25 Best Things to Do in Door County, WI
Door County is a county in Wisconsin located on the Door Peninsula, which sits right between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. The county has a long shoreline on both bodies of water and a number of activities available both on the water and on land. Various companies offer tours of the area, with a number of interesting options ranging from sailboat tours to trolley tours and even tours on Segways. There are lighthouses, interesting islands, plentiful beaches, hiking trails, historical sites, and more to explore. The area is popular year round, with tons of opportunities to enjoy and explore in both warm and cold weather. Photo: reb/Fotolia
» Door County Maritime Museum
The Door County Maritime Museum is a museum with three locations on Wisconsin’s waterfront. The museum’s exhibits shed light on the rich maritime heritage in the area, including the lives of lighthouse keepers, ship captains, fishermen, and more. You will see a variety of different boats, maritime equipment, personal effects, and models of ships and boats. There is also a restored 149-foot tugboat dating from 1919, which you can explore by guided tour. The museum’s exhibits are spread across locations in Sturgeon Bay, the Cana Island Lighthouse, and Ellison Bay. Each branch is family-friendly and often hosts special events for visitors.
Contact: 120 N. Madison Avenue, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, Phone: 920-743-5958
Photo: Door County Maritime Museum
»Cana Island Lighthouse
The Cana Island Lighthouse is a 19th century lighthouse in Baileys Harbor. The lighthouse is currently used as an active light and is open to touring along with the nearby keeper’s quarters. The lighthouse has quite a unique appearance, with a tall white tower topped with a black lantern. It was built with cream-colored brick from Milwaukee and at the time of construction was Door County’s tallest building. Walking to the top of the lighthouse is a great experience, if you can handle the 97 winding stairs. Staff at the lighthouse are available to provide some introductory information about the lighthouse and its history. The lake often rises above the path to the light, so be aware that at times you have to walk through water to get there.
Contact: 8800 E. Cana Island Road, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202, Phone: 920-743-5958
Photo: Henryk Sadura/Fotolia
»Cave Point County Park
Cave Point County Park is a public park characterized by hiking trails, limestone bluffs, and underwater caves along the banks of Lake Michigan. The caves have been carved out by the sea battering the stone walls over the course of many years. At times, there are impressive sprays of water from the waves slamming against the rocks. Kayaking to see the caves is a popular activity during calmer sea conditions. There are also several miles of hiking trails throughout the park. Even though the area is most popular during the warm summer months, there are also winter activities like sleigh rides, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and the impressive sight of ice waves.
Contact: 5360 Schauer Road, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, Phone: 920-746-9959
Photo: Kenneth Keifer/Fotolia
»Door County Historical Museum
Door County Historical Museum is a history museum with a number of educational displays that together tell the interesting story of Door County’s settlement and subsequent development. The museum is family-friendly with many interactive exhibits appropriate for children, such as a fire truck from the 1920s, which they are allowed to climb inside. A favorite exhibit among visitors is the Seasons of Life exhibit, which features more than 100 species of animals on display. There is also a theater where you can watch DVDs about the history of Door County. The museum is only open seasonally during the warm months.
Contact: 18 N. 4th Avenue, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, Phone: 920-743-5809
Photo: Door County Historical Museum
»Whitefish Dunes State Park
Whitefish Dunes State Park is a day-use park on the Door Peninsula’s eastern shore. The park contains the most significant sand dunes on Lake Michigan’s eastern shore. The land the park is on was once home to eight different Native American villages, and the remains of these prehistoric settlements can be seen throughout the park. The park is popular for the wide range of recreational activities available here. In the summer you can hike, boat, canoe, fish, and swim. During the wintertime, snowshoeing and skiing are popular activities. The park also has a nature center, where you can learn about the area’s geology, ecology, and cultural history with programs available for both kids and adults.
» Door County Trolley
Door County Trolley company is a tour company that offers guided tours on trolleys and a variety of other tour formats. The tours are led by guides who have a lot of knowledge of the Door County area, and this is an excellent opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the region. In the winter they offer horse-drawn carriage tours of the area’s wineries, where you will also get to enjoy lunch at a small local diner. There are narrated scenic tours, lighthouse tours, spring blossom tours, special holiday offers, and more. The trolleys are heated and closed in for a comfortable ride year round. The adorable trolleys are also available for rent for private events, and private tours are available.
