It’s just past 5 a.m., and the warm, eager sun starts to warm up the sky from black to soft orange, creating a million little crystals across the water on Wisconsin’s side of Green Bay.
You take in the cozy fresh aromas of your fresh linens and sleep a little longer in your fully equipped vacation rental. Then, you’ll take the family to Sister Bay’s sandy beaches for a swim.
You’ll watch the plentiful sailboats glide on Lake Michigan’s fresh waters and enjoy seeing the kids play in the sand — they’re competing to build the biggest sandcastle. So wholesome!
But then you hear, “Mom, I’m hungry.”
Have we caught your intrigue? Keep reading as we solidify Sister Bay, WI as your next destination with this traveler’s guide!
About Sister Bay
Sister Bay was named after the Sister Islands, which are about a mile from the northernmost shore of Sister Bay.
Alongside Baileys Harbor and Fish Creek, Sister Bay is a Door County treasure. This bayside destination has welcomed tourists since the late 1800s to soak up its enchanting landscapes. Whether it was the sunny days and sparkling waters of summer, the changing leaves of the fall, or the serene, white landscape of winter, Sister Bay has never fallen short on natural beauty.
Swedish settlers Ingebrett Torgerson, Tomas, and Pat Dimond started building up the area more rapidly in 1857. But those 150 years didn’t shake the Swedish influence on the town’s roots.
Head over to the famous Al Johnson’s restaurant, where you can get homemade pickled beets, Swedish pancakes, and of course, Swedish meatballs with delectable lingonberry jam. Watch for goats on the roof and spunky wooden gnomes outside, too!
Swedish culture peppers itself around Door County in general, like in nearby Ephraim’s Midsommar celebration at the annual Fyr Bal Festival!
The Best Time to Visit Sister Bay
You can entertain yourself in Sister Bay no matter the season — though winters are notably chilly. Craving a sun-soaked afternoon in the high-70s? You should probably visit in the summer. However, each season boasts its own flavor in this Wisconsin town.
Here are some fun activities we’ve rounded up for each season in Sister Bay.
Photo Credit: shutterstock.com/Nejdet Duzen
A cool breeze and crunchy leaves narrate your walk to Downtown Sister Bay in the Fall. You’re itching for local foods, games, and live music — everything the Sister Bay Fall Fest offers over its three-day lifespan in mid-October.
You can enjoy a traditional fish boil, shop for local crafts, and even watch a derby race! As you race down Highway 42, you’ll catch a glimpse of the changing leaves’ fiery colors, a gorgeous site.
Wisconsinites love to make the best of the frosty winter — what better way to engage with fluffy snow than with winter sports? Snowshoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, sledding, and even ice fishing are easy to access in Sister Bay or just a short drive away. Door County Kristkindlemarket takes place the three weekends following Thanksgiving at the Corner of the Past Museum right outside of Sister Bay. It's an adorable event featuring local artists, food vendors and of course, mulled wine. The market is the perfect opportunity to get into the Holiday spirit!
After a day of fun out in the cold, return to your chalet rental to warm up by the fireplace. Once you change out of your winter gear, indulge in one of the town’s supper clubs, like Earl’s Sister Bay Bowl and Supper Club. Savor a local fish fry and burn it off with a bowling round right on the premises!
Have you ever seen a million cherries? Sister Bay is home to Seaquist Orchards, which houses over 1,000 acres of cherry trees that bloom in the spring. They even bake homemade apple and cherry pies in-house. The orchard’s delicate pink and white blossoms happily point to new life and regeneration in the spring.
Keep the pastoral vibe going by heading to Hidden Acres Farm. Originally a family garden project, the farm has opened its grounds to locals that keep the community garden ripe with endless Aronia and chokeberries. Even the health nut in your group will gush at all those anti-oxidants!
Sunscreen? Check. Comfy boat shoes? Check. It’s time to hit up Waterfront Park in Sister Bay for a coastal day of family-friendly fun. The marina houses tons of yachts and boats in the city center, coupled with greenery and beaches to enjoy.
