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27 Best Things to Do in Door County by a Wisconsinite

There is no shortage of fabulous things to do in Door County, Wisconsin. This area has a little something for everyone – from wine tasting to shopping to charter fishing and hiking, biking, kayaking and more!

Door County is on a peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. It’s a wonderful weekend getaway for us Wisconsinites, as it takes less than an hour to get here from Green Bay or about 1 1/2 hours from Appleton (where I live). Plus, it’s just under a 4-hour drive from Chicago.

This is my list of the best things to do in Door County. I know there are far more things to do than even this list, and if I missed one of your favorite things to do in Door County – please let me know in the comments at the end of this post!

27 Best Things to Do in Door County by a Wisconsinite

Cave Pointy County Park in Door County Wisconsin during fall
Cave Point County Park

1.) Explore Cave Point County Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park

If you ask anyone what their favorite thing to do in Door County is – they’ll likely say, “Going to Cave Point County Park!” It can sometimes slip under the radar of visitors as it’s “only” a county park (and not a national or state park). However, don’t let that fool you! Cave Point is absolutely stunning. Here, you can hike, bike, picnic, go diving, cross-country ski (in winter) and more!

Whitefish Dunes State Park During Fall
Whitefish Dunes State Park

Cave Point County Park is located within Whitefish Dunes State Park. They are both beautiful places to explore. In Whitefish Dunes State Park, be sure to hike the Red Trail, which begins at the Nature Center Park Office. It’s about 1.2 miles long, and you have the option to take a short hike to the Old Baldy observation platform for great views of Lake Michigan and Clark Lake. Old Baldy is the tallest dune in Whitefish Dunes State Park!

2.) Go Kayaking

There are several different places to go kayaking in Door County, but one of the arguably best places is out of Cave Point County Park. Kayaking here will give you a chance to explore the beautiful caves and scenic waterways of Cave Point County Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park.

You don’t need any experience kayaking either. The company will teach you and guide you, as well as provide you with all the necessary equipment before you go. Click here for more information on kayaking in Cave Point County Park.

King salmon out of Door County Wisconsin
A pic from my latest fishing experience out of Door County!

3.) Take a Charter Fishing Trip

This is one of my personal favorite things to do in Door County. Going fishing is a fun way to spend half a day. Plus, we can sometimes fill our freezer with fish for the year! My husband and I went last weekend and now have 48 pounds of salmon in our freezer – and we had a blast doing it!

We recommend booking with Reel Action Charters out of Sturgeon Bay. 

My new earrings I bought at Sister Golden in Fish Creek - it's such a cool store!
My new earrings I bought at Sister Golden in Fish Creek – it’s such a cool store!

4.) Go Shopping

There are so many cute shops in Door County! I make sure to set aside at least one full day just to wander through all the different mom and pop stores in this area. My personal favorite town for shopping is Fish Creek – but I also love Egg Harbor, Bailey’s Harbor, Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay. Needless to say, there are plenty of shops to choose from!

5.) Sample the Local Wines

Door County is the wine county of Wisconsin. Whether you like wine or not, you can’t leave Door County without sampling at least one of its local wines. The area is most known for its cherry and other fruit wines. So, if you like sweet wine, you’re in luck!

If you’re like me and more a fan of dry wines, then I recommend visiting Stone’s Throw Winery in Bailey’s Harbor. (I especially like their Merlot.) There are currently 8 different wineries you can visit in Door County.

Need a hotel in Door County? Click here for a list of available hotels! Or better yet, click here for cabin rentals!

6.) Take a Trolley Tour!

If you’d like to indulge a little more in your wine tasting and not worry about driving – take a fun Door County Trolley Tour! Taking a wine tour is just one of 16 different tours you can choose from. These trolley tours range from Ghost Tours to Scenic Lighthouse tours to Bloody Marys and Brunch Tours and more!

Wood Orchard Market in Egg Harbor
Wood Orchard Market in Egg Harbor

7.) Check Out a Local Orchard

There are many orchards in Door County that grow a variety of fruits. The most popular is, of course, the famous Door County Cherries. You can buy just about any cherry product under the sun here! (Cherry-picking takes place from mid-July to mid-August.)

There are also a variety of delicious apples, which means you can also buy apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, applesauce, and more. (Apples are ripe mid-September to mid-October.)

Fish Boil at the Old Post Office Restaurant in Ephraim
Fish Boil at the Old Post Office Restaurant in Ephraim

8.) Go to a Famous Fish Boil!

