Door County, Wisconsin is a unique and charming peninsula with Lake Michigan on one side and Green Bay on the other side. It is a top-rated destination for all types of travelers because of its many natural attractions and outdoor activities, its numerous state parks and forests, lighthouses, and wineries.
Door County is also home to several small towns and villages, each with its own unique charm and attractions. This blog post shares all of the incredible things to do when visiting this one-of-a-kind Midwest town!
Here are 16 things to do in Door County, WI that we know you and your crew will love!
COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN DOOR COUNTY
- Best With Indoor Pool: Featuring an indoor pool and hot tub, Open Hearth Lodge is located in Door County’s Sister Bay. The town center and access to Lake Michigan are 3 minutes’ drive away.
- Best On The Water: Come to Sturgeon Bay’s Snug Harbor Inn located on 300 feet of park-like water frontage. Right out your back door, you will find picnic tables, fire rings, and outdoor barbecues. Enjoy luxury rooms at an affordable price while discovering Sturgeon Bay’s energetic historic waterfront community.
- Best Resort For An Adults Only Getaway: Experience the quiet water view setting of this secluded Door County gem. The Country House Resort offers a unique combination of luxury, romance, and relaxation in the historic village of Sister Bay, WI. They cater to adults and provide privacy to those who savor it.
KAYAK TO THE SEA CAVES AT CAVE POINT COUNTY PARK
Cave Point County Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Door County, and for good reason. The park offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, 19 acres of hiking trails through beautiful woods, and plenty of opportunities to see wildlife up close. And one of the best ways to experience all that Cave Point has to offer is by kayak.
Kayaking to the sea caves at Cave Point is an unforgettable experience. The water is crystal clear, and the cliffs are beautiful. On calm days, you can even see the turquoise waters of Lake Michigan from the sandy beaches. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a deer or two.
Even though Cave Point County Park isn’t a state park, it is a quintessential Door County experience that offers impressive views and unforgettable memories. So what are you waiting for? Grab a kayak and head to Cave Point County Park today!
HIKE THE DUNES AT WHITEFISH DUNES STATE PARK
Fourteen and a half miles of shoreline hiking trails wind through Whitefish Dunes State Park, providing stunning views of Lake Michigan. The park is home to Old Baldy, the tallest dune in the state. Hiking off-trail is not allowed in order to protect the rare plant and animal species that live here. Instead, designated trails and stairs make it easy to explore the park and take in the natural beauty.
The Red trail is 2.8 miles long and has a shorter loop available. The route takes hikers to the previously mentioned “Old Baldy,” which rises 93 feet above lake level. Old Baldy has an observation platform for sweeping Lake Michigan and Clark Lake views. A boardwalk and stairs take hikers to the top. Along the way, hikers will enjoy stunning views of the shoreline and the opportunity to see local plants and animals unique to Wisconsin.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just getting started, Whitefish Dunes State Park is great for enjoying some time outdoors. Make sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen, and don’t forget your camera to capture the incredible views.
SOAK UP THE SUN AT SCHOOLHOUSE BEACH
There’s no better place to enjoy the summer sun than at Schoolhouse Beach on Washington Island. You’ll take a ferry to this beach and pass over many lost shipwrecks.
This unique beach is filled with limestone pebbles (one of the few limestone pebble beaches in the world) instead of sand. The protected harbor and swimming area make it a perfect spot for a day trip.
When you’re done soaking up the sun, be sure to check out the Jacobsen Museum for information and artifacts from the island’s shipwrecks. You can also climb Mountain Park Tower for stunning views of the surrounding area.
TAKE A GUIDED TOUR OF EAGLE BLUFF LIGHTHOUSE
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse is a beautiful, historic lighthouse located within Peninsula State Park. Visitors can tour the lighthouse and learn about its rich history.
The lighthouse was built in 1868 and served as an essential navigation aid for ships entering Green Bay. Today, the lighthouse is not only continuing to guide vessels but is a popular tourist destination that offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
TOUR FISH CREEK BY BOAT
Fish Creek Scenic Boat Tours is the perfect way to tour Fish Creek and see all the sights!
