Top 7 Reasons to Visit Sturgeon Bay in the Fall

Top 7 Reasons to Visit Sturgeon Bay in the Fall

A big city with a small-town maritime charm, Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin's Door County offers far more than breathtaking seaside views. You can also enjoy some of the finest music and art scenes, historic shopping districts, limitless dining options, world-class parks and an array of seasonal events and festivals. 

Whether renting a boat or browsing the Door County Maritime Museum, frequent fishers and history buffs alike can enjoy all the community has to offer. When you visit Sturgeon Bay in the fall, you can experience a unique variety of events, festivals, scenic views and fishing opportunities. Read on for seven great reasons to visit this area during autumn!

Why Visit Sturgeon Bay During Fall?

From fishing to fall-color drives to festivals that reflect Sturgeon Bay's history, this town has plenty of things to do and see during autumn. Below are just a few of the many reasons to visit Sturgeon Bay this fall.

1. Harvest Festival and Street Art Auction

Attending Sturgeon Bay's annual Harvest Fest and Street Art Auction is one of the best ways to ring in the autumn spirit. In September, downtown Sturgeon Bay's historic Third Avenue, Jefferson Street and Pennsylvania Street close to host a variety of Harvest Fest events. These include a craft fair, a vintage car show, live music, in-store specials and a range of food vendors.

Sturgeon Bay's art offerings are another popular draw, so you won't want to miss the Cherries Jubilee Street Art Auction at Martin Park. Participants can bid on beautiful cherry street art and hear from the artists themselves until the auction closes. If you can't attend in person, you can watch the event live on Destination Sturgeon Bay's Facebook page and bid virtually on

2. Thrills and Chills

If you're looking for a festive day of Halloween fun for the whole family, check out Sturgeon Bay's annual Thrills and Chills event on Third Avenue! Watch out for spooky characters and enjoy family-friendly activities like a costume parade, pumpkin painting, make-your-own trick-or-treat bags, a haunted house and slime making. 

Trick-or-treating takes place throughout downtown Sturgeon Bay during the day. You and the kids surely won't want to miss this event!

3. Christmas by the Bay

Sturgeon Bay's annual Christmas by the Bay celebration sounds like a winter-only event, but this festival is held in mid-November, perfect for early celebrators! Usher in the holiday season with horse-drawn wagon rides, a tree lighting ceremony on Third Avenue, breakfast with Santa and a festive holiday parade. Get the whole family excited for the upcoming holiday season by bringing the kids to the beloved Christmas by the Bay event!

4. Fall 50 Footrace

Put your running skills to the test while relishing the natural beauty of fall when you sign up for the Fall 50. Individuals and teams of two to five runners compete in an annual day-long footrace throughout Door County, witnessing multiple towns and landmarks when fall colors are at their peak.

The course begins at the Door County peninsula's northern tip before passing through beautiful villages and park areas like Ellison Bay, Sister Bay, Fish Creek, Egg Harbor, Murphy Park and more. The finish line is located along Sturgeon Bay's shipping canal. 

A post-race party will also be held under large circus-style tents with a DJ and dance floor, unlimited pizza, breadsticks, soda, wine and beer. Whether you're a devoted runner or prefer to cheer from the sidelines, this is an event you won't want to miss!

5. Foliage Drives

Experience Sturgeon Bay from a colorful perspective when you visit the area during autumn. If you have ever seen Wisconsin in the fall, you know it's nothing short of magical. A blanket of oaks, maples, birch and many other tree species put on a gorgeous show of foliage come mid-September. The state literally shows its true colors each fall when its leaves shift to brilliant reds, yellows and oranges.

A fall-color drive through Sturgeon Bay is one of the best ways to experience Wisconsin's incredible fall foliage. Feel free to hit a festival or two along the way as you admire the picturesque display.

6. Fishing Opportunities

Door County hosts some of Wisconsin's best fishing spots, and Sturgeon Bay is one of the most popular locations for bass fishing. If you're planning a fishing trip this autumn, you can expect some great catches, including small-mouth bass, Chinook salmon, lake trout, brown trout, walleye and northern pike. Water temperatures start to drop during this season, driving the fish into a feeding frenzy.

You can fish on either side of the peninsula, in Lake Michigan or Green Bay. Green Bay is known for its calm waters, while Lake Michigan is abundant in salmon and trout. Grab your crew, pack up the car with snacks and head to Sturgeon Bay for your next fishing trip this fall!

7. Vineyard and Winery Tours

Considering autumn is a prime time for grape growing and wine tasting, why not schedule a tour at Door 44 Winery in Sturgeon Bay? With its new state-of-the-art facility and six-acre vineyard, you will certainly want to add this spot to your list of fall activities. Spend an afternoon sipping award-winning wines, relaxing on the beautiful patio and enjoying some stellar views!

From May through October, you can book a premier guided winery tour on Saturdays at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. You will be led through the entire vineyard, sample delicious wines made from the vines you see before you, then head to the production area for a winemaking lesson. The tour concludes with a glass of your choice of wine, as well as a coupon to use for the day. Unlock your inner wine connoisseur with a visit to Door 44!

Plan Your Stay With Door County Kampgrounds of America!

With so much to do and see in Sturgeon Bay during fall, it's nearly impossible to cross everything off your list in a day. This is where comfortable overnight accommodations are a necessity. Sitting beautifully on 58 acres of wooded land, Door County KOA Holiday is the ideal way to stay while you visit the area.

From the comfort of our Sturgeon Bay campground, you enjoy convenient proximity to a stunning variety of lakes, trails and quaint communities offering various exciting activities. We can comfortably suit any type of camper, from those who enjoy roughing it in the great outdoors to those who prefer more luxury.

You can reserve one of our RV Sites, cozy Deluxe Cabins or Tent Sites, as well as enjoy a variety of amenities like fishing, swimming, biking, volleyball, basketball and more. Reserve a campsite online today!

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