Parking and making the steep climb up the popular 1870 Cana Island Lighthouse can require some patience, but this is one of the best places to see the beauty of Lake Michigan’s Door County shoreline. Explore the two floors of historic displays as you await your turn to climb the 97 steps. Exhibits incorporate the science of prisms, a Fresnel lens that magnifies light until it can be seen from 18 miles away, the dangers of Great Lakes travel, and the challenges lighthouse keepers faced in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Though the lighthouse’s history is rich, some visitors just want to take in the view from one of Door County’s prettiest spots on the coast. Walk along the rock-ledge shore for great photo ops of the 89-foot lighthouse, or stack stones and leave a little statue behind (it’s tradition).
More than 40,000 visitors tour Cana Island Lighthouse annually, open daily between May and October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $10; $7 for children ages 5 to 17. The 8.7-acre island is currently undergoing a multiphase renovation for lighthouse visitors; planned improvements include new rustic restrooms, increased parking space and a new visitors center.