Their 69 passenger partly covered, partly open tour boat offers daily narrated tours to Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Peninsula State Park, Millionaire’s Row, Eagle Cave, Egg Harbor, Ephraim, and the many islands, bluffs, and beaches surrounding Door County. You can even enjoy a small cooler of refreshments on board.
Their daily sunset cruise offers free live music, so be sure to get up and boogie!
Don’t miss their special Fireworks cruises scheduled throughout the summer season. Fish Creek Scenic Boat Tours is the perfect way to see Fish Creek and all it has to offer!
EXPERIENCE A FISH BOIL
Any quintessential Door County trip has to experience a fish boil! This is a tradition that dates back many years and is a beloved part of Door County culture. Restaurants all have their own unique take on the fish boil, but they generally use fresh-caught Lake Michigan whitefish. In addition, the meal is often rounded out with Door County cherry pie, making it a truly authentic experience.
Fish boiling first showed up in Door Country toward the end of the 1800s by Scandinavian settlers. The settlers needed an economical way to feed their large groups of hungry workers. Many places and cultures have their own style or version of a fish boil, but the one tourists see today is based on what the Scandinavian immigrants used.
It wasn’t until about 1961 that the fish boil that is used today became a popular tourist attraction. Lawrence and Annette Wickman started boiling at The Viking in Ellison Bay, followed by owners at the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek.
It’s tradition for Door County families to celebrate weddings, graduations, and other special occasions with a fish boil. If you’re in town for a special occasion, be sure to ask about getting a fish boil added to the festivities!
KAYAK OVER SHIPWRECKS AT BAILEYS HARBOR
Door County is home to a number of shipwrecks, and you can explore them up close by kayak. One of the best places to see the shipwrecks is Baileys Harbor.
When touring the wrecks by kayak, you’ll paddle over several 1800s wooden schooner shipwrecks. We suggest renting a transparent bottom kayak to see the shipwrecks clearly.
When traveling with a tour, tour guides will take you through the outer reef system and over as many wrecks as time and visibility permitting.
VISIT THE ORCHARDS AT THE RIDGES SANCTUARY
Orchids are one of the most beautiful and intriguing flowers in the world. The Ridges Sanctuary is home to 24 of Wisconsin’s 40 native species of orchids, and is committed to protecting and restoring these important plants.
Their Orchid Restoration Project is working to inventory their current populations, understand the threats they face, and develop conservation strategies to ensure their long-term survival.
Visitors to the sanctuary can take a self-guided Orchid Hike to see these amazing flowers in their natural habitat. Along the way, you’ll learn about the different species of orchids that call The Ridges home and the challenges they face.
If you’re looking for a truly unique and beautiful place to visit, be sure to add the Orchards at The Ridges Sanctuary to your list!
CHOW DOWN IN SISTER BAY
Sister Bay is famous for its stunning sunset on the beach, but it’s also a great place to enjoy a meal. The small town has some of the best restaurants in Wisconsin, so you’re sure to find something to your taste. So whether you’re craving comfort food or a delicious steak, you’ll be able to satisfy your appetite in Sister Bay. Sister Bay was actually rated #1 in Small Town dining in the state of Wisconsin!
Some popular and highly rated Sister Bay restaurants include:
- Grasse’s Grill
- LURE Restaurant
- Waterfront Restaurant
- Door County Creamery
Note that many restaurants in Door County only operate in the summer season.
BIKE WHITE CEDAR NATURE CENTER
Whether you’re an experienced biker or just getting started, biking is a great way to explore the White Cedar Nature Center in Door County. With miles of trails to choose from, there’s something for everyone. And what better way to take in the scenic beauty of the area than by bike?
The White Cedar Nature Center also includes an interactive visitor center where families can explore hands-on activities and enjoy educational family-friendly nature programs.
TOUR BY TROLLEY
Use the Door County Trolley to properly tour around Door County!
