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32 Best Things to Do in Door County, Wisconsin

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Door County, Wisconsin, is on the peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan and is often nicknamed “the Cape Cod of the West” (or “Midwest,” depending on who you ask) because of the abundance of shoreline and other watery leisure activities to pursue there.

Door County has everything you’d want in a getaway spot, from hiking trails to scenic overlooks for quiet reflection, from art galleries to nightlife to delectable cuisine…and some incredible beer!

The peak seasons in Door County are the summer months because of the gorgeous weather. More attractions and activities are open during this peak season, although you’ll find that the area is a winter wonderland when it turns cold, with tons of wintery hijinks to enjoy.

Here’s a local expert take: We had the chance to discuss this lovely region with Sam Perlman, Deputy Director of the Door County Maritime Museum, and just what makes this piece of the country so remarkable:

Lake Michigan has always connected the Door Peninsula to the wider world, first by supporting Native American migration and trade networks with early European explorers, and later by connecting Door County to one of the most robust shipping networks in the world. Lumber and stone from Door County built cities and harbors around the Great Lakes, while fish and agricultural goods harvested and grown here fed people across the region. The natural beauty of the landscape drew settlers and tourists alike, and industry followed, establishing a thriving economy on the Door Peninsula.

Ultimately, Door County has many fun things to do during all seasons of the year, so you’ll be in for a treat no matter when you visit. It can be a bit baffling to sort through all the towns, so take a look at our guide explaining Where to Stay in Door County, and you’ll soon figure out the best areas for base camp.

TL;DR

Category Local’s Picks
Best Towns Sturgeon Bay, Washington, Fish Creek, Baileys Harbor
Best Tours Private Winery, Cider & Farm Market Tour,
West Islands Cruise,
Cave Point Kayak Tour
Must-See Landmarks Eagle Point Lighthouse, Niagara Escarpment, Door County Maritime Museum
Best Restaurants Grasses Grill, Chop, Carroll House
Best Places To Stay This Waterfront Cottage,
Chanticleer Guest House,
The Wanderlust Hotel
Best Park Peninsula State Park, Cave Point County Park
Activity for kids The Farm

Things to Do in Door County, Wisconsin

1. Experience Cave Point County Park

Cave Point Country Park at Door County in Wisconsin
Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

Address: 5360 Schauer Road, Sturgeon Bay WI

Wisconsin’s landscape is gorgeous with its rolling hills, rocky crags and bluffs, and thick forests. Door County is no different and has many scenic parks where you can enjoy this natural eye candy.

Cave Point County Park, with its iconic scenery, is popular with hikers, divers, and kayakers. Over the centuries, waves from Lake Michigan have crashed against the shore, carving unique stone fences and creating caves. The waves continue to crash, sometimes as high as 30 feet, so watch!

I’ve found many ways to experience Cave Point County Park. Hiking is always an excellent option. An e-bike tour allows tourists to see much more than they could see by walking. Also, a kayak tour or scuba diving are great ways to examine the caves

2. View the Niagara Escarpment at Peninsula State Park

Ice patterns and piles of ice plates called Ice Shoves on the Green Bay water of Lake Michigan, gather on the Cedar lined shore of Peninsula State Park, Door County, Wisconsin
Hank Erdmann / Shutterstock

Address: 9462 Shore Rd, Fish Creek WI

The Niagara Escarpment is a sizeable rugged ridge running westward from Lake Ontario and including Door County. The Escarpment is largely responsible for Door County’s unique landscape, and Peninsula State Park, with its high bluffs, is a great way to experience it.

At more than 3,700 acres, Peninsula State Park is Door County’s largest and most comprehensive park. It’s a breathtaking place to get close and personal with nature for a bit of R&R. I may be biased, but I do think that exploring the Escarpment is one of the best things to do in Wisconsin.

The park includes over 400 campsites, an 18-hole golf course, hiking trails, bike trails, Eagle Bluff lighthouse, Nicolet Beach, and Northern Sky Theater. Northern Sky Theater presents whimsical, family-friendly musicals during the summer. The park also offers views of the Green Bay Islands.

