“With 300 miles of shoreline, you can watch a sunrise and a sunset over the water without leaving the county. See thousands of acres of orchards, explore art galleries, devour cherry pie, sip on local wines and brews, splash in the lake, paddle along the bluffs, stroll through five state parks, or tour 11 historic lighthouses. No matter what you’re looking to get out of your vacation, our 19 unique communities allow you to live life well.” ~ Destination Door County
The following sections are a mere glimpse into some of what Door County has to offer. Please visit www.DoorCounty.com to learn more!
Over 100 miles of biking and hiking trails offer plenty of opportunities to get off the beaten path and explore Door County. Cyclers and hikers may experience everything from gently winding country roads through fields and orchards to challenging off-road wooded trails in state and county parks. Families may enjoy walking interpretive nature trails while mountain bikers will particularly enjoy the 15 mile Ahnapee Trail which connects Algoma with Sturgeon Bay. For more information about the Ahnapee State Trail please visit www.dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/ahnapee/. Bike rentals are available in Sturgeon Bay from Nor Door Sport & Cyclery. They are located at 1014 Egg Harbor RD, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. Reach them by phone 920-818-0803, or visit them online at www.nordoorsports.com/articles/bicycle-rentals-pg162.htm. For information about biking and hiking trails check out this guide at www.DoorCounty.com/media/17046/dcvb_bikemap_2019.pdf.
With more water than land, it’s no wonder visitors want to get out on the waters of Green Bay or Lake Michigan. Experienced boaters can cruise, row, or sail past miles and miles of shoreline and explore a number of islands. For a fun filled afternoon, a scenic cruise or sailing tour is a great way to view Door County’s incredible shoreline vistas. For a memorable experience, the sailing vessel Edith M. Baker, a traditionally rigged and registered tall ship, offers a two hour narrated tour along the county past islands, a lighthouse and a shipwreck. For more information about the Edith M. Baker and/or a complete list of boat rentals, charters, cruises, marinas and sailing tours please visit www.DoorCounty.com.
There is no body of water in Door County that doesn’t make for a spectacular paddle trip. Calm water can almost always be found somewhere in Door County. Guided canoe or kayak trips are one of the best ways to safely experience the waters and are available all over the county. We recommend Door County Kayak Tours, LLC located at 8842 HWY 42, Fish Creek, WI 54212, 920-868-1400, www.doorcountykayaktours.com/. A complete listing of rentals available in the county can be found by visiting www.DoorCounty.com.
Nearly 90% of Door County’s land mass remains undeveloped. Over 23,000 acres of public and preserved land are dedicate directly to parks, nature preserves and state natural areas to explore. Door County has the greatest biological diversity of any county in Wisconsin. Its rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, marshy bays, fertile wetlands and boreal (coniferous) forests provide habitats for more than 163 rare and endangered plant and animal species. Door County’s 24 State Natural Areas actively protect its diverse ecosystems.
Nineteen county parks cover nearly 1,000 acres and offer miles of biking and hiking trails, seven boat launches, three public beaches, and numerous picnic and playground facilities. For a map of Door County’s county parks and more information please contact the Door County Parks System located at 3538 Park Dr., Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. Call 920-746-9959 or visit http://map.co.door.wi.us/parks/.
Newport State Park is Wisconsin’s only formally designated wilderness park. Located just north of Ellison Bay along Lake Michigan, it is home to evergreen and hardwood forests, wetlands, and upland meadows. The park has an interpretive center, a naturalist program, and offers over 38 miles of trails for hiking and nearly 17 miles of trails for off-road bicycles. For more information about Newport State Park located at 475 County HWY NP, Ellison Bay, WI, 54210, please call 920-854-2500 or visit https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/newport/.
