Ellison Bay, WI: Lodging, Dining, Attractions & More

Ellison Bay is a popular destination in Door County, Wisconsin. This page will help you learn more about:

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Ellison Bay Lodging

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Beach scene with the superimposed text: Sand Bay Town Park Beach

Sand Bay Town Park Beach

Discover Sand Bay Town Park Beach in Door County, WI. Free admission, amenities, and beach safety tips. Perfect for a family day trip.
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All Posts About Ellison Bay

Beach scene with the superimposed text: Sand Bay Town Park Beach

Sand Bay Town Park Beach

Discover Sand Bay Town Park Beach in Door County, WI. Free admission, amenities, and beach safety tips. Perfect for a family day trip.
Read More
collage of the Lake Michigan Shoreline, the Porte des Morts passage, and a cherry orchard. Superimposed text reads: Ellison Bay, WI

General Information About Ellison Bay

Ellison Bay, a small and serene unincorporated community nestled far north on the Door Peninsula of Wisconsin, boasts a population of approximately 165 residents, all of whom enjoy its picturesque beauty and peaceful way of life. Situated at an elevation of 614 feet (187 meters) above sea level, the community’s latitude and longitude are 45°15’25.9″N 87°03’55.1″W , and its GPS coordinates are 45.2572° N, 87.0653° W.

Door County, which is home to Ellison Bay, is a renowned vacation destination, cherished for its stunning waterfront views, quaint small towns, and outdoor activities. The county is dotted with state parks, natural areas, art galleries, wineries, and other cultural attractions. Within this scenic enclave, Ellison Bay is a quiet haven, with a modest commercial district featuring art galleries, restaurants, and shops. The community is particularly noted for its dazzling sunsets over the waters of Green Bay, a sight that truly takes one’s breath away.


“Ellison Bay” can refer either to a body of water or to an unincorporated village.

Body of Water

“Ellison Bay” can refer to an arm of Green Bay, which is itself an arm of Lake Michigan. The bay of Ellison Bay is located in the northern reaches of the Door Peninsula, between Sister Bay to the south and Hedgehog Harbor to the north. Ellison Bay is a popular place for boaters, and several private and public boat launches are available here.

Unincorporated Village

“Ellison Bay” can also refer to an unincorporated village within the Town of Liberty Grove in Door County, Wisconsin.

This terminology can be confusing because for many people “town” and “village” refer to roughly the same thing. However, these terms have distinct meanings in Wisconsin state law.

The following two sections will help you understand the difference between and town and a village a little better.

Towns in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has 1,253 towns. The legal definition of a town in the State of Wisconsin is different than the common definition of town that many people use. Many people think of towns as having an urban or suburban pattern of settlement. However, according to Wisconsin State Law, any land that is not covered by a municipality like a city or a village is part of a town.

Towns in Wisconsin have historically had a rural character. However, this is not always the case. Some towns have experienced much growth and have suburban and even urban settlement patterns.

Town populations can range from 40 residents to over 22,000 residents.

Towns are general-purpose units of local government that perform and provide various kinds of municipal functions and services.

Towns in the State of Wisconsin include Jacksonport, Sevastopol, and Clay Banks.

Villages in Wisconsin

The State of Wisconsin has many villages. There are two different types of villages: incorporated villages and unincorporated villages.

Unincorporated villages are designated for the sake of convenience, but they do not have any formal status under Wisconsin State Law. Ellison Bay is an example of an unincoporated village.

On the other hand, incorporated villages have the status of incorporated settlements under Wisconsin State Law. They can have either the president-village board or the village board-village manager structure of local government. Ephraim is an incorporated village.

The vast majority of villages in the state of Wisconsin utilize the president-village board structure. Under the president-village board structure of local government, both the president and the village board are elected by the public. Under the village board-village manager structure, the village board is publicly elected, and the village board appoints the village manager.

There are 411 incorporated villages in the State of Wisconsin. These include villages like Sister Bay, Forestville, and Ashwaubenon.

Ellison Bay History

Native History

Before European settlement, the area that is now Ellison Bay, Wisconsin was home to various Native American tribes, including the Menominee and Potawatomi. These tribes lived in the region for thousands of years and had a deep connection to the land and its natural resources. The way of life of these tribes is demonstrated at the nearby Whitefish Dunes State Park.