Active travelers can explore Peninsula State Park in many ways. These kayak tours include a stop for swimming or hiking and are a great way to see the park without fear of getting lost. Tourists who want a less active way to see the park can take a guided cruise of the West Islands and Eagle Bluff Lighthouse.

See Related: National Parks in the USA to Visit

3. Catch a Show at Peninsula Players Theatre

Play at Peninsula Players Theatre
Peninsula Players Theatre / Facebook

Address: 4351 Peninsula Players Road, Fish Creek WI

In need of a drop of culture? The Peninsula Players Theatre is the county’s primary professional theater group and has existed as a seasonal resident theater for more than 80 years.

Located in a picturesque garden, this theater has unique open sides, doors, and vents like no other I’ve ever visited. The season runs from June to October and features thrillers, comedies, and musicals. Arrive early, picnic in the gardens, or hike the theatre’s 16 acres of woods.

If you prefer an elegant indoor dinner before or after the show, visit one of the nearby restaurants. Possibilities include Alexander’s of Door County, Whistling Swan Restaurant, and White Gull Inn.

4. Ride the Ferry to Washington Island

Stunning sunrise cloud reflected light fills the bay surrounding Anderson Boat House, Door County, Wisconsin
Luminoisty-images.com / Shutterstock

Address: 1535 Airport Rd, Washington, WI

Feel like a day trip? The pristine 35-square-mile Washington Island lies in Lake Michigan, about 30 minutes from Door County on the Washington Island ferry line. The town itself is one of the best small towns in Wisconsin.

The strait between the Door Peninsula and the island is called Death’s Door because of the number of shipwrecks there! However, the ferry provides safe passage and lovely views from the top deck…and none have sunk as far as I know…

The ferry also accommodates cars, which are recommended for seeing the whole island. If you fly in, a few rental car agencies are in the area.

Washington Island has several interesting attractions, including bird-watching, studying nature, kayaking, and enjoying some hearty Midwestern fare at one of the island’s restaurants.

The limestone-pebbled beach at Schoolhouse Beach Park is one of the most beautiful beaches in Door County. A climb to Mountain Park Tower yields a panoramic view of Washington Island and its surrounding lake – don’t forget your camera!

5. Enjoy a Fish Boil

Local fireman holds up a tub of whitefish for fish boil at the Old Post Office Restaurant in Ephraim, Door County, Wisconsin, USA
Malachi Jacobs / Shutterstock.com

A fish boil is a culinary tradition in Door County and other Great Lakes coastal areas that have large populations of people originally from Scandinavia. The boils generally consist of Lake Michigan whitefish cut into small pieces, boiled with red-skinned potatoes over an open fire, and then topped with butter. Some cooks also include onions in the pot for a bit of flavor.

It’s warm, hearty, homemade stuff, and it’s one of those traditional regional dishes that will complement an icy Wisconsin beer on a hot day and keep the cold out in the dead of winter.

That said, due to the nature of fishing seasons, the long Wisconsin winters (and the unique, firey method it’s traditionally prepared), you’ll mostly find this treat served late spring through late fall.

While many Door County restaurants offer a fish boil, one of the most popular is Pelletier’s Restaurant. Pelletier’s offers a nightly fish boil from mid-May to October.

You can observe the whole process if you buy tickets and show up about 45 minutes before serving time. The restaurant also offers a full menu, including children’s favorites. Reservations are generally required.

The Old Post Office Restaurant is another popular fish boil destination and provides a bit of history as well as great food. The restaurant’s location began in 1874 as Peter Peterson’s General Store, which housed the Ephraim Post Office in the back.

The Old Post Office Restaurant also is open seasonally from mid-May to October and holds fish boils nightly except Sundays. It offers some alternatives to fish, which you must order when you make your reservation.