Sister Bay Beach is another slice of heaven for beach bums, boasting over 600 feet of sandy coastline on 900 square feet of grounds for your entertainment. Walk on the gazebo, host a BBQ at one of the public weber grills, or simply lie in the sun with a suspenseful book!
All Travelers are Welcome in Sister Bay
Sister Bay has activities for every age, interest, and ability. Here’s a peek at Sister Bay from every traveler’s lens!
Fun Family Vacation for Kids and Adults
Photo Credit: shutterstock.com/Nejdet Duzen
Break out of your routine and take a family vacation in the village of Sister Bay! Door County has plenty for kids to do, and families love Sister Bay for its many opportunities to keep kids busy for hours. However, these activities can be just as fun for adults.
Let your kids marvel at the prancing goats munching on the sod roof at Al Johnson’s. Or take them to the beach for a game of tag with gentle waves! Sister Bay can help you create your newest and fondest family memories.
What Can Families Do?
- Relax at Waterfront Park or Sister Bay Beach.
- Take a swing at Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf.
- Hit the water on a Sister Bay boat rental.
- Have a bite at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and Butik.
Romantic Getaway for You and your Honey
Photo Credit: shutterstock.com/Hank Erdmann
If your sweetheart wants to get out of the humdrum routine of everyday life and add some novelty and excitement to your relationship, then Sister Bay steps up to the plate!
Enjoy our Sister Bay Chalet all to yourselves as you sip on a fresh cup of joe on the deck. You’ll explore the town together, watch blazing sunsets at Sister Bay Beach, or walk hand-in-hand through the Seaquist Orchards.
What Can Couples Do?
- Get romantic on a Sister Bay Scenic Boat Tour.
- Have an adventurous date with Parasail Door County.
- It’s a strike at Sister Bay Bowl!
- Sample the goods at Seaquist Orchards Farm and Market.
Time for Me, Myself, and I
Sister Bay is the perfect place for a solo vacay to relax and recharge your soul. Sometimes we just need some space to ground ourselves and recoup from life’s everyday stresses.
Wake up as early or as late as you want. Sip on a cup of tea and revel in the sound of the waves and the calls of the birds. Explore all of what Door County has to offer — on YOUR schedule. With Sister Bay’s calming shoreline, delicious farm-to-table foods and boutique shops, you’ll certainly get your me-time fix.
What Can You Do Solo?
- Grab a slice at the Wild Tomato Wood Fired Pizza and Grill.
- Go Kayaking in Sister Bay.
- Shop the sales at On Deck.
- Take yourself on a solo date at Pasta Vino or Lure.
- Stroll through Three Springs Nature Preserve in Sister Bay
What to Pack
Sister Bay invites you to visit year-round, so your packing list will vary throughout the year.
- Spring: The spring season is rainier and a bit chilly, so bring a rain jacket and boots along with jeans and sweatshirts to stay warm. If you're visiting from anywhere south of Green Bay, plan on temperatures 10-20 degrees cooler than what you're used to back home.
- Summer: Bring bathing suits, shorts, and flip-flops if you’re heading over in the summer. Don’t forget jeans and sweatshirts for those chilly Wisconsin nights.
- Fall: The fall cools off quickly, so you’ll want a hefty supply of jeans, sweaters, and long sleeves, even in late August and September.
- Winter: If you stay on a bit longer into November and December, winter gear is a must! Temperatures with highs in the high 20s and low 30s demand your warmest layers, hats, mitts, and even long johns.
Stay at the Sister Bay Chalet
Sister Bay is a shore-side gem on Green Bay. Good food, fresh fish, lovely scenery, and abundant culture attract thousands of travelers like you to the shoreline.
Ready for your trip? Don’t settle for mediocre motels. We know you wouldn’t dream of it! Here at Moonsail Vacations, we pride ourselves on some of the most beautiful, pet-friendly rental properties on the Door County peninsula, with all of the comforts of home: free wifi, fire pits, washers, driers, a full kitchen, and more!