The Getaway
20 Things to Do in Door County, Wisconsin

Door County effortlessly merges natural beauty and charming small-town atmospheres. It spans a peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan, making for diverse landscapes and adventures of all kinds. Take an excursion into the state parks or indulge in local favorite foods like fish boils. Art lovers can get behind the numerous galleries in the county while families can appreciate the several parks, historic sites and enjoyable activities. Make the most out of your time in Door County, Wisconsin, and check out the best 20 things to do while you're here.

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01 Cana Island Lighthouse

The famous Cana Island lighthouse located next to lake Michigan in Door County Wisconsin with a drone.

Located in Baileys Harbor, the Cana Island lighthouse is the most iconic in the county and has stood watch over Lake Michigan since 1869.

You're free to approach and explore the lighthouse, and if you climb to the top, you'll get stunning panoramic views of the lake and surrounding areas. Arrive in style on a unique wagon ride for an unforgettable experience. The wagons are offered by the Door County Maritime Museum and take you right to the bottom of the lighthouse.

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02 Nicolet Beach

In Gibraltar, you'll find Nicolet Beach, a beautiful lakeside beach within Peninsula State Park. Here, opportunities for water sports and adventures abound. You can rent water equipment, like kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and hydro bikes from the Nicolet Beach Camp Store if you didn't bring your own.

The beach attracts families looking for outdoor adventures thanks to calm, swimmable waters and inviting sands. Plus, the beachside cafe is a big plus.

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03 Traditional fish boil

Fish soup boils in a cauldron on an open fire. Soup in a pot on a fire, picnic in nature.

While you're in Door County, you'll have to experience a traditional fish boil at least once. The delectable food is a big part of the experience, but so is the theater that goes into making it.

This tradition dates back to early Scandinavian settlers, who brought it with them. Now, the residents of Door County continue to honor it. Most commonly, they include whitefish caught from Lake Michigan and boiled with onions, potatoes and corn.

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04 Peninsula State Park

Ephraim, Wisconsin, United States - July 12, 2022: Siblings walking on the handicap accessible ramp at Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park, Door County

Peninsula State Park invites exploration with extensive trails and scenic views. Of course, there's also the occasional historic site, like Eagle Bluff Lighthouse.

You can spend all day hiking through the 20 miles of trails. Depending on what you want to see and how long you're willing to hike, you've got plenty of options. Eagle Trail, for example, is a 2-mile loop with views of 150-foot cliffs and is more difficult than others. The Minnehaha Trail is just 0.7 miles one way and is the easiest of the trails you'll find.

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05 Cherry picking at local orchards

Picking ripe, sweet cherries from a cherry tree by hand close-up. A hand plucking delicious cherry berries from a tree. The concept of healthy eating. The concept of a healthy lifestyle.

There's nothing quite like a freshly picked cherry, still warm from the sun. Local orchards across the county, like Lautenbach's in Fish Creek, offer fresh cherry picking when they're in season. It's a delightful way to spend an afternoon, and you'll get to enjoy your haul for days to come.

Paired with fresh cherries, local orchards also tend to have other cherry products for sale. Pie, juices and jams all wait for you to savor them.

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06 Door County Brewing Co.

If you enjoy craft beer, you'll want to give the ones at Door County Brewing Co. a taste. This brewery established the craft beer scene locally and with unique brews, it continues to dominate.

Enjoy your drink in the vibrant atmosphere of its Baileys Harbor taproom. It also usually hosts live music every Saturday afternoon to elevate the experience.

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07 Door County Wine Trail

When nine local wineries team up, you're left with Door County Wine Trail. If you follow the trail through, you'll go on a flavorful odyssey, savoring every last drop. Many of these wineries heavily feature apple and cherry flavors thanks to the local agricultural scene, but you'll still find sweet, crisp grape wines among them.

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08 Outdoor Shakespeare performances

DNEPROPETROVSK, UKRAINE - MAY 14: Members of the Dnepropetrovsk State Opera and Ballet Theatre perform " Othello " on May 14, 2011 in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine

Across Door County, Shakespeare is widely regarded during the summer months. In fact, across its municipalities, you're likely to find all sorts of outdoor Shakespeare performances in comfortable outdoor settings. From school performances to adult acting troupes, you'll get a whole lot of entertainment.

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09 Door County Maritime Museum

The Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay hones in on the region's maritime history. You'll find all sorts of interactive displays and exhibits ready to explore the local stories that helped shape the county into what it is today. You'll also get to visit the lighthouse to discover unforgettable views.

