8 Fantastic Things to do in Sturgeon Bay, WI

Guide to what to do in Sturgeon Bay, including the best Sturgeon Bay activities and attractions

Situated in Door County, Sturgeon Bay is one of the hidden gems you should visit as you travel Wisconsin.

There are various fun things to do in Sturgeon Bay, whether you want to stroll around the promenade and enjoy the maritime charms in the area or prefer outdoor activities like fishing or kayaking.

As the largest city in the Door Peninsula, there are numerous things to see in Sturgeon Bay.

The city is home to three historic lighthouses, making it a great spot to learn about the area’s history with some good spots for photographs.

Sturgeon Bay also hosts the Fire & Ice Festival annually, which makes it one of the best destinations to visit in Wisconsin during winter.

Not sure what to do in Sturgeon Bay for your next visit? Check out my guide below!

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Overview: Top 3 Things to do in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

  • Wander around the Cave Point County Park
  • Visit Door County Maritime Museum
  • Go kayaking or paddleboarding at the Door Peninsula

1. Visit Door County Maritime Museum

what to do in Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin, Aerial view of harbor with neatly arranged sailboats and motorboats moored next to the shore with some buildings and trees visible behind

Door County is rich in maritime history, so visiting the Door County Maritime Museum is a must when traveling to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

The Door County Maritime Museum offers you an opportunity to delve into the fascinating maritime history of the region, making it one of the best Sturgeon Bay attractions to visit in the city.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for an interesting and educational experience in Door County, you should add the museum to your list of things to do in Sturgeon Bay, WI!

For the best experience, buy a ticket for all three best spots of the Door County Maritime Museum, which includes Sturgeon Bay Museum, Cana Island Lighthouse, and Death’s Door Maritime Museum.

All locations are only a short drive away from one and the other, which makes it perfect for full-day activities in Sturgeon Bay!

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2. Explore the Door County Lighthouses

Sturgeon Bay attractions, Small red painted lighthouse and accompanying red painted lighthouse keeper's house sitting on a rocky jetty in front of a calm sea under a clear blue sky

Traveling to Sturgeon Bay isn’t complete without exploring the lighthouses around the city and nearby.

The city is home to six lighthouses of Wisconsin, and you can visit them all when traveling around the city.

Apart from the Cana Island Lighthouse, Sturgeon Bay is also home to some other historic lighthouses, including the iconic North Pierhead Light with its red-painted structure.

However, the latter remains active to aid the navigation around the Sturgeon Bay ship canal, and no visitors are allowed to enter the area.

But you can still stroll around the pier to find the best spot to capture one of the best attractions in Sturgeon Bay!

Some lighthouses are also open to the public, with some providing guided tours that you can sign up to learn more about the city’s history.

Not too far from Cana Island Lighthouse, you can also go to the Baileys Harbor Range Lights.

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3. Go on a fishing adventure

top things to do in Sturgeon Bay, Three people in silhouette standing on a wooden jetty holding fishing rods in front of a calm body of water with some rolling hills visible in the distance at dusk

Fishing is one of the popular Sturgeon Bay activities and for good reasons! 

Sturgeon Bay and the surrounding waters of Lake Michigan and Green Bay are home to a wide variety of fish species.

The region is best known for smallmouth bass, but you can also find other species like walleye or salmon here.

The good news is that the fishing charter industry in the city is thriving, so you can still add fishing to fun things to do in Sturgeon Bay, even if you’re new to the activity.

During the excursion, you’ll be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide who will help you locate and catch fish to make the activity appealing to everyone!

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4. Wander around the Cave Point County Park

Top activities in Sturgeon Bay, View of rocky coastline covered in green trees sitting next to a large body of water in Cave Point County Park under a bright blue sky with white fluffy clouds

Cave Point County Park is my personal favorite for things to do in Sturgeon Bay, as the scenic view of the rugged limestone cliffs along the Lake Michigan shoreline is like no other.

On top of that, there are numerous activities you can do around the park, which makes it a perfect place to visit for travelers of all kinds!

You can follow the Cave Point County Park hiking trail, one of the best hikes in Door County, and that will lead you to the Whitefish Bay Dunes State Park.