Overlooking the water of Green Bay, Peninsula State Park is considered Wisconsin’s most complete park with terrain ranging from rocky bluffs to abandoned farm fields. Visitors can bike, boat, fish, golf, hike, picnic, and swim during the spring, summer and fall. Nature programs and sightseeing are offered year-round, and special features include the historic Eagle Bluff lighthouse, Horseshoe Island, an outdoor play and musical theatre (www.NorthernSkyTheatre.com), an18-hole golf course, and more! Peninsula State Park is located at 9462 Shore RD, Fish Creek, WI 54292. For more information please call 920-421-3636 or visit https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/peninsula/.
Potawatomi Park is located on the shoreline of Sturgeon Bay and has just over 1,200 acres of gently rolling upland terrain bordered by steep and rugged limestone cliffs. The park is a hub for biking, boating, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, and hiking. There are miles of trails including the eastern end of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Potawatomi State Park is located at 3740 Park Dr., Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. For more information please call 920-746-2890 or visit https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/potawatomi/.
Rock Island is dotted with historic sites, fishing and swimming areas, camping, a one mile interpretive trail, 10 miles of hiking trails, the site of Wisconsin’s oldest lighthouse, and a museum displaying artifacts of the island’s fascinating history from the earliest Native Americans to the first European residents. Rock Island is very rustic as there are no shops or groceries available and you will have to plan your trip to coincide with the ‘passenger only’ ferry schedules. For more information about Rock Island please call 920-847-2235 or visit https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/rockisland/.
Whitefish Dunes State Park has more visitors than any other day use park in Wisconsin. The park was established to protect the fragile dune environment and has trails winding through wetlands, forested sand dunes, and a beech forest which run along Lake Michigan and Clark Lake. Whitefish Dunes State Park is located at 3275 Clarks Lake Rd., Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. For more information please call 920-823-2400 or visit https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/whitefish/.
Door County’s oldest nonprofit nature preserve is The Ridges Sanctuary. It is comprised of 1,600 acres of pristine natural areas and is also designated as a State Natural Area, an Important Bird Area, and a National Natural Landmark. You will discover educational programs, naturalist led hikes, and five miles of rustic trails and bridges. The sanctuary is open year-round from dawn to dusk and is located at 8270 HWY 57, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202. For more information please call 920-839-2802 or visit www.ridgessanctuary.org
The Door County Coastal Byway is one of only four Scenic Byways in the State of Wisconsin. It begins just north of Sturgeon Bay and travels 66 miles along the Niagara Escarpment and shores of Lake Michigan and Green Bay following Highway 42 and 57 around the peninsula. It encompasses many attractions, historic sites, activities, and beautiful scenery. Door County Coastal Byway maps are available at Destination Door County located at 1015 Green Bay RD (HWY 57), Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235.
Door County has approximately 500 acres of apple orchards and is among the top cherry producing regions in the United States with more than 2000 acres planted. Door County orchardists grow and harvest up to 13 MILLION pounds of cherries each year! The thousands of fruit trees bloom in the spring. The cherries ripen in July, and apples are ready to pick from September through October. There are a number of ‘u-pick’ farms scattered throughout the county including our local and historical favorite Robertson Orchards of Door County located at 2575 South Shiloh RD, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. There are Farmers’ Markets every Saturday in Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay from June – October, and in Fish Creek and Jacksonport on weekdays.
