Worth the Drive: Suamico

Posted on July 1, 2022 by Grace Olson

Located just ten miles north of Green Bay and about 40 miles from the Fox Cities, the Village of Suamico is a surprise gem that shines in its own right, packing a punch in the variety of ways it’s “worth the drive” for visitors.

Its unique geographical location lends itself to the ability to shine in all seasons and provide outdoor and indoor recreation that spans generations.

“It’s close and has so much to offer,” Sky Van Rossum, Village of Suamico President, says.

“Whether you’re traveling with children, you’re a younger couple or if you’re out with your parents…you have all of these cool options. There are so many things to see, things to do: fishing, kayaking, going for a walk on a trail, bird watching. Then all of the dining, the breweries. There’s been a lot of change, but there’s a lot of history here too.

“Vickery Village… is made up of historic buildings that were moved to the area. One of the old stories is that when the trains would come in with lumberjacks, they would get off in ‘Big Suamico’ and they would light up the town!”

The largest village in the country at 59 square miles—including land and water—has diverse offerings spanning urban and rural settings. With access to the Bay of Green Bay and the Suamico River, its historical claim to fame as a fishing village remains relevant today. Fishing, boat landings, and kayak and canoe launches abound, but it would be remiss to think this oasis stops there.

The NEW Zoo & Adventure Park brings big city flavor while the Reforestation Camp and Vickery Village add notable charm as stand-out area attractions. Urban Edge Town Centre and historic downtown provide unique shopping opportunities.

“There’s a little bit of everything for everybody. It’s a real mix,” Alex Kaker, Administrator for the Village of Suamico, says.

Lumberjacks strolling into town or not, there’s still a good time to be had in terms of an eclectic mix of establishments from breakfast to late night, from fine dining to casual fare with indoor and outdoor dining.

“There’s no doubt something for everybody in Suamico,” Matt Kriese, Brown County Parks Director, says. “Whether you are into nature or you prefer more of the urban setting, that’s what’s nice about Suamico as a whole… it’s unique. If you drive up, you can easily spend an afternoon/evening in Suamico.”

“Suamico has a common theme/motto within the Village and that’s “Live, Play, Shop, Dine!” Nicholas Lemke, Recreation Director for the Village of Suamico, adds.

You’re encouraged and welcome to experience it all.

“The only way that we become better and the only way that we become stronger as a community is by inviting other people in,” Van Rossum says.

The combination of outdoor playground and urban amenities meet in a community primed for growth. When it comes to ways to play, Suamico has something for everyone.

NEW Zoo & Adventure Park
The NEW Zoo is Northeastern Wisconsin’s only AZA accredited zoo, which means we are dedicated to top-quality animal care, along with conservation and education,” Angela Kawski-Kroening, Curator of Education & Outreach at the NEW Zoo & Adventure Park, explains.

“When you visit the NEW Zoo, you’re helping us make a difference for animals both at the zoo and in the wild.”The zoo has over 90 different species and over 200 individual animals—both native to Wisconsin and found throughout the world—for guests to enjoy.

“During the summer months, our summer interns help us provide a host of fun, free ‘extra’ experiences for guests,” Kawski-Kroening says. “These include several daily Discovery Stations throughout the zoo, where guests can see things like pelts, feathers and skull replicas up close, and learn more about our animals.”
The Giraffe Feeding Experience, a fan favorite, is open daily throughout the summer, typically beginning at 10:30 a.m.
For those who love adventure experiences, the Adventure Park offers a ropes challenge course, climbing wall and ziplines.
Zoo visitors will also have the opportunity to come face-to-face with chatty Japanese macaques and other wondrous animals at the Midwest’s only Canopy Walk.

From 22-feet above the ground, guests will travel above the trees on an aerial walkway with bridges, platforms and railings that allows them to view animals and exhibits from an elevated perspective. The half-mile trail will also include an array of storyboards, graphics, historical photos and five educational platforms.
“The Canopy Tour will allow us to increase our guests’ experience, establish the NEW Zoo & Adventure Park as a regional destination; and strengthen our current education programs,” Kristine Schuetze, a coordinator for N.E.W. Zoological Society, Inc. says.

