Where to Stay in Door County, Wisconsin by a Wisconsinite
Are you trying to figure out where to stay in Door County for your next trip? This post will share the best place to stay in Door County based on your travel preferences and to maximize your time in Door County.
Whether you’re interested in fishing, shopping, sampling the best restaurants in Door County, wine tasting, or hiking – this post is here to help you narrow down the best spot to stay in the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.”
As someone who grew up in Wisconsin and still lives here, I am VERY familiar with the Door County area. My husband and I had gotten in the habit of taking a spring trip to Door County over 10 years ago, and now, I’ve also been making a point to explore Door County in all the seasons (visiting multiple times a year) to bring the best up-to-date Door County travel information to my blog! Don’t hesitate to reach out to me in the comments at the end of this post or at [email protected] if you have any questions about visiting Door County.
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Door County Map
To get a better idea of where the places are that I am mentioning in this post, please refer to the map below.
PLEASE NOTE: I know some articles you may see recommend staying in Green Bay (which is not in Door County) when planning your visit to Door County. I DO NOT recommend this. I’m confident the people who wrote those articles have never actually been to Door County. This is because Green Bay (the city) is over a 40-minute drive just from Sturgeon Bay. That means it would take you a MINIMUM of 40 minutes to get back to your accommodation each night – which isn’t a good idea, in my opinion! There are plenty of great places to stay within Door County that don’t require a ridiculous amount of driving.
The Best Places to Stay in Door County, Wisconsin by a Local
Fish Creek is a picturesque town nestled along Green Bay on Highway 42. It is home to Peninsula State Park, incredible outdoor theaters, as well as many shops and restaurants. Fish Creek is one of the most popular places to stay in Door County.
Pros to staying in Fish Creek
- There are many shops, restaurants, and bars all within walking distance of each other. If you’re looking for a spot to walk out the door and not have to drive anywhere for food and entertainment, Fish Creek is a great spot for you.
- Trails within Peninsula State Park are within walking distance of downtown Fish Creek. (And the viewing tower & golf course are just a short drive away.)
- Fish Creek is home to amazing theatres – including 2 outdoor theatres (Northern Sky Theater & Peninsula Players Theatre).
- Fish Creek is one of the more centrally located towns on this list – making it easy to get to other locations within Door County.
Cons to staying in Fish Creek
- It is the busiest town in Door County when it comes to tourists. So, it might not be the most relaxing place to stay for everyone.
- The majority of shops are rather “touristy” on the main street (if you’re looking for more art-driven shops, this might not be the place to stay for you).
Where to stay in Fish Creek
- The Whistling Swan Inn – is a cozy little inn that also happens to be the oldest operating inn in all of Door County. It’s perfect for a couple looking for a romantic weekend getaway and also features a fabulous onsite restaurant. This is a great place to stay if you want to be within walking distance of all the Fish Creek shops and restaurants.
- Harbor Guest House – located just down the road from the Whistling Swan Inn is the Harbor Guest House. These are full apartments with kitchens and plenty of space – great for a longer stay or those traveling with kids.
- The Hilltop Inn – this accommodation is located about a 3-minute drive (or 20-minute walk) from the main downtown area of Fish Creek. It’s a little quieter of an area, plus this Inn features an outdoor heated pool and hot tub.
- Homestead Suites – is located right by Peninsula State Park, but is still within walking distance of all the shops and restaurants. It features indoor and outdoor pools, 2 hot tubs, a sauna. Some rooms also features a balcony.
- AppleCreek Resort – also features an indoor pool and whirlpool and is just minutes from downtown Fish Creek and Peninsula State Park.
Sister Bay is a super cute village that is situated around the stunning Sister Bay marina. It’s the perfect spot to watch a sunset and go shopping. Plus, it’s home to some of the best restaurants in all of Door County. You won’t run out of things to do and see in Sister Bay!
Pros to staying in Sister Bay
- Like Fish Creek, Sister Bay has a fantastic variety of shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars that are all within walking distance of each other.
- Some of Door County’s most famous restaurants (Al Johnson’s, The Wild Tomato, CHOP, and more) are in Sister Bay.
- Sister Bay has some great