There’s something going on almost every week in Door County. Festivals and events which celebrate our diverse cultural heritage as well as Door County’s unique history. A few of the annual events include:
Door County Festival of Blossoms – A county wide celebration of spring throughout May
Maifest – A Memorial Day celebration in Jacksonport
Door County Lighthouse Festival – A county wide festival happening in June
Door County Beer Festival – A June celebration in Baileys Harbor
Door County Wine Fest – A June celebration in Sturgeon Bay
Fyr Bal Festival – A June celebration in Ephraim
Uncork Summer – A June celebration in Ellison Bay
Midsummer’s Music Festival – County wide festivities happening in June, July and September
Steel Bridge Songfest – A Sturgeon Bay music festival happening in June
Door County Folk Festival – A July music festival happening in Baileys Harbor, Ephraim and Sister Bay
Fly-In Fish Boil – A Washington Island event happening in July
4th of July Parade and Fireworks – Happening county wide on or around the 4th
Plein Air Festival – A county wide event with live paint outs happening in July in Fish Creek
Classic & Wooden Boat Festival – A weekend of festivities happening in Sturgeon Bay in August
Door County Festival of the Arts – An August festival happening in Ephraim and Sister Bay
Peninsula Music Festival – A music festival happening in Fish Creek in August
Death’s Door Barbeque – A Washington Island event happening in August
Marina Fest – A Labor Day event taking place in Sister Bay
Harvest Festivals – Festivities in Sturgeon Bay, Baileys Harbor and Fish Creek happening in September
Fall Festivals – Events in Egg Harbor, Washington Island, Sister Bay, Fish Creek and Jacksonport happening in October
This is a mere fraction of the events and festivities happening in Door County from May through October. For a current and complete list with exact dates and locations of the wide array of festivals and events happening in Door County, please visit the Calendar of Events at www.DoorCounty.com/experience/events/.
Fish Boils were started by Scandinavian settlers as an economical way to feed large hungry groups of fishermen and lumberjacks and have since become an integral part of the Door County experience. The dramatic cooking method is as much fun to watch as the food is to eat. Fish Boils can be found year round at many restaurants all across the county. You may stop by Destination Door County located at 1015 Green Bay RD (HWY 57), Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, or www.DoorCounty.com/dine/fish-boils/ for up to date information about the region’s fish boils and other culturally rich dining opportunities.
Door County has some of the best fishing to be found in the Midwest. The waters surrounding Sturgeon Bay and Washington Island are known for having one of the best small-mouth bass fisheries in America. Lake Michigan and Green Bay hold king salmon, trout, walleye, perch, crappie, smallmouth bass, northern pike, lake sturgeon, and muskellunge better known as Muskie (Wisconsin’s State fish!). There are numerous fishing charter operations available in Sturgeon Bay and throughout the county. Visit www.DoorCounty.com/experience/fishing/ to learn everything you need to know about fishing charters in Door County. *Please note: Anglers 16 years and older must have a valid Wisconsin fishing license, and a Wisconsin Great Lakes Salmon/Trout stamp is required for salmon and trout fishing. Fishing licenses and Great Lakes stamps can be purchased locally at Howie’s Tackle located at 1309 Green Bay RD (HWY 57), Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. You can check in with them ahead of your trip by calling 920-746-9916. You may also purchase them online through the Wisconsin DNR by calling 888-936-7463 or visiting https://dnr.wi.gov/.
For visitors with no transportation or those who would like support in discovering our region, guided tours are just the thing. You may explore the county by air, trolley, tram, sailboat, tall ship tours, kayak, and even on a Segway personal transporter with knowledgeable and fun guides. Please visit www.DoorCounty.com for more information on the guided tours offered in Door County.
Any time of year is a great time to take in Door County scenery by horseback. Visitors may choose from pony rides for young ones to wooded trails. Kurtz Corral located at 5712 Howard Lane in Sturgeon Bay, 54235 is a great local option for fun filled afternoon with your closest loved ones. You may call them at 920-743-6742 or visit them online at www.kurtzcorral.com.
Door County at one time boasted 13 lighthouses. Today, there are 11 historical lighthouses built between 1836 and 1899 still proudly standing speckled across Door County’s 300-plus miles of shoreline – the 2nd largest active concentration of lighthouses of any county in the United States. Three of these historic structures are open to the public during the warm weather tourism season for visitors.
Cana Island Lighthouse at Bailey’s Harbor was built in 1869 and is now one of the most painted and photographed lighthouses in the United States.
Potawatomi Lighthouse on Rock Island was built in 1836. It is the site of the first lighthouse ever built in Wisconsin and very first lighthouse on Lake Michigan.