Annual Events at the NEW Zoo & Adventure Park:
World Giraffe Day
Through partnership with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the NEW Zoo celebrates giraffes and raising funds to support conservation in Africa.
“The event is always held close to the summer solstice—the “longest” day of the year—to celebrate the “longest” land mammals in the world!” Kawski-Kroening says.

Zoo Boo
The biggest event of the year at the Zoo takes place over three weekends in October. The family favorite features candy and games for kids, along with a “Haunted Zoo Zone” walk. The Zoo itself is fully decorated for the season, with “skelly scenes” along with cornstalks, pumpkins and more. If you love Halloween, you’ll love Zoo Boo!

Feast with the Beasts
Each August brings food and fun to the Zoo. Featuring food and beverage samples from a variety of restaurants around the area, Kawski-Kroening urges participants to come hungry. “It often sells out! We definitely recommend buying your tickets to (this) one in advance,” she urges.

Reforestation Camp + Campground

“The NEW Zoo & Adventure Park is nestled within the Brown County Reforestation Camp, which means we have hiking trails and horseback riding trails, along with snowshoe, cross-country ski trails, and snowmobile trails in the wintertime too,” Kawski-Kroening explains. “You can walk alongside the ponds and enjoy a large playground just to the north of the zoo’s main lower parking lot. There’s plenty of wildlife to be seen, both at the zoo and just outside of it.”

The Reforestation Camp is one of the largest natural tracts of land in Brown County, entirely in Suamico. Its almost 1,500 acres provide opportunities for fishing within small ponds, scenic trails and picnic spots during the warmer months, and groomed trails for favorite winter pastimes like cross-country skiing (including lit trails for evening skiing), fat tire biking and snowmobiling. It is also home to the Brown County Rifle Range.

New this year is the Reforestation Camp Campground, a 51-site campground opened with sites of varying amenities: full RV hookups, small tent sites and two restroom and shower buildings, with walking access to the NEW Zoo and Adventure Park.

“It’s not often a new campground opens in the Midwest,” Kriese says. “We’re excited about it, and the camping trend just continues to grow.”

Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve

Donated in 1955 by Louis Henry Barkhausen, Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve’s goals have always been natural resource management, passive recreation and environmental education.

At just over 1,000 acres, Barkhausen offers visitors a glimpse into “natural Suamico.”
“(It) is a little bit more natural, it’s a different experience,” Kriese says. “We can manipulate the water levels for migrating birds. We do see a major influx of waterfowl and shorebirds during the spring and fall. There are nine miles of trails at Barkhausen that people can walk to experience nature and the natural world of Suamico.”

The Nature Center/Interpretive Center at Barkhausen
An immersive experience for families to see native reptiles and amphibians, The Nature Center at Barkhausen offers visitors a “close encounter” opportunity to learn about pond ecology, forest ecology and more.

Sensory Woods at Barkhausen
“It’s a small trail that provides those with varying abilities the opportunity to get out into nature,” Kriese explains. “There’s sound and different musical instruments… different textiles for touch. Benches to relax at. Whether you’re in a wheelchair or walking, it’s an opportunity for the entire community to get out and enjoy and really immerse themselves in nature right off of the parking lot.”

Annual Events at Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve:

A four-season playground, Barkhausen welcomes visitors for events year-round.
Winter: Guided Snowshoe Hikes, Candlelight Hikes
Spring: Bluebird House Building Workshops, Maple Syrupin’ Day
Summer: Bird Hikes, Multiple Summer Camps, Archery Programs
Fall: Jack-O-Lantern Hikes, Guided Night Hikes, Kayaking

Sweets & Eats & Par-Tee Mini Golf

An 18-hole mini golf course with a variety of food options including pizza, burgers, cheese curds and more, Sweets & Eats & Par-Tee Mini Golf is known for their Dole Whip, specialty sundaes and flurries.

