6 Lighthouses to Visit Around Greater Milwaukee (2022)

Milwaukee’s history is deeply rooted in commercial traffic on the Great Lakes. Back in their heyday, Wisconsin lighthouses served a vital purpose, their beacons protecting and guiding ships along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Today, most of these lighthouse structures are historic places of interest in the badger state. You only need to stand in their shadows to feel like you’ve been instantly transported back to another time.

Whether just down the road or a short day trip away from Milwaukee County, each of the following historic lighthouses has something to offer everyone in the family. Older kids will especially love climbing to the top of a tower to take in some spectacular views.

Thank you to our partners at CTSI of Southeast Wisconsin for sponsoring this article, and for providing brain-building tips powered by Vroom!

1. North Point Lighthouse Museum

Lake Park, 2650 N. Wahl Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 332-6754
Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 p.m. (CLOSED 4/17, 7/3, 7/23, 7/24, 9/24, 12/25; no advance reservations required)
Admission: Adults $8, Seniors $5, Children & Students (with ID) $5, Children (3 & Under) FREE, Active & Former Military FREE.

North Point Lighthouse Museum in Lake Park Milwaukee Wisconsin
Photo Credit: northpointlighthouse.org

Built in 1855, the North Point light station can be found in Lake Park and is one of the oldest standing structures in Milwaukee. This historic site has been open for public tours and visits since being restored in 2007.

Climb the 74-foot lighthouse tower for 360-degree views of Lake Park, Lake Michigan and downtown Milwaukee, or tour the Queen Anne-style, wheelchair-accessible museum to view maritime industry artifacts and exhibits.

Children must be at least 5 years old and at least 38 inches tall to climb the tower. There are 84 steps and a ladder to reach the lantern room at the top.

There are guided and self-guided tours, plus a Lunch & Tour option available for larger groups Monday-Thursday.

2. Wind Point Lighthouse – Racine

4725 Lighthouse Drive, Wind Point, WI
(262) 639-3777
Admission: Adults (ages 12 & up) $10, Children (ages 6-11) $5, Groups $80.00 minimum. (Tower climbs are not available for children under the age of 6.)

Wind Point Lighthouse Racine Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Instagram, @kato.photo

This active lighthouse is one of the oldest and tallest beacons on the Great Lakes, standing 108 feet tall. It was first lit on November 15, 1880. The park grounds are open year-round from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and they include a beach area, gardens, picnic tables and a memorial brick garden.

Open tower climbs are scheduled for the following dates:

  • Saturday, July 31
  • Sunday, August 1
  • Saturday, September 4
  • Sunday, September 5
  • Sunday, October 3

The cost for tower climbs is $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 6-11). (Tower climbs are not available for children under the age of 6.) Walk ups are welcome, but purchasing tickets in advance is recommended.  Pre-purchase tickets can be found on Eventbrite.

The lighthouse hall and south lawn may be rented out for private events.

3. 1860 Light Station Museum – Port Washington

311 Johnson St., Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-2506
Hours: May 28-Sept.4, Saturdays and Sundays, Noon-4 p.m.; group tours available by appointment made at least one week in advance.
Admission: Adults $6, Children (6-17) $3, Children (4 & under) FREE, Port Washington Historical Society Members FREE

1860 Light Station Museum Port Washington Wisconsin
Photo Credit: pwhistory.org

Situated on the north bluff overlooking downtown Port Washington, this historic light station resembles an old school house in design. Built of Cream City brick in 1860, the building features an interior that has been recently gutted and rebuilt to 1860 floor plans.

During your visit, be sure to check out the restored lighthouse keeper’s quarters and the local historical society museum on site. But the true highlight of your tour will be climbing up to the lantern room, an exact replica of the original square tower that was torn down in 1934.

All ages may tour the lighthouse museum, but children must be at least 6 years old to climb the tower. Timed entry tickets may be purchased on Eventbrite.

You can also check out the Art Deco Breakwater Lighthouse in the harbor (pictured below), originally built in 1849 and improved in 1931.

Pair it with a trip to Possibility Playground in Upper Lake Park and a stroll through downtown Port Washington!

Art Deco Breakwater Lighthouse harbor Port Washington Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Instagram, @nicpaasch

4. Lakeside Park Lighthouse – Fond du Lac

Lighthouse Drive, Fond du Lac, WI 54935
(920) 923-3010
Tours: Self-guided, Memorial Day through Labor Day, 8 a.m. ’til dusk (weather permitting).
Admission: FREE

Lakeside Park Lighthouse Fond du Lac Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Instagram, @_katherine.93

Trust us when we say that the Lakeside Park Lighthouse is worth visiting (and the drive). Built during the Great Depression in 1933, the 40-foot-tall working lighthouse was saved from disrepair in 1967 and restored again in 1993.

The lighthouse has a wooden spiral staircase attached to the interior walls that winds up to the top of the tower. Visitors who climb it all the way to the observation deck are rewarded with incredible views of Lake Winnebago and Lakeside Park.

5. Sheboygan Breakwater Lighthouse

604 N. 8th St., Sheboygan, WI 53081
(920) 923-3010
Tours: Grounds are open, but the tower is closed to the public.

Sheboygan Breakwater Lighthouse Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Instagram, @.jairus

Built in 1915, this skeletal steel pierhead lighthouse has a rich history. The original lantern room has been removed, but the top of its tower now serves as an NOAA weather station. Though you can’t go inside it, many people enjoy walking the breakwater that leads all the way out to the tower.

The best part? Also in nearby DeLand Park is the remains of the Lottie Cooper, a ship that sunk in 1894. The wreckage of the lumber schooner was discovered in 1990, and an 89-foot section of the ship was salvaged and put on display near the Harbor Centre Marina.

6. Rawley Point – Two Rivers

Point Beach State Forest, 9400 County Rd O, Two Rivers, WI 54241
(920) 794-7480
Note: The tower may be viewed from the beach, but tours are normally not available.
Park Admission: $8 daily; $28 annually (vehicle with Wisconsin license plates)

Rawley Point Beach State Forest Lighthouse Two Rivers Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Instagram, @nejdet_duzen

At 113 feet above lake level, the skeleton iron tower of the Rawley Point Lighthouse is the tallest land-based lighthouse on the Great Lakes. It’s visible to ships up to 19 miles away.

The lighthouse is currently used as a rental cottage for Coast Guard personnel, so it is not open to the public for tours. You can view and photograph it from Point Beach, but you’ll need to first purchase a vehicle admission sticker to gain entrance to Point Beach State Forest.

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