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Green Bay to Rock Island By Boat

Green Bay to Rock Island By Boat

Green Bay to Rock Island By Boat

Since we bought our boat we wanted to take a trip from Green Bay to Rock Island by boat. We finally did it! It was a comfortable ride up the peninsula.  We stayed in the channel for a good portion of the ride and then swung along the shoreline to take in some of the sites along the Door County Peninsula.  We just used caution when going outside the channel for commercial fishing nets.  All the nets are marked by flags.  You can easily go between them because they are on the bottom of the bay.

Why Fishing Nets?
However, there are a few nets around the Little Sturgeon Area that for whatever reason, the commercial fishermen decide to mark all the way around the nets with white, floating buoys.  What a pain in the a** when they are placing them close to one another.  It is tough to see where one set started and another ended.  They were not there during the day daytime when we came through.  Only at night.  Forget trying to navigating through them at night.  FYI to those fishermen – those of us that run into rough waters like to stick closer to the shoreline.  Running your nets in every direction, may not have a good outcome for you, or me.


Those could get stuck in your prop if you didn’t notice them. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this select group uses this setup.  Floating buoys, above the surface, every few feet is a tad bit overboard and begging for the nets to get caught in someone’s prop.

Minus that issue – the ride there and back was pretty nice.

Washington Island, Wisconsin from the water.

Keep an eye out for all these beautiful lighthouses along the way:
1.) Grassy Island Range,
2.) Green Bay Harbor Lighthouse,
3.) Sherwood Point Lighthouse,
4.) Peshtigo Reef Island Lighthouse,

4.) Eagle Bluff Lighthouse
5.) Pilot Island Lighthouse

Arrival at Rock Island:

The boathouse is the first thing you see when docking on Rock Island. You can’t miss it.

Rock Island Boathouse


After checking in with the warden we had a little fun checking out the boathouse.

Inside the Boathouse:

Pulling Into the Boathouse


Inside the Rock Island Wisconsin Boathouse:
Most just call the boathouse the Rock Island boathouse. It does have a name. The Chester Thordarson’s boathouse.

Boathouse Rock Island


The boathouse was built in 1910 by a wealthy inventor Chester Thordarson. He purchased 775 acres of the island. 30 acres on the southwest side of the island were cleared in 1920 and Thordarson began construction of a summer estate. His large boathouse, which is decorated in with characters from the Norse Runic alphabet, is open to the public.

Inside Rock Island Boathouse


Time to Set Up Camp:

Our first order of business was to get enough firewood for a decent fire on the shoreline.  If you need wood, ask the warden when the woodshed will be open.

We headed up to the firewood shed to purchase wood about 5 minutes before opening time.  We paid $8.00 for enough wood to last for about two hours of burning time. You can load the wood into one of the wagons they have to get the wood back to your campsite or fire pit area.  The only thing they ask, is that you return the wagon after you are finished unloading.

Rock Island Wood House Door

The photo above is the door to the woodshed. Plenty of old world character. Now we are set for night time, so we can go for a hike to the lighthouse.

Hiking to the Potawatomi Lighthouse – Rock Island

After arriving by boat to Rockland and obtaining firwood for the night, my next order of business was to hike up to the lighthouse.  The 1-1/2 mile walk was a nicely shaded, wooded hike. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring bug spray, I was happy to have both.


Potawatomi Lighthouse - Rock Island, WI also known as the Rock Island Light, is located in Rock Island State Park, on Rock Island in Door County, Wisconsin. Lit in 1836, it is the oldest light station in Wisconsin and on Lake Michigan.


Potawatomi Lighthouse – Rock Island

This lighthouse has been on my list to photograph for a while. But it takes two ferry rides from the mainland to get to, so I put it off.  Pottawatomie Lighthouse, also known as the Rock Island Light was lit in 1836, it is the oldest light station in Wisconsin and on Lake Michigan.

We walked around the grounds of the lighthouse because we didn’t make it in time for a tour.

Where Do the Stairs by the Lighthouse Lead You?

Off to the right of the lighthouse were steps made of limestone that we followed down toward the lake.  Once we reached the bluff, there was a steep, three-tier set of wooden steps that we used to get down to the rocky shoreline.

We were just in time to see the sun setting.  It was beautiful!  A number of charter boats were off the shoreline and the magenta and ambered ribs of color in the sky was magnificent.

Stairset to Beach Rock Island

After watching the sunset we hiked back to the boat at the dock.  We made sandwiches from the cooler we packed and then headed out to start our fire.

Private Beach Fire

The firepit area had beams to sit on, which we were happy to see, because we didn’t bring any chairs along with us.  We started a fire and sat and enjoyed each other’s company.  We were the only two people on the beach, it was almost as if we were on our own private island.

Fire on Beach at Rock Island, Wisconsin

Darkest Sky I Have Ever Seen

At around 11:00 the sky turns extremely dark.  On the outskirts of city, where I live,  I thought I had seen plenty of stars.  I can tell you from experience, I hadn’t.  The Milky Way was clearly visible and millions of stars are prominently displayed in the night sky on Rock Island.  By far, the best place I that I have found to star gaze.  Normally, this would have been the time I would have broke out the tripod and took some photographs. Instead, I decided to enjoy the view, have meaningful conversation with my husband and relax with a cold drink in hand.

Retiring for Bed

We retired to bed around 12:30.  The sleeping weather couldn’t have been better. Along the shores of the lake the temps dipped to about 50 degrees.  Perfect for sleeping snuggled in with my comforter. It was a fairly calm lake night, so we had a gentle rock to the boat.

Ever Eat Breakfast From a Solo Cup?

The next morning, we woke up around 7:30.  I forgot bowls – so. we filled our Red Solo Cups with cereal and milk and ate our breakfast.

Heading Out For Next Leg of the Trip – Michigan

We took the boat camper canvas off and headed over to Washington Island in search of gas and ice for the next leg of our water vacation, Fayette State Park in Garden, Michigan.

Word of warning. On Washington Island they charge you an arm, leg and first born for gas. Be sure you at least have a full tank before leaving the Gills Rock area.

Boat docked in Fayette, Michigan.

Green Bay to Rock Island WI by boat was an exciting and interesting trip. Even if you do not own a boat – think about taking the ferry to Washington Island from the mainland of Door County. There is plenty to explore on the island.

However, don’t cheap out and decide you can ride bikes instead of taking your car. Cause, after my teenage experience – I WISH YOU LUCK!

Until next time friends.  Take Care.

Additional Posts:
Washington Island / All Door County Posts  

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