Free is the key.
There are certain things that only exist because the communities we live in. Sheboygan is an area full of creativity, drive, talent and a true love for the place we call home.
The Sheboygan Breakwater Lighthouse stands tall at the end of North Pier. She’s a classic breakwater lighthouse. You can’t go inside of it. It’s red. People don’t come from miles to see it, but it’s a favorite pastime of our city to take a walk out to it on a beautiful day, take in Lake Michigan, view the Sheboygan skyline and critique the graffiti, artistic or not.
North Point is an icon and a geographical phenomenon. From the shelter at North Point you can look out on Lake Michigan, the northern coastline to Manitowoc, and the Sheboygan reef.
Riverfront & South Pier
Sheboygan is old, as are the few fishing shanties it has left along the river. But the old shanties, as well as the new ones, are home to coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques and ice cream parlors. The newest addition to the riverfront is South Pier, featuring Blue Harbor Resort, mini-golf, festivals and Sheboygan’s “South Beach.” Both sides of the river have much to offer, old and new.
Wreck of the Lottie Cooper
The Lottie Cooper was a three-masted schooner that capsized and sank just off the Sheboygan harbor in 1894. Just one of the many ships that are said to be at the bottom of the lake near Sheboygan, Lottie was discovered during the construction of the marina and she has been re-assembled at Deland Park, right along the Lakefront.
The Riverfront Art Walk is a self-guided walking tour on Sheboygan’s boardwalk and downtown. So while you’re out shopping and eating, keep your eye out for paintings, photographs and other local pieces.
Boardwalk & Lakefront
Starting at Blue Harbor, you can access all of these hot spots by taking a walk down the pier, crossing the 8th Street Bridge, and continuing on an actual board walk along the Riverfront. Continue north along Broughton Drive and you pass the Yacht Club, Youth Sailing Center, Marina, Deland Park, Lighthouse, North Beach, and end at North Point. It’s a little and a lot, and it’s beautiful.
Right on Lake Michigan, Kohler-Andrae State Park has some of the loveliest beaches around, as well as a nature center, trails through the dunes, lots of history, different kinds of wildlife and places to pitch a tent or plug in a camper. You just need a State Park access sticker.
When driving along Interstate 43 in Sheboygan, you can’t miss the largest flagpole in the U.S. The pole is 400 feet high and 11 feet in diameter, boasting a flag that is 140 x 70 feet.
Sheboygan’s greatest asset is Lake Michigan. If you’re up early, the sunrises are amazing. In the summer our beaches are warm and beautiful, and at night you can have a bonfire while listening to the waves. While the water may not always be warm, the beach is the place to be, and we have lots of it.
If you’re a boat owner, Sheboygan’s port is one of a kind. The breakwaters are funky shapes, it has a pool right next to Lake Michigan, and it’s within walking distance of just about everything. If you’re not a boat owner, you can still go to the marina store and get ice cream in a homemade waffle cone while browsing all the Sheboygan gear you could dream of.
Visit the original Jaycee Quarry Park, a long-time place for the people of Sheboygan to swim and cliff jump. It’s now home to Quarry Beach, and while there’s no longer an old-fashioned outdoor waterslide, the floating logs and that mushroom thing, there is a new giant, blowup jungle gym on the water, paddle boats and a great beach (for when Lake Michigan is just too cold).
With titles like “Malibu of the Midwest” and “Fresh Water Surf Capital of the World” we have some standards to uphold. Sheboygan is home to some of the gnarliest waves on the Great Lakes, and people come from all over the world for prime surfing season: winter! However, if you prefer indulging in your water activities in the summer like normal people, Lake Michigan is perfect for kayaking or SUP (stand up paddleboard) along the coast or up the Sheboygan River.
Just like taking the family down to Milwaukee for a Brewer game, take yours to Wildwood Park for a Sheboygan A’s Minor League Baseball game. It’s all of the excitement, food and all-American fun, without the pricey tickets and crazy parking. General Admission as low as $5.