6. Visit Pottawatomie Lighthouse at Rock Island State Park

Pottawatomie Lighthouse at Rock Island State Park
Yinan Chen / Wikimedia Commons

Address: Pottawatomie Lighthouse, Rock Island State Park, Washington, WI

Pottawatomie Lighthouse, or Rock Island Light, is Wisconsin’s oldest lighthouse. The lighthouse on the north end of Rock Island State Park also is the oldest along Lake Michigan. It first shined its light in 1836, and it’s a super photo op.

To see the lighthouse, take a ferry to Rock Island State Park; however, you’ll need to leave your car behind as no vehicles are allowed on the island.

The park features several early 20th-century buildings, hiking trails, campsites, a swimming beach, and miles of the changing Lake Michigan shoreline. The five-mile Thordarson Loop Trail takes you along the lake and provides good views of the lighthouse.

7. Visit Some Door County Wineries

Wine at Door Peninsula Winery
Door Peninsula Winery / Facebook

The location of Door County on the Niagara Escarpment creates superb conditions for growing many grape varieties. Plenty of wineries offer reasonably-priced tastings. One of our favorites, Door Peninsula Winery has won more than 200 awards. A visit allows one to sample up to seven wines in a wine tasting.

Stone’s Throw Winery is another great place for wine tasting, although its prices are a bit steeper. But it’s clearly money well spent because their tapas and wine bar have claimed quite a few awards in recent years.

Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market is another top winery in Door County. The family-owned business offers a free wine tasting of up to six wines. It’s a super idea for a day out, with a bakery, market, and retail shops market also on the property, as well as seasonal music events.

Another excellent winery is Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery, located in the heart of Door County. This award-winning winery hosts more than 60,000 visitors annually. The winery also has live music on weekends in season.

If you’d like someone else to drive, consider a private winery, hard cider, and farm market tour!

8. Visit The Farm

The Farm in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
WisconsinEco / TripAdvisor

Address: 4285 Highway 57, Sturgeon Bay WI

Despite the innocuous name, The Farm ain’t your average farm! This is one of the best things to do in Door County with younger kids.

The Farm is a seasonal living museum of Wisconsin rural life. It provides the opportunity to see goats, chickens, pigs, lambs, and other farm animals in their habitat.

Visitors can bottle-feed baby kid goats and milk adult goats. They also can view exhibits of farm tools and 19th-century pioneer buildings. They can also greet friendly animals in a petting zoo.

Sturgeon Bay has various accommodations, including local, family-operated inns, boutique hotels, and national chains, to make your stay at The Farm and in Door County easier.

See Related: Things to Do in Madison, Wisconsin

9. All Aboard at Door County Maritime Museum

Ship and lighthouse at the Door County Maritime Museum
Door County Maritime Museum / Facebook

Addresses: Main Location: 120 N. Madison Avenue, Sturgeon Bay WI
Death’s Door Maritime Museum: 12724 Wisconsin Bay Road, Ellison Bay WI
Cana Island Lighthouse: 8800 East Cana Island Road, Baileys Harbor WI

Door County has a long maritime history and has contributed greatly to Wisconsin’s story. You can learn more about this fascinating history from the Door County Maritime Museum.

The Door County Maritime Museum operates at three locations throughout the Door County Peninsula and draws about 80,000 visitors annually. It is one of the top tourist sites in the county. The museum relates the history of shipbuilding and other aspects of the county’s maritime history through interactive exhibits and educational programs.

The Sturgeon Bay location offers tours of the John Purves, a seagoing tugboat, and the Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower. On the tip of Door County at Death’s Door, the Gills Rock location lets visitors explore the 1930s tugboat Hope and other maritime history exhibits in its galleries.

The museum’s third location is the historic Cana Island Lighthouse, built in 1869. Tourists can ride a haywagon or walk across the causeway to explore the lighthouse and keeper’s quarters.

The causeway sometimes floods, so the museum recommends wearing waterproof shoes if you plan to walk.

See Related: Best Lighthouses to Visit Around the World

10. Commune With Nature at The Ridges Sanctuary

Deer at The Ridges Sanctuary
The Ridges Sanctuary / Facebook

Address: 8166 State Highway 57, Baileys Harbor WI

By now, you’ve probably got a good idea of how beautiful this corner of the world is. It’s also a haven for local wildlife.

