Ribbons of freshwater beaches run all along the Schooner Coast. And, each beach has its own personality and charm. You'll find small protected coves, wide sandy stretches, rolling dunes, soft white sand and smooth pebble shores. Splash in the clear, clean water, jump into the waves and sculpt sand castles on the beach. Enjoy nature's beauty.
The Schooner Coast is dotted with genuine maritime relics that are nearly indestructible and perfect for kids to climb all over. An anchor from the barge Emerald and a propeller from the tug Ludington are both in Kewaunee. Red and green buoys, plus the propeller from the tugboat John Purves, line the waterfront at the Door County Maritime Museum.
During World War II, the United States government wanted a shipyard far inland to build submarines. The Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company was tapped. More than 7,000 men and women working round the clock 365 days a year turned out 28 submarines. USS Cobia, docked alongside the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, is similar to the Manitowoc-made subs. Cobia is a National Historic Landmark and open daily for guided tours.
During her 80-plus years, the mighty tug John Purves towed everything from massive miles-long log rafts to 12,000-ton freighters. In fact, she was known as one of the hardest working and strongest tugboats on the Great Lakes. Built in 1919, she’s been meticulously restored and is open daily during the summer for guided tours. See her crew cabins, winch room, engine room, galley and pilot house.
The Schooner Coast boasts a collection of seven lighthouses, which were built as beacons to schooners and ships sailing Lake Michigan’s sometimes rough and stormy waters. Each lighthouse has its own unique shape and color. Some are square, others are cylindrical. Some are white and some are shades of red. Kewaunee’s is white with a red roof. Visitors can walk along the pier to get a close-up look at the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse.
Explore the waterways of the Schooner Coast. Rent a kayak or canoe and enjoy the natural beauty and solitude of the rivers. Toss in a line or just float along. As you’re doing that, imagine the bravery and spirit of the early fur trappers and traders who originally navigated and explored the rivers and then settled the area.
The waters of Lake Michigan are a fishing paradise. In fact, Algoma has billed itself the "Sport Fishing Capital of the Great Lakes." Each day, sport fishing charters ferry anglers eager to land a trophy fish. Chinook and coho salmon, brown, rainbow and lake trout, walleye, smallmouth bass, musky and northern pike are all there for the taking.
The S.S. Badger is the largest car ferry ever to sail Lake Michigan. She is a national treasure, offering an authentic steamship experience from an earlier time when a sea voyage was the ultimate travel and vacation adventure. The 410-foot S.S. Badger sails daily between Manitowoc and Ludington, Michigan from mid-May through mid-October.
One hundred years ago, schooners crisscrossed Lake Michigan and people came to the coast to make a living. On docks and in ports. Aboard merchant ships and fishing vessels. In towns and villages.
Today, people come here to have fun. And what fun it is. Discover Wisconsin’s newest – and oldest – destination. The Schooner Coast.
Enjoy sixty miles of beaches and boardwalks, lighthouses and sand dunes, harbors and museums, cafes and shops stretching along Lake Michigan from the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc to the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay.
It’s an unforgettable sixty-mile slice of Wisconsin’s natural waters and maritime