Sheboygan sits on the shores of Lake Michigan and is kindly known as “The Spirit on the Lake” because of its charming coastal community. With a mix of history and culture, the city also offers several outdoor recreational activities spread throughout its 34 beautiful parks.
Before being settled by European Americans, the Sheboygan region in Wisconsin was inhabited by Native Americans. They first established themselves on the margins of the Sheboygan River and nowadays, visitors can learn the history of the region in one of the many museums located in the city.
Interactive Map of 25 Things to Do in Sheboygan (WI)
1. Bookworm Gardens
The whimsical botanical garden of Bookworm Gardens offers community events with sections inspired by popular children’s books. With lots of hands-on activities for kids, the gardens are beautifully done with many details and colorful flowers.
The gardens are amazing in themselves but visits to the homes of the Three Little Pigs, Pooh’s house, and Little House in the Big Woods make classic stories come alive. Be sure to explore Farmer McGregor’s garden and sit in the Three Bears’ chairs. Also, the evening lights add a special touch to the gardens.
2. John Michael Kohler Arts Center
In addition to exhibits of multimedia visual arts, John Michael Kohler Arts Center offers performances and educational programs. The exhibits are a perfect introduction for kids to art and museum etiquette. Although it is a small museum it has interesting and compelling exhibits beautifully curated. The displays include artwork from Lenore Tawney, Dr. Charles Smith, Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels, and many more.
The cafe on-site has a good variety of well-priced and delicious food! The gift shop has fun things for kids to pick out as well as a great variety of books.
3. Blue Harbor Resort
Overlooking Lake Michigan, Blue Harbor Resort features a cozy café, a spa, an indoor water park, mini-golf, an arcade room, and more. The rooms are spacious and very cozy with high ceilings and massive comfortable beds. The resort also features beautiful views and wonderful walking opportunities throughout its grounds.
Offering slides and rides for all ages, the indoor water park itself is perfect for kids making it a fun getaway regardless of the weather. This is the perfect vacation destination for a relaxing time by the pool.
4. Above & Beyond Children’s Museum
With a great downtown view and featuring exhibits and educational programs, Above & Beyond Children’s Museum engages kids in interactive activities involving play, education, and exploration. The building has 3 floors filled with fun and hands-on displays. Not to mention the garden with its interactive exhibits as well.
The museum offers slides, tunnels, magnets, balls, trucks, fishing, glow in the darkroom, and lots of role-playing opportunities. Besides the Treehouse Playground, its highlights include the exhibits Sky Crawl, Flight Site, and USS Efroymson. They are also always adding new attractions so two visits to this museum are never the same.
5. Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts
Offering a wide range of entertainment, Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts is a wonderful venue. From a Christmas ballet and Sheboygan Symphony to Peter Noone and the Herman Hermits, you can see it all there. This pretty little theater features an old school charm that will blow your mind.
The staff is always friendly and helpful while serving wine, beer, and a mix of drinks from their bar. The sound is great, the seats are comfortable, and the design is beautiful. Do not forget to look up and see the twinkling stars!
6. Road America
Featuring NASCAR events and a driving school, Road America is one of the most iconic race tracks in the world. The beautiful 4-mile racetrack is part of a longtime parklike grounds covering 640 acres.
You can track your own car there as well as go-cart race with friends and family. They also have UTVs available on campus. As of late, the compound has gone through several renovations, including new concession stands. The VIP tower, catwalk, and control room are parts of the venue that you must tour. Overall, the staff is extremely professional and accessible.
7. Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit
The large Kettle Moraine State Park features over 125 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, and snowshoeing. There is also a scenic highway that is worth checking out if you have time. And a ton of trails in the area. The park also counts with a beautiful and well-maintained campground. Its surrounding landscape is very charming and relaxing.
The highlight is to hike between the Greenbush Picnic area and the Parnell Tower on the Ice Age Trail. The trail is very well marked and wide with some rocky areas and moderate inclines.
8. Wisconsin Maritime Museum
Wisconsin Maritime Museum features a restored World War II submarine, a 19th-century shipbuilding town, and boat rides on the river. With several moving and interactive displays, the museum is rich in history.
The engaging and informative exhibits inside are very well displayed with plenty to look at without being crowded or overwhelming. There are also some kid play areas with interactive exhibits and guided tours of the full-size naval submarine docked outside.
