Cana Island Lighthouse
Cana Island Lighthouse
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Explore Door County’s most iconic lighthouse, which in 2019 celebrated 150 years of standing watch on the shore of Lake Michigan. Ride a hay-wagon over the causeway to explore the island, including the 89-foot-tall light tower, oil storage house and lighthouse keeper’s home. The highlight of any Cana Island visit is climbing the 97 steps of the tower’s spiral staircase to reach the gallery deck, which delivers a sweeping panoramic view of Lake Michigan and the Door County peninsula.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • svowels
    Sussex, Wisconsin638 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great lighthouse tour
    While we've been to Door County many times, this was our first visit to Cana Island Lighthouse. They have done a fantastic job restoring the lighthouse and the buildings. The museum is very good, too. During holiday weekends get there early as parking is limited.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 4, 2023
  • drivingfool44
    Sioux Falls, South Dakota29 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Spectacular views and beautiful grounds
    We loved our visit to the lighthouse, from the great gift shop to the renovated keeper’s quarters and the climb to the top of the lighthouse tower. It had been years since I’d visited and I commend those who renovated the lighthouse and spruced up the grounds! It is a beautiful island to visit!
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written June 7, 2023
  • Wanda R
    Greenfield, Wisconsin728 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Enjoyable!!
    The lighthouse is open to go to the top. It's only 88 steps and especially wonderful to do when there aren't a lot of people in the lighthouse. The grounds are very nicely kept. You can walk down by the water. There are several buildings to visit. The water level is extremely low so it was possible to walk from the mainland to the lighthouse. The tractor wagon will still take you if you don't want to walk. Remember to tip the driver at least $1. It's an experience to ride over in the wagon but I will admit much smoother if he can drive through the water. Nice way to spend a couple of hours and support the lighthouse.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 14, 2023
  • ktbeenthere2015
    New York City, New York260 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lighthouse life
    Cana Island was the only lighthouse that we toured in Door County. It was a winner. The information was interesting, the grounds were spacious including the lighthouse keeper's quarters, the guides and staff were friendly and willing to share their knowledge, and the views were spectacular similar to Caribbean tourism posters. Although not necessary on the day we went because the water was low, the tractor ride was a unique entry. The steps to the top are a trial for those who exercise only when necessary or feel the least bit acrophobic. (Just to add that if you are not fit or have acrophobia, the walk up is probably not a good idea.) But, the panorama from the top is worth a little discomfort. The entry price seems a little high, but it was our only lighthouse so worth it.
    Visited May 2023
    Written July 28, 2023
  • kd1289
    Chicago, Illinois99 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Cool lighthouse, but get there early for parking!
    The lighthouse was really cool to see, and had great views from the top after climbing up! Nice little museums about the history of it as well. The tide was low so we could just walk across (apparently unusual), but you can take a tractor if the tide is higher. Parking is VERY tight -- would recommend getting there as early as possible to get one of the few spots in the lot or park in one of the few spots along the road.
    Visited May 2023
    Written August 8, 2023
  • Susan LPT
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa33 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful day and enjoyable experience had by our group of friends
    We visited on a Sunday, in August, around 11 AM. Some of us walked across and one road on a wagon behind a tractor. It took FAR always time for me to walk across than it did for my fiends to arrive via the wagon. (I would have to say this is not any overly accessible place to visit - once across the rocky connection land bridge, the grounds are traversable with good wheels, but not easy for strollers or thin wheelchair wheels.) Loved the grounds on the beautiful day we were there, and although I have some knee issues, still did all the steps up to the light. Came down VERY carefully! (Btw- if you’re over 5’10”, be VERY careful of doorways and the staircase. Saw SEVERAL people hit their heads!!) My friends with more of a knee problem did not attempt the climb, and it was for the best. We enjoyed the view, the info on signs, and the short video and information in the gift shop/ticket area. $12/person was fair for the several hours we spent there, plus $ goes to upkeep and seasonal employees. We spent ~2.5 hrs there. I could have probably stayed and hour more to read everything and sit out and enjoy the water/scenery, but other members of our group were ready to go and we did want to see 2 more lighthouses that day. Very enjoyable time! Would bring family back here to see this historic landmark.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written August 17, 2023
  • Leah L
    New Lisbon, Wisconsin42 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A perfect mid-week visit
    Loved it. Very well maintained grounds. Interesting signage. Well done visitor center. The gentleman at the base of the spiral staircase was friendly & knowledgeable. (By contrast the attendant at the top of the staircase was on his phone did not interact or provide help. Boo.). Great views.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written September 21, 2023
  • Elizabeth H
    Corpus Christi, Texas276 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great Lighthouse
    Great lighthouse. We arrived right as it opened. The lake level is low enough to not need the tractor, but the short walk to the island is really fun with views of the water. Nice grounds, we enjoyed walking around the island and learning some of the history. Long and steep walk up the stairs with a great view from the top. Definitely a stereotypical tall light house unlike some of the others that are higher off the water and shorter. All the staff was friendly and happy to share and chat and take photos.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written October 31, 2023
  • JJT
    153 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Can climb the 97 steps to the top for great views of Lake Michigan
    This is a nice 155-year-old lighthouse that is operated by the Door County Maritime Museum and well-maintained. After walking across the causeway (that often is covered with water and requires a haywagon ride), we climbed the 97 steps of the spiral staircase to the top of the lighthouse and saw beautiful views of Lake Michigan. Afterward we viewed the lighthouse keeper’s home and oil house, and then walked around the edges of the island on the rocky shore next to the water. We had a pleasant adventure there!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written February 28, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles720 reviews
Excellent
419
Very good
206
Average
64
Poor
18
Terrible
13