Attending a fish boil is a must-do in Door County! They’re not only delicious, but they’re also fun to watch. Your boil master will add the ingredients to a large metal kettle and boil it over an open fire. Every fish boil is made slightly differently, but it will always be with white fish, potatoes and other various vegetables and seasonings.

Now my uncle is the best fish boil master… but he isn’t open for business outside of family gatherings. So, the next best fish boil, in my opinion, is at the Old Post Office Restaurant in Ephraim (pictured above).

Goats on the roof at Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant and Butik-in Door County, WI
Goats on the roof at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and Butik-in Door County, WI.

9.) Have Breakfast at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butnik

Al Johnson’s is most famous for its goats on the roof. The roof is made of sod and always has a variety of goats grazing on top of it. The restaurant is located right in the middle of main street in Sister Bay – so you can’t miss the goats!

breakfast at Al Johnson's in Sister Bay Wisconsin - best things to do in Door County
The Swedish pancakes at Al Johnson’s are SO good.

While the goats are the main draw, the food itself is AMAZING at Al Johnson’s too. I’m not much of a breakfast or morning person, but I will happily roll my butt out of bed for their Swedish pancakes. They’re open from 7 am to 3 pm.

Peninsula State Park
Peninsula State Park

10.) Explore Peninsula State Park

Peninsula State Park is a 3,776-acre state treasure. Here you can hike, bike, boat, fish, golf and swim. And in winter, you can cross country ski, snowshoe, sled and snowmobile. Camping, nature programs, and sightseeing are also offered year-round. There are five campgrounds with a total of 468 family sites here!

11.) Take the Washington Island Ferry

The Washington Island Ferry is located at the tip of the Door County Penisula at Northport Pier. This ferry will take you and your vehicle to the scenic Washington Island. The official Washington Island Ferry website has current rates and schedules for the ferry.

Pro tip: this is especially cool to do during the fall – when the fall colors are at their peak! This is usually from late-September to mid-October.

The tractor that takes you to the Cana Island Lighthouse
The tractor that takes you to the Cana Island Lighthouse
The Cana Island Lighthouse
The Cana Island Lighthouse

12.) Visit the Cana Island Lighthouse

The Cana Island Lighthouse is Door County’s most iconic lighthouse. You can climb 97 steps up the tower’s spiral staircase to look out its gallery deck and see sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the Door County peninsula. This year (2020), the water was so high – they’re using a tractor and wagon to transfer you across the causeway! It’s quite a cool experience.

13.) Check out the Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay

The Door County Maritime Museum is located between the downtown bridges on Sturgeon Bay’s working waterfront. It features four large exhibit galleries and the restored tugboat John Purves built in 1919.

The Maritime Museum In sturgeon bay

14.) Take a Tug Boat Tour

Speaking of the Joun Purves tugboat, this beautifully restored boat actually has its own tours. There are 3 different 40-minute guided tours a day of the John Purves tugboat. The most up-to-date tour times can be found, here.

15.) Cruise Along on a Sunset Boat Tour

You can cruise aboard a 69 passenger partly covered, partly open tour boat that is docked in downtown Fish Creek. Fish Creek Scenic Boat Tours has 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. Their daily sunset cruise also has free live music. Check out more, here.

16.) Explore the Many Shipwrecks

Many shipwrecks can be seen just by looking from a kayak or boat, and even more can be seen and explored with proper diving equipment. If you’re not an experienced diver, though, then I recommend taking a boat or kayak tour.

17.) Try Ziplining

There are actually a few different places to try ziplining in Door County! Lakeshore Adventures Zip Line Tours LLC has panoramic views of Moonlight Bay and Cana Island before diving into the forest canopy. Rowleys Bay Resort in Ellison Bay a cool canopy tour. And Door County Adventure Center has the highest zip line out of Sturgeon Bay.

Need a hotel in Door County? Click here for a list of available hotels! Or better yet, click here for cabin rentals!

18.) Take a Segway Tour

If kayaking, diving and ziplining all sound a little too crazy – then a segway tour is another great option to see Door County at a more relaxed pace! These tours will leisurely show you tucked away scenic views. Click here for more info.

Get Ice Cream at Wilson’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor

19.) Get Ice Cream at Wilson’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor

Wilson’s is arguably the best ice cream in Door County. Plus, it’s located in a beautiful location in Ephraim just across from Eagle Harbor (ice cream and a view!). It’s been serving up ice cream, root beer and burgers since 1906!

