If you want to spend your next vacation soaking up the sounds of a music festival, sipping wine, or exploring the natural beauty of a state park, Door County, Wisconsin, might just be the best destination you’ve never heard of. Dotted with charming towns and villages, adorable boutiques, fruit tree orchards, and remarkable natural beauty, Door County is a Hallmark movie come to life.
Located just beyond Green Bay, Door Country is a sprawling peninsula that features 300 stunning miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.
Known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest” (or just “West,” depending on who you ask), Door County’s numerous attractions have solidified its place among the region’s top travel destinations. Nature lovers will feel right at home exploring Door County’s gorgeous beaches, five state park sites, and thousands of acres of wilderness.
Other travelers visit Door County to explore its thriving cultural scene, stay in a luxury hotel, or indulge in the area’s many wineries and breweries. Suffice it to say that no matter what type of trip you’re craving, a Door County vacation won’t disappoint.
Deciding on where to stay in Door County, however, can prove a bit tricky. That’s why we’re about to reveal everything you need to know to plan your next Door County visit, from the different areas of the Door peninsula to what to do and where to stay.
Show Table of Contents
- TL;DR: Best Areas to Stay in Door County
- Best Accommodations in Door County
- Where to Stay in Door County
- 1. Sturgeon Bay: Best for Families
- Highlights of Sturgeon Bay:
- Our favorite accommodations in the Sturgeon Bay area:
- 2. Egg Harbor: Best Nightlife
- Highlights of Egg Harbor:
- Our favorite accommodations in Egg Harbor:
- 3. Fish Creek: Best for Camping
- Highlights of Fish Creek:
- Our favorite accommodations in Fish Creek:
- 4. Ephriam: Best for History
- Highlights of Ephriam
- Our favorite accommodations in Ephriam:
- 5. Sister Bay: Best for First-Time Door County Visitors
- Highlights of Sister Bay:
- Our favorite accommodations in Sister Bay:
- 6. Ellison Bay: Best for Budget Travelers
- Highlights of Ellison Bay:
- Our favorite accommodations in Ellison Bay:
- 7. Baileys Harbor: Best for Nature Lovers
- Highlights of Baileys Harbor:
- Our favorite accommodations in Baileys Harbor:
- 8. Washington Island: Best for Culture
- Highlights of Washington Island:
- Our favorite accommodations in Washington Island:
- Are there any luxury accommodations in Door County?
- What are the best campgrounds in Door County?
- What seasonal activities and attractions can be enjoyed in Door County?
- How do I Travel Safely in Door County?
TL;DR: Best Areas to Stay in Door County
- Best Area for First-Timers/Tourists – Sister Bay
- Best Area for Budget Travelers – Ellison Bay
- Best Area for Camping – Fish Creek
- Best Area for Nature Lovers – Baileys Harbor
- Best Area for Families – Sturgeon Bay
- Best Area for Culture – Washington Island
- Best Area for History – Ephriam
- Best Area for Nightlife – Egg Harbor
Best Accommodations in Door County
|Category||Our Pick||Location||Price Range||Highlights|
|Best Luxury Stay||Gordon Lodge||Baileys Harbor||$$$||
|Best for Couples||Eagle Harbor Inn||Ephriam||$$||
|Best Mid-Range Hotel||Main Street Motel||Fish Creek||$$||
|Best Budget Hotel||The Landing Resort||Egg Harbor||$||
Where to Stay in Door County
1. Sturgeon Bay: Best for Families
Located about 44 miles from Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay is the place to be if you’re into boating, history, or both. Known as the local shipbuilding hub, Sturgeon Bay is the largest town in Door County, with a population of around 9,700.
Take a stroll through the historic Third Avenue district, where you’ll find a series of charming art galleries, one-of-a-kind shops, and great restaurants. Or visit the Door County Maritime Museum, where you’ll learn all about the area’s history through a series of interactive exhibits – complete with a tour of the Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower.
For more family-friendly fun, be sure to check out The Farm, a living historical museum where you can bottle-feed piglets, milk a goat, and explore pioneer-style buildings. If you’re looking to get out on the water, then a Kayak Tour of Cave Point County Park is a fantastic way to do it.
