Sturgeon Bay is the largest city in Door County, and the county seat. Door County is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Wisconsin and beyond. Yet visitors tend to ignore Sturgeon Bay, which also serves as the peninsular county’s gateway city. And that’s a big mistake. For Sturgeon Bay, which straddles the peninsula’s canal, is in the midst of a rebirth.
But let’s go back a bit. Door County has long been a favorite vacation destination for many reasons. First, the long, narrow peninsula is surrounded by water – the bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan – meaning there are recreational opportunities galore, such as kayaking, canoeing, swimming and boating. Second, the small towns dotting the peninsula are charming and filled with boutiques, restaurants, wineries and inns. Third, every season here is a wonder. Spring is cherry blossom time, summer brings warm days and cool evenings, fall equates to a bonanza of fiery colors, and winter is filled with skiing, skating and sledding. Get the picture?
Don’t Overlook Sturgeon Bay
While Sturgeon Bay is part of this magical county, admittedly it’s a little out of sync with its sister cities. That’s partly because Sturgeon Bay has deep roots in the gritty shipbuilding and maritime traffic industries, not in the arts and recreation scenes that attract tourists. Yet over the years, it has slowly and quietly added quality resorts, inns, restaurants and shops, all while remaining a shipbuilding powerhouse.
Luckily, people are beginning to notice Sturgeon Bay’s efforts at attracting visitors. But it needs to trumpet its successes more, and visitors need to start paying attention. For there are many interesting and attractive spots here that you won’t want to miss. Many of these are outlined in the article I wrote, which you can read at your leisure. But – spoiler alert! – here are two of my Sturgeon Bay favorites: the Holiday Music Motel and the Door County Historical Museum. And, of course, the fact that the city is home to the eastern terminus of the Ice Age Trail!
Disclosures: This entry contains affiliate links. This means that, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Also, some photos in the slideshow are courtesy of the Door County Visitor Bureau