Category: Door County Lighthouses

Former Door County Maritime Museum Director Bob Desh wrote this of lighthouses:

A variety of towers have played essential rolls in the nation’s maritime history. Signal towers, watch towers and light towers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes once dotted America’s coastlines, including here on the Great Lakes, where Door County lighthouses remain important guides. These historic maritime towers continue to fascinate.

While the idea behind the lighthouse was a practical one, there’s something elusive about them which fascinates many people. Perhaps it’s their link with the past; perhaps, that they served a heroic purpose. That fascination is very palpable here in Door County where its 11 lighthouses constitute one of the highest concentration of lights in the United States.

The light tower’s intention is to simply save lives, to protect all mariners as they approach rocky shores and bring light in the midst of the fog and darkness. It almost seems as though these breathtaking structures are guarding a secret from the rest of society, tales of lives that were saved and souls that were once housed within their walls.

Door County Lighthouse Tours

Door County Lighthouse Festival: June 7 – 9, 2019
Boat excursions and guided land-based tours to all 11 historic Door County lighthouses giving visitors access to lighthouses that aren’t typically open to the public, including Chambers Island, Plum Island and Sherwood Point lighthouses.

Many of the Door County lighthouses also offer docent led tours and/ or group tours. Check out all the Door County lighthouses for more information!

Baileys Harbor Range Lights

Ridges Sanctuary
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

Situated within the grounds of The Ridges Sanctuary, the Baileys Harbor Range Lights actually replaced a failed first attempt in 1852. The first lighthouse was a circular stone structure with an iron top that resembled a birdcage. Today, it is privately owned and can only be viewed from the water.

Baileys Harbor Range Light

The relit Range Lights in June 2015.

Birdcage Lighthouse

Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

Located on an island near Baileys Harbor, the Birdcage Lighthouse wasn’t kept open for very long. It’s brief history though is what lead to the creation of the Cana Island Lighthouse as well as the Range Lights.

Birdcage Lighthouse

The Baileys Harbor Birdcage Lighthouse.

Cana Island Lighthouse

8800 E. Cana Island Rd
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

Door County’s most photographed and painted lighthouse, Cana Island Lighthouse gives visitors breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the peninsula.

Cana Island Lighthouse

Chambers Island Lighthouse

Chambers Island

Located on Chambers Island off the shore of Fish Creek, the Chambers Island Lighthouse is closed from the public but the grounds are still accessible to visitors.

Chambers Island Lighthouse

Chambers Island Lighthouse. Submitted photo.

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

Within Peninsula State Park
Fish Creek, WI 54212

Tucked away in Peninsula State Park, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse offers picturesque views of Green Bay waters and a look into the historic site.

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. Photo by Len Villano.

Pilot Island Lighthouse

Pilot Island
Located on a small island between the mainland and Washington Island, Pilot Island Lighthouse is still in the process of rehabilitation after years of neglect.

Pilot Island. Photo by Tim Sweet.

Plum Island Lighthouse

Plum Island

Located off the tip of the peninsula on Plum Island, the Plum Island Lighthouse grounds and dwelling are currently off-limits to visitors. The island, however, started to offer special days and excursions where people can explore the island.

Pottawatomie Lighthouse

Pottawatomie Lighthouse on Rock Island. Photo courtesy of the Door County Maritime Museum.

Washington Island, WI 54246

Hailed as the “Grandfather” of Door County lighthouses, Pottawatomie Lighthouse boasts a long history and was the first lighthouse to be built in the county.


Sherwood Point Lighthouse

Sherwood Point
Nasewaupee, WI 54235

Perched along the southern side of the canal, Sherwood Point Lighthouse boasts a rich nautical history. While the grounds are off limits to civilians, boaters can catch a glimpse of the unique lighthouse.

Sherwood Point Lighthouse. Dan Eggert.

The Sherwood Point Lighthouse in Sturgeon Bay, one of 11 lighthouses in Door County. Photo by Dan Eggert.

Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Light

Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Located at the northern side of the entrance to the Sturgeon Bay Canal, the Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Light is now privately owned. The dwellings and tower are closed to the public but the lower level breakwall is still open.

  • Framed: Cana Island Hay Wagon

    The Cana Island hay wagon takes visitors across the causeway, which is completely underwater this year. Cana Island is open seven days a week, 10 am – 5 pm, weather permitting, through October. Photo by Julie Piggush.

  • Experiencing Maritime History Aboard the Belafonte

    Peering over the sides of the inflatable Belafonte raft, I could see massive, mossy beams stacked underwater like a fallen tower of giant Jenga blocks. The sunken remains of the schooner Grape Shot – sitting under just eight feet of water near Plum Island – seemed close enough to touch.  While aboard the Belafonte – captained by Matt […]

  • Early Summer Festival Updates

    As our communities work toward figuring out a “new normal” going into the busy season, the organizers of the traditional community events and festivals of May and June are also having to adapt. Many have canceled, postponed, rescheduled or modified their events. Here’s the status of festivals: • May 15-16: Annual Door County Scottie Rally in […]

  • Lighthouse Festival Tickets on Sale Now

    Tickets for the 2020 Door County Spring (June 12-14) and Fall (Oct. 3-4) Lighthouse Festivals are now on sale. The festivals include land-based, boat and adventure tours that together reach all 11 of the county’s lighthouses. Many of the excursions are unique to the festivals and provide exclusive access to several lighthouses that are not […]

