Destination Sturgeon Bay News

Top 10 Family Friendly Activities in Sturgeon Bay, Door County

Whether it’s a unique, live theatre or music performance, a day of serene hiking or biking, spectacular shopping, recreation or relaxation, Sturgeon Bay, Door County has plenty to offer visitors of all ages. In fact, family friendly entertainment and activities are reasons why both visitors and locals alike enjoy spending time in Sturgeon Bay. As we get ready for another peak tourist season, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 family friendly activities our area has to offer to help you plan the perfect Sturgeon Bay experience!

#1 Get Back to Nature

Sturgeon Bay is home to ten county parks, a state park and numerous nature preserves that lend themselves to a variety of educational and healthy ways to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Sunset Park, located along the Sturgeon Bay ship canal, provides plenty of room for picnics, pickleball and tennis. There’s also beach access, a boat launch, pavilion, playground and a Frisbee golf course ensuring a full day with plenty to do.

Potawatomi State Park offers 123 campsites, eight miles of off-road bicycle trails and several hiking trails including the eastern trailhead of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Crossroads at Big Creek is a 125-acre nature preserve that provides classes, lectures, programs and other activities that promote learning for individuals of all ages. Indoor and outdoor laboratories, a greenhouse and unique library encourage study and research of environmental sciences. A series of trails also allows groups and individuals to explore the beauty of the area themselves or with an experienced naturalist.

The Door County Land Trust provides enhanced lands that contribute significantly to the scenic beauty, open space and ecological integrity of Door County. 

#2 Head Out on the Water

Rent a boat, kayak, paddleboard, Jet Ski, sailboat or canoe for a day of fun out on the open water. With one-third of Door County's 300 miles of coastline along the Bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan, Sturgeon Bay has amazing options when it comes to experiencing the water, and you don't want to miss out! 

Many locations throughout the area offer rentals including Door County Adventure Center,   Potawatomi State Park, Bay Shore Outfitters, Nor Door Sport and Cyclery, Shore to Shore Rental, and Door County Boat Rental.

#3 Expand Your Mind

Embark on an educational adventure by exploring the Door County Maritime Museum, the Door County Historical Museum, the Miller Art Museum and Heritage Village at Big Creek.

Located on the beautiful, downtown waterfront, the Door County Maritime Museum showcases the area’s rich maritime heritage from lonely lighthouse keepers to bold inventors and skilled craftsmen. Enjoy the vast array of hands-on interactive exhibits like the Shipwrecks of Door County. Visitors are also welcome to take a 40-minute guided tour of the John Purves, a fully restored 1960s era Great Lakes tugboat.

Named “The Best Small Museum in the Midwest” by the Chicago Tribune, the Door County Historical Museum allows visitors to step back in time with exhibits on the area’s early settlers, orchards, industries and much more! There’s also a “Seasons of Life” wildlife diorama containing over 100 native species and historic fire trucks to see.

Founded in 1975 through the generosity of Gerhard and Ruth Miller, Miller Art Museum is a non-profit cultural arts institution open all year with galleries that feature changing exhibits rich in diversity and expression. Now more than 45 years since it was founded, the Miller Art Museum continues to serve as an inspirational hub for both visitors and locals. Spend an afternoon perusing the galleries and small gift shop — you’ll be glad you did!

The Heritage Village at Big Creek is a collection of nine historically and architecturally significant buildings depicting Door County’s development from 1852-1910. Open daily from mid-June through September, interpreters offer guided tours of the village’s buildings. Demonstrations, performances and special historical programming are featured throughout the summer. 

#4 Go Fish

Named the number one Bass fishing location in the United States by Bassmaster in 2014, Sturgeon Bay is home to some of the best fishing in the country. From Bass to Walleye, King Salmon, Brown Trout and other fresh water favorites, fishing is an enjoyable pastime everyone can enjoy.

Best of all, you don’t even need to worry about bringing your gear if you don’t want to. A number of expert local charters through the Sturgeon Bay Sport Fishing Association are happy to take groups of friends and families out on the open water for a trophy fishing experience unlike anywhere else. In fact, if your family enjoys fishing, mark your calendar for the 35th Annual Kids Fishing Derby at Sunset Park in Sturgeon Bay June 21 from 11am to 2pm. Prizes will be awarded!

#5 Visit a Lighthouse

June 12 - 14 is Door County’s Annual Lighthouse Festival featuring several different land and water tours, including a trolley lighthouse tour and a lighthouse ghost tour via trolley. Tentative special viewing opportunities will exist at the Sherwood Point Lighthouse (Saturday & Sunday) and the Sturgeon Bay Canal Station (Saturday & Sunday) for a freewill donation. 

Can’t make it for the lighthouse festival? There’s no need to worry; you can still get a glimpse of these beautiful lighthouses all year long on foot.

#6 Attend a Movie or Concert in the Park 

Every other Friday evening from June 12 through August 21, 2020, family-friendly movies are shown at Martin Park in downtown Sturgeon Bay. The movies will begin at dusk (approximately 8:30). Bring lawn chairs, and don’t forget a blanket. It sometimes gets a little chilly being just a few blocks from the ship canal!

Every Wednesday evening June 10-August 19, enjoy free live music by some of the best musicians in the country. Also at Martin Park, the fun begins at 7 pm and goes until 9 pm. Beverages, food truck specialties and popcorn are available for everyone's enjoyment. So skip cooking and enjoy the sights and sounds of summer in Sturgeon Bay. 

Check for posters around town or call the Destination Sturgeon Bay office at 920-743-6246 for details.

#7 Have an Adventure

Embark on a day of fantastic memory-making at Door County Adventure Center with a high/low ropes course, a zip line tour, indoor rock climbing, an obstacle course or kayak tours of Cave Point County Park. If you have kids that want to keep active, this is a great option. They'll be sure to sleep well after all that action!

#8 Visit a Farm

Located on Highway 57 just north of Sturgeon Bay, The Farm is a living museum of rural America complete with bottle-fed goats, lambs and piglets. See chicks hatch right before your eyes, take a leisurely stroll on the beautiful nature trail and then relax in the serene garden. Imagine the photos you can get of your kids with all the animals!

#9 Take a Unique Tour

Take the guesswork out of sightseeing with a one-of-a-kind tour with Door County Trolley. The Lighthouse Trolley Tour takes visitors on an intriguing tour of four lighthouses and ends with a waterfront lunch. There’s also a Scenic Tour that provides breathtaking island vistas atop 225-foot bluffs.  

Is riding a Segway on your bucket list? The minimum age is 11 for a tour with Segway the Door. That's something the kids will talk about long after you return home!

#10 Explore Sturgeon Bay with a Fun-Filled Scavenger Hunt

Learn all about Sturgeon Bay, Door County while answering riddles, puzzles and competing to see who can finish first. Unscramble word clues to move onto the next location, enter the photo challenges along the way and find out about Sturgeon Bay landmarks. Fun for families and kids of all ages. Click HERE for tickets.