The Ridges Sanctuary is the state’s first land trust. It was founded in 1937 to protect the state’s ecosystem and provides various conditions, such as forests and open beaches, that provide sanctuary to plants, birds, and other animals.

It provides several hiking trails open year-round, notably the Cook Albert Fuller Nature Center. Trails on the Ridges Sanctuary also feature beautiful orchids in season, another great photo op.

See Related: Things to Do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

11. Hike in Whitefish Dunes State Park

Rock Formations at Whitefish Dunes State Park, Sturgeon Bay, WI
KDK70 / Shutterstock

Address: 3275 Clarks Lake Road, Sturgeon Bay WI

Whitefish Dunes State Park tops any hiker’s list of things to do in Door County. The park spans over 800 acres of woodland, shoreline, weird rock formations, and the highest sand dunes in the state.

The Red Trail leads to Old Baldy, the highest sand dune in the state, something to behold! Whitefish Dunes State Park also has about one mile of sandy coastline beaches. Visitors also enjoy swimming and fishing in the park and snowshoeing in winter.

Whitefish Dunes State Park also has a reservable picnic shelter that overlooks Lake Michigan and is adjacent to the park’s nature center. It also is an excellent site for a romantic getaway or an active day out on a family vacation. Visitors can also rent a cabin in the woods, a cottage on the lake, or a fancy condo.

See Related: Best National Parks in the Midwest

12. View and Buy Gorgeous Artwork At Edgewood Orchard Galleries

Exhibit at Edgewood Orchard Galleries
Edgewood Orchard Galleries / Facebook

Address: 4140 Peninsula Players Road, Fish Creek WI

Edgewood Orchard Galleries is a third-generation family-owned business and one of the Midwest’s most respected galleries. This unique rural gallery is in a renovated barn within a tranquil sculpture garden.

The galleries feature permanent exhibits from more than 150 artists across various media, such as paintings, sculptures, wood, glass, and jewelry. Edgewood Orchard Galleries also features shows that change monthly.

The gallery is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily, May through October, and by appointment only for the rest of the year. There are tons of charming vacation rentals in this lovely neighborhood if you feel like staying awhile.

See Related: Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells

13. Shop in Charming Door County Stores

Gift products available at Jacksonport Cottage
Jacksonport Cottage / Facebook

Door County is a terrific place to shop for one-of-a-kind crafts, antiques, jewelry, and other souvenirs. So shop around and see if you can find a gift for your loved ones or a memento from your trip.

Jacksonport Cottage Gallery and Gifts offers many handcrafted gifts from over 100 artists. Examples are Amish quilts, cloth dolls, wooden toys, personalized Christmas ornaments, ceramic pieces of Door County lighthouses, and rugs. The gallery and shop also provide a unique shopping experience because they occupy the main floor of an 1860s log cabin.

Antique lovers will enjoy Koepsel’s Meadow Lane Antiques. The shop features antique furniture, dishes, and other collectibles.

O’Meara’s Irish House stocks Irish goods like sweaters, giftware, and jewelry. The gift shop also offers tours to the Emerald Isle through a partner.

14. Dine in Sister Bay

Gravlax Eggs Benedict at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik
Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik / Facebook

Door County has many tasty restaurants; some of the best are in Sister Bay. I’ve spent many a lunch and dinner in Sister Bay, and I could go on about my favorites for days, but since we’re only about halfway through the article, I’ll fire off a few of my top restaurants:

  • Grasses Grill. New American fare and comfort food prepared with locally sourced ingredients. Their cheese curds are some of the best in town, and have superb sandwiches.
  • Chop. A steakhouse that provides indoor and outdoor eating and great lake views. They also mix some mean cocktails.
  • Carroll House Restaurant. It is a classic family-owned breakfast and brunch restaurant popular with the natives. The waffles are to die for.
  • Lure Restaurant. A casual-fare, fine dining restaurant featuring small plates, seafood, hand-cut steaks, and sushi. My go-to for surf n’ turf.
  • Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik. Offers in restaurant dining for adults and children and drinks and food in the beer garden. You might have heard of Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant before; the restaurant has goats on the roof, which you can see with web cameras. Yes, you read that sentence correctly.

