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Exploring Sturgeon Bay - Door County, WI

Door County is an iconic destination–for Wisconsinites and beyond! The peninsula that makes up this stunning county has 300 miles of shoreline, with Green Bay on one side and Lake Michigan on the other. This beautiful area is home to five state parks, 11 lighthouses, and the eastern terminus of the Ice Age Trail. Door County will always be a special place for Hayden and me because it is where we got engaged in the summer of 2021.


Sturgeon Bay is a charming town in Door County that has so much to explore. Whether you want a weekend with an excellent food scene, great hiking, loads of outdoor adventures, or beautiful lakeshore, Sturgeon Bay is the place for you! Here’s how we spent our time Exploring Sturgeon Bay!


This post is sponsored by Destination Sturgeon Bay, but all opinions are my own.

Hayden & Julia standing on sea wall by red lighthouse

HIT THE TRAILS

Sturgeon Bay is home to the Ice Age Trail’s eastern terminus. This National Scenic Trail is 1,200 miles long and winds through Wisconsin’s landscapes and communities. Sturgeon Bay has taken the pledge to be a trail community. This means that they show their support for the Trail and recognize Trail users as important players in their local economies. Sturgeon Bay is home to nearly 14 miles of trail starting in Potawatomi State Park and traveling along the lakefront and through downtown Sturgeon Bay.



WHERE TO EAT

Whenever we’re driving to Door County, I think that Renard’s Cheese is our official sign that “we’ve made it!” Sturgeon Bay is a little over 3 hours from us in Baraboo, and Renard’s Cheese is a great first stop because it sits about 10 minutes south of town. It’s a great welcome to Door County before you continue to the bridges in downtown Sturgeon Bay. Renard’s Cheese operates under third generation cheesemakers and produces a variety of cheeses–including 50 flavor infused specialty cheeses. Try some samples to find a cheese to take home or order from their bistro, Melt. Melt offers a very impressive menu with sandwiches, pizzas, salads, mac & cheese, and more!


Nightingale Supper Club is a traditional Wisconsin supper club. There’s a large bar area to lounge in while you wait for your table (reservations are recommended). Meals start with amazing fluffy bread and soup or salad. The stuffed mushrooms came recommended to us by a local, and they must have been good, because Hayden devoured them in record time! Nightingale is well known for their fish fry, so Hayden and I shared the perch fish fry. Along with the sides and bread service, the portion was more than enough for the two of us. It was delicious and we both left stuffed.


On our way home from the fish fry, we came across Dromhus and had to stop. Dromhas came recommended to us by our B&B host, and it lived up to the hype! This cozy wine bar offers a unique menu, and there is a large dog-friendly patio outside and ever-changing local art hanging inside. They have a fun craft beer selection alongside their great wines. We sipped our beverages and enjoyed conversation with the owner, Heather. We loved this space, and it will definitely be a must stop for us when visiting Door County going forward!


For a post hike lunch, we shared the remarkable Meatball Sandwich from Scatoro’s. This sandwich was massive and enough to feed both of us. Sactoro’s has a very fun back “porch” which is essentially a screened in dining room. You order and pay from a QR code at the table, and your food is brought right out to you. Our sandwich had us so full, but we couldn’t resist their impressive bakery on the way out. They offer everything from take home meals, kringle, cookies, brownies, scones, and more! Hayden and I each picked out a cookie: I got M&M and he got peanut butter–both were incredible!


While strolling around all the cute shops in Downtown Sturgeon Bay, we couldn’t resist popping into Door County Candy. They have all sorts of goodies including candied nuts, saltwater taffy, a variety of chocolates, fudge, and ice cream!


Our Saturday night dinner was at Cedar Crossing. We really enjoyed their cozy, cute dining room, and the food was delightful! I highly recommend making a reservation and ordering the Baked Artichoke Gorgonzola Dip as an appetizer and the s'mores brownie for dessert–both were absolutely incredible!


While walking back to our B&B on Saturday night, we came across Crate. The vibes seemed good, so we decided to pop in, grab a seat at the bar, and have a drink. Crate is a very trendy sushi and seafood restaurant. Even though we had already eaten, we checked out the menu out of curiosity, and everything sounded delicious. I love soup, and I was stoked when I saw they had Crab French Onion Bisque! A French Onion and Bisque combo? What could be better?! Welllll…I’ll have to go back and find out. It really must’ve been good because it was already sold out and I couldn’t order it. We settled for the Lobster Bisque and it was good, but you can bet I will be back to try that Crab French Onion Bisque. Hayden was also eyeing up the sushi, so I don’t think it will take much convincing to get him back on our next visit!



WHERE TO DRINK

If you know us, you know we love to drink locally. We were very excited to get back to Bridge Up Brewing. They have a cute dog-friendly taproom with great waterfront views. I enjoyed the High-Knee Cream Ale and Hayden liked the Stubborn Sturgeon IPA. We highly recommend a pit stop at Bridge Up for good views and good brews!


Downtown, you can find Starboard Brewing Company. They have a spacious taproom with a wide selection of taps to choose from. We both enjoyed a beer while playing one of their many taproom board games. It was a fun place to relax while we waited for our dinner reservation.



EXPLORE THE TOWN

Directly across from Bridge Up Brewing is the Door County Maritime Museum. You can’t miss it–there’s a restored tugboat, John Purves, floating right beside it. The history of maritime pioneers and lighthouse keepers will make you appreciate your visit to the area even more. You can also head to the top of the museum’s lighthouse tower for Door County views you can’t get anywhere else.


Our visit to the North Pierhead Light was a highlight of our trip for me. I love lighthouses, and this red lighthouse is stunning and you can walk the seawall out pretty far to get a closer view of its beauty. I highly recommend the stop for this iconic Wisconsin photo op!


On Saturday morning, we explored the Sturgeon Bay Farmers Market, and it blew us away! This market is six blocks long and offers a wide variety of goods. You can find local art, pastries, vegetables, flowers, and so much more. I highly recommend strolling through if you get the chance. It’s open 8am-12pm from early June until Mid October.



WHERE TO STAY

If you’re looking for the most remarkable weekend getaway, stay at Door County Dragonfly! This bed and breakfast is so charming and cozy. In addition to your cozy room, you get a daily happy hour and light breakfast. I loved the apple cinnamon scone and fresh fruit for breakfast, and Hayden really enjoyed their signature coffee blend. A real highlight of our stay was the happy hours where we sipped local beer and wine while chatting with Lauren, the Innkeeper, in the beautiful sunroom and front porch!



Sturgeon Bay really has something for everyone and highlights some Door County beauty. I highly recommend a weekend exploring Sturgeon Bay!


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