9. Kohler-Andrae State Park
With beautiful beaches and dunes to explore as well as nice shaded campsites, Kohler-Andrae State Park also features a nature center. Expect to hear the roar of the waves throughout the campground on windy days. One of Wisconsin’s unique and breathtaking trails, the Dunes trail is accessible for most people with a moderate difficulty hike.
Overall, this park is a fun escape from the standard Wisconsin scenery, no matter the season. Explore rolling sand dunes on winding boardwalks. Note that while the wooden planks make hiking easier, there are often slippery, steep, and buried segments that less mobile people may find challenging.
10. Kohler Design Center
Kohler Design Center is a spacious design showroom and museum of Kohler brand kitchen and bath fixtures, with factory tours.
The design center is full of state of the art Kohler house appliances. From bathrooms and bedrooms to kitchens, this is a place that will inspire you. Whether you are designing your dream home or updating your existing home, you will find something you have to have! Downstairs is a nice museum full of Kohler’s history and the development of their products over the years. The center is a very interesting place full of inspiration for future home projects.
11. Neshotah Park
With warm sandy beaches and clear water, nothing can beat sunbathing or splashing around at Neshotah Park. The park features volleyball courts, basketball courts, and picnic areas. There is also a jet ski launch area and a little ice cream store.
From the beach, you can watch the SS Badger leave or arrive. You can also ride from the park to the Mariner Trail, which goes along Lake Michigan all the way to Manitowoc. Overall, this is a pleasant place to stroll, picnic, or build a sandcastle.
12. Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo
The small Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo features native animals and birds, plus a barnyard area. Even though the animals on display are not so diverse you can still observe bears, wolves, bald eagles, and more. You can easily spend 1.5-2 hours there and have a great time with young kids. The signs and displays are yet another really good addition to the zoo.
With Little Manitowoc River running along the east side of the park, the zoo features a ball diamond and tennis courts. There are also nature trails and wildlife areas, off-street parking, and a small playground.
13. SCIO’s Sheboygan Farmers Market
Selling fresh produce, fresh flowers, honey, homemade baked goods, farm-fresh eggs, and some meat, SCIO’s Sheboygan Farmers Market has a well-organized setup. They sell a wide variety of whatever is in season.
Besides local arts and crafts, they also sell ready-to-go treats including bakery goods, hot egg rolls, and even some outstanding Asian food. To top it all off, make sure to try the Amish ice cream. Also, this farmers market is dog-friendly and as such, they offer a great selection of pet treats.
14. Wade House Historic House
The interactive Wade House Historic House museum has a wonderful selection of historic artifacts with great documentation of the Wade family’s history in Wisconsin. The interactive carriage exhibit is wonderful and the horse-drawn wagon ride around the rest of the grounds adds to the immersion. The blacksmith and wade house offer a great glimpse into historic Wisconsin.
The museum offers a guided tour through the entire Wade house with its 3 floors of rooms. The knowledgeable guides are usually dressed in authentic clothing and will welcome you gracefully. During the tour, you can also visit the property grounds through the farmland and woods out to the homestead.
15. Rahr West Art Museum
The Rahr West Art Museum is the site of a beautiful historic Victorian home and museum focused on American and international art and education. Housing both rotating and permanent art collections you can go back again and again.
Ruth West was a patronizing of the arts purchasing from famous artists as well as the up and coming ones. You can explore several floors of the house in a beautiful setting. Educational programs are also available. And as a bonus, they have a replica of a large chunk of the Russian sputnik rocket that dropped in the street right out front.
16. Parnell Tower
A gorgeous walking trail with nice elevation changes and attractive scenery leads you straight to Parnell Tower which offers miles of breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The construction of the tower is amazing. Notice the length of the four corner posts. It can definitely be scary to climb the tower if you are uncomfortable with heights. However, there are multiple levels, each with extensive viewing platforms, so it is very easy to go up as far as you are comfortable and then stop.
One other thing to note is that there are a fair number of stairs to get to the tower itself, in addition to the stairs to get up the tower. So, if you have mobility issues you should keep that in mind.