  • Tickets on Sale for Two Lighthouse Festivals

    Tickets for the 2020 Door County Spring (June 12-14) and Fall (Oct. 3-4) Lighthouse Festivals are now on sale. They include land-based, boat, adventure and now air tours with options to reach all 11 of the county’s treasured lighthouses. Many of the tour excursions are unique to the Lighthouse Festivals and provide access to several […]

  • Tickets on Sale Soon for Lighthouse Festivals

    Tickets for the 2020 Door County Spring and Fall Lighthouse Festivals will go on sale March 23. They include land-based, boat and adventure tours that together reach all 11 of the county’s treasured lighthouses. Many of the excursions are unique to the Lighthouse Festivals and provide exclusive access to several lighthouses that are not typically […]

  • This Weekend in Door: Pumpkin Patch, Apple Fest & Lighthouse Festival

    Fall festivals are back and it’s a busy weekend in Door County! Outside of the big events, there’s still a lot on the calendar too, with live music, theater, art galleries, markets and outdoor spaces to explore. Pumpkin Patch Weekend in Egg Harbor One of the great weekends for family fun in Door County returns […]

  • Get Your Tickets Now for the Fall Lighthouse Festival, Oct. 12-13

    Tickets are selling fast at for the 2019 Door County Fall Lighthouse Festival, Oct. 12-13, which includes boat and adventure tours to many of the county’s 11 treasured lighthouses. Exciting additions this year include adventurous kayak excursions to view historic lighthouses and Death’s Door adventure rafting. Several excursions are unique to the festival and […]

  • Twilight Tours of Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

    Join the Door County Historical Society for twilight tours of the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse on Sept. 28 and Oct. 12, 6-8 pm. Each room will provide a different type of entertainment, so guests can delight in the tales of the keepers through story, song and poetry. The Northern Door Storytellers Guild will be on hand […]

  • Eagle Bluff: The Lighthouse with a Story

    Sitting high on the bluffs of Peninsula State Park, right off Shore Road, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse is the perfect destination for a blend of beautiful views and local history. While driving (or hiking or biking) along Shore Road’s winding, sun-speckled path, be on the lookout for bright wildflowers and softly stepping deer. In late May […]

  • Kids’ Lighthouse Festival at Eagle Bluff Light Station

    Eagle Bluff Light Station will host its first Kids’ Lighthouse Festival on June 8, 12-3 pm. Festivities will include cherry pie in a cup, children’s games and a book signing with Sue Jarosh and costumed characters from her new book, Lighthouse Hero. The Door County Historical Society invites guests to delight in the tales of […]

  • Spring Lighthouse Festival

    Baileys Harbor Range Lights’ 150th Anniversary The Ridges Sanctuary will celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Baileys Harbor Range Lights on June 7, 3-6 pm, with a range of tours, tales, tunes and a tent full of treats. Festivities kick off at 3 pm with live music by Last Man Standing and hors d’oeuvres by Thyme […]

  • This Weekend in Door County: Lighthouse Festival and Goat Fest

    This weekend, learn about Door County history during Lighthouse Festival, celebrate goats in Sister Bay, and experience live music throughout the peninsula. Festivals Lighthouse Festival and 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Baileys Harbor Range Lights Explore and celebrate Door County’s 11 historic lighthouses from June 7-9. Tours, tales, boat excursions and educational programming will take […]

  • Celebrating Lighthouses’ Sesquicentennials

    The Cana Island Lighthouse and the Baileys Harbor Range Lights are both celebrating their 150th anniversaries this year, so community-wide festivities will take place throughout 2019 in Baileys Harbor ( The Ridges Sanctuary ( will honor the range-lights anniversary on June 7, 3-6 pm, which coincides with the Spring Lighthouse Festival. The Door County Maritime […]

  • Maritime Museum Opens Properties May 1

    The Door County Maritime Museum is opening its properties on May 1 for the 2019 season. Built in 1919, the tugboat John Purves is open in Sturgeon Bay for 45-minute tours through the end of October. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Purves, the museum is also offering a limited number of special […]

  • Tickets on Sale for Two Lighthouse Festivals

    Tickets are now on sale for the Door County Spring and Fall 2019 Lighthouse Festivals, June 7-9 and October 12-13. Each festival comprises land-based, boat and adventure tours that, together, reach all 11 of the county’s historic lighthouses. There are tours for all levels of activity and accessibility: Some involve hiking; others ride in the […]

  • Festival of Nature Coming Up at The Ridges

    The Ridges Sanctuary will again offer three days’ worth of programs and field trips – all focusing on different aspects of the Door County environment, and including many new offerings – during its annual Festival of Nature May 23-26. Festival-packet pickup and walk-in registration will be held May 23, 4-7 pm, at the Cook-Albert Fuller Center in […]

  • Eagle Bluff Light Station Preservation Continues

    The Door County Historical Society (DCHS) has renewed its 1960 commitment to preserve Eagle Bluff Light Station, located in Peninsula State Park, by commissioning a Historic Structure Report (HSR). The Jeffris Family Foundation has awarded an HSR grant for Eagle Bluff. This lead gift consists of a matching grant: the foundation will match every donation […]

  • Lighthouse Festivals

    The Door County Maritime Museum’s (DCMM, 2019 spring and fall Door County Lighthouse Festivals will be held June 7-9 and Oct. 12-13, respectively. The festivals include land-based, boat and adventure tours that reach all 11 lighthouses and provide exclusive access to several that are not typically open to the public, including Chambers Island Lighthouse, […]

  • Home on the Range (Light)

    For the past 150 years, the Baileys Harbor Range Lights have signaled home to the peninsula’s mariners. But only a select few people have been able to call the upper Range Light their own home during the early years of the beacon’s history. “They had a pretty good life compared to other people living on […]