Sturgeon Bay is a port town on Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin. With heavy ship traffic into the harbor, it became necessary to build a navigational light at the entrance to the ship canal. The pierhead light was built in 1881 but was soon deemed inadequate and a subsequent coastal lighthouse was built on shore in 1898, some eight years after a recommendation to the US Congress by the Lighthouse Board.
Today visitors can venture down to the mouth of the ship canal to see the three lights that protect the shore as ships enter the canal. The lighthouse itself sits on an active US Coast Guard installation and is not directly accessible to visitors.
If you are planning to visit, you will need to look for the signage on WI Hwy 57 as you head north out of Sturgeon Bay. It is a short 10 to 15 minute drive from the highway out to the USCG Station. There you can park in the public lot immediately in front of the government property. Be mindful of the privacy signs as civilians are not permitted on the USCG Station property.
Because it is not obvious if you are permitted to walk to the shoreline or pier to see the lighthouse or the two adjacent pierlights, I did walk over to ask at the first USCG building where I saw a couple of men working. I was told that I could walk along the driveway on the "public" side of the yellow line. The driveway would lead me all the way down to the shores of Lake Michigan and the pier.
I enjoyed the crisp fall morning stroll down the walkway and pier. The north pierhead light and fog signal building is the one that was built in 1903 to replace the original deteriorating structure. It is a spectacular building and in remarkably decent shape thanks in large measure to the care received by the US Coast Guardsmen who are stationed there.
South of the ship canal is the other pier light. It is green and white. The two provide assistance to ships looking to navigate up the ship canal into Sturgeon Bay.
Of all of the places I've been to view and photograph lighthouses, these may be the most easily accessible. The fact that they have been so well preserved and maintained, make them especially nice subjects for those interested in photography.