Contact: 8030 WI-42, Egg Harbor, WI 54209, Phone: 920-868-1100
Photo: Door County Trolley
» Eagle Bluff Lighthouse
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse that was built in 1868 and is today part of Peninsula State Park. The lighthouse keeper’s house is open as a small museum. The lighthouse is still working today and provides boats that are traveling the Strawberry Channel with guidance from its perch 76 feet above Green Bay. The local historical society offers tours seasonally. During the tours, docents tell stories of the various lightkeepers and their families who kept the lighthouse working in the early years. Many artifacts are on display, including keepers’ personal effects and antiques from that time period.
Contact: 10249 Shore Road, Fish Creek, WI 54212, Phone: 920-421-3636
»Fish Creek Scenic Boat Tours
Fish Creek Scenic Boat Tours is a tour company offering daily boat tours from Fish Creek. The vessel is a 69-seat, partly covered, partly open boat that docks in downtown. The tours are lead by knowledgeable guides who provide narration as you cruise. There are three tours available: The Peninsula Park and Ephraim North Cruise, the Millionaires Row and the West Islands Cruise, and the Sunset Live Music and Egg Harbor South Cruise. Sights on the cruise include the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Egg Harbor, and the many islands, beaches, and bluffs of Door County. The cruises include snacks and there is live music on the evening cruise each day.
Contact: 9448 Spruce Street, Fish Creek, WI 54212, Phone: 920-421-4442
Photo: Fish Creek Scenic Boat Tours
»Historic Island Dairy
At one point in time, life on Washington Island virtually revolved around the Historic Island Dairy. The dairy provided many jobs and produced many of the dairy products used in the area and state. Today, the property of the former dairy has been renovated and is now used for a number of public uses. Visitors will find an exhibit related to the island’s interesting history as well as vintage posters and art exhibits. The bottom floor has a lavender market and the top floor has a ballroom, which is available for event use. Outside there are beautiful lavender fields and a pavilion.
Contact: 1309 Range Line Road, Washington, WI 54246, Phone: 920-737-1531
Photo: Historic Island Dairy
»Island Orchard Cider
Island Orchard Cider is an apple orchard and cider mill located on Washington Island. Here, they have planted some of the best, most hardy varieties of cider apples and at present have about 1,600 different trees producing a variety of fruits specially chosen to make great cider. The building that houses the cider mill was originally opened in the 1930s and has been renovated for use as a cider mill. Visitors who come to Island Orchard Cider can see the cider making process and taste a variety of different ciders. There is also a tasting room where you can further sample the ciders and purchase them by the bottle to take home with you.
Contact: 12040 Garrett Bay Road, Ellison Bay, WI 54210, Phone: 920-854-3344
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The Jacobsen Museum is a museum on Washington Island that contains exhibits related to the area’s natural history, cultural heritage, and settlement. The museum is named for Jens Jacobsen, a local explorer who collected and saved artifacts from the Potawatomi village that once stood on Washington Island. Here, you’ll find a number of eclectic items in the museum’s exhibits, including a several hand-carved model ships that were created by Jacobsen himself. Outside the museum, you can walk among a collection of large artifacts collected from shipwrecks in the Washington Island area, including the salvaged rudder of the Louisiana.
Contact: 2150 Little Lake Road, Washington, WI 54246, Phone: 920-847-2213
Photo: Vladimir Kolesnikov/Fotolia
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»Lautenbach's Orchard Country
Lautenbach’s Orchard, Country Winery and Market is a longtime favorite gourmet food shop among locals and tourists alike. The on-site winery produces a range of different fruit wines as well as traditional grape wines that are all made in house and can be tasted by visitors. They also sell other gourmet food items, such as jams, specialty candies, and dips. In addition to shopping for special treats, the tasting bar offers six wine samples to each visitor as well as several different specialty foods to try. There are also guided tours of the winery offered seasonally. These walking tours take approximately an hour and include a private tasting and tours of the vineyards, orchards, and production area.
Contact: 9197 WI-42, Fish Creek, WI 54212, Phone: 920-868-3479
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»Northern Sky Theater
Northern Sky Theater is a professional performing arts company that produces their own musicals in house. The musicals are typically themed around the heritage of the USA. They perform their shows outdoors at the Peninsula State Park Amphitheater throughout the summer. When it becomes too cold to perform outdoors, they utilize the Door Community Auditorium. Each year they have an exciting lineup of original acts. The full-calendar can be found on their website. The shows are affordable, and the atmosphere is relaxed, which makes seeing a show here a fun and relaxing cultural experience to add to your Door County vacation.