If you need more recommendations, check out our full round-up of the best restaurants in Door County.

15. Take a Segway Tour

Bailey's Harbor Lighthouse in Wisconsin of USA
Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

Only in Door County for a short time and want to absorb as much as possible? Feel like exploring Door County at street level, but hate walking? How’s your balance and core strength? Good? If this sounds like you, consider a local Segway tour!

Segway tours are held in small groups and are an excellent way to see Door County. Segway tour options include quaint Appleton, the site of the world’s first hydroelectric plant, and a Baileys Harbor tour, which includes the aforementioned Ridges Sanctuary. Fish Creek and Peninsula State Park also are Segway tour sites.

16. Enjoy Brews and Live Music in Door County

Door County Brewing Company interior and staff
Door County Brewing Company / Facebook

Address: 8099 Highway 57, Baileys Harbor WI

With rich German, Polish, Czech, and British heritage, Wisconsin is one of the most sacred states for beer buffs. The state has fantastic breweries in all shapes and sizes, and Door County is no different.

The Door County Brewing Company is a family-owned craft brewery and a lively nightspot. It has a taproom and music hall with live music every Saturday afternoon and evening.

The taproom features a wide selection of beers, many of them unique, and also has a backyard beer garden. The brewing company also offers beer to go. The taproom receives great reviews.

Next to the taproom is DCBC Eats, which features handheld sandwiches, barbecue appetizers, and comfort food sides.

See Related: Things to do in Minocqua, Wisconsin

17. Tour the Hearthstone Historic House Museum

Architecture of Hearthstone Historic House Museum
self / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.5

Address: 625 W. Prospect Ave, Appleton, WI

The Hearthstone Historic House in Appleton was the first in the country to use electricity from an Edison hydroelectric system for lighting. The house is a national historic landmark and still has the original Edison electroliers and original light switches. It’s one of the coolest places in Appleton and worth a visit.

The beautifully restored house and museum also look at Wisconsin during the Gilded Age and the founding of the paper industry. It also is decked out with lovely Queen Victoria furnishings. Permanent and special seasonal exhibits further illuminate Wisconsin heritage.

It also looks to the future of power, exhibiting hydroelectricity, renewable power, and individually powered homes. One exhibit celebrates what it means to be a visionary.

18. Stop for Cheese Curds!

Beer Battered Wisconsin Cheese Curds with Dipping Sauce
Brent Hofacker / Shutetrstock

Address: 2189 County Road DK, Sturgeon Bay WI

While it hasn’t invented any cheeses, Wisconsin produces more flavors and cheese varieties than anywhere else. Cheese curds are very much a part of the everyday life of Wisconsin residents, and Door County residents are no exception. They’re popular raw, heated up, and added to poutine, or most commonly (and popularly), battered and deep fried!

One of the best places to stop for cheese curds is Renard’s Cheese Shop. Renard’s is a family-owned business, and Chris Renard has a master cheesemaker certification. Renard’s is also an excellent shop for cheeses, spreads, and gift boxes.

The Sturgeon Bay shop also has a bistro where visitors can sample melts, sandwiches, salads, and pizza featuring the famous cheese.

See Related: Things to Do in Racine, Wisconsin

19. Visit the Picturesque Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

A far off view of Eagle Bluff Lighthouse at Peninsula Park, Door County, Wisconsin
Susan Newcomb / Shutterstock

Address: 10240 Shore Road, Fish Creek WI

I love a good lighthouse, and Eagle Bluff Lighthouse has existed since 1868. This impressive lighthouse also has much of its original furniture.

The Deer County Historical Society restored the lighthouse in 1963 and provides tours. The lighthouse also is very photogenic, so don’t miss the chance to steal a snap.