“Traveling may be more difficult right now so we want to give families a little bit of an escape without having to go very far,” Amanda Froelich, co-owner, says. But we also want to be a local place that our customers can enjoy on a regular basis just to get ice cream or some food.

“The mini golf course has a waterfall right in the middle of it and water features throughout. Kids love the challenges on each hole and adults love the competition. We have nine holes that are handicap accessible so those who may have a harder time getting around are still able to play.”

Buzz Social

Buzz Social is all about bringing the community together in a “fun, energetic and artistic environment.” Buzz Social is bringing a burger restaurant, a sports bar, 48 lanes of bowling, an arcade with an array of games, and plenty of event space made to fit any occasion.

Suamico Boat Landing
“One thing that makes Suamico unique is its access to the bay,” Kriese reiterates. “Suamico Boat Landing is on the Suamico River. It’s very popular for its public access to fishing… primarily for walleye, perch and musky.”
Amenities include 4 lane boat launches, boat and car parking and indoor restrooms.

Idlewild Park
“There are wetlands and woods for the nature enthusiast with the intention of a trail system in the future,” Lemke says. “An addition to the park in 2022 is four new pickleball courts and one new tennis court.”

Calavera Springs Park
“The park’s most unique feature is a flowing spring that is a tributary to Hidden Lake and the Suamico River,” Lemke says. “In order to showcase the full extent of what the park has to offer, the walking trails direct users past this spring, through open prairie, woodlands and wetlands. This park also provides and indoor rental space that is available year round.”

Sunset Beach Park
Located off of Sunset Beach Lane on the shore of the Bay of Green Bay, Sunset Beach Park is an ideal location for launching canoes and kayaks, bird watching and picnicking.
The water area offers a sand bottom with extensive shallow water areas. In the winter months, this area serves as a snowmobile area and access for ice fishing.

Vickery-Docter Park
A 1.5-acre park located adjacent to Velp Avenue and the Suamico River in Historic Downtown Suamico, this park is equipped with grills perfect for picnicking and a restored shoreline for fishing.

Fireman’s Park
A half-acre park adjacent to the Suamico River on Riverside Drive, Fisherman’s Park now offers a canoe/kayak launch, lighted parking lot, paved path and boardwalk to connect the park to businesses in the Historic Downtown Suamico area.

Municipal Services Center Park
“This park offers playground equipment and has a crushed gravel path that extends from Vince Lane to the park,” Lemke says. “The blue house immediately to the east of the park is occupied by the Howard Suamico Historical Society and has additional parking available near the farmhouse, in addition to parking at the Municipal Services Center.”

Sensiba Wildlife Area
A 570-acre property that is a great location for birding, canoeing, cross country skiing, fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing.

Vickery Village

Vickery Village’s quaint nature is reminiscent of a charming movie and reminds visitors that Suamico is a village, while proving that some of the best things come in small packages.
Now home to a restaurant, ice cream stand, shops and more, its rich history makes it even more impressive.

“(It) was founded in 1972 when Pat Henry and her husband, Jerry, purchased the Weed Mill Lumber Inn and saved it from demolition,” Megan Campbell, Vickery Village Venue Event Coordinator, says. “Prior to the advent of the railroad, the area businesses supplied the mills, farmers, fishermen and families. In the 1870’s the railroad brought a new dimension which allowed Suamico businesses to expand their markets.”

Vickery Village now sits on this once busy railroad yard and includes:

Screamin’ Conuts

In addition to the Two Rivers location, Vickery Village now hosts Screamin’ Conuts second location. Ice cream served in a donut cone rolled in cinnamon and sugar, it’s the perfect sweet treat in summer.

Vickery Village Pavilion

The Vickery Village Pavilion hosts events from weddings and graduation parties to public events like yoga and Tunes on Tuesday in the summer.

Chives (The Vickery General Store)

The cornerstone of Vickery Village is the General Store, now home to Chives Restaurant. The building, which is on the original site, has been in the Vickery family since 1905. The motto of Jim Vickery best illustrates the role of the general store in the community. “We sincerely try to be of service to you by buying what you sell and selling what you buy.”

