Let me start by saying this: I meant to write this blog post back in November of 2020. However, at the time, I wasn’t sure I had enough content for it to be a travel guide. Door County deserves a wanderlust-worthy blog post, and I wasn’t sure I could provide it.
Fast forward to a few days ago: I started looking back at my notes and realized that even though I didn’t get to take a lot of photos during that trip, I had done a lot of research! Creating a blog post might not look pretty, but I could provide my readers with useful information.
So I decided to write a travel guide for things to do in Door County, Wisconsin.
This blog post is just a starting place. My hope for it is that I can get back to Door County again soon and do a proper exploration of the peninsula. That way, I can add even more photos, tips, and places to explore. But until then, I hope this abbreviated guide is useful as you plan your trip to Door County.
Places To Explore in Door County
One of the best things about Door County is that it’s a small area, but it provides its visitors with a variety of things to do. As such, I’d suggest devoting at least four days to the peninsula. But could easily stay for a week if you wanted to.
As far as time of year, we went in the fall at the end of October. On our way there, we were a little nervous that we had missed peak fall colors. Thankfully, we were wrong. We had timed it just right, and the leaves were beautiful with pops of oranges, reds, and yellows everywhere you looked. Late October is also the start of their off-season, so Door County is not as bustling as it would be in the summer.
Speaking of, I’d imagine that summertime in Door County is quite fabulous, too. I’d love to get back there in late summer the next time I visit.
Here are some of the things I did (**) in Door County, along with other activities I’m hoping to do next time:
- Drive up the coast (**): This was one of my favorite things to do. Doing so allows you to stop at all of the quaint villages along the coast. I’d recommend stopping in Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, and Sister’s Bay. Fish Creek was my favorite, as it feels the most like a New England seaside village, with many storefronts and restaurants to explore.
- Hike the peninsula (**): I’d recommend Peninsula State Park or Ellison Bluff State Natural Area as two great options. Not only will you find beautiful scenery, but each offers hikes for any comfort level.
- Take a lighthouse tour: Book your tickets via Door County Trolley to take a guided excursion of Door County’s most treasured lighthouses, including the Canal Station Lighthouse, Cana Island Lighthouse, and Bailey Harbor Range Lights.
- Go winery hopping: If lighthouses are not your jam, try doing a winery tour via Door County Trolley instead. You’ll stop at three premier wineries for a VIP wine-tasting experience along with a chef-prepared lunch. I’m in!
- Photo opportunities (**): Make sure you stop in Ephraim to take a photo at the Francis Hardy Gallery. Don’t be surprised if you find other tourists doing the same thing. All those colors make for a great backdrop.
- Get your heart pumping: If you’re not a hiker, try renting a bike instead. Or you could head to Lakeshore Adventure Zip Line for a treetop adventure.
- Head to the west coast for more fun (**): Stop at Cave Point Country Park. This park was my favorite spot for a quick walk along the rugged bluffs over Lake Michigan. You’ll get beautiful photos, I promise.
- Take a day trip to Washington Island: Jump on the ferry and head to Washington Island for a fun-filled day. Make sure to stop at the lavender farm that keeps popping up on Instagram (Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm).
Places To Eat and Drink in Door County (by Village)
Another perk of Door County is that it has a nice variety of places to eat. Below you’ll find all of the places I had on my list. It also includes the restaurants that we ate at while in town.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to restaurants and bars: Depending on when you visit Door County, business hours may vary. During the summer you’ll have no problem getting into places later in the evening. However, if you go in the off-season (late October through spring), restaurants and bars close earlier, so make sure you plan for dinner.
- Egg Harbor:
- Fish Creek:
- Sister Bay:
- Washington Island:
- Jackson Harbor Soup (sandwich shop on the bay)
Places To Stay in Door County
If you’re staying in Door County, I think inns and B&Bs are the way to go. Quaint seaside villages call for quaint accommodation. And I already have a few recommendations for you! Below are a few places to check out before your trip. It also includes the B&B we stayed at during our visit.
The Foxglove Inn (**): It’s a bit more south of the main drag along the coast, but this cozy 1877 bed and breakfast in Sturgeon Bay is still a great option. It has seven spacious private suites, all accommodated with Wi-Fi, an HDTV, and a fireplace to stay cozy in the fall or winter. Plus, a gourmet breakfast is served directly to your room in the morning, a perk that I love.
Blacksmith Inn On The Shore: I’m quite obsessed with this inn located in Bailey Harbor. It has a bit of a Scandinavian vibe to me, right? It’s a top contender for I place I’d want to stay next time I’m in Door County.
Thorp House Inn & Cottages: If you’re planning to stay in Fish Creek, Thorp House is a place to check out. I’d love to stay in one of the cottages. Don’t they look so cozy? It would make a choice spot for a girls’ weekend.
Whistling Swan Inn: Another option in Fish Creek would be the Whistling Swan Inn. From what I can tell, it has more of a hotel vibe, but it is located right in the village center. Plus, it has easy access to the Whistling Swan restaurant.
Hillside Waterfront Hotel: This historic hillside hotel is in Ephraim, Wisconsin. It has cozy, elegant rooms that would be perfect for a romantic weekend. There are five upscale rooms with private balconies, along with two newly remodeled cottages.
Well, that’s all I have for now. But to be honest, it was more than I expected! I’m so glad I took another look at my research and decided to turn it into a blog post. It may be missing photos, but I’m hoping this abbreviated travel guide will help you as you’re researching things to do in Door County.
It is truly a magical corner of the world, so you can’t go wrong.
Let’s go places,
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Have you been to Door County in Wisconsin? If so, share your favorite place in the comments section below.
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