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.

  • Steel Bridge Songfest, Pork Fest & More Weekend Plans

    This weekend there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the various elements that make Door County so special. Explore historic lighthouses, interact with artists, and get up close and personal with the peninsula’s diverse flora and fauna. Friday, June 10 Steel Bridge Songfest Kick off the summer music fest scene with the 12th annual […]

  • Presentation on The Ridges Upper Range Light

    The rich history of the iconic Baileys Harbor Range Lights is closely intertwined with that of the Ridges Sanctuary. This summer The Ridges has embarked on a project to restore the Upper Range Light and its two outbuildings, the Oil House and Privy. Work is already underway with completion anticipated sometime in 2018. On June […]

  • Cana Island Lighthouse. Cathy Glasnap.

    Cana Island Tours Offered during Blessing of the Fleet Fest

    The Door County Maritime Museum will participate in the Blessing of the Fleet event in Baileys Harbor on May 21, highlighted by special restoration tours of Cana Island. “Tours of Cana Island Light Station include admission to the island, a climb up the historic lighthouse tower and a special detailed overview of our current and […]

  • Rockabilly, Young Eagles Rally & More Weekend Plans

    This weekend offers the chance to get on the water, in the sky and on the dance floor in Door County! Check out our top picks for the weekend ahead. Friday, May 20 Death’s Door Tours Learn about the history of the islands, lighthouses, and shipwrecks that are scattered across Death’s Door. The tour departs […]

  • FOPPI Announces Volunteer Work Days

    The Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands (FOPPI) have recently announced their 2016 work day volunteer opportunities. Work days will be extended from one to two days. Transportation will be provided on the USFWS boat (from Washington Island). Due to weather and other unforeseen circumstances, work day itineraries may change prior to the work day […]

  • John Purves and Cana Island Light Station to Open May 1

    In May the Door County Maritime Museum will open a couple attractions that have been closed for the winter. On May 1, 10 am – 3:30 pm daily, the tug John Purves will be open for the season. Explore the entire 149-foot tug, from her engine room to crew cabins, galley and wheelhouse, and get […]

  • Land-based Tours and Boat Trips Planned for Door County Lighthouse Festival

    Tickets are now on sale to the general public for the 23rd annual Door County Lighthouse Festival. This year’s event is June 10-12, with a weekend filled with special land-based tours and boat excursions. Two different day-long, land-based tours, visit the five mainland lights and depart from either the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon […]

  • Tickets Now On Sale for Lighthouse Festival

    Tickets are now on sale for the 23rd annual Door County Lighthouse Festival, June 10 – 12. The festival includes boat excursions and guided land-based tours spotlighting 11 historic Door County lighthouses. This much-anticipated festival gives visitors access to lighthouses that aren’t typically open to the public, including Chambers Island, Plum Island and Sherwood Point […]

  • Free Admission to Maritime Museum for Kids through March

    The Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay will offer free admission to children 12 and under with an accompanying paid adult beginning Jan. 24, and continuing on Sundays through the end of March. Among the highlights is the new 40th anniversary commemorative exhibit related to the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Highlights include a […]

  • Eagle Bluff Memories: Lemburgs Reminisce about the Lighthouse

    Like so many people, Ruby and Wayne Lemburg were drawn to Door County by their love for the water and boating. They were also interested in lighthouses. “It was a big thing,” Wayne says. “You could hardly pick up a magazine without seeing a lighthouse story.” So, on their first trip to the peninsula, years […]

  • Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

    Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Closes for Season Oct. 23

    The Door County Historical Society’s interpretive site, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Museum will close for the 2015 season at the end of day Friday, Oct. 23. “It was a wonderful summer and fall,” said Patti Podgers, museum curator. “Our guests were delightful and we enjoyed everyone who participated in a tour or stopped by with a […]

  • Actors imitate William and Julia Duclon on duty at Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Museum.

    Visit Eagle Bluff Lighthouse After Dark

    As night descends over the Door Peninsula, the lamp is lit at Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. And as its beam brightens the night sky, the voices of past keepers whisper in the dark, their stories echoing in the dark. For the next two weekends, the Door County Historical Society invites guests to step back in time […]

  • Water Street Hot Shots, Pumpkin Fest, Iron Pour and More Weekend Plans

    Visit Door County in all its autumn glory and enjoy what local business and organizations have to offer, from evening tours of a historic lighthouse to a red hot iron pour and of course, Egg Harbor’s annual Pumpkin Patch. Friday, October 9 Evening Tours of Eagle Bluff Lighthouse For two weekends in October, the Eagle […]

  • DCMM campaign

    DCMM Introduces New Campaign, “Reaching New Heights in Our Maritime Heritage”

    The Door County Maritime Museum has launched its largest fundraising campaign since the construction of its waterfront museum in Sturgeon Bay nearly 20 years ago. Calling it a “major step forward,” the museum is expanding its Sturgeon Bay facility with a one-of-a-kind 11-story tower that will serve both as an observation platform for the community’s […]

  • "Fall Swale" by Doug Sherman.

    Hikes, Yoga and Fall Fun Days at The Ridges

    The Ridges offers a variety of programs designed to take advantage of the lovely sights and sounds of autumn

  • Chambers Island Lighthouse

    Spaces Filling Fast for Chambers Island Tour

    One tour is already sold out, but another has space remaining for the Door County Maritime Museum’s first Fall Lighthouse Festival weekend. An abbreviated version of the popular Lighthouse Festival in June, the Door County Maritime Museum is offering a couple of its most popular tours Columbus Day weekend. These fantastic nautical adventures will take […]

  • Chambers Island Lighthouse

    Maritime Museum Offering Chambers Island Tour, Schooner Cruise

    Reacting to the popularity of the Lighthouse Festival each June, the Door County Maritime Museum is offering a couple of its most popular tours Columbus Day weekend. The Chambers Island tour and the Sail Door County Schooner Cruise will be a part of this abbreviated and exciting offering. Two schooner tours out of the Sister […]

  • Plum Island to Open to the Public

    It may be next summer or the one after that, but someday Plum Island will be open for visitors. “We recently completed our comprehensive conservation plan for the island which finalized the process we had to go through to open the refuge to public use,” said Sadie O’Dell, biologist for the U.

  • Len Villano, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

    Revamping Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

    It was a spectacular lighthouse when it was completed in 1868 at a cost of $12,000 – Milwaukee cream city brick construction, a unique design (a square tower, set at an angle) that distinguished it from others of its kind, and a prime Door County location on the water. Over the next 58 years, it […]

  • Pottawatomie Lighthouse. Tim Sweet.

    A Prize Worth the Journey: Pottawatomie Lighthouse on Rock Island

    Imagine, if you can, a time nearly 200 years ago when Green Bay and Prairie du Chien were the only two major towns in Wisconsin. When the Erie Canal was completed in 1825, the already thriving shipping trade between Green Bay and cities on the eastern Great Lakes increased dramatically. Troubled by the number of […]