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10 Kayaking at Cave Point County Park

The rocky coast of Door County, Wisconsin's Cave Point displays beautiful colors in the light of a stormy sunrise.

Get ready for adventure and prepare to be splashed. Kayaking through Cave Point County Park in Sturgeon Bay takes you through some of the most amazing settings. If you like to explore unforgettable outdoor settings, you'll love traveling through dramatic limestone cliffs. Underwater caves also dot the area for experienced divers looking for a new adventure.

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11 Fyr Bal Festival

Community spirit and cultural performances explode just as vibrantly as the fireworks that wrap up the Fyr Bal Festival. To commemorate the onset of summer, Ephraim brings music, crafts, and traditional Scandinavian dancers and singers. As the sun sets, a bonfire keeps the chill at bay, and fireworks wrap up the night.

If you're looking for somewhere to try fish boil, you'll find it in abundance here, too.

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12 Art galleries

All across Door County, over 80 art galleries showcase diverse artistic expressions and crafts from local creators. Musicians, poets, writers and painters can all get their work showcased in this county. You'll want to check out gems like Haus of Art and Wine in Egg Harbor, where wine and art come together, or the Ida W Gallery and Studio in Baileys Harbor, where multimedia artwork can be found.

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13 Whitefish Dunes State Park

Whitefish Dunes State Park Door County Wisconsin

If you want comfortable, sprawling beaches punctuated by dune landscapes, head over to Whitefish Dunes State Park in eastern Door County. This delicate landscape is well protected, and it has set hours without camping opportunities. The white sands are particularly inviting during the day, creating the perfect setting for sandcastles. Hike through the myriad trails or simply enjoy a leisurely day on the shore with your family.

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14 Waterfront dining

You can't go wrong with any waterfront dining on Lake Michigan. Most of the restaurants you'll find offer local seafood. If you time your meal right, you'll get stunning sunset views that paint the lake brilliant shades of red.

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15 Washington Island

Jackson Harbor on Washington Island, Door County, Wisconsin

Washington Island offers a touch of secluded life in Wisconsin. With beautiful natural views, you'll get a real island getaway after a short, 5-mile ferry ride. Once you're here, partake in the laid-back culture and enjoy a day of leisure. You'll find the beautiful Schoolhouse Beach and Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm here to explore.

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16 Rock Island State Park

Overlooking Lake Michigan at Sven's Bluff in Door County, Wisconsin

Rock Island State Park is secluded and somewhat difficult to get to, but that's part of the appeal. If you're an avid hiker with a penchant for exploring historic sites, this location needs to be near the top of your list. After venturing through difficult trails, you'll find the Pottawatomie Lighthouse and various stone buildings erected during the early-to-mid 1900s. These structures still stand today, though they certainly show their wear. They're an interesting touch to your outdoor adventure.

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17 Biking through the peninsula

Spend a day venturing throughout the peninsula by bike. You'll find expansive landscapes of greenery and wildlife as you go. A go-to option is the Peninsula State Park Loop, which takes you through nine miles of woods, shorelines and rolling hills.

Other trails in different parks will take you on shorter (or longer) adventures. Be sure to do your research before committing to one so you avoid something you're not prepared for.

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18 Scenic drives on Door County Coastal Byway

Enjoy the sights by car on the Door County Coastal Byway. This 66-mile stretch of highway offers the best sights on the peninsula, and you'll see most of the iconic natural features along the way. You'll pass quiet villages, vast forests, and massive limestone cliffs while a sparkling lake shines in the background. It's an easy day trip for those who just want to see the sights.

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19 Sister Bay

Sister Bay, USA - October 26, 2019 : Sister Bay Town street view in Door County of Wisconsin Nejdet Duzen/Shutterstock

Welcome to Sister Bay, a bustling village in Door County. With just 3.57 square miles to explore, it's just a blip on the map, but it's a stunning place to discover. The Sister Bay Marina offers stellar views and lakeside restaurants, and you'll find cute boutiques throughout the area.

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20 Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant

You can't go wrong with Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant. This iconic eatery is particularly well known for its goats on the roof. You read that right. Goats. Live goats walk around the grassy roof for tourists to marvel at.

The food is nothing to turn your nose up at, either. You'll find authentic Swedish cuisine here prepared by a Swedish family team who runs the restaurant. Swedish meatballs and lingonberries are particularly popular, but you can't miss the whitefish or a variety of sandwiches offered as well. Head over, keep your camera charged, and be prepared for one of the most unique dining experiences you'll ever see.

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