As one of the best state parks in Wisconsin, exploring the Whitefish Dunes State Park is one of the best things to do Sturgeon Bay has to offer outdoor enthusiasts.

In the summer, you can immerse yourself in the lush forest while enjoying the impressive view from the Lake Michigan shoreline.

If you’re looking for things to do in Door County in winter, Cave Point County Park also offers winter activities like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing!

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5. Shop local in Sturgeon Bay Downtown

best things to do in Sturgeon Bay Door County, person holding several paper shopping bags of different colors on outstretched arm with a credit card in their hand

Not sure what to do in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin? Shopping is probably one of the most relaxing things to do in Door County, and Sturgeon Bay has a great spot for it!

Third Avenue District in Sturgeon Bay downtown is the best place for shopping, as you can find various specialty shops in the area.

While there, you can also visit some art museums and galleries to add to your Sturgeon Bay activities and make the most of your visit to the city.

For those who love arts and crafts, don’t miss checking out Jefferson Street to find some unique shops that sell creative local products!

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6. Attend one of the annual Sturgeon Bay events

Best Sturgeon Bay events, Close up shot of an ice sculpture of a scaly winged dragon with a flicking tongue

Sturgeon Bay is also home to various annual events that you can visit when you’re there.

Depending on what time of the year you visit Door County, the event calendar offers numerous fun things to do in Sturgeon Bay!

Plan a trip to Sturgeon Bay to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, one of the most popular Sturgeon Bay events.

As an added bonus, you’ll be able to enjoy the Street Art Project and admire art around the streets of Sturgeon Bay downtown.

You can also add attending the parade and watching live entertainment to your Sturgeon Bay things to do!

If you travel around the wintertime, the Fire & Ice Festival is one of the top things to do in Sturgeon Bay during winter.

You can enjoy various ice and snow sculptures while doing some winter activities around the town!

While you’re in town, be sure to stay at one of the top Sturgeon Bay resorts!

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7. Go kayaking or paddleboarding at the Door Peninsula

things to do near Sturgeon Bay, view of the legs of people standing on paddle boards in a calm body of water

Sturgeon Bay is one of the best lake towns in Wisconsin, so you’ll find plenty of water sports available to enjoy.

In fact, outdoor activities like kayaking or paddleboarding are some of the best things to do in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Even if you’re new to the activities, you can book a lesson with trained guides before doing it on your own!

Sturgeon Bay offers access to a network of waterways, where you can explore the stunning surroundings up close while kayaking and paddleboarding.

Places like Egg Harbor Beach and Rowleys Bay Resort offer these outdoor activities for things to do near Sturgeon Bay, as you can easily book various water activities here to make the most of your stay in the city!

Of course, you can also take a break from the water sports and just enjoy relaxing on some of the best beaches in Door County.

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8. Join the Ghost Tour of Door County

fun things to do in Sturgeon Bay, Blurry black and white outline of woman's side profile

If you’re looking for some unique things to do in Sturgeon Bay at night, you can challenge yourself by signing up for one of the evening Door County Trolley Tours: the Ghost Tour of Door County.

Children above 5 years old are allowed to join this ghost tour, as the guide will share some ghost stories about haunted lighthouses and sunken ships around Sturgeon Bay.

While touring around the city, you’ll hear some urban legends about some mysterious things that happen around the peninsula!

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Looking for things to do in Sturgeon Bay, Door County? The city has its charms, offering various activities for visitors of all kinds!

The city is heaven for history buffs, but its beautiful natural landscapes also offer endless outdoor activities to explore for more adventurous travelers.

No matter which one you are, it’s worth considering Sturgeon Bay as your next stop for your Wisconsin vacation!


FAQs About the Best Things to do in Sturgeon Bay, WI

Is Sturgeon Bay worth visiting?

Sturgeon Bay is one of the most beautiful and popular spots in Door County, and it is definitely worth visiting and exploring.

What is Sturgeon Bay famous for?

The city is a very well-known shipbuilding hub. As a coastal city with a rich maritime history, the city remains popular with visitors interested in this history, as well as those who just want to spend time on the water.

What are the best things to do in Sturgeon Bay?

There are many fun things to do in Sturgeon Bay and the surrounding area, but some of my favorite things are visiting the maritime museum, hiking in Cave Point County Park, and enjoying watersports.


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