20 Best Things To Do In Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay in Door County, Wisconsin is an amazing place to visit with amazing things to do. Here are some of the best things to do in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

The bay of Sturgeon Bay is a geological wonder. Cut into the dolomitic rock of the Niagara Escarpment by glacial ice, the bay of Sturgeon Bay is an eastward inlet off of the bay of Green Bay, extending toward Lake Michigan. For thousands of years, mariners would portage their boats over the narrowest point between Sturgeon Bay and Lake Michigan in order to avoid having to make passage northward through “Death’s Door,” one of the most treacherous passages in the Great Lakes.

In the late 1800s, this geological wonder also became an engineering wonder, as the Sturgeon Bay Ship canal cut through the traditional portage route and allowed ships to make a water passage all the way from Lake Michigan, through Sturgeon Bay, and on into Green Bay.

This unique geology and geography mean that Sturgeon Bay has thrived both as an industrial hub and as a tourism powerhouse. It is a place both of big industry and of big hospitality. Because of this, it is an amazing place to visit with many great activities to entertain visitors.

steel bridge in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin with the words Sturgeon Bay, WI Things To Do

20 Amazing Things To Do Near Sturgeon Bay, WI

The Farm

red tractor at the farm in Door County

The Farm is a “living museum of rural history” just outside of Sturgeon Bay. The main attraction of The Farm is feedings its adorable baby goats, lambs, and piglets.

But, The Farm is so much more than just a petting zoo. It is a way of connecting with our agricultural past and therefore our human past and foundation of civilization.

The Farm is fun, but even beyond fun, it is good for the mind and the soul.

Check out our full post on The Farm in Door County.

Cave Point County Park

caves in a cliff over Lake Michigan with tree roots in the foreground and the words "Cave Point County Park HelloDoorCounty.com"
Cave Point County Park. Via Hello Door County.

Door County is legendary for having 5 state parks, but one of the peninsula’s favorite state parks is a county park by the name of Cave Point. Here, Door County’s Niagara Escarpment comes right up to Lake Michigan. The lake’s powerful waves have carved caves and rock formations in the dolomitic rock.

It is a great place for photography, kayaking, hiking, and more. This is definitely a “must-do” activity for any visit to Door County.

To learn more about this incredible park, make sure to check out our comprehensive post on Cave Point County Park.

Cave Point County Park is the best example that Door County has far more opportunity to experience natural beauty than just state parks. Check out our post detailing all Door County’s park, preserves, and access points. As of last count, there are 136 of them!

Door County Maritime Museum

collage with a Chris-Craft wooden boat, the facade of the Door County Maritime Museum, and the view from the Maritme Lighthouse Tower with the words "Door County Maritime Museum" super-imposed

The Door County Maritime Museum details the maritime history of Sturgeon Bay and the Great Lakes. It has an impressive collection of models and full-size boats and maritime equipment. Recently, they opened an observation tower that will give you an impressive view of the bay of Sturgeon Bay, and they also offer tours of a tug boat and of the Cana Island lighthouse.

Check out our article on the Door County Maritime Museum to learn more about this attraction.

Go to the Beach

Beach at Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, Wisconsin with a semi-transparent blue overlay and the words Door County Beaches hellodoorcounty.com

Sunset Park Beach and Otumba Park Beach are right in the city limits of Sturgeon Bay. Portage Park Beach and the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Beach are just outside of city limits.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Amazing Door County Beaches in order to find the right beach for your visit to Sturgeon Bay.

Visit a Restaurant

the steel bridge in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin with the words "Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin Restaurants HelloDoorCounty.com"
Kitty O’Reilly’s in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin. Via Hello Door County.

From Irish pubs to supper clubs, Sturgeon Bay has you covered in the culinary scene. Check out our post on the Best Restaurants near Sturgeon Bay for a run-down of some surefire eateries.

A favorite spot for both locals and tourists is Kitty O’Reilly’s Irish Pub. People especially love their beautiful beer garden outdoor dining.

For a supper club experience try Donny’s Gidden Lodge Restaurant or Nightingale’s Restaurant. Our Ultimate Guide to Door County Supper Clubs will tell you more about them and about supper clubs in general.

View a Lighthouse

Collage of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Lighthouse, the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Pierhead Lighthouse, and the Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower with text superimposed: Sturgeon Bay Lighthouses.

Door County has eleven lighthouses. You can easily catch views of two of them in the Sturgeon Bay area.

The Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Lighthouse and Pierhead Lighthouse are both east of Sturgeon Bay. These help guide ships into the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal from Lake Michigan.

But, these aren’t the only lighthouses in Sturgeon Bay. Check out our post on Sturgeon Bay Lighthouses to learn more about the others. If you have time to venture further north into Door county, our Ultimate Guide to Door County Lighthouses will help you discover the other 11 lighthouses in the area.

