We offer three museum sites that each highlight different aspects of Door County maritime history. A two- or three-day trip is an ideal way to explore each unique site as you travel from Sturgeon Bay along the Door County peninsula.
The Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay was established in 1969 and now includes four amazing galleries that feature lighthouses, model ships and boats, shipwrecks, the area’s numerous shipbuilding companies and more. The museum includes an in-water exhibit of a completely restored 1960s era tug boat that was built in 1919 and served until early 2000. The Museum is located along Sturgeon Bay next to the historic steel bridge. Across the bay is Door County’s largest shipbuilder, Bay Shipbuilding, which can be seen through a submarine periscope inside the museum.
Built in 1869 and still operational today, Cana Island Lighthouse is a Door County treasure. The Lighthouse is located on an island, which visitors reach by walking across the dry lake bottom. Once on the island, you can climb the light tower, tour the lighthouse keeper’s home and explore the grounds, which include relics from the 1900s. Climbing the 97 steps of the light tower to access the outside gallery deck gives you a breath-taking view of the island, the Door County peninsula and Lake Michigan.
The museum, which opened in 1975, is located in the small fishing town of Gills Rock at the tip of Door County. A wooden fish shanty, the fishing tug Hope and exhibits on ice fishing, shipwrecks, maritime life-saving techniques and equipment tell the story of the area. The featured exhibit is the life of Dan Seavey, a Great Lakes Pirate.