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Exploring the Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin

Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin

My family spent some time exploring Door County, Wisconsin this past Summer and I am excited to finally share some of the highlights of our trip. 

One of our favorite places to explore was one of Door County’s most popular lighthouses, the Cana Island Lighthouse. This lighthouse sits on a gorgeous 8.7-acre island surrounded by the beautiful Lake Michigan. 

To my surprise, the lighthouse was just one of many attractions this trip had to offer, we had a lot of fun exploring the grounds and learning about the history of this tourist attraction that has been standing for more than 150 years. 

When we planned our trip to Door County, it was for the sole purpose of seeing lighthouses. I have heard a lot about the beautiful lighthouses of Door County over the years and I really wanted to see them for myself.

When I was a kid, my grandfather used to bring me to the lighthouses on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and I have loved them ever since. So I wanted to share that kind of experience with my daughter, and we planned a trip to Door County, Wisconsin. 

While there is a lot of ground to cover in Door County and a lot to see, the one place that everyone insisted we stop at was The Cana Island Lighthouse. 

After visiting, I can see why everyone insisted we make the stop, the island had a lot to offer, and we enjoyed exploring it all. 

What Can You Expect from a Visit to the Cana Island Lighthouse? 

The most surprising part of our trip to Door County, Wisconsin for me was all of the beautiful views of Lake Michigan. It’s hard to imagine that this is the same Lake Michigan that we spent so much time at while living in Chicago.

The views from the island are hard to beat, I don’t think you could take a bad picture if you tried. The water is unbelievably clear, offering a perfect view of the waves crashing against the white rocks on the shoreline. 

When walking the grounds, you will be surrounded by fragrant flowers, bright green shrubbery, and plenty of shady spots to relax. Packing a lunch and having a picnic on the island would be ideal and if we make it back to visit the island, this will be on my Door County bucket list for sure. 

While on the island you will have the chance to explore the lighthouse, the oil house, and the small home that housed the keepers as well as their families. 

There is a lot to see and do since these buildings have lots of hands-on exhibits. 

My family explored everything that we were allowed to and I especially enjoyed interacting with all of the hands-on exhibits.

This was nothing like the time my family visited the Old Capitol Museum in Iowa City and posted about it on the site, only to receive an email asking that I take down the photos that show us touching the exhibits.

We were actually allowed to interact with these items and we had a lot of fun doing so. 

I have always been kind of obsessed with kitchens and kitchen appliances so it was a lot of fun to see how this kitchen was set up so long ago.

While visiting we read about how the lake waters flooded the area in the past, making their way through the lighthouse and home. 

It was really neat seeing the old food boxes, I had never seen a licorice box like that before, how cool! 

Luckily a lot of the items were able to be saved and put on display.

I couldn’t imagine being the keeper or the family of the keeper, living on an island during a flood, how scary!

Although you have to be pretty brave to live on an island like this in my opinion and don’t even get me started on how thick your skin must be to use an outhouse. 

Apparently, there is strength in numbers though because this “toilet” seems to seat two, how convenient, just in case you and a friend consume some bad licorice.

While in Door County, why not randomly take pictures of cool doors? I really liked that green color! 

Where is the Cana Island Lighthouse Located?

The Cana Island Lighthouse is located at 8800 East Cana Island Rd, Baileys Harbor Wisconsin. 

When Can You Visit the Lighthouse? 

The lighthouse is open daily from 10 am to 4:30 pm May through October and the grounds are open during the daylight hours, all year long. 

How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Cana Island Lighthouse? 

The admission to visit the island and lighthouse is $12 for adults and $10 for kids 17 and under. 

Keep in mind that you can only see the lighthouse if you take the trip across Lake Michigan. 

How do You Get Across Lake Michigan to See the Lighthouse? 

Due to the rising waters of Lake Michigan, the only way to get across to the island without getting wet is by a tractor-drawn wagon.

We were told by the tour guide who happened to be on the wagon ride with us that some people choose to walk across the causeway leading to the lake. 

It was hard to imagine anyone getting across this way because the water level was so high while we were there that it would be impossible to do without swimming. 

We just waited for our turn on the wagon and stayed dry, the views of the water kept us busy until it was time, so nobody was complaining. 

Can You Climb the Tower of the Cana Island Lighthouse? 

Under normal circumstances, visitors are allowed to climb the 89-foot-tall light tower but unfortunately when we visited this was not an option. We visited the Cana Island Lighthouse during the lighthouse festival but the tower was off-limits this day due to social distancing. 

We were told that the space was too small for people to social distance appropriately so they had to have this area closed until further notice. 

If you are visiting with the sole purpose of climbing to the top, I would contact the Door County visitor bureau before heading out to find out when this will be allowed again. 

If you enjoy history, lighthouses, or just like to visit places that offer gorgeous views, you have to make a trip to Door County to visit the Cana Island Lighthouse. 

Have you ever visited? Leave me a comment below telling me what your favorite part of visiting the Cana Island Lighthouse is and please share this post on your favorite social media so everyone can learn about this beautiful family travel destination. 

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About Thirty Something Super Mom

Melissa Dixon Thirty Something Super Mom
Thirty Something Super Mom | Website

My journey started after a Crohn's disease diagnosis, inspiring a commitment to well-being. This site shares my distinctive approach to healthy living with my collection of nutritious recipes that boast authentic flavors, mimicking the indulgence of traditional dishes. I love sharing guilt free recipes for low carb, keto, gluten-free, paleo, and the specific carbohydrate diet. I also share tips on natural living, including homemade cleaners and cleaning hacks. I also share my experience as a veterinary technician and pet groomer, to integrate pet health tips, homemade dog food recipes, and grooming insights to ensure your pets thrive.

Jay Agurire

Wednesday 20th of January 2021

Ooh what a cool little spot! I wouldn't have known this existed. Seems like it was a fun trip you all had!


Wednesday 20th of January 2021

The views and the water here are beautiful! This would be a fun part of a road trip. I have never been out this way and it sounds like a nice place to explore.


Tuesday 19th of January 2021

We love to visit lighthouses! This one is gorgeous. If we are ever in the area, we will definitely go and see it in person.

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