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse was built in 1868, just off of Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek. The lighthouse has been restored by the Door County Historical Society and turned into a living museum.
Although these are the only three lighthouses open to the public ‘in season’, visitors can tour most of the lighthouses during the Annual Door County Lighthouse Festival – a self-guided, county-wide tour of 6 of the mainland lighthouses. Boat tours to and around the island lighthouses are also available. For more information about Door County’s lighthouses and The Annual Door County Lighthouse Festival visit the link below or contact the Door Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society, Inc. at 920-743-5958, www.dcmm.org/.
Over 200 shipwrecks lie in the waters surrounding Door County. The cold fresh water surrounding the county has preserved these historic vessels. Many of the shipwrecks in this region can be seen from the shore or explored more closely by kayaks or snorkeling. Shipwrecks in deeper water provide a thrilling adventure for scuba divers. Snorkeling is easy and visually rewarding off most beaches, and underwater sites are accessible to both novice and seasoned divers by charter boat and shore dives. Follow the link below for information about chartered scuba dives or contact Wisconsin’s Maritime trail system for maps and information on local shipwrecks, 608-221-5909 or visit www.maritimetrails.org.
Door County boasts 11 different golf courses ranging in size from 9 to 36 scenic holes that will challenge every skill level. Each course offers a range of green fees and most offer cart, moped, and clubcar rentals along with a lesson. For a complete list of golf courses please visit www.DoorCounty.com/experience/golf/.
Door County is known for its lively arts scene and artistic community with over a hundred art galleries, museums, art schools, and performing arts venues scattered across all corners of the peninsula and Washington Island. The following is an ‘attempt’ to highlight a selection of performance centers and venues. For a complete list of all performing & visual arts schools, classes, museums, and artists, etc. and their contact information please visit www.DoorCounty.com/experience/arts-culture/.
A unique venue that is a music school by day and a 500 seat concert barn by night. – 3821 County RD E, Egg Harbor, WI 54209, 920-868-3763, www.birchcreek.org
Excellent acoustics and an intimate setting for concerts and performances of local and professional theatre, dance and music. – 3926 HWY 42, Fish Creek, WI 54212, 920-868-2728, www.dcauditorium.org
A critically acclaimed professional theatre company which produces family friendly and affordable original music shows at the Peninsula State Park Amphitheatre, 920-854-6117, www.NorthernSkyTheatre.com
Free concerts featuring national touring artists from around the world on Sunday nights from the end of June through mid-August in an outdoor amphitheatre. – 7840 Church St., Egg Harbor, WI 54209, 920-493-5979, www.EggHarborDoorCounty.org
America’s oldest professional resident summer theatre presenting comedies, dramas, and classic musical in a scenic location along the shoreline of Green Bay.- 4351 Peninsula Players Rd., Fish Creek, WI 54212, 920-868-3287, www.peninsulaplayers.com
Offers quality local and professional performances in the former Donna movie House in Sturgeon Bay’s historic downtown. – 239 N Third Ave., Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, 920-743-1760, www.ThirdAvenuePlayhouse.com
There are over 50 public swimming beaches for visitors to enjoy in Door County’s State Parks. One of the more popular sandy beaches, swimming and water sports destinations is Whitefish Dunes State Park located just north of Sturgeon Bay in Jacksonport. The park offers a mile of sand beach, miles of rocky shore, and the highest sand dunes in Wisconsin. For a complete guide of beaches, current beach advisories, and recreational rentals, please visit www.DoorCounty.com.
Door County is home to the largest concentration of wineries in Wisconsin. Most of them showcase a variety of award-winning wines crafted from locally grown cherries and apples. For a fun filled day we recommend a ‘Premier’ Wine Tour with Door County Trolley, Inc (https://doorcountytrolley.com/premier-wine-tour/), or follow ‘The Door County Wine Trail’ with stops at eight distinct Vineyards and Wineries. Visit www.doorcountywinetrail.com for more information.