Since the 1800s, Door County lighthouses safely guided sailors as they made their way through the lakes. Although most of the beacons have long since retired, they still stand as symbols of strength and protection along Door County’s shores. A visit to this peninsula is nearly incomplete without seeing the lighthouses! As you plan your vacation, be sure to make time for a visit to these picturesque local treasures.
Discover the Door County lighthouses and more exciting attractions in our free Vacation Guide! It’s filled to the brim with excellent recommendations for things to do during your Door County getaway that you won’t want to miss!
How Many Lighthouses are in Door County?
Door County has over 300 miles of shoreline. Therefore, before the use of GPSs, lighthouses were necessary to navigate ships into harbors safely. Door County has 11 breathtaking, historic lighthouses located throughout the county. It’s hard to find time to see them all, so here are our picks for the must-see Door County lighthouses!
The Top 6 Must-See Door County Lighthouses
1. Cana Island Lighthouse
Only a 28-minute drive from the Ashbrooke Hotel.
On the north end of Baileys Harbor off narrow and rustic Cana Island Road, you’ll find the Cana Island Lighthouse. This lighthouse serves as the peninsula’s most iconic and photographed lighthouse. It was established in 1869 and became automated in 1944. Today, it’s recognized as a part of the Door County Maritime Museum and is open for tours. You may even choose to climb the 97 step spiral staircase to the lighthouse’s gallery deck. There, you’ll gaze at stunning views of Lake Michigan!
2. Old Baileys Harbor Lighthouse
Only a 19-minute drive from the Ashbrooke Hotel.
Many visitors and locals know this historical treasure as the “Birdcage Lighthouse.” It earned its name from the lantern room’s strange birdcage-like design. The lighthouse was erected on an island near Baileys Harbor in 1852. Although the lighthouse is privately owned and cannot be visited by the public, many boats sail by to catch a glimpse of its unique structure.
3. Sherwood Point Lighthouse
Only a 40-minute drive from the Ashbrooke Hotel.
The Sherwood Point Lighthouse is the last human-operated lighthouse on the Great Lakes. It was established in 1883 and automated in 1983. It is open to the public during the Lighthouse Walk, which is held the second weekend annually in June. The rest of the year, the Sherwood Point Lighthouse is operated as a rest-and-recuperation area for active members of the U.S. military on a rental basis. Also, it is part of the National Register of Historic Places.
4. Plum Island Rear Range Lighthouse
Only a 41-minute drive from the Ashbrooke Hotel.
The gap between the peninsula’s tip and Washington Island earned the name “Death’s Door” due to its dangerous waters. To help save lives, the Plum Island Lighthouse was erected in 1896. Visitors traveling aboard the Washington Island Ferry will see the range light tower, keeper’s dwelling, and fog signal building. The front range light can only be seen by boats approaching Death’s Door from Lake Michigan.
5. Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Light
Only a 28-minute drive from the Ashbrooke Hotel.
This impressive bright red, eye-catching structure is nearly impossible to miss from both land and sea. Its brilliant color has made it a sight to behold since its construction in 1882. Today, the Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Light sits on the fully operational U.S. Coast Guard Station on Lake Michigan. Visitors are not permitted into the tower, but you are more than welcome to explore the lower level break wall.
6. Baileys Harbor Range Lights
Only a 13-minute drive from the Ashbrooke Hotel.
No trip to Baileys Harbor is complete without experiencing the iconic Baileys Harbor Range Lights. Built in 1869 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, the Baileys Harbor Range Lights are a pair of lighthouses, known as the Upper Range Light and Lower Range Light. They are arranged in a range light configuration to keep ships off the treacherous reefs and shallows at the entrance to Baileys Harbor.
Door County Lighthouse Lighthouse Tour
For a more in-depth and informational experience, we highly recommend joining a Door County Lighthouse Tour or attending the Door County Lighthouse Festival. You will be able to see the area’s most treasured lighthouse, including those usually restricted to visitors. Knowledgeable guides will be available to answer your questions and share everything they know about these historic landmarks.
Stay Near the Best Door County Lighthouses and More at The Ashbrooke Hotel
Bid farewell to the typical hotel experience and say hello to The Ashbrooke Hotel! Our romantic, adults-only hotel provides everything you need for a relaxing and memorable Door County trip. From cozy rooms and suites to luxury amenities, you’ll feel like royalty as soon as you walk through the door until the moment you check-out.
Our Getaway Room is the perfect choice to relax and recharge. These comforting rooms feature a king-size bed, an in-room two-person whirlpool, and plush micro-fiber terry cloth robes for your use during your stay. Also, you’ll enjoy free WiFi access, a 55″ TV with HBO, and a wet bar with a refrigerator and microwave when you stay in the Getaway Room. Ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Check our availability and stay at The Ashbrooke Hotel. We can’t wait to welcome you soon!