Check out the inside of Door County Coffee! production area!
Check out the inside of Door County Coffee production area!

20.) Get a Cup of Coffee at Door County Coffee & Tea Co.

Whether you’re just beginning your trip or heading home, make sure to stop into Door County Coffee for a cup of their gourmet flavored coffee! It’s located on Highway 42 in Sturgeon Bay, and you’ll likely see it at either the beginning or the end of your Door County adventure. While sipping your coffee you can also view their production area and look through their gift shop!

21.) Try a Flight of Beer at Shipwrecked Brew Pub

I can’t write a post about things to do in Wisconsin and NOT mention beer. I think it’s against the rules! So, in true Wisconsin-fashion, be sure to sample the local brews at Shipwrecked Brew Pub in Egg Harbor! They have a great lager and pale ale, but their most-known for their Door County Cherry Wheat beer (which I am not personally a fan of, but everyone else loves it).

22.) Relax at the Beach

Door County has TONS of beautiful beaches! It would be a shame to not spend a little time relaxing on one. From kid-friendly beaches to hidden gems, you can find a complete list of Door County beaches here.


23.) Go Parasailing

But if relaxing at the beach isn’t your thing, then buckle up and go on a parasail ride! I only recently found out this is something you can do in Door County! You can ride solo, double or in groups of 3. Talk about an exciting way to see Door County!

Edgewood Orchard Galleries.
Edgewood Orchard Galleries.

24.) Check out Edgewood Orchard Galleries

A third-generation family-owned and operated art gallery that opened in June 1969 – Edgewood Orchard Galleries represents over 150 artists from across North America and shows their original paintings, jewelry, sculptures, glass, furniture, wood and clay in a beautifully restored century-old barn and award-winning sculpture garden. It’s especially beautiful to visit during fall. (See more photos here.)

The Ridges Sanctuary lighthouse in Baileys Harbor Door County Wisconsin During fall
The Ridges Sanctuary Lighthouse in Baileys Harbor

25.) Visit the Ridges Sanctuary

The Ridges Sanctuary is a 1,600-acre nature preserve and land trust in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin. It is listed as a National Natural Landmark, Important Bird Area and Wisconsin State Natural Area. No matter what time of year you visit – you’ll be awed at the natural beauty of this nature sanctuary! (The wooden boardwalk is also very nice to walk for all fitness levels.)

Graffiti at Anderson Dock in Ephraim

26.) See the Graffiti at Anderson Dock in Ephraim

Boaters have “signed” this dockside warehouse walls for years with their boats’ names and the year that they docked. It’s a neat place to see!

27.) Explore Potawatomi State Park

Potawatomi State Park is a 1,225-acre Wisconsin state park northwest of the city of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in the Town of Nasewaupee. It is located on Sturgeon Bay, a bay of the Bay of Green Bay in Door County.

I’m curious what are some of your favorite things to do in Door County? Let me know in the comments!

Need a hotel in Door County? Click here for a list of available hotels! Or better yet, click here for cabin rentals!

Looking for More Fun Tours in Door County? Check Out These Tours:

Not a fan of tours? Book your own bikes or kayaks instantly!

Need a housesitter while you are gone?

I, personally, recommend TrustedHouseSitters if you need to find a housesitter/someone to watch your pets while you are away.

How TrustedHousesitters works is they connect home and pet owners with trustworthy, verified sitters who won’t charge to look after your pets, in exchange for a unique place to stay. They have sitters and homes all over the world!

It’s a fantastic way to find trustworthy people to watch your home and pets while you are away. (And on the flipside, it’s a cool way to stay in different areas of the country and world without having to pay for accommodation! I have a friend who literally didn’t own or rent a home for years, and only used TrustedHouseSitters to find the next spot she was going to stay.) 

  • Click here for more information on TrustedHouseSitters.

Travel Insurance

As of 2021, many destinations require having travel medical insurance that covers COVID-19. Squaremouth is the only site that currently lets you filter travel insurance policies for COVID-19 coverage. I, personally, use Squaremouth for finding the best insurance policies for my travels, and I have already used them for trips planned in 2021. They’re also recommended by Forbes! You can click here to get your free travel insurance quote or enter your information via the widget below.

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20+ Best Things to Do in Door County by a Wisconsinite

20+ Best Things to Do in Door County by a Wisconsinite

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  1. We would be at the ice cream place in seconds flat!! LOL!!
    Did I ever tell you that my husband got 50 days of ice cream for his 50th birthday? Yep…he’s that fanatical about his ice cream.

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