Sister Bay Waterfront District

Sister Bay Beach Wisconsin SmithGroup
Sister Bay Beach Wisconsin SmithGroup

The waterfront is the centerpiece of the communities of the Door County Peninsula, a scenic vacation region largely surrounded by the waters of Lake Michigan and Green Bay. SmithGroup's master planning addressed Sister Bay’s entire waterfront area, creating a high-profile study that will guide the town’s evolution for years to come. Our resulting design work has helped reestablish Sister Bay's beach as a central attraction for their waterfront district.


Village of Sister Bay


Sister Bay, Wisconsin


Coastal Engineering, Shoreline Protection & Restoration, Waterfront, Waterfront Plans

Sister Bay Beach Wisconsin SmithGroup

Engineering the ideal beach for this popular vacation community began with a single grain of sand. Sister Bay’s existing beach was narrow and shallow, not all at sufficient for the many visitors who wanted to recreate along its waterfront.

To meet the community’s expectations for a durable sand beach, the team began with the sand: analyzing grain size and texture to select the optimum material that would function well and hold its place along the shore in the Great Lakes environment.

In addition to the beach expansion, other components of the master plan include expansion and rehabilitation of the marina, street realignment, storm-water management, successful DNR stewardship grant applications, and a comprehensive outdoor recreation management plan.

The final design accounts for the Bay's potentially erosive wave climate, leaves adjacent shores and yacht basins unaffected, and more than doubles the size of the beach enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

Sister Bay Beach Wisconsin SmithGroup

Numerical modeling guided the design, determining the shape and features that would create a stable beach in that zone.