The tour even includes access to Whitefish Dunes State Park, where you’ll find plenty of hiking trails and dune-lined beaches. Want to keep the kayak-fueled fun coming?
Look no further than a Wetlands Kayak Tour through Logan Creek State Natural Area. The scenic journey will take you through a wet-mesic forest filled with foxes, eagles, and other wildlife.
Sturgeon Bay is also home to plenty of top-notch restaurants, from local favorites like Waterfront Mary’s Restaurant to the Cedar Crossing Restaurant, which you’ll find in the historic Inn at Cedar Crossing boutique hotel. All around, Sturgeon Bay is the place to stay in Door County if you’re looking for the perfect blend of natural beauty, culture, and some of the Midwest’s best B&Bs and boutique hotels.
Highlights of Sturgeon Bay:
- Door County Maritime Museum
- Cave Point County Park
- Whitefish Dunes State Park
- The Farm Living History Museum
- Weekly Farm and Craft Market
- Starboard Brewing Nanobrewery and Taproom
- Potawatomi State Park
- Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Lighthouse
Our favorite accommodations in the Sturgeon Bay area:
- Best Budget Lodging: The Scofield House B&B
- Best Mid-Range Lodging: Inn at Cedar Crossing
- Best Luxury Lodging: The Foxglove Inn
- Best Campground: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park of Door County
- Best Vacation Rental: This Cozy Loft
See Related: Best Things to Do in Wisconsin & Places to Visit
2. Egg Harbor: Best Nightlife
As you drive north past Sturgeon Bay on the side of the peninsula facing Green Bay, you’ll come upon the quaint coastal town of Egg Harbor. With a population of under 500, Egg Harbor is the stuff that small-town charm is made of. It’s the perfect upscale enclave offering award-winning golf courses, art galleries, a performing arts community, shopping, and restaurants.
Head to the Egg Harbor Marina for a day of fishing, boating, or relaxing on the beach. If golf is your thing, then make sure to check out The Orchards at Egg Harbor, a stunning 18-hole championship golf course that winds through orchards, hardwood forests, and a sprawling lake.
You’ll also find an impressive par-71 golf course at the Alpine Resort, which also offers several wonderful dining options. When it comes to keeping the kids entertained, look no further than Egg Harbor Fun Park, which boasts go-karts, mini-golf, a paintball range, and more.
But how can such a tiny town be the source of the area’s best nightlife? Well, grownups will find plenty to love in the area’s breweries, wineries, and distilleries! Check out the Egg Harbor tap room at One Barrel Brewing or enjoy a locally crafted bottle of Apple Brandy at Hatch Distilling Company.
Visit Shipwrecked Brew Pub & Restaurant, the original Door County microbrewery, or enjoy a mouth-watering meal at Fireside Restaurant. Don’t forget to stop by Door Artisan Cheese to experience the best cheese Door County has to offer!
Highlights of Egg Harbor:
- Some great golf courses
- Egg Harbor Fun Park
- Egg Harbor Marina & Beach
- Door Artisan Cheese
- One Barrel Brewing Company
- Hatch Distilling Company
Our favorite accommodations in Egg Harbor:
- Best Budget Lodging: The Landing Resort
- Best Mid-Range Lodging: Newport Resort
- Best Luxury Lodging: The Shallows Resort
- Best Campsite: Frontier Wilderness Campgrounds
- Best Vacation Rental: This1 Bedroom Apartment
See Related: Best Things to Do in Superior, Wisconsin
3. Fish Creek: Best for Camping
If you’re visiting Door County to explore Peninsula State Park, then you can’t go wrong staying in Fish Creek. Considered one of the best parks in Door County, Wisconsin, the park offers everything from campsites and beaches to bike trails and an 18-hole golf course.
See the best the park has to offer with a Peninsula State Park Segway Tour, or take in the views from the water with a West Islands & Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Cruise. You might even choose to explore the natural beauty of North Fish Creek and the Ephraim Wetlands on a guided Electric Scooter Tour.