If you’re not a history buff but looking to stretch your legs, Eagle Bluff in Peninsula State Park also provides great coast views along its various trails, which are suitable for adults and families with kids.

See Related: These Largest Lakes In The World Are Each Natural Wonders

20. Go on a Scavenger Hunt in Green Bay

Green bay wisconsin city skyline at night
digidreamgrafix / Shutterstock

Are you looking for day trip ideas? Door County is only about an hour from Green Bay, a city on the arm of Lake Michigan. A scavenger hunt provides a fun way to learn about and explore Green Bay.

The scavenger hunt operator offers challenge puzzles, trivia, and other clues that take you to all the city’s landmarks. You can take the tour at your speed and compete with others.

While you can do Green Bay as a day trip, you may want to stay overnight to explore all the city has to offer. Familiar hotel chains, local options, apartments, and bed and breakfasts abound across all price points.

See Related: Things to Do in Tomah, Wisconsin

21. Rent a Boat in Door County

Village of Ephraim harbour view in Door County of Wisconsin
Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

Door County includes about 300 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and provides many opportunities for recreational water activities, such as fishing, water skiing, and boating. A family or group can enjoy the river by renting a boat and engaging in their favorite sports.

Of course, you may have other reasons for renting a boat in Door County. More than 275 shipwrecks are near the Peninsula, many in less than 60 feet of water, so you can explore them without specialized diving equipment! Snorkelers and scuba divers will enjoy renting a boat and exploring these remnants of maritime history.

See Related: Best Scuba Travel Insurance Options for Divers

22. Take a Boat Tour in Door County

Tranquil Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin
Thomas Barrat / Shutterstock

Scenic boat tours are among my favorite things to do in Door County. More athletic and adventurous people can take kayak tours of many Door County attractions. A wetlands tour with a local guide takes you through Logan Creek State Natural Area to see wildlife and birds.

Adventure rafting is another great way to see Door County attractions. Door County Adventure Rafting is a local company that provides scenic boat tours on small, fast boats.

Its Death’s Door Tour leaves every afternoon and gives great views of the shipwrecks of the Grapeshot and Fleetwing, the lighthouses on Plum Island and Pilot Island, and the old Coast Guard Station on Plum Island. The tours are fun but not suitable for folks with mobility issues.

If you’re less adventurous, I recommend a guided tour of the North Shore to Death’s Door, an excursion to Eagle Bluff and Horseshoe Island, or a West Islands and Eagle Bluff Lighthouse cruise.

23. Enjoy Door County Beaches

Adirondack chairs on a beach in Door County
JL Jahn / Shutterstock

What’s summer without a trip to the beach? Door County has many beaches that provide ample opportunity to soak up sun and fun. Some of my favorites for families are Nicolet Beach, Waterfront Park, and Egg Harbor Beach.

Nicolet Beach is in Peninsula State Park and has paddle sport rentals, beach volleyball, and a playground. Waterfront Park is in downtown Sister Bay. Egg Harbor Beach is a short walk from Egg Harbor.

Rock Island State Park is my favorite beach when I’m looking for solitude. The beach is located on an island just off the Door Peninsula. It has a lovely Viking boathouse and Pottawatomie Light, the state’s oldest lighthouse. It requires two ferries to visit, so it’s seldom crowded.

See Related: Best Beaches in the U.S. to Visit

24. Pamper Yourself With Luxury

Chanticleer Guest House and garden view
Chanticleer Guest House / Facebook

Self-care is critical during a vacation! I like to treat myself to a luxurious spa day in Door County. A luxurious spa in Wisconsin? You betcha!

Spa Verde is a green salon and spa that is open year-round. It offers a variety of massage therapies, hair care, and hand and foot care services. It also has an infrared sauna, which I’m bonkers about.

If I want to pamper myself for the whole vacation, I stay in a luxury hotel. The Chanticleer Guest House is my favorite. The Chicago Tribune has placed it on the list of the most romantic getaways in the country. They’re not wrong; it’s as dreamy as dreamy can be!