You will start your tour in Egg Harbor (the depot is here). From there, you will explore all that Door County has to offer, from its many parks and nature trails to its quaint small towns and villages.
They offer all sorts of tours, from dining car experiences, drinking tours, lighthouse sightseeing, ghost tours, and a whole lot more.
This is a great way to see Door County without having to worry about driving and finding parking. And, of course, you’ll get to enjoy the scenery as you ride around on the trolley. A ride on the trolley is one of the best things to do in Door County!
SAMPLE THE CHEESE AT RENARD’S CHEESE SHOP
If you love cheese, then a visit to Renard’s Cheese Shop in Sturgeon Bay is a must!
This local shop is known for its wide variety of artisan cheeses, as well as its delicious cheese curds. But that’s not all – they also offer complimentary cheese and wine tastings seven days a week.
Whether you’re a Door County local or just visiting for the weekend, be sure to stop by Renard’s Cheese Shop and sample some of the best cheese around – bon appétit!
ENJOY A BOAT TOUR OF HORSESHOE ISLAND
One of the great things about Horseshoe Island is that it’s only accessible by boat. This means that you can enjoy a peaceful and secluded experience when you visit.
Several boat tour companies operate in Door County, and many of them offer tours of Horseshoe Island. These tours are a great way to learn about the island’s history and mystery and enjoy its natural beauty.
In addition, if you’re interested in kayaking to Horseshoe Island, there are kayak rentals from Nicolet Beach Concessions in Peninsula State Park. When you kayak to Horseshoe Island, you’ll have the opportunity to see some of the island’s unique features up close. You’ll also get to explore the island’s many hidden coves and beaches. You might even spot some of the island’s wildlife, including its famous trumpeter swans if you’re lucky.
SEGWAY THROUGH THE CITY OR PARKS
Looking for an exciting way to explore the beautiful city and parks of Door County? Why not try a Segway tour! Segways are easy to use and a great way to get around. Tours typically last about 1-2 hours and will take you to some of the best sights the city and parks have to offer.
Some of the most popular Segway tours in Door County include touring Peninsula State Park, Baileys Harbor Lighthouse, and Cave Point. You can also tour Ellison Bluff, Sturgeon Bay, Fish Creek, Egg Harbor, Sister Bay, and nearby Green Bay.
No matter what your interests are, there is sure to be a Segway tour that is perfect for you!
GO FISHING IN ELLISON BAY
If you’re looking for a deep water fishing destination in Door County that is relatively uncrowded, Ellison Bay may be your place. The bay here has a lot of deep water, making it a good spot for targeting salmon and trout.
In addition, because it’s not as popular as some other fishing spots in the area, you can expect to have a little more peace and quiet here. S
o if you’re looking to escape the crowds and enjoy some deep water fishing, Ellison Bay is worth checking out.
TOUR A TUGBOAT (AND MORE) AT THE MARITIME MUSEUM
The Door County Maritime Museum offers an extensive collection of nautical artifacts and exhibits. Visitors can learn about the history of shipbuilding in Door County, see a working model of a Great Lakes freighter, and view a replica of the Eddystone Lighthouse.
The John Purves is a 1919 Great Lakes tugboat that has been restored and is open for public tours at the Door County Maritime Museum. The 40-minute guided tour gives visitors an all-access look at the 149-foot vessel, from the engine room to the crew cabins, galley, and wheelhouse.
During the tour, you’ll learn about the daily life of the tugboat crew and get a feel for what it was like to work on one of these vessels. The John Purves is just one of the many exciting exhibits at the Door County Maritime Museum, so be sure to check out the rest of the museum after your tour.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO WISCONSIN
- MADISON: 23 Fun Things To Do In Madison, WI You’ll Love
- LAKE GENEVA: 18 Amazing Things To Do In Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
- MILWAUKEE: 18 Amazing Things To Do In Milwaukee
- WISCONSIN DELLS: 32 Phenomenal Things To Do In Wisconsin Dells
- GREEN BAY: 16 Not-So-Cheesy Things To Do In Green Bay, WI
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WHERE TO STAY IN DOOR COUNTY
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