Last Updated on July 20, 2021 by haveclotheswilltravel
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.
- Read more: 7 Things to Know Before Visiting Door County During COVID-19
- Read more: The BEST Cabins in Door County, Wisconsin
- Read more: 40 Photos of the Fall Colors in Door County, Wisconsin
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.)
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
- Never tried parasailing? Check out my First-Timer’s Guide to Parasailing – Everything You Need to Know Before You Go!
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.)
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.)
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!
- Read next: 7 Things to Know Before Visiting Door County, WI During COVID-19
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Looking for More Fun Tours in Door County? Check Out These Tours:
- Cave Point Kayak Tour
- Door County Trolley Tour
- Door County Sunset Tour
- Door County Wetlands Kayak Tour
- Sister Bay Cheese Curd Tour
- Sunset Glow Roll E-Bike Tour
- Door County Private Segway Tour
- Door County Bluff Shipwreck Tour
Not a fan of tours? Book your own bikes or kayaks instantly!
Using a VPN When Traveling
VPN is short for “virtual private network.” A VPN (like IPVanish) sets up a private connection between your device and whatever network you are connected to – so, no one can see your browsing data. It is important to use a VPN anytime you are connected to public Wifi (such as at a restaurant, resort, hotel, cafe, airport, etc.). This is because when you connect to a public network no matter where you are, you run the risk of a hacker grabbing your unencrypted data. Trust me, speaking from experience here…this can put a real damper on your trip if your banking, phone or email get hacked while you’re traveling!
VPNs can also help you save on domestic flights, help you watch Netflix shows not available in the US and more! You can read more about using a VPN in my post “Why I Use a VPN When Traveling and at Home (And You Should Too).”
- Click here to download IPVanish VPN.
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