Jeff
Saint Paul, MN8 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 • Family
We had a disappointing experience today at Cana Island. The tower was closed so you could not climb to the top. They still charged the $10 per fee to take the wagon ride across the lake to the island. I would have just walked away when the tractor driver announced the tower was closed, except I had the children with me and they still wanted to try it so I was stuck. My advice is to save the $10 if the tower is closed because you can get the same view for free from the other side by the parking lot. They need to update their website to inform guests that the tower is closed.
Written August 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Jeff - Sorry that you had a less than positive experience. The information about the COVID-19 restrictions at Cana Island are posted on our website - http://www.dcmm.org/cana-island-lighthouse/hours-admission/.
Written August 28, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Meg
Madison, WI9 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
The experience was very cool, and my favorite part was wading through the water across the causeway (bring water shoes!).

Due to current staffing shortages, the lighthouse tower is only open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. You pay the same admission price on the days it isn't open, and to me it was a bummer because that would have been the highlight!

I guess my opinion may be harsh compared to other people who loved this place, but I was a little disappointed by the presentation. There are no tours and no staff/volunteers around to ask questions or tell you interesting facts. The lighthouse has not really been restored (peeling wallpaper etc). The rooms are not staged with props or furniture (except for the 'spare' room). And there are almost no artifacts or information on the walls. Outside each room has a small black and white laminated strip of paper with a short description and photo. At least 3 of them had typos/errors. Better than nothing, but not a particularly professional display for the price you pay for a family to visit. But I'm sure it's a work in progress. Maybe due to weather conditions in the off season, such as high waves that flood it, they can't really restore or stage it (I don't know?).

Just giving an honest opinion to perhaps temper your expectations a bit. But it was still worth it!! I would just recommend going when the tower is open.
Written August 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sarah
Verona, KY384 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022 • Couples
Worth a visit? Not so much right now imo. We took the very bumpy tractor ride out to the island. It’s advertised as free but when you get to the island they want $10/person for you to walk around. We didn’t know this until we arrived. We spent about 5 mts in the “museum” then saw the fenced in lighthouse (construction currently) then took the nature trail loop. Maybe spent 30 minutes out there.
Written June 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

snochasr
Minneapolis, MN944 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
I don't know that the lighthouse itself is such a big attraction. We have seen lighthouses before and this one is not that big, but the big attraction here is the fact that you get to take a hay wagon ride, pulled by a tractor across the narrow channel out to the Island. It is a very rough and rocky ride. The tractor driver gives a little spiel about the Fresnel lens used in this lighthouse to concentrate the light 18 miles out to sea. He says what a genius (young) Mr. Fresnel was. That is funny, because of my background in lighting, I know all about Fresnel lenses. We use them in all of our streetlights. I even put one on my camera once to create a telephoto flash. The problem was, if you got your hands up behind it, in the sunshine, you instantly burned your fingers. One noticeable thing about this lighthouse is that the Coast Guard became concerned about its stone structure way back when, so the entire thing was clad in steel. The tower itself is closed to visitors, and the light was long ago converted to electricity and automated. You can get in and take a picture of the spiral staircase, if you know how. We took our time walking through the restored lighthouse keeper’s quarters, the assistant keeper’s quarters, the fuel shed, workshop, two-hole privy that used buckets because you could not dig a hole in the hard rock, and the large rock wall to keep the large waves from the Bay at bay :-).