Contact: 10351 Bella Vista Lane, Ephraim, WI 54211, Phone: 920-854-6117
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»Peninsula State Park
Peninsula State Park is a popular park along the shoreline of Green Bay. The park has a variety of amenities and activities, making it an easy one-stop vacation destination. Visitors will find several campgrounds, an amphitheater in the summer, an 18-hole golf course, beaches, a network of trails that can be used for skiing, hiking and biking, a lighthouse, and more. The park is open year-round, but some things may be closed in the off-season. Highlights include visiting the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse and the museum in the former keeper’s house, learning about nature at the White Cedar Nature Center, boating out to Horseshoe Island, and biking the park’s Sunset Bike Trail.
Contact: 9462 Shore Road, Fish Creek, WI 54212, Phone: 920-868-3258
Photo: Steven Larsen/Fotolia
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»Segway the Door Tours
Segway the Door Tours is a company offering guided Segway tours of the Door County, Green Bay, and Fox Valley areas. Their most popular tours are the premier 2-hour experiences, of which they have several available. They also offer a half-day tour of Washington Island that includes a ferry ride across and lunch. Whether you choose to cruise up and down the beautiful hills of Peninsula State Park, explore the Sturgeon Bay Lighthouse and the Coast Guard Station, ride through country roads with views of Ellison bluffs, or a range of other options, the entire family is sure to have an enjoyable time.
Contact: 3903 WI-42, Fish Creek, WI 54212, Phone: 920-376-0256
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The Farm is a living museum and visitor center located on a working farm. They are open seasonally and offer visitors an opportunity to experience farm life. You can observe and feed baby farm animals such as piglets, lambs, and goat kids. You can also watch chicks hatching and learn how to milk goats. The farm has a number of interesting farm tools and implements on display as well as pioneer-style log buildings you can explore. The property also has nature trails where you can walk and enjoy the natural surroundings and exhibits related to the area’s farming heritage. The experience is only open seasonally and is great for a full day of family-friendly fun.
Contact: 4285 WI-57, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, Phone: 920-743-6666
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» The Ridges Sanctuary
The Ridges Sanctuary was the state’s first land trust preserving a tract of land with a particularly diverse ecosystem on the Door Peninsula. The most distinctive feature is a series of 30 ridges that were created by the changing Lake Michigan shoreline over a period of more than a millennium. There are also beaches and dense pine forests. A number of interesting plants grow in the area, including orchids, and the wildlife is also abundant. Visitors can walk the park’s boardwalks and trails and experience this plant and animal life firsthand. The nature trails are open year round. During the summer, you will find a variety of guided tours and programs available, whereas in wintertime you will find snowshoe hikes offered.
Contact: 8166 Highway 57, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202, Phone: 920-839-2802
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»Washington Island Ferry Line
The Washington Island Ferry line is a car and passenger ferry that connects the Door Peninsula to Washington Island. The island sits just off the tip of the peninsula and is a popular tourist destination. You can board the ferry and ride across either on foot or in a car. Combo tickets with the Cherry Train are available if you plan to do both experiences. From Washington Island you can take a second ferry further on to reach Rock Island State Park, but that boat is passenger-only. The ferry tickets are sold on a first-come first-served basis, so it’s recommended to be there a bit earlier than the ferry time you’d like to get tickets for.
Contact: 264 Lobdell Point Road, Washington, WI 54246, Phone: 920-847-2546
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»Bella Sailing Cruises
Bella Sailing Cruises is a cruise agency offering a wide range of cruise options in the Door County area. The company operates cruises seasonally from May to September and offers both day and sunset cruises, with each cruise lasting about 2 hours. On your cruise you will board a scupper or a one-of-a-kind vintage sailing vessel and can sit back and enjoy the stunning scenery as you pass by impressive bluffs, islands, the historic town of Ephraim, and Peninsula State Park. There’s a good chance you will get to see some wildlife during your ride, with shore birds of various species being the most common animals sighted.
Contact: 9993 N. Water Street, Ephraim, WI 54211, Phone: 920-854-2628
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»Curt’s Spice Co and Oilerie
Curt’s Spice Co and Oilerie is a company that produces a range of high-quality hand-bottled olive oils and balsamic vinegar. They are the largest company of their kind in the United States, taking what they have learned from their experiences traveling in Italy and crafting a fantastic product. They have always desired to bring the Italian passion for food to the United States and they are doing this all from a chain of small shops throughout the United States, with several locations in Wisconsin. You can purchase high-quality extra virgin olive oil, bread dipping spices, balsamic vinegars, and a range of other gourmet food items at their stores, where visitors are welcome to sample many of the products before they buy.