Soak up more area history with a tour of the Alexander Noble House Museum, an 1875 Greek revival farmhouse. Round out the day with a trip to the Edgewood Orchard Galleries, where you can check out the work of local artists or take in a live performance at the Northern Sky Theater.
Wine and dine at Welcker’s Lounge or experience one of the epic fish boils Door County is known for at the White Gull Inn Restaurant. But make sure you also plan a visit to Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery, where you’ll experience the beauty of Door County’s legendary apple and cherry blossoms.
Highlights of Fish Creek:
- Peninsula State Park Golf Course and Park
- Sunset Beach Park
- Alexander Noble House Museum
- Fish Creek Beach
- Northern Sky Theater
- Edgewood Orchard Galleries
- Lautenbach’s Orchard Country
Our favorite accommodations in Fish Creek:
- Best Budget Lodging: Julie’s Park Cafe & Motel
- Best Mid-Range Lodging: Main Street Motel
- Best Luxury Lodging: Cedar Court Inn
- Best Campsite: Fish Creek Campsite & RV
- Best Vacation Rental: This Lake Michigan Condo
See Related: Best Small Towns in Wisconsin to Visit
4. Ephriam: Best for History
You’ll find Ephriam right up the coast from Fish Creek. This historic village was established by Norwegian Moravians in 1853, so it has deep Scandinavian roots.
The gorgeous village of Ephraim is also widely known as the home of Wilson’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant. Wilson’s Restaurant has been around since 1906 and offers visitors a delicious trip back through time.
The old-fashioned soda fountain still looks a lot like it did when it first opened, complete with a full menu of tasty treats! Chow down on a flame-broiled burger or shamelessly indulge in an ice cream sundae and home-brewed root beer.
Peninsula State Park is located right across Eagle Harbor, making Ephriam another top place to stay in Door County if you’re looking for outdoor adventure. Set out on a Peninsula State Park Kayak Tour or opt for a Door County Sunset Kayak Tour to enjoy the region’s natural splendor.
Ephriam’s proximity to Eagle Harbor also lends itself to plenty of pristine beaches and opportunities to enjoy your favorite water sports. Rest assured, you won’t have a hard time finding centrally located businesses that rent out anything from pontoons to jet skis.
Don’t forget to check out the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Museum, a 150-year-old lighthouse restored to its former glory by the Ephraim Historical Foundation. Leave your mark among the many visitors who have signed the walls of the Anderson Dock House or soak in the local culture at local art galleries like the Francis Hardy Gallery and Finelines Design Gallery.
Highlights of Ephriam
- Wilson’s Ice Cream and Restaurant
- Peninsula State Park
- Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Museum
- Anderson Dock
- Francis Hardy Gallery
- Fine Line Designs Gallery
- Eagle Harbor Beaches and Watersports
Our favorite accommodations in Ephriam:
- Best Budget Lodging: Ephraim Motel
- Best Mid-Range Lodging: Bay Breeze Resort
- Best Luxury Lodging: Eagle Harbor Inn
- Best Vacation Rental: This Huge Harborview Home
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells
5. Sister Bay: Best for First-Time Door County Visitors
If you’re wondering where to stay in Door County for the first time, then you can’t go wrong with Sister Bay. A charming coastal village of just over 1,000 people, Sister Bay has become one of the most popular Door County destinations due to its blend of beaches, attractions, and accommodations.
With over 1,900 feet of public waterfront, you’ll have no problem finding a Sister Bay beach area for swimming, kayaking, boating, and more. Choose from local cruises such as this Eagle Bluff & Horseshoe Island Excursion, or opt for a sail from the North Shore to Death’s Door Crossing.
If you’re a sailor yourself, then you might even choose to rent a tritoon boat for the afternoon or even a 23′ Pontoon. Round out the day with a meal at one of the best restaurants in Sister Bay, such as the Thyme Restaurant or Waterfront Restaurant.
