Enjoy Port Washington, Wisconsin!
Set Course for Port Washington!
Settled originally by the Sauk tribe, Port Washington’s fine natural port soon attracted European settlement and the business of export. It is a city with plenty of rich history to explore, boasting the highest density of pre-Civil War buildings in Wisconsin. One of these, a pebble-covered house that has been standing since Wisconsin was incorporated as a state, serves as the city’s visitor center. Nestled within its striking natural landscape, Port Washington is a city where fresh air and adventure are inevitable. For those that love both history and the outdoors, Port Washington will prove a rare gem, and a very special stop on the Lake Michigan Circle Tour.
Top Things to Do and See In Port Washington
- 1860 Lighthouse and Breakwater Light
- Coal Dock Park
- Ozaukee Interurban Trail
- North and South Beaches
- Port Exploreum
Double the Lighthouses
Port Washington offers two unique lighthouses to explore.
If you’re looking for a walk back in time, visit the 1860 Lighthouse and Light Station Museum. Once destroyed, the beacon that once guided seafaring traffic in the late 19th and early 20th centuries along with its keeper house have been painstakingly restored and are now available to tour.
If you’re just looking for a great stroll, enjoy a cool breeze along the breakwater as you make your way out to Port Washington’s current guiding light. For a real treat, get up early and experience a sunrise on the water.
Concentration of Destinations
Port Washington’s marina is jam-packed with things for you to experience.
Coal Dock Park, as its name implies, once was a bleak dock that received huge shipments of coal to run the city’s power plant. However, with the city’s conversion to natural gas, the dock was reimagined as a beautiful green space to gather or simply unwind.
Port Washington’s beaches lie directly north and south of its marina, and the aptly named North and South Beach Parks offer parking and seating for each. For a day in the sun, splashing in the lake, rock gathering, or perhaps a pleasant picnic, these parks are a great bet.
Hit the Trails or the Handlebars
A few steps from the marina lies Port Exploreum, an interesting museum with a name to match, and the newest project of the Port Washington Historical Society. Its hands-on exhibits encourage exploration of Port Washington’s past and present, ensuring a fun experience whether you’re a history buff or not.I
Check out the Ozaukee Interurban Trail, an ambitious 30 miles of paved trail spanning Ozaukee county from north to south and just waiting to be traveled. The trail goes right through Port Washington and is as convenient for short excursions as long, with parking areas staggered along its route. Biking or walking, know that you’re following the path of the old electric railway, upon which many a blues musician has traveled. You see, Paramount Records’ (yes, that Paramount Records) main office was first located in Port Washington, and many a track was laid down in nearby Grafton between the years of 1917 and 1932.
But if pavement isn’t your thing, and a 30-mile journey sounds a bit much, visit Sauk Creek Nature Preserve, which makes up for what it lacks in size with its calm beauty. This stretch of Sauk Creek boasts a charming waterfall and is a well-maintained and impressive piece of land.
Within the city, Upper Lake Park is a relaxing area with some killer views. Located just north of the marina, it’s the home of Possibility Playground, an impressive draw for the kids. This massive play area is designed to accommodate the needs of all children, including those of differing abilities, and is a sure bet for a good time. Kids can climb, swing and slide to their hearts’ content, and bedtime will be a bit more peaceful for it, which will leave you content too.
Port Washington has plenty to keep you busy, and when you’re done being busy, it offers plenty of ways to help you relax.
Drop anchor for a bit and look around. You’ve earned a nice long shore leave.
For more travel information about Port Washington, Wisconsin, please contact this tourism resource:
Port Washington Tourism & Chamber of Commerce
126 E. Grand Avenue
Port Washington, WI 53074-0143
(262) 284-0900 | toll free: (800) 719-4881
Ozaukee County Tourism
P.O Box 143
Port Washington, WI 53074
phone: (800) 403-9898