Sheboygan, Wisconsin (tagged as “the Malibu of the Midwest”), is located only 2.5 hours from the Chicagoland area on Lake Michigan. Sheboygan is chock-full of outdoor activities including surfing, paddle boarding, sailing, jet-skiing, fishing, biking, hiking, golfing, and more!
As a family with younger children, our adventures included a water park, pool, beach, children’s museum, and storybook gardens. Last but not least, Sheboygan did not disappoint on the culinary front. Check out my family’s travels to Sheboygan below and experience the scenic route!
A Family Trip to Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Fun Things to Do with Kids in Sheboygan
The waterfront in Sheboygan offers a variety of activities for your family to choose from. My little kids enjoyed digging in the sand, filing water pails and dipping their toes into the cool Lake Michigan waters. For older children and adults, the waterfront offers kayak rentals, fishing boat charters, sailing, paddle boarding, and surfing. There are beautiful paved trails along Lake Michigan to bike and walk. My family walked over 25,000 steps in a day soaking up the sunshine and talking the kids for long walks in the stroller, picking up shells and rocks along the way.
Breaker Bay Water Park is a 54,000 square foot water park at the Blue Harbor Resort and Spa in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. My toddlers loved the toddler play area, with bubblers and two toddler slides (one has a height requirement of 36 inches). Older kids would love the surfing simulator, basketball court pool, water obstacle course, and slides (height requirement is 42 inches). My favorite was the lazy river! My whole family piled on tubes and we all floated through the lazy river. Admission is included if you are staying on the resort. Pubic access prices are $29, ages 2 and up, for a full day pass.
The Above and Beyond Children’s Museum hosted my family for an adventurous rainy afternoon. It was the perfect time to bring the kids inside for three floors of imaginative play and STEM learning activities. The first floor of the museum was home to a tree house climbing structure, giant pin screen and wind tunnel. The second floor is the Siegel mini circus that took a local artist over 30,000 hours to construct. Also on the second floor is the toddler barnyard, a 0 to 4-year-old play area and climbing structure. The third floor has a section of a real firetruck with costumes, a farmers market to pretend shop in, a lighthouse, a row boat, and a sailboat to fish from and steer. The museum is geared towards 2 to 10-year-olds, but my infant found plenty of places to crawl around and explore. Admission is $7 for ages 2–59.
Bookworm Gardens was my favorite place on the trip. I’m a former teacher and children’s literature guru, so Storybook Gardens is my dream realized. As you wander through the pristine gardens, you see each of your favorite children’s books come to life. We saw Goldilocks and the three bears and built a fire next to their cabin. We explored Mr. McGregor’s garden and house, planted and harvested vegetables, and saw Peter hopping around. My kids climbed into Winnie the Pooh’s tree house and went inside the Magic School Bus. My daughter loved the three little pigs’ houses.
The details of each story are developed in each outdoor garden. Each garden you enter is paired with a book for you to take along on your adventure and find somewhere cozy to read outside. There is no admission to the gardens, but a suggested $5 donation is appreciated.
Places to Eat in Sheboygan
South Pier Parlor is an old-fashioned ice cream shop within walking distance of the Blue Harbor Resort. They had over twenty flavors (all made in the shop!) as well as floats, homemade fudge, and coffee and espresso drinks. We loved getting a scoop and sitting outside watching the boats go through the harbor. Step back in time, relax and enjoy the “sweet” view!
Harry’s Prohibition Bistro is a Neopolotian-style pizzeria. Their wood-fire oven was crafted in Napes, Italy and creates that authentic fresh taste. They are located on the Sheboygan River and have an enclosed heated patio along the riverfront to enjoy as weather permits. This 1920s-themed bistro is a great stop for an extensive pizza list for the family.
Field to Fork is a local farm to table restaurant only open for breakfast and lunch. They are a restaurant, cafe, and grocery store located in the downtown area of Sheboygan. They create their menu using seasonal, local produce. Field to Fork is a great “foodie” stop for brunch. They have a kids menu offering breakfast and lunch options for the younger crowd.
Places to Stay in Sheboygan
Blue Harbor Resort is conveniently located right on Lake Michigan. The ambiance rivals an East Coast shoreline feel. Blue Harbor Resort offers a variety of room options housing anywhere from 4–14 guests. They even have select hotel rooms decorated like the inside of a boat or aquarium.
My family is large, so we opted for a four-bedroom villa on the Lake Michigan beachfront, and it worked out great. There were two floors to our unit, with two bedrooms on each floor, a kitchen, dining room, living room, and three bathrooms.
Blue Harbor has five different eateries, a Starbucks, an indoor water park, and an outdoor pool, weather permitting. Everything in the resort is walkable and easy to navigate with strollers. I would recommend Blue Harbor Resort to families looking for the best of both worlds: beach and indoor water park in one stop!
If you are looking for more ideas of family road trips, check out our travel section for more ideas!