The Village Mane Salon (The Weed Mill)

The Weed Mill Inn was built by the Weed Brothers in 1862 to serve the needs of the mill. The structure style and the fact that it is one of the very few buildings tied into the lumber mill to have survived the Suamico fire (an offshoot of the Peshtigo Fire) in 1871 and has led to its being placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

A quaint salon has repurposed this weed mill.

Ginger Birch (The Station Master House)

This pre-turn of the century house was built by the railroad as a home for the station master. Now home to Ginger Birch, a creative flower studio with inspiring and humorous gifts.

Blush LLC (Old Town Hall)

The old Suamico Town Hall, circa 1885, is the setting of many debates, decisions and the seat of town government for over 85 years. Blush LLC offers lash extensions, airbrush makeup, brow services and fine line tattoos.

Klem Studios Photography (The Depot Building)

The Depot building that sits next to the Soo Line Caboose is now home to KLEM Photography whose mission is to curate compassionate, intentional photography experiences for adventurous souls.

Suamico Paddle

Suamico Paddle offers kayak and paddle board rentals to families and individuals looking to adventure on the Suamico River.


From specialty candy shops and baked goods to retail good for the soul, Suamico has a little bit of everything for you and your loved ones.

Uncle Mike’s Bake Shoppe

“The Best Kringle In North America” is located in Suamico. A Danish delicacy made with laminated dough, Uncle Mike’s Sea Salt Caramel Pecan took the prize. It sits among other favorites like fresh bread, donuts, cookies and pie.

Terry Naturally Health Food Store 

Discover a full range of the Terry Naturally brand supplements, including the award-winning Curamin. Natural beauty care products, organic essential oils, pet supplies, organic and natural food products, including meats, breads, olive oils from around the world and bottled in store, fresh ground almond or peanut butter, natural cleaning supplies and a large gluten-free section are also a part of the well-known retail location.

Season to Taste

Season to Taste is a kitchen store selling quality kitchen tools for the home cook. We are also pleased to offer cooking classes. We love everything about cooking from baking to fermenting to grilling and smoking, and we know that having the right tool is essential to great-tasting food. Stop by to find the right gadget, or tell us about your favorite one!


Started in 1973, Pelkin’s Smokey Meat Market is a full-service butcher and custom meat processor and has become a ‘must stop’ for those camping, hunting and grilling out in the north woods of Wisconsin. The retail shop is stocked with fresh and frozen specialty cuts of beef, pork and chicken. You will also find a large selection of specialty bacon, jerky, sausage snack sticks, bratwurst, and cheeses.

“If you want to come (to Suamico) and not eat out, you can stop at Festival Foods, pick up your charcoal, get food from Pelkins and there are grills in Fireman’s Park,” Van Rossum suggests.

The Candy Bar 

The Candy Bar opened in 2019, but the candy making business has been in owner Amy Van Vleet’s family for over 30 years. But their recipes date back even further.

“It started with my parents, Jerry and Kaye, and my sister Sue in 1988. I came back from school and joined the candy family in 1992. It has always been a small family business,” she says. “Our recipes use only the best ingredients, including Wisconsin butter and cream. Our caramel is our most popular item and the recipe is over 150 years old.”

Also available are hand-dipped chocolates made in small batches, as well as a large selection of novelty and retro candy, and fun gifts.

Soul Purpose

Find one-of-a-kind items from over 30 small businesses in this fun, new shop. Can’t find what you are looking for? Each business makes custom items and can help bring your dreams to life. Stop in and find something to fuel your soul: unique, homemade things you won’t find elsewhere.

Posie Patch Retreat & Studio

Posie Patch Retreat LLC combines retail space and getaway destination. Products include scrapbooking supplies, quilting material and home decor, while the studio offers classes, workshops and parties for all ages. Consider the Retreat House or Mini Retreat for overnight stays.



From breakfast/brunch to late night haunts, Suamico is on the map for both its relaxed dining options and elevated favorites.