While you’re in town, be to check out the Corners of the Past Museum, a fascinating tour of the 19th-century Anderson family farmhouse led by the Sister Bay Historical Society. If you’re looking for one of the more unique attractions in town, head to the Sister Bay Holy Transfiguration Chapel and Woods, a small Russian Orthodox Chapel that’s always open for prayer and reflection.
Not only is Sister Bay home to plenty of shops and art galleries, but it also offers a wide array of Door County accommodations to choose from. Whether you’re looking for spacious suites in a waterfront resort or pet-friendly lodge rooms with a fire pit and outdoor playground, you’ll find options to suit all interests.
Highlights of Sister Bay:
- Sister Bay Beach
- Sister Bay Marina
- Art Galleries
- GREAT restaurants
- Corners of the Past Museum
- Holy Transfiguration Chapel and Woods
Our favorite accommodations in Sister Bay:
- Best Budget Lodging: Open Hearth Lodge
- Best Mid-Range Lodging: Pheasant Park Resort
- Best Luxury Lodging: The Dorr Hotel
- Best Campground: Aqualand Campground
- Best Vacation Rental: This Sister Bay Cozy Cottage
See Related: Best Things to Do in Madison, Wisconsin
6. Ellison Bay: Best for Budget Travelers
Located at the northernmost tip of the peninsula, Ellison Bay is yet another fantastic place to stay in Door County. Sprawling along the pristine shores of Lake Michigan, the small community’s heritage as a haven for artists, writers, and nature lovers still shines through today.
Ellison Bay is home to lots of unique art galleries and shops, all of which are surrounded by natural beauty. Explore Door County at its finest with a trek through Ellison Bluff County Park, the positively prehistoric Mink River Preserve, or the 2,300-acre Newport State Park.
Look no further than Ellison Bluff State Natural Area for particularly stunning views of Lake Michigan. If you’re keen on enjoying a day at the beach without the crowds, Ellison Bay offers several nice shores, such as Sand Bay, Europe Bay, and Europe Lake, that don’t tend to get too much traffic.
When it comes to dining, you’ll find classy cuisines at Wickman House, while Hugal Haus offers authentic German dishes and beer. While nearby Sister Bay offers a much wider choice of places to stay in Door County, it’s possible to find next-level deals on inns and vacation rentals in Ellison Bay.
For this reason, Ellison Bay is a prime choice for budget travelers and large families. It’s the type of place where you can score a large family vacation home within walking distance of Lake Michigan for the same price as the best mid-range hotel offer in a larger area.
Highlights of Ellison Bay:
- Ellison Bluff County Park
- Newport State Park
- Island Orchard Cider
- Ellison Bluff State Natural Area
- The Clearing folk school
Our favorite accommodations in Ellison Bay:
- Best Budget Lodging: Parkside Inn
- Best Mid-Range Lodging: Harbor Light Inn
- Best Luxury Lodging: This 3-Bedroom Home on 5 Acres
- Best Campground: Wagon Trail Campground
- Best Vacation Rental: This Charming Garden Cottage
See Related: Best Restaurants in Madison, Wisconsin
7. Baileys Harbor: Best for Nature Lovers
If you plan to stay on the Lake Michigan side of Door County, then Baileys Harbor is a wonderful choice. Located just a short drive from Sister Bay, the Door County area offers plenty of outdoor attractions, quaint B&Bs, and local shops and breweries.
Head down to Door County Brewing Co. to enjoy live music and one-of-a-kind brews, or go wine tasting at Stone’s Throw Winery. Modeled after wineries found in Napa Valley, Stone’s Throw is famous in Door County for its beauty and fine wines made from California grapes. You’ll also find exceptional eats at other local favorites like the Harbor Fish Market & Grille or the Florian II Supper Club.
Explore Door County on a Wetlands Kayak Tour or set out on a Segway Tour and Hike through Ridges Sanctuary and Toft Point Nature Preserve. Baileys Harbor also features plenty of opportunities for canoeing, bird watching, and hiking the Kangaroo Lake Nature Preserve.
