Algoma, Wisconsin is usually overshadowed by its neighbors to the north and west. Door County and Green Bay get much more attention. But, Algoma is well worth a visit. Here are some of the best things to do in Algoma, Wisconsin.
The whole region of Northeast Wisconsin has lots to do, besides just in Algoma. Be sure to check out our category on Things To Do in Door County to learn about more of the unique opportunities in the area.
If this post inspires you to pay Algoma a visit, make sure to check out some of our recommendations of places to stay in Algoma.
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Algoma is a town of about 3,000 people right on the shores of Lake Michigan, about forty miles east of Green Bay and twenty miles south of Sturgeon Bay in Door County.
In many ways, Algoma is still a traditional rust belt town. Agriculture and manufacturing are the backbone of this place. And, it’s certainly more hard-scrabble than the quaint villages of Door County.
However, don’t let this deceive you into thinking that Algoma isn’t worth a visit. It certainly is!
Algoma – Business Incubator
And, one of the reasons is that Algoma has been one of the most successful business incubators in the region. Real estate is inexpensive here, and so is labor. Because of this, some of the region’s most successful ventures got their start in Algoma, including the James May Gallery, Von Stiehl Winery, Skaliwag’s, and Ahnapee Brewery.
If you want to experience the next big thing, whether this is a restaurant or a brewery, there’s a good chance you’ll find it in Algoma.
Algoma – Charter Fishing Capital of Wisconsin
One of the biggest draws to Algoma is the excellent fishing. Algoma is the busiest charter port for Lake Michigan sportfishing charters. Anglers reel in abundant king salmon, steelhead, and brown trout. In addition, many private boats launch from here.
Algoma, WI Map
33 Best Things To Do In Algoma, WI
1. Crescent Beach
Algoma boasts a large, sand beach right downtown. Well-groomed, this is a popular place to swim in Lake Michigan or just lounge, especially when summer gets hot. Algoma tends to stay cool even in the middle of summer, so hundreds of people can line the beach, coming from up to hours away.
Bring along a volleyball. The city maintains several nets, and people play pickup games regularly.
The Algoma Boardwalk is a pleasant stroll that extends along Crescent Beach, by the marina, and up the Ahnapee River. It gives you the chance to soak in Lake Michigan, see the pierhead lighthouse, check out the charter fishing fleet, and experience some of the historic districts of Algoma.
3. Breakwater Piers and Lighthouse
The Algoma harbor is protected by breakwater piers north and south of the Ahnapee River. It is permitted to walk out on these piers, and doing so gives you a sense of the power and majesty of Lake Michigan, and also permits close-up views and pictures of the Algoma Pierhead Lighthouse.
Be careful, however! The surfaces are rough and uneven, and there is exposed rebar. Trip hazards abound, and you should only attempt walking on the breakwaters when the waters are relatively calm. Strong waves have been known to push people into the water.
4. Ahnapee Brewery
Aiming to carry on a brewing tradition begun in the 1800s, the Ahnapee Brewery is one of the most successful newer businesses to have emerged out of Algoma. In fact, their business is so successful that they have opened a location in Suamico, one of northeast Wisconsin’s higher-priced markets.
But, this successful business is definitely still moored to its origins in Algoma.
The Ahnapee Brewery offers sixteen brews to choose from. Every beer lover will find something they like here. A major crowd-pleaser is their Little Soldier Ale, a malty amber American Ale.
Their Algoma taproom has two large glass garage doors that allow the outside in, even when it’s cold. When the weather is fitting, they raise the doors, and their outside patio overlooking Lake Michigan becomes one space with their taproom.
5. Von Stiehl Winery
Von Stiehl winery is the granddaddy of the wine-making industry in the state of Wisconsin as the first commercially licensed winery after prohibition. That time on task has paid off. They are known to have some of the best wines in the state.
Their tasting room is housed in a lovely, historic building right off the Ahnapee River. Grab a bottle and go out back to sit and watch the fishing charters come and go from the busy port.
A new addition to the winery is its Cider Bar, a few doors down from the main building. It’s a casual and fun place to spend some time relaxing in the heart of downtown Algoma.