Breakfast: Spork Cafe & Catering

From fan-favorite scones to unique twists on Eggs Benedict, Spork is an intimate cafe that uses locally sourced ingredients and environmentally friendly products. Their menu evolves with the season. While the space is small, the big flavors and fresh tastes make the charming space a giant in Suamico.

Pizza: Rustique Pizzeria


Rustique combines an open concept kitchen with an open mind about fresh pizza toppings. Favorite New York style pizzas include classics like the Margarita and Supreme, while also offering unique options “Pizza Cubana” (ham, pulled pork, red onion, swiss cheese, pickle and mustard sauce) and “Conquistador” (creamy mac ‘n cheese). Pro tip: Don’t miss out on their signature pesto fries and sandwiches!

Lunch: 888 Cheese & Co

“888 Cheese & Co is known for its grilled cheese and everything gourmet about grilled cheese!” owner Brandy Hernandez says. “Our most popular offerings are our Chick’n & Waffles, MAC Daddy, Dozo and the Classic 888.”

There’s something for everyone, including gluten-free, vegetarian options and a kids’ menu. Don’t forget dessert and handcrafted sodas!

Happy Hour: Station 1 Brewing Company

The renovated “old firehouse” embraces its history with outdoor seating and garage doors, and sprinkles pieces of its history throughout. The brewery will brew its own beer, and currently offers local brews, wine and cocktails.

Happy Hour: Ahnapee Brewery

Enjoy a line up of 16 brews on tap! Staple brews include Little Soldier, Two Stall, Hail Mary Helles and Cherry Mechanic. “Quick snacks” are available for purchase. Local restaurants deliver to the brewery.

Dinner: Chives

“Everyone knows about Chives, and for good reason,” Van Rossum declares.

Chives believes “food is at its best when it is fresh, local, and seasonal… executed with thoughtfulness and care.” Their Chef’s Table offers a firsthand view of the activity in a world-class restaurant kitchen.

Fish Fry: Four Way Bar & Restaurant

The Four Way’s building has a rich history dating back to 1880, and has been in its present location since the 1920s. Well-known for their multiple varieties of fish, Van Rossum says it’s the food, of course, but ambiance that also draws a crowd.“A Friday night at The Four Way is shoulder to shoulder, just an old-fashioned supper club feeling. They also have frog legs, an acquired taste!”

Dessert: Zesty’s Frozen Custard

Guests can expect three flavors of frozen custard from Zestys every day, and with the “Flavor Forecast,” you won’t miss your favorites. Burgers, hot dogs, chili and booyah are also on the menu!
“Zesty’s is (a) family-friendly spot to stop to enjoy things like burgers and cheese curds, along with their frozen custard,” Kawski-Kroening says.

Burger: Shoot’s Bar & Grill

Straightforward and to the point, Shoot’s is an institution locals know and love.

“You’ve got to have a Shoots hamburger!” Van Rossum raves. “They’re ginormous.”

Family restaurant: Wouters Front
Wouters’ Sports Bar and Grill offers the “down home family feel” that allows you to mingle with friends and family, while enjoying a good meal and cold beverage in a relaxing environment.

Tapas: The Bottle Room

The Bottle Room is dedicated to creating a relaxing environment for those passionate about great wine and craft beer. Meet family and friends in a warm welcoming atmosphere. Helping you progress from enjoying wine and craft brew to loving the selections you pick out is their mission.

Health food: DIRT, The Clean Juicery

The mission of DIRT is to provide nutrient-packed, cold-pressed juice, and organic food locally. Their menu has been created by nutritionists, perfected by chefs and presents organic, hand-crafted juices, smoothies and bowls packed with energizing, nutrient-rich ingredients.


Eccentric Claim to Fame

Known as a fishing village in the past and present, that’s not the only reason people come for the “water” of Suamico. In the spring, the Village welcomes a new set of visitors.
“Northern Pike will come up the ditches of Suamico,” Kriese says. “To see these fish that are 40 inches in a ditch of six inches of water is off the wall. You wouldn’t believe the tourists we see… it’s a Suamico thing!”

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