The next aesthetically pleasing thing about Sheboygan, next to Lake Michigan, is the JMKAC. Designed with an authentic historic Kohler family home, ruins of the old library, a beautiful windowed entry way, ever-changing display rooms, classrooms, an event hall, gardens and the coolest bathrooms in the world.
SVA was founded in 2007 and is a place where artists can go to create or teach, and people can go to learn or just take it all in and support the arts. They took a big empty building and turned it into an edgy art and event gallery.
The James Tellen Woodland Sculpture Garden is a permanent display of the JMKAC. It is nestled in the woods south of the city and can be appreciated by nature lovers everywhere.
It may just look like a field, but beyond the tall grass, Maywood has a lot to offer. They have six diverse ecosystems, an Arboretum, a butterfly and hummingbird garden, classes, workshops, tours, and hike, ski and bike trails.
Sheboygan Indian Mounds Park is one of the oldest and most preserved mound groups in the State of Wisconsin. With trails, trees and interpretive signs, this site is educational, historical and very peaceful, for a cemetery of sorts.
Sheboygan marks the start of two major bike trails: the Old Plank Road Trail, running west to Plymouth, and the Interurban Trail, running south to Milwaukee. There are also many trails through parks and woods, as well as those that are being paved throughout the city, connecting the north and south side, and the lakefront to the west side.
Lakeside parks, inland parks, dog parks, water parks, Sheboygan has whatever you prefer.
Sheboygan is home to two awesome disc golf courses, Vollrath Park est. 1980 (complete with Disc Golf Pro Shop– The Shack!) along Lake Michigan, and Jaycee Quarry Park est. 1992. People come from surrounding cities to check them out. So bring your discs, and try to keep them out of the water.
Sheboygan’s pretty old, so we have a pretty old-fashioned, but very cool downtown. It is an ongoing historical project, and something we’re proud of. It’s not Milwaukee, but the shops and restaurants are unique and the parking is incredibly easy and inexpensive. Our historic 8th Street is home to all of our holiday parades, and it connects the city to the South Pier area.
Imagine a place where children’s books come alive, where the three bears are life size, tree houses are big enough for 30 people, you can go inside Hansel & Gretel’s house, but not eat it, and whether you are or not, you feel like a kid. That place is in Sheboygan.
Located downtown, the ABCM is a place of fun and education. Outside they have an interactive garden and a ship and fire truck that have apparently driven right through the building. Inside, play in the tree house, jungle gym, our very own mini Port of Sheboygan and so much more.
The Mead Public Library is located in the middle of Sheboygan, on 8th Street. Just outside is the Plaza 8 water feature, one of two fountains in Sheboygan’s downtown.
From coffee shops to the riverfront, the Weill Center or festivals, you can find live music almost every weekend in Sheboygan with bands from out of town as well as local. Join us this summer for the Levitt AMP Sheboygan Music Series staged on M.I.K.E., a unique portable stage sculpted from a grain bin reflecting Sheboygan’s dedication to the arts.
Each year, the Rotary clubs of Sheboygan County put together a drive-through, Christmas light display in Evergreen Park, from November 29 through December 29, including visits with Santa, entertainment, raffles and concessions.
Skate, Ski & Snowmobile
In the winter, the bike trails turn into cross country ski, snow shoe and snowmobile trails, and we also have a few good sledding hills around. After all, we get lots o’ snow; some even believe they are in the Arctic.
The historic Sheboygan Theater was restored in 1996 and is back to being an exquisite center for the performing arts. Take a tour, attend a concert, and see a play or a movie; do what you must to get inside.
Like every other historic town or city, we have our historical museum. Tour the Taylor House, Weinhold Family Homestead, Schuchardt Barn and Bodenstab Cheese Factory. Learn about Sheboygan’s quirky history.
Now, how many cities do you know of that have a railroad museum? It may be off the beaten path, but the Sheboygan Railroad Museum has old displays, new displays and displays you can play with.