17. Washington House
The local historical museum of Washington House is home to the 1st ice cream sundae, which was invested by Berners in 1881. This three-level house used to be an immigrant hotel back in the 1850s. The upper level is an old ballroom being restored with beautiful ceiling murals. If you want to see the whole building, make sure you have about an hour.
And make sure to have an ice cream sundae where they were invented! Completing the museum, Tasty Cedar Crest ice cream sundaes in a very old-timey place. Interestingly, the Two Rivers Historical Society works to preserve the building.
18. Quarry Beach Adventure Park and Water Sports
The forested area of Quarry Beach Adventure Park and Water Sports counts with a quarry lake as well as inflatable play equipment for seasonal swimming and sliding. The quarry itself is pretty, and the sandy beach is a really nice place to relax and go for a swim. You can also rent stand-up paddleboards and kayaks.
The obstacle course of inflatables is probably best for kids 8 years old and up. Life jackets are provided and must be worn while in the quarry.
19. Harbor Pointe Miniature Golf
Harbor Pointe Miniature Golf is your average miniature golf course with great views of the lake and Blue Harbor. It is a lot of fun and you can take a walkout on the south pier after.
The course itself has a very nice setting along the Sheboygan River. With 18 holes, the course can be a bit tricky sometimes with a lot of slants built into the greens which add difficulty. As a bonus, the ice cream parlor is right next door.
20. Sheboygan County Historical Museum
The historic buildings of Sheboygan County Historical Museum include an underground gallery showcasing the region’s cultural history. The displays include dioramas of Sheboygan history from pre-settlement days until the present. Their programs and exhibits show what life was like in the ‘old days’, ranging from the time of the pre-European inhabitants, through the fur-trading era and the European settlers, to the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Located on-site, the Taylor House and Log House give visitors an extra glimpse of what life was like in the early 1800s. If you live, have lived, or are just visiting, check this place out as it is awesome, and you will learn a lot.
21. Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve
With 7 miles of walking trails in a wooden walkway all over the area, Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve is a nice place to visit the marshland. Overall, the park offers great hikes and several little paths.
At the Marsh Haus, there is a boardwalk trail that takes you into the marshland. You can hear different wildlife enjoying their habitat. The park is well-maintained, and it even has solar lights for nighttime use. Also, the observation tower is a must, as the view is incredible.
22. Rawley Point Lighthouse
At Rawley Point Lighthouse you are guaranteed to have a lot of fun exploring the area and beach on the lakefront. The walking trails and views of the lighthouse itself and Lake Michigan are breathtaking.
There is a path you can go down with benches to view the lighthouse. The path leads to a beach down on Lake Michigan. However, since it is an active coast guard station, you cannot get close and some of the better views of the tower are obstructed by no trespassing signs.
23. Sea Dog Sportfishing Charters of Sheboygan
Offering full-day, half-day, and even evening charters, Sea Dog Sportfishing Charters of Sheboygan focuses on salmon and trout fishing in Lake Michigan. From the booking of the reservation to packing up the fish to take home, they offer a 5-star service every step of the way.
Captain Bob and first mate Mike are friendly, funny, and patient. Even in the worst conditions, they will make sure to do everything possible to make the experience unforgettable. In fact, the whole boat crew is top-notch and very knowledgeable of the lake and what the fish are biting on.
24. Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center
Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is a well-designed museum that brings to life the whole farming culture of Wisconsin. The museum is very informative and interactive being great for adults and kids alike. Besides being a museum, they sell cedar crest ice cream, float, and coffee.
Inside the building, there is a small gift shop and diner along with a birthing center where you can see baby cows. There is also a small amphitheater and a life-size cow you can milk. Upstairs is filled with a large array of different types of farming and animal interactive labs for kids of all ages to try out. And for the grown-ups, they provide the chance to drive tractors through the field while planting corn and doing some harvesting yourself.
25. Il Ritrovo
Il Ritrovo is a multitasking venue featuring a wood-fired Neapolitan pizzeria, wine bar, deli, and Italian grocery. This pizzeria actually serves VPN certified Neapolitan pizza. This means their pizza is made with dough and tomato sauce that are out of this world.
Besides their delicious pizzas and the tasty prosciutto appetizer, their wine selection is incredible, and their desserts are to die for. On the weekends, their lunch specials have pasta options as well. Also, make sure to check out the small market while you are there.