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10 Reasons to Visit Manitowoc, Wisconsin

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Dive into planning your trip along the shores of Lake Michigan in Manitowoc, Wisconsin! With group-friendly options for travelers seeking the perfect museum, sweet treat, or classic Wisconsin brew and cheese, itineraries are easy to fill with must-visit stops. Read on for some of our top recommendations!

1. Lake Michigan Carferry

The 70-year-old 410-foot S.S. Badger Lake Michigan Carferry is one of the last coal-fired steam engine car ferries built in the United States and became a National Historic Landmark in 2016. Sailing 1-2 times daily between Manitowoc, WI and Ludington, MI, the S.S. Badger is Lake Michigan’s very own cruise experience.

2. Pine River Dairy

In its 6th generation of dairy manufacturers, Pine River Dairy boasts an impressive butter factory and store with over 250 varieties of cheese and 25-cent ice cream cones.

3. Beerntsen’s Confectionary

An old-fashioned candy parlor, Beerntsen’s Confectionary is known for its chocolate molding creations, unique dining experience, and creative listing of sundaes.

Ice Cream Cones from Beerntsen’s Confectionary

4. Rahr-West Art Museum

Located inside a historic mansion, the Rahr-West Art Museum has works by Georgia O’Keefe, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and more. Make sure to visit year-round for both permanent and rotating exhibits.

5. Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center

Spend an afternoon at the birthing barn at Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center for a chance to witness a calf’s birth or go inside the agriculture-focused museum for interactive exhibits suitable for all ages. Farm Wisconsin also has a farm-to-table café open for breakfast and lunch offering fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

6. Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Manitowoc is an American WWII Heritage City! Step into WWII history as you board the USS Cobia Submarine at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and tour the extensive maritime exhibits within the museum.

The USS Cobia Submarine at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum

7. West of the Lake Gardens

Take in some color on the lakeshore at West of the Lake Gardens. Here you will find six acres of nature including a Japanese garden, geraniums, fibrous begonias, over 30,000 tulips, 800 roses, and other seasonal trees and flowers.

8. Pinecrest Historical Village

Become a pioneer at Pinecrest Historical Village, a 60-acre interpretive museum with a collection of over 25 historic Manitowoc County buildings curated by the Manitowoc County Historical Society.

9. Breweries

Manitowoc is home to Briess Malt & Ingredients, which means it’s a hotspot for brewers. Among these include PetSkull Brewing and Sabbatical Brewing, which host live music and have a great nightlife scene. For a smaller, more relaxed vibe, head to Craft Creek Brewing Co. Finally, if you are hungry, go to Courthouse Pub for their fantastic food and microbrewery.

PetSkull Brewing

10. Cedar Crest Ice Cream

One of the biggest ice cream distributors for the Midwest is right here in Manitowoc, which makes sense since cows outnumber the residents in Manitowoc County! Get a lick of this regionally renowned ice cream with 36 rotating flavors and “Bernice the Big Cow” welcoming you inside!

To begin planning your own custom itinerary for your visit to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, contact RaeAnn Thomas at (920) 686-3507 or