The guest house is a restored 1915 farmhouse and barn filled with period antiques and sits on 70 acres. The property features its own hiking trails, ponds, and orchards. Its suites also have whirlpools and fireplaces.

See Related: Where to Stay in Door County, Wisconsin: Best Areas & Locations

25. Ride on the Door County Trolley

Door County Trolley in Door County Wisconsin
Door County Trolley / Facebook

Address: 8030 Wisconsin 22, Egg Harbor WI

The red and yellow Door County Trolley is another excellent way to see the best of Door County. The trolleys take you on scenic, wine, and ghost tours. They also have winter off-season tours.

One of the most interesting tours is on the Trolley of the Doomed, which provides local folklore, some of it scary. The Murder and Mayhem Tour recounts the exploits of some of Door County’s most infamous criminals. The Wine, Chocolate, and Artisan Cheese tour provides delicious samples of Door County delicacies.

26. Go Cross Country Skiing

The Lake Michigan Newport Bay shore is dusted and more with fresh snow, Newport State Park, Door County, Wisconsin
Hank Erdmann / Shutterstock

Address: Newport State Park: 475 Cty Hwy NP, Ellison Bay WI

Although many visitors come to Door County to enjoy its natural beauty in the summer, many also come during the winter. Almost every state park in Door County has cross-country ski trails.

Cross-country skiing is excellent exercise and a great way to scope out the county’s natural beauty. You can rent ski equipment at Bay Shore Outfitters in Sister Bay.

Some of the best-groomed trails are in Newport State Park. Newport State Park has over 2,300 acres of forest and 11 miles of lake shoreline.

If you drive to Europe Bay Road and keep going east, you’ll encounter Liberty Grove Town Park, where you can put your car without paying for a state park admission pass or parking. Then, you head back from the parking to the trailhead. You can ski from your car to the trailhead on very snowy days.

See Related: Best Winter Destinations in Minnesota to Visit

27. Shop at the Seaquist Orchards Farm Market

Shop at the Seaquist Orchards Farm Market
Seaquist Orchards Farm Market / Facebook

Address: 11482 Highway 42, Sister Bay WI

The Seaquist Orchards Farm Market has been a family-owned business in Deer County since Andres Seaquist planted his first cherry trees in the 1900s. The orchard consists of 1,000 acres of tart cherries and 50 acres of sweet cherries and apple trees.

The market sells products from these fruits, including jams, syrups, and pie fills. A bakery sells apple and cherry pies. The farm market is open from May through October and is a super day trip idea for traveling with young kids.

28. Enjoy Golf in Door County

Peninsula State Park Golf Course in Wisconsin
Peninsula State Park Golf Course / Facebook

Door County is a great place to play golf because it has 11 public golf courses. Two highlights are the Orchards at Egg Harbor and the Peninsula State Park Golf Course.

The Orchards at Egg Harbor is a new championship, 18-hole golf course rated 74.4 but with four tees at each hole to accommodate many skill levels. It is built on 200 acres and features a five-acre lake, a new clubhouse for dining and relaxation, and a pro club shop featuring top brands.

The Peninsula State Park Golf Course offers a lovely view of Green Bay and the Niagara Escarpment. It offers a regulation 18-hole course and a six-hole short course. The course also provides golf lessons, a pro shop, a restaurant, and a 10th tee halfway house.

See Related: Best Golf Resorts In America

29. Sample Cider at Island Orchard Cider

Bottle of Island Orchard Cider
Island Orchard Cider / Island Orchard Cider

Address: 12040 Garrett Bay Road, Ellison Bay WI

Island Orchard Cider brings its pears, apples, cherries, and hazelnuts from orchards on Washington Island across Death’s Door by ferry. It then produces the cider in Ellison Bay. You can sample ciders in the taproom by flight tastings, sharable pitchers, and glass pours.

The family cider business began when Bob and Yanique Purman bought land on Washington Island in 2005 and planted dwarf apple trees. The operation has steadily grown since, and they produce some mouthwatering cider.

