Water. History.
Culture & More.

Water. History. Culture & More.

For many people, enjoying Door County’s fabulous and varied water views from terra firma is just the ticket. For others, getting out on the bay, lake, canal or creek is the way to experience our unique watery surroundings. You can kayak, paddle board, sail or jetski. The opportunities to have a water-borne adventure are plentiful.

Taking a ride on the Fred A. Busse fireboat has long been on my to-do list, so I decided to a get a view of Door County from the water cruising on the fireboat. The vessel sits at the city dock adjacent to the Maritime Museum, shiny, red, and ready for a ton of fun. And when we found out that pets are welcome on the fireboat cruises, we were all, “Welcome Aboard!” 

Built in 1937, the fireboat served the city of Chicago for many years, and now houses a small museum dedicated to Chicago’s firefighting history. At 90 feet long, and weighing 99 tons, it’s now a landmark on the Sturgeon bay shoreline. 

We hopped on an afternoon cruise with our puppy, Woodrow, for his first boat ride. He managed to make a couple of furry friends right away, and off we went.

The Steel Bridge is quite the majestic sight when viewed from the water, and it’s a thrill when it opens as you sail under.

As the cruise continues, nautical themed music plays to set the perfect mood, interspersed with narration that includes Sturgeon Bay canal history and some fun facts.

Seeing the shipyards from the water is another fascinating experience that’s completely different than driving by on land. One of the crew members on our tour is a pipefitter at Bay Ship Building, and she provided first hand background on the ships in repair and under construction as we sailed by. So interesting, and a real bonus.

Then, kids and kids-at-heart were invited to take a turn handling the fire hose.


Our final sight was the Sherwood Point Lighthouse, a cool opportunity to see this historic spot, as it is closed to the public.

As we made our way to the dock, we were treated to panoramic views of the woods and Niagara Escarpment stone bluffs along the shoreline. And a rare peek at some stately waterfront homes.

Getting out on the water in Door County is a not-to-be-missed experience, no matter how you choose to enjoy it. I know I will be putting boat excursions at the top of my list from now on.

As for the new fireboat puppy Woody, well, he says, “I’m the king of the world!”

Find more ways to cruise and sail on Door County water.