August 23, 2017



Because of the popularity of the Door County Lighthouse Festival each June and a positive response to the first two installments of an abbreviated Door County Fall Lighthouse Festival, the Door County Maritime Museum is again offering some of its most popular tours Columbus Day weekend.  With fall colors peaking, touring lighthouses in Door County is an autumn delight. Reservations are now being taken for these fantastic land and nautical adventures that will take place Saturday and Sunday, October 8-9, 2017.

Saturday, October 7, there are three spectacular choices available; 2-hour cruises on Lake Michigan out of Baileys Harbor ($49.50), 5-hour Plum Island tours departing from Gills Rock consisting of both a boat excursion and a hike on the island ($79.00), and lastly, 2.5-hour sailing cruises out of Sister Bay ($65).

First, the Lakeshore Lighthouse Cruise, offered by Shoreline Scenic Cruises, leaves from the Baileys Harbor Municipal Dock at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday. For two hours on the 22-passenger boat, visitors will view by water the beautiful Cana Island Lighthouse, the historic “Bird Cage” Lighthouse (old Baileys Harbor Lighthouse) and the newly-renovated Baileys Harbor Range Lights. Several shipwrecks sites from the 1800s will be journeyed over and one may even be viewable from the boat.

Second is the ever-popular Plum Island Tour, offered by Shoreline Scenic Cruises, leaving Gills Rock at the tip of the Door Peninsula at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. This 5-hour tour is a very rare offering as permission must be granted from the US Fish and Wildlife Service for tours. The Friends of Plum and Pilot Island accompany visitors on a walk over the island landscape and on the climb up the range lights. The walking tour covers more than 2 miles round-trip and requires good footwear. Shorts are not recommended and there is no vending available on the island, but for the adventurer this rugged excursion is one to write home about.

Third, the only sailing vessel in the Fall Lighthouse Festival lineup is a graceful 19th century tall ship, the Edith M. Becker. Leaving the Sister Bay Marina at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, this elegant 65-foot schooner will transport you into yesteryear for a truly glorious sail past rocky shores, islands, caves and towering bluffs. Local lore and history of the surrounding waters along with water views of the spectacular Eagle Bluff Lighthouse will complete this 2.5-hour sailing adventure which is longer and more historically themed than the regular schooner trips. Participants are invited to hoist the sails on the Edith M. Becker. As tradition requires, the cannon will be fired to signal the end of the cruise.

On Sunday, October 8, there will be two choices; the only land-based tour for the weekend, the Naturalist Tour ($77.50) and a boat excursion and hike across Chambers Island ($68).

The Naturalist Tour seats guests aboard a comfortable small bus with a naturalist who narrates the journey. The tour departs from the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay at 9 a.m. and returning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, the 5-hour tour visits four of the mainland lighthouses; the Sturgeon Bay Canal Station and North Pierhead, the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, the Baileys Harbor Range Lights, and the Cana Island Lighthouse. Box lunches are made fresh that day and taken to Cana Island for a scrumptious picnic.

The 4-hour Chambers Island boat excursion and hike departs the Fish Creek Dock aboard the Quo Vadis at 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. A journey to Chambers Island is a one of the Door County Lighthouse Festival’s enduring offerings and will be presented in the same format as in the June Lighthouse Festival. Access to the historic lighthouse requires a 3-mile round-trip docent-led hike. Lighthouse caretakers will meet the tours and provide a remarkable account of both the history of the island and its lighthouse. There you will be able to soak up the amazing view and climb to the lantern room platform. Good hiking shoes are recommended and participants should be in good enough shape to handle the hike. There is no vending on the island.

Tickets are now on sale for the Third Annual Door County Fall Lighthouse Festival. To reserve your spot on one of these limited tours, please contact the Door County Maritime Museum at (920) 743-5958. For additional information, visit


Media contact:

Mary Stephenson

Special Events Coordinator

(920) 743-5958