Von Stiehl also puts on great events. An annual favorite is their Wet Whistle Wine Fest in mid-September, which features grape stomping, music, and an enthusiastic crowd.
6. Charter Fishing
Algoma is the charter fishing capital of Wisconsin, supporting ample catches of king salmon, steelhead, and brown trout.
Hello Door County especially recommends Kinn’s Sport Fishing, Algoma’s largest charter fishing operation. With ten boats and decades of experience, Kinn’s is highly likely to help you get hooked up with some big fish. The experience speaks for itself, but the size of the operation shouldn’t be neglected. Their charter captains share real-time information with each other. With ten boats operating, they can keep tabs on the location of schools of fish and call other boats in to hook up.
7. Private Fishing
However, you don’t need a charter, or even a boat, to participate in fishing in Algoma. Anglers regularly catch pike and trout in the Ahnapee River. Salmon can be caught from the breakwater piers in mid-September. Nearby Krohn’s Lake and East and West Alaska Lakes support good populations of species like bluegill, perch, largemouth bass, and even muskie.
8. Son of Skaliwags
Okay, this is going to take a little bit of explanation. This is the location of the original Skaliwag’s Restaurant, which is now located in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. However, the son of Skaliwag’s has recently opened up a restaurant in the original location in Algoma, Wisconsin, seven miles south of Forestville. Hence the name, Son of Skaliwag’s.
Look, we know that a pirate-themed restaurant may not seem all that legit. But, hear us out. This restaurant dynasty has built up an enormous reputation in Northeastern Wisconsin, with loyal customers including players for the Green Bay Packers.
Things you can’t expect at Son of Skaliwag’s: The same menu every time you visit. A quick in-and-out dining experience. Cheap eats.
Things you can expect at Skaliwag’s: The freshest seafood possible. (Steaks, too.) Personal attention from the chef/owner. Surprising menu choices. Delectable flavors that you won’t find anywhere else.
Give it a try. But, word to the wise: Come with lots of time and lots of money.
9. Walking Tour
Algoma is a little more hardscrabble than the villages of Door County to the north. But, this doesn’t mean that this old city doesn’t have some beautiful buildings to see. Gorgeous old homes and interesting buildings are worth an amble around Algoma. You’ll get candy for your eyes and gold for your Instagram.
Some of that eye candy and Instagram golds are Algoma’s growing collection of murals. These are well done and capture Algoma’s unique history and ethos. Keep an eye out for them; they’re everywhere and in some surprising locations.
11. Fish Tale Ale House
Fish Tales is a spacious sports bar in a cool old, historic building. While they offer typical pub fare like burgers and pizza, they have some amazing BBQ and some surprisingly inventive dishes. It’s worth stopping in for a meal!
12. Cafe Tlazo
Cafe Tlazo is the place to go for a comfortable hangout with coffee drinks, sandwiches, and wraps. A great place for breakfast or lunch!
13. Bayshore Outfitters
Bayshore Outfitters is a high-end outdoor clothing and equipment store. Paddling and camping equipment is available here as is clothing to keep you warm in Algoma’s cooler-than-average weather.
14. Ahnapee Trail
A 48-mile trail connecting Sturgeon Bay, Maplewood, Forestville, Algoma, Kewaunee, Luxemburg, and Casco. This trail is on an old railroad bed and is therefore quite level, and has an even, easily traveled surface. ATV and UTVS are prohibited, but foot travel, horses, and bicycles are permitted. Snowmobiles are permitted on this trail in the winter, and dog sleds even occasionally make use of it. Many access points are available. Click here for a map.
Wienke’s Market offers homemade canned goods like pickles, jams, and pie fillings, baked goods, and produce. The authentically rustic setting is fun and nostalgic.
16. Algoma Pizza Bowl
Algoma Pizza Bowl’s name says it all. A pizza shop with an old-school six-lane bowling alley attached, the Pizza Bowl is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening. They also have a full-service bar and offer other pub grub food options.
17. LaSalle County Park
This county park has historical significance as a landing place for the French explorer Robert de LaSalle’s 1679 expedition. It has picnic tables, grills, and playground equipment, and features 440 feet of public access to Lake Michigan.
Address: 408 Cth U, Algoma, WI 54201
18. Shanty Days
Shanty Days is Algoma’s premier event, a weekend full of concerts, the area’s largest parade, fireworks, a craft show, children’s inflatables, a car show, and more. People love Shanty Days, and out-of-towners crowd into this small town to take part in the festivities.
Shanty Days is usually held in mid-August. Check out the Algoma Chamber of Commerce’s website for more info.
19. Soar on the Shore
Every summer, kiters descend on Algoma to send up monstrously huge kites and to perform daring maneuvers with smaller stunt kites. This is really something to see! It’s usually held in mid-August. The Algoma Chamber of Commerce’s website has more information on this event.
20. Concerts in the Park
21. Olson Park
This park along the Ahnapee River is a favorite spot for fishermen and boaters.
One great feature is the kayak launch, which makes getting in and out of your kayak and in and out of the river a breeze! Anyone can launch a kayak here, but there are also kayak rentals available for those who do not own one.
22. DeMeuse Park
DeMeuse Park is Algoma’s dedicated dog park. Your four-legged friend will enjoy running off-leash and meeting other dogs.
Algoma is a great place to kayak. The river is suitable for kayakers of every skill level. Those with experience and proper equipment will enjoy kayaking out on Lake Michigan.
Kayak rentals are available at two points on the Ahnapee River.
Algoma is a photographer’s paradise. Lake Michigan’s dynamic waves, the pierhead lighthouse, and downtown murals are just the beginning of photographic subjects available.
The Ahnapee Trail provides miles upon miles of easy yet pleasurable hiking. You’re sure to have wildlife sightings on this trail.
26. Horse Riding
Horseback riding is another popular activity in Algoma. Horses are allowed on the Ahnapee Trail, but it’s not uncommon to see them on the roads as well. Some restaurants even have horse hitches out back.
Snowmobiling is permitted o the Ahnapee Trail. And, when the snow is good, hundreds of snowmobilers descend upon Algoma from around Wisconsin.
28. Catch a Sunrise
The early bird gets the worm, and this is certainly the case when it comes to sunrises. It’s a treat that few experience, but it’s worth the experience to see the sun rising up out of the waters of Lake Michigan.
29. First Friday Art Night
Every first Friday of the month, businesses in Algoma stay open late. Pop in and out of art shops, and take in the pop-up sidewalk art shops that set up as well.
30. Go to Church
Algoma has several beautiful churches both in town and in the surrounding countryside. The members will be glad to see you, and you will receive wondrous blessings there!
31. Wet Whistle Wine Fest
Wet Whistle Wine Fest occurs every September and offers award-winning wines, a grape stomp, and live music! Revelers often come in elaborate and whimsical costumes. A great time!
32. Algoma Main Street
Just walking up and down the Algoma Main Street is an enjoyable experience. You’ll see murals, and you can wander in and out of bars and shops.
In a sense, Algoma has multiple main streets. There is no street mark as “Main Street,” and there are several streets that form the core of Algoma’s downtown business district. 4th Street is the “main” main street of the town, the major artery through which traffic flows. However, Fremont Street and Clark Street could also be considered the Algoma Main Street. Fremont Street is where the major civic buildings are, including city hall, the public library, and the elementary school. Clark Streets has lots of businesses.
All of these are real, working main streets, with hardware stores, tackle shops, restaurants, consignment shops, and more.
33. Paddle the Swans
Algoma now has a flock of Swan Paddleboats that you can rent to explore the Ahnapee River. These are available downtown by the 2nd Street Bridge.
Places To Stay in Algoma
If you’ve decided that you would like to visit Algoma, our top-recommended place to stay is Harbor View Condos. We know the owners personally, and know that they will provide you with a great stay. Two and three-bedroom units are available, with full kitchens, grills, and outdoor patios.
Another great place to stay in Algoma is Scenic Shore Inn. This property has a swimming pool, sauna, fitness center, and lovely outdoor gathering areas.
As you can see, Algoma has more than enough things to do to keep your group entertained! Build in a trip to Algoma and experience a somewhat more authentic, though no less enjoyable, Wisconsin vacation experience.