Post-European Settlement

Ellison Bay, Wisconsin has a rich history dating back to its founding in the mid-19th century. Originally a port for fishing and logging operations, ships from all over the Great Lakes would dock at the piers in Ellison Bay.

As the logging industry declined in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Ellison Bay shifted towards tourism. The village’s scenic beauty and proximity to Green Bay made it an attractive destination for tourists.

Today, Ellison Bay is a charming and peaceful village, known for its rural character and close-knit community. Although the town has changed over the years, it still boasts a rich history and a strong connection to the water.

Geographical Features

Nestled on the bay that shares its name, Ellison Bay stands as a crown jewel in the northern reaches of Door County, Wisconsin. The bay of Ellison Bay, an arm of Green Bay, which in turn is an arm of Lake Michigan, is a natural wonder that attracts visitors from far and wide. The bay’s tranquil waters, surrounded by verdant forests and pristine beaches, make for a breathtaking sight, especially at sunset.

Ellison Bay’s location puts it in close proximity to Newport State Park, a natural paradise with over 2,300 acres of pristine wilderness and 11 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. It is a prime spot for outdoor enthusiasts, with ample opportunities for hiking, biking, kayaking, and more.

The geography of Door County is defined by the Niagara Escarpment, a massive limestone formation that runs from Wisconsin to New York State. This natural feature, which was created over 400 million years ago, has shaped the county’s topography, creating a rugged landscape of cliffs, bluffs, and rolling hills. Visitors to Ellison Bay and Door County can take in the escarpment’s majesty at spots like Ellison Bluff County Park, which boasts limestone cliffs that draw crowds of visitors each year.

In short, Ellison Bay’s unique location on the bay that shares its name, in the northern reaches of Door County, and near Newport State Park, offers visitors a glimpse into the stunning natural beauty that characterizes the region. With its location on the Niagara Escarpment, the Door Peninsula offers a rugged and awe-inspiring landscape that is unlike any other.

Why People Love to Visit Ellison Bay

Ellison Bay is a hidden gem that captures the hearts of all who have the pleasure of visiting. It is a place of natural beauty, where one can escape the hustle and bustle of modern life and reconnect with the serenity of the natural world.

Visitors come to Ellison Bay for many reasons, but chief among them is the stunning scenery. The bay that shares the community’s name, an arm of Green Bay, is a tranquil haven where the waters reflect the vivid hues of the sky above. The nearby forests and beaches offer an idyllic escape, with opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, and simply breathing in the fresh air.

But Ellison Bay offers much more than just natural beauty. Its small-town charm, exemplified by its galleries, restaurants, and shops, is a draw for those who want to experience a slower pace of life. The community’s proximity to Newport State Park and the Niagara Escarpment provides opportunities for outdoor adventures that are sure to thrill visitors of all ages.

But perhaps the most compelling reason to visit Ellison Bay is the people who call it home. The community’s residents are known for their warm hospitality and genuine kindness, welcoming visitors with open arms and sharing the secrets of their beloved home. For many, it is this human connection that truly sets Ellison Bay apart from other destinations.

In short, Ellison Bay is a place where the beauty of nature, the charm of small-town life, and the warmth of its residents all come together to create an experience that is truly unforgettable. It is a destination that captures the heart and soul of all who have the pleasure of visiting.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ellison Bay

What are some popular attractions in Ellison Bay?

Visitors to Ellison Bay can enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the bay and nearby Newport State Park. There are also art galleries, shops, and restaurants in the commercial district. Nearby attractions include the Cana Island Lighthouse and Washington Island.

What is the population of Ellison Bay?

Ellison Bay is a small unincorporated community with a population of approximately 165 residents. It is located in the northern reaches of Door County, Wisconsin.

What is the geography of Door County?

The Door Peninsula, where Ellison Bay is located, is defined by the Niagara Escarpment, a massive limestone formation that creates a rugged landscape of cliffs, bluffs, and rolling hills. Visitors can take in the escarpment’s majesty at spots like Cave Point County Park and Newport State Park.