The ciders won four silver medals in the 2023 Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition. The vast flavor selection includes apple, pear, and oak-aged classic, reserve, and specialty ciders. Apple varietals are similar to those in Normandy, France, so the ciders taste like wine.

The Door County Peninsula is famous for its Montmorency cherries, so I recommend the cherry-apple cider.

30. Rock Out to Live Music

Sól Grass Music Festival at night
Sól Grass Music Festival / Facebook

I can find live music during all seasons in Door County, but it is more available during summer because of many outdoor concert events. The county offers opportunities across many genres.

Some of the most fun summer series are the Peg Egan Sunset Series and the Fishstock Concert Series in Fish Creek. Midsummer’s Bay on Sister Bay puts on several chamber music concerts throughout the summer.

The Peninsula Music Festival features classical music, and the Sól Grass Music Festival will excite bluegrass fans.

See Related: Best Music Festivals to Attend This Summer

31. Love the Nightlife

Live band performance at The Fiddler's Farm
The Fiddler’s Farm / Facebook

Door County also offers some after-dark opportunities. The Fiddler’s Farm is a favorite of mine for folksy Americana.

The 118-year-old barn has been transformed into a music hall where some of the state’s best musicians offer classic country, modern swing, and bluegrass. The show is also one of the few nightlife shows that is kid-friendly.

Door County also has a lively bar scene, especially on Sister Bay. Husby’s Food and Spirits is an iconic watering hole. It features live music every summer weekend in the Garage Bar.

It also has 14 large, flat-screen TVs that air sports events. The Sister Bay Bowl is an energetic supper club and bar with great food and bowling. It’s also right next door to Husby’s, making bar-hopping easy.

If you fancy taking in a show, the Northern Sky Theater offers professional theater in an amphitheater and a more intimate indoor Gould Theater.

Finally, the Door County Auditorium has an extensive list of shows by well-known performers, such as the Marshall Tucker Band, the Happy Together Tour, and Gladys Knight. The venue aims for diversity and artistic excellence in its acts.

32. Use Door County As a First Stop in Exploring Eastern Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA downtown city skyline on Lake Michigan at twilight.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Door County provides a great introduction to the state of Wisconsin. If you are coming to Door County and can spend a few extra days, consider Green Bay or Milwaukee trips.

Green Bay Packers fans will enjoy seeing Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. The botanical gardens and zoo are good attractions in Green Bay, about an hour from Door County.

Milwaukee is about three hours from Door County. It offers many treasures, including its historic downtown, Pabst Theater, and Sculpture Milwaukee.

Milwaukee also has several interesting and unique neighborhoods. One of the best ways to see many Milwaukee attractions quickly is to take a guided tour consisting of walking and some bus riding. Another option is a guided walking Ghost Tour. If you’re into hip, I also recommend the guided walking tour of the Third Ward.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs welcome in Door County Parks?

Yes. In Door County, dogs are welcome in parks, communities, and trails. Many restaurants and lodges also welcome dogs. Dogs also are welcome on the ferries, trails, and campgrounds.

What are the top attractions to visit in Door County?

The Door County Maritime Museum Sturgeon Bay location may just be the top attraction in Door County for both adults and kids. Its interactive exhibits and educational programs make maritime history come alive.

Another top attraction is Eagle Bluff and the beautifully restored historic Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. A traditional Door County fish boil is an activity visitors don’t want to miss. I’d also recommend sampling some cheese curds.

Are there kid’s activities in Door County?

Yes. Door County offers a range of activities for children, depending on their interests. Swimming, fishing, boating, and kayaking are excellent activities.

Camping in one of the campgrounds can also be a great adventure for children. Children also will enjoy a visit to The Farm. Depending on their age, a scavenger hunt might also be fun.

What is the best time of year to visit Door County?

The best time to visit depends largely on what you hope to gain from your trip. The Peninsula can be a romantic getaway at any time of the year.

Cross-country skiers will visit Door County in winter. Most visitors, however, prefer to visit in the summer when beaching, boating, and hiking are the easiest. Also, most of the attractions are open only between May and October.

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