There was also a storyteller there, who told about the lighthouse and lighthouse keepers’ long history. Only two sailors died and five ships were lost in 170 years, and only 3 of those went down from hitting the shoals. But when we came back he was telling the story about the only pirate ever charged with piracy on the Great Lakes. It turns out his connection to the story was that this pirate was buried by a local Methodist minister and that the storyteller himself was a Methodist minister who served with the guy that did the funeral back in 1979. On the ride back we notice the life preservers hung on the side of the wagon—NOT what you usually see on a hay wagon. And we remember the old expression from back on the farm, that something rides like a hay wagon. Well, this is a hay wagon.
Written October 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ScubagirlWisconsin
Cross Plains, WI84 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020 • Couples
Decided to come here after reading reviews. The parking lot is small, and taking the tractor across is a must because the water is so high. The water is beautiful here - rocks similar to schoolhouse beach on Washington island. Our tractor driver was friendly and knowledgeable. The grounds were kept up very well, and we found it quite interesting - lots of history on the lightkeepers and their families along with the hardships. There are also some beautiful areas to enjoy the lake, but a bit rocky/uneven to access it. Due to Covid, you must bring a mask, and you can’t climb to the top. I also recommend bug spray for the biting flies and mosquitos. We spent about 1-1/2 hours total.
Written July 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dianne Lucille
Illinois12 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2020
Over the years, my husband and I have visited Cana Island a good number of times. I always enjoying photographing the lighthouse! Sadly, the building is closed, because of Covid19. You can still go over there and walk the grounds. Due to the water being higher this year, you can not walk across the causeway; currently a John Deere tractor, pulling a hay wagon, will have you bouncing along to the island. I was surprised that not many folks wore masks, since they were crowded in together.
Written June 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark E
45 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
I was really looking forward to visiting Cana Island Lighthouse again on my recent summer trip to Door County, so I made the time to go there on the Tuesday morning of my visit. I was disappointed to get there just to find that you could still ride the tractor wagon over across the causeway to the island, but you can only look at the lighthouse from the outside right now, due to construction and renovating/restoration. There was a nice new visitor center and small gift shop/museum that was new since my last visit, which was nice. They have lowered admission to $10 (instead of $12), but I feel that it should be lower yet if you can't go in the lighthouse. I only ended up spending about 30 minutes here instead of the 60-90 minutes I anticipated, and I almost felt like I went all the way out there for nothing. However, the views were still awesome, and I still enjoyed walking out near the water and getting pictures from various vantage points. The tractor driver that day also seemed a bit cranky and not super friendly. I'm sure Cana Island Lighthouse will be great again once it is fully reopened, and I am looking forward to that hopefully being the case on my next visit to the area!
Written July 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Howard L
Park Ridge, IL859 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
The tractor-drawn wagon ride to see this lighthouse is what makes it a somewhat unique experience. You have to take a short but fun and bumpy ride across a shallow channel to get to Cana Island. Once there, you'll see the usual grounds and artifacts, and you can tour the keeper's home. No tower climbing during our October visit though as they were short-staffed as during this Covid impacted tourist season. $10 pp for the wagon ride and lighthouse visit whether there is tower climbing or not.
Written October 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ryan Becky J
Iowa270 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 • Family
So very disappointed. We thought this was a waste of our money. We knew the lookout tower was closed so we were expecting that. And we were looking forward to the tractor ride over. That was fun! But paying $10 to walk around a small island really to just look at a portion of the house, not worth it. I’d skip over this until they open the tower back up. There are other lighthouses where you just view the grounds that are free. The views weren’t that great.
Written July 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Susan LPT
Cedar Rapids, IA33 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Friends
We visited on a Sunday, in August, around 11 AM.
Some of us walked across and one road on a wagon behind a tractor. It took FAR always time for me to walk across than it did for my fiends to arrive via the wagon. (I would have to say this is not any overly accessible place to visit - once across the rocky connection land bridge, the grounds are traversable with good wheels, but not easy for strollers or thin wheelchair wheels.)

Loved the grounds on the beautiful day we were there, and although I have some knee issues, still did all the steps up to the light. Came down VERY carefully! (Btw- if you’re over 5’10”, be VERY careful of doorways and the staircase. Saw SEVERAL people hit their heads!!) My friends with more of a knee problem did not attempt the climb, and it was for the best.

We enjoyed the view, the info on signs, and the short video and information in the gift shop/ticket area. $12/person was fair for the several hours we spent there, plus $ goes to upkeep and seasonal employees. We spent ~2.5 hrs there. I could have probably stayed and hour more to read everything and sit out and enjoy the water/scenery, but other members of our group were ready to go and we did want to see 2 more lighthouses that day.
Very enjoyable time! Would bring family back here to see this historic landmark.
Written August 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Cana Island Lighthouse - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

Frequently Asked Questions about Cana Island Lighthouse



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