or watch the waves on breezy mornings.

It has a frontage on the water of around 1000 feet and spans 15 acres.

George K. Pinney County Park is a fantastic place for local fishermen to access the waters of Green Bay since it offers the perfect environment for bass, northern, and perch, along with a modern boat launch.

The park has a 6-lane boat launch pavilion, a picnic area, bathrooms, and an accessible fishing pier.

You will definitely appreciate strolling through the lovely park.

Final Thoughts

Sturgeon Bay is a remarkable tourist attraction with vivid colors and a buzzing city where you may participate in activities all day long from left to right.

A full day of shopping, accommodations on the lake, family-friendly activities, museum visits, and much more are on the list of the best things to do in Sturgeon Bay.

Many tourists travel to Sturgeon Bay to unwind and have fun with their loved ones while on vacation.

Organize your trip right away!