If you’re looking for an affordable nearby day-trip, Manitowoc has many great places to bring your family and explore throughout the entire county! Our family spent ten years living in Manitowoc, so you could say we are experts on all things “family-friendly” in these communities. Located less than 40-50 minutes away from the Green Bay/Fox Cities, along the shores of Lake Michigan, the cities of Two Rivers and Manitowoc make the perfect distance for your family day-trip. In this multi-series article, I will share my personal favorite family-friendly hot-spots and activities:
Part 1: Two Rivers: The City of Two Rivers provides a scenic, quaint feel without all the hustle and bustle of Door County. Although it would make a perfect day trip, it could also make a great mini “stay-cation” with its several beaches, parks, restaurants, shops, family-fun activities, and an excellent public library (to name a few)! In addition, several family-fun events planned throughout the year make Two Rivers a destination to enjoy any time of the year. I have found it to be one of my top favorite places to frequent throughout the summer months.
Neshotah Beach: Growing up in Lower Michigan, I spent most of my summers at the Lake Michigan beaches. Now with my children, Neshotah has become our favorite beach to frequent throughout the summer. It is very well-maintained, and the facilities are always clean. On your typical day, you’ll find a variety of folks pleasantly enjoying the day. There are some special occasions or weekends that do become quite crowded. Some of their most popular events include Beach Bash and Kites Over Lake Michigan. Nearby the beach, there is a park with an area to grill, a playground, and other amenities. It is my personal #1 recommendation in Two Rivers. (Shhh…I also think it’s the best-kept secret around!)
Woodland Dunes Nature Preserve: This nature preserve offers 7 miles of hiking trails throughout a 1500 acre preserve that is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Various educational events, activities, and summer programming focus on the local environment, habitats, and wildlife. It is on my bucket list to spend more time exploring here and checking out their programs.
Cool City Classic Car Show: This is one of my favorite Two Rivers events, and I think it is because I have this sense of nostalgia from all the old cars and the enjoyment of watching them all drive by. There is such excitement from what seems like thousands of families and friends lining up along the shoreline from Manitowoc to Two Rivers. They all gather in their lawn chairs and wait for this fantastic parade of cars to drive through for the “Friday Cruise.” After the cruise, folks can make their way to the park grounds in Two Rivers for a closer look at the cars and enjoy some refreshments. Even if you don’t love classic cars, the Friday “Cruise” is a fun event for all ages!
Point Beach State Park: This past year, we spent time exploring more State parks, and I realized Point Beach State Park was somewhere I need to explore some more, and it is right here in our own backyard. The scenic beauty and trails are remarkable, and anytime I’ve been there, it’s not been overly crowded. “Point Beach State Forest features 3,000 acres of land and 6 miles of sandy beach along the shores of Lake Michigan. Point Beach offers family campsites, two large group cabins, and an outdoor group camp. A popular feature within the property is the Rawley Point Lighthouse, which has been operated and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard since 1853.”
Rahr West School Forest: The School Forest is located north of the Point Beach State Forest on the shore of Lake Michigan. It offers 300 acres of mixed forests, stands of pine, sand dunes, fields, a swamp, and a pond to explore. The property is operated by the Manitowoc Public School district but is open for public use. There is a small playground area that is fun as well! We have enjoyed this stop quite a bit, and from what I can tell, it is also “dog-friendly.”
Lester Public Library: The Lester Public Library is impressive for a town the size of Two Rivers. Anyone who is a Wisconsin resident or long-term visitor to the Manitowoc County area may get a library card. The library has some new programming for summer that sounds REALLY fun! They also offer options for drive-thru services, such as “Story-time to go.” If you’re in the area, this little library is worth “checking out.”
The Read Apple: This “Toy Shoppe” is much more than just ANY toy shop. If you are looking for a personalized shopping experience with THE most fun and engaging products for kids of ALL ages, you NEED to check out this cute boutique-style toy store. The owner is a retired teacher. She takes the time to give you her attention, shows you her products and how they work, and make recommendations that are well-suited for your specific interests. It is my FAVORITE place to go when shopping for a unique gift. They also carry some high-quality beach toys you can use nearby (wink-wink).
Port Sandy Bay Pizza: Maybe this isn’t a secret to most Northeast Wisconsinites, but Port Sandy Bay has some delicious pizza. They also have a FUN little arcade area for kids, making it a perfect little hot spot for families to enjoy! We can’t wait to return there in the coming months! If you’ve never been to Port Sandy Bay, I highly recommend it!
Scream N’ Conuts: If you happen to be in Two Rivers, you should definitely consider making a visit here. I also found out they are opening a new location in Suamico! They are an ice cream shop with a fun twist! For those of you who don’t know, a “conut” is an ice cream cone made out of a donut! So, who needs an excuse to eat ice cream?! Well, now you have one! Check them out; they are great!
There you have it, my friends: the beach, reading, nature trails, ice cream, pizza, perhaps a little fun shopping or a parade of classic cars, all found in the Two Rivers area. What more could you ask for in a Family-Fun Day trip, just a short jaunt from the Green Bay/Fox Cities area? Have you enjoyed the Two Rivers area? Share your personal family-friendly favorites in the comments below!
Are you looking for other fun adventures for your family? Then, check out these articles for other ideas!
Family Nature Adventures in Wisconsin Parks