One of the other perks of Baileys Harbor is that it’s home to a wide variety of Door County hotels, cottages, and resorts. Whether you’re in search of amenities like luxury suites, modern amenities, and a private beach or are just looking for a great pet-friendly cottage, you’ll find it in Baileys Harbor.
Highlights of Baileys Harbor:
- Door County Brewing
- Stone’s Throw Winery
- Cana Island Lighthouse
- Toft Point Nature Preserve
- The Ridges Sanctuary
- Kangaroo Lake Nature Preserve
Our favorite accommodations in Baileys Harbor:
- Best Budget Lodging: Baileys Harbor Yacht Club Resort
- Best Mid-Range Lodging: Beachfront Inn
- Best Cottages: Baileys Sunset Cottages
- Best Luxury Lodging: Gordon Lodge
- Best Vacation Rental: This Cozy Pet-Friendly Cottage
See Related: Best Things to Do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
8. Washington Island: Best for Culture
True to its name, Washington Island is an actual island, but you can reach it (complete with your car in tow) via a five-minute Lake Michigan ferry ride. Once you arrive on the scenic island, you’ll realize why many visitors pay it a visit, no matter where they choose to stay in Door County.
Hop aboard a Cherry Tram Tour for a guided introduction to the island’s natural beauty, or go for a swim among the smooth limestone rocks of Schoolhouse Beach. Take in the otherworldly beauty of the Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm or explore an authentic Scandinavian Stavkirke or “Stav Church.”
The island is also a superb place to pick up souvenirs at shops like the Den Norske Grenda Wood Shop & Art Gallery and Fair Isle Books & Gifts. While you’re in the area, head to the Jackson Harbor Maritime Museum to learn more about Door County’s maritime history or enjoy a picnic at Percy Johnson County Park.
Then, enjoy a cold beer at the Washington Island Biergarten or head over to KK Fiske Restaurant, Granary Saloon & Coop hangout for karaoke, great fish, and fun. No matter when you plan to visit, it’s always worth checking out the island’s local events calendar for fish boils, music festivals, and other year-round events.
Highlights of Washington Island:
- Schoolhouse Beach
- Percy Johnson County Park
- Jackson Harbor Maritime Museum
- Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm & Shop
- Fair Isle Books & Gifts
Our favorite accommodations in Washington Island:
- Best Budget Lodging: Cedar Point Inn Suite
- Best Mid-Range Lodging: This Shorefront 2-Bedroom Home
- Best Luxury Lodging: This Newly Remodeled 3-Bedroom Home
- Best Campsite: Washinton Island Campground
See Related: Best Things to Do in Hayward, Wisconsin
Are there any luxury accommodations in Door County?
Kind of! You’ll find very few (if any) places to stay in Door County that offer private tennis courts, Michelin restaurants, and other 5-star accommodations. But it’s not difficult at all to find excellent 4-star resorts, vacation rentals, and charming B&Bs. The Dorr Hotel in Sister Bay, Gordon Lodge in Baileys Harbor, and the Foxglove Inn in Sturgeon Bay are all top-rated options.
What are the best campgrounds in Door County?
As home to no fewer than five state parks and miles of scenic shoreline, Door County is a camper’s paradise! Check out campgrounds like the Wagon Trail Campground in Ellison Bay, the campsites at Peninsula State Park, or any of the other campsites highlighted in the list above.
What seasonal activities and attractions can be enjoyed in Door County?
Part of what makes Door County such an incredible destination is that it features special events and festivals year-round. While summer is popular for watersports and hiking, winter brings opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing.
May through October is the most popular time to visit Door County. If you don’t mind a little wet weather, spring is also nice…and less crowded.
How do I Travel Safely in Door County?
Door County is best enjoyed outdoors, especially if you like watersports. With watersports (or any travel, really), there’s added risk, and there’s nothing worse than having to deal with the unexpected right in the middle of a great trip. Shop around for insurance at Travelinsurance.com.
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Jen is a Pittsburgh-based writer with a background in hospitality and tourism. Her specialties include sales and marketing technology and travel content. When she isn’t on assignment, Jen catches up on her many newsletter subscriptions, watches nocode tutorials, and spends time with her family.