Contact: 4083 WI-42, Fish Creek, WI 54212, Phone: 920-868-1561
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»Door County Adventure Rafting
Door County Adventure Rafting is a high-speed tour boat company that offers chartered raft and boat cruises along Lake Michigan’s shores. Several tour options are available, including the Lakeside Shipwreck Tour, the Bayside Tour, and the Death’s Door Tour. The boat tours will allow you to experience the small islets of Door County up close and personal. You will also get to enjoy the solitude and isolation of several deserted beaches. Possible sights include Peninsula State Park, the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Horseshoe Island, the Hanover shipwreck, and Eagle Cave. All along the way, the tour guide will teach you all about the islands’ history and the ships that have sunk in the area.
Contact: 4150 Maple Street, Fish Creek, WI 54212, Phone: 920-559-6106
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»Door County Brewing
Door County Brewing Company is a family-owned and operated craft brewhouse that creates unique beers using as many local products as possible in their production process. The beers are mostly influenced by American, French, and Belgian brewing styles, although other styles of beer are sometimes available. You can visit their taproom and music hall, where you can taste their products and see for yourself. There is a whole calendar of live music and other entertainment events scheduled at the taproom and beer garden. As far as food goes, there are cheese boards and pretzels available on the menu as well as food trucks parked outside in the warmer months.
Contact: 8099 WI-57, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202, Phone: 920-839-1515
Photo: Door County Brewing
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»Door County Creamery
Door County Creamery is a family-owned goat farm, dairy, and creamery that makes hand-crafted cheeses, goat milk gelato, and other local goat milk dairy products. The creamery uses the freshest possible goat and cow milks to make a selection of gourmet cheeses, which they offer for sale both in person and on their online store. Visitors to the creamery can sample may of their delicious products as well as participate in their Farm Lunch Tours, where they will learn about the farm and production process and can enjoy some tasty bites of the creamery’s products. The onsite deli serves cheeses, charcuterie, tasting platters, sandwiches, salads, and soups.
Contact: 10653 N. Bay Shore Drive, Sister Bay, WI 54234, Phone: 920-854-3388
Photo: Door County Creamery
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25 Best Things to Do in Door County, WI
- Door County Maritime Museum, Photo: Door County Maritime Museum
- Cana Island Lighthouse, Photo: Courtesy of Henryk Sadura - Fotolia.com
- Cave Point County Park, Photo: Courtesy of Kenneth Keifer - Fotolia.com
- Door County Historical Museum, Photo: Door County Historical Museum
- Whitefish Dunes State Park, Photo: Courtesy of herdmann - Fotolia.com
- Door County Trolley, Photo: Door County Trolley
- Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Photo: Courtesy of reb - Fotolia.com
- Fish Creek Scenic Boat Tours, Photo: Fish Creek Scenic Boat Tours
- Historic Island Dairy, Photo: Historic Island Dairy
- Island Orchard Cider, Photo: Courtesy of SBH - Fotolia.com
- Jacobsen Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Vladimir Kolesnikov - Fotolia.com
- Lautenbach's Orchard Country, Photo: Courtesy of stevengaertner - Fotolia.com
- Northern Sky Theater, Photo: Courtesy of lapandr - Fotolia.com
- Peninsula State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Steven Larsen - Fotolia.com
- Pottawatomie Lighthouse, Photo: Courtesy of Fredy Thürig - Fotolia.com
- Segway the Door Tours, Photo: Courtesy of yra1111 - Fotolia.com
- The Farm, Photo: Courtesy of Piyawan - Fotolia.com
- The Ridges Sanctuary, Photo: Courtesy of StockVizions - Fotolia.com
- Washington Island Ferry Line, Photo: Courtesy of james_pintar - Fotolia.com
- Bella Sailing Cruises, Photo: Courtesy of idea_studio - Fotolia.com
- Curt’s Spice Co and Oilerie, Photo: Courtesy of anaumenko - Fotolia.com
- Door County Adventure Rafting, Photo: Courtesy of fottoo - Fotolia.com
- Door County Brewing, Photo: Door County Brewing
- Door County Creamery, Photo: Door County Creamery
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of reb - Fotolia.com
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