Powerboating

Sturgeon Bay has several boat launches and marinas. If you don’t have your own boat, you can rent one.

Paddling

If you prefer plying the waters under your own power, Sturgeon Bay is a great place to do this as well. A good place to do this is Potowatomi State Park, which also offers canoe and kayak rentals.

Door County Candle Company

The Door County Candle Company made national news in 2022 with their Ukraine candle used to raise funds to ease suffering in the war-torn nation.

Besides shopping for candles, patrons can also make their own candles! They start with a blank wax taper candle and then choose from an array of colors to coat the candle with whatever combination they choose.

Website
Phone: (920) 746-2125
Address: 5789 Highway 42, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Map

Whitefish Dunes State Park

Via Hello Door County.

A few miles northeast, and in the same area as Cave Point County Park, Whitefish Dunes State Park has a sand beach over a mile long and lovely hiking trails.

This is a good place to take a dog, as there is a dedicated dog swimming beach.

Our post on Everything You Need to Know About Door County State Parks has lots of information about Whitefish Dunes State Park and the other state parks in Door County, and we also have a post dedicated entirely to Whitefish Dunes State Park.

Attend a Fish Boil

black cauldron over a wood fire at a Door County fish boil
Modified from The Steaming Cauldron by LearningLark via Flickr. Used by permission (CC BY 2.0).

Boiled fish? It’s a Door County tradition you should try! Waterfront Mary’s, on the west side of Sturgeon Bay, offers regular fish boils.

Our post on Everything You Need to Know about Door County Fish Boil will tell you more about this tradition, Water Front Mary’s unique boil, and other boils available in the Door County area.

Camping

campsite in Door County at night

Several public and private campgrounds lie around Sturgeon Bay. Check out our ultimate guide to camping in Door County to learn more about camping opportunities around Sturgeon Bay.

Visit a Distillery

Given its remote location and the presence of so many fermentable crops, Door County has always had a distilling tradition, even during Prohibition years. That tradition continues with the Door County Distillery and Hatch Distillery, both a few miles away from Sturgeon Bay. Pay them a visit!

Cherry Picking

collage of a cherry orchard, upclose shot of cherries, and buckets of cherries in the back of a pickup truck. Overlayed text says: "Door County Cherry Picking."
Via Hello Door County.

Door County is known as “Cherryland USA.” Take part in this All-American activity, usually sometime from mid-June through early August.

Check out our ultimate guide to Door County cherry picking to learn more!

Fishing

Sturgeon Bay is a fishing powerhouse. One of the best places in the world to catch smallmouth bass, the bay also supports strong populations of perch, pike, walleye, and salmon.

Walk a Breakwater

Two breakwaters jut far into the waters of Lake Michigan at the entry to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. Walking them helps you feel the power of this mighty body of water. Read our post on Free Things to Do in Door County for details on how to walk the breakwaters.

Shop Downtown

From clothing stores to gaming shops, downtown Sturgeon Bay has a thriving shopping scene. Park the car and stroll the streets for some great shopping.

Ship Watching

Whether the sleek yachts of the wealthy or the large, impressive cargo ships that ply the Great Lakes’ waters, Sturgeon Bay is a great place to watch ships. Boatnerd is a great place to keep tabs on the cargo ships that pull in and out of Sturgeon Bay.

Miller Art Museum

The Miller Art Museum is located inside the Sturgeon Bay location of the Door County Public Library, and its completely free to visit!

Catch a Concert

Sturgeon Bay hosts the free Harmony by the Bay Concert Series held at Martin Park every Wednesday at 7:00 PM from mid-June through mid-August. Check their Facebook page for updated information.

Watch a Sunset

Sturgeon Bay is a great place to catch a sunset. In fact, they have a park named Sunset Park which is great for this purpose! Check out our post on Door County’s parks and preserves to find out more about this and other great parks in the area.

More Roundups of Things To Do

Check out our other roundups of things to do in the area:

Conclusion

Hopefully this post has given you some great inspiration for things to do in Sturgeon Bay, WI. However, if you need more ideas, make sure to check out our category on things to do in Door County.

Also, if you find yourself hungry while in Sturgeon Bay, our post on the best restaurants in Sturgeon Bay can help guide you to one to suit your appetite.

Finally, if you are in the planning stages for your Door County vacation, our post on the best hotels in Sturgeon Bay can be a great starting point to help you find a place to stay.

About the author
Mark Stoneman
Hi! My name is Mark! I have been a resident of Door County for almost ten years now, and I'm glad to help you say "Hello" to Door County. I believe that travel helps to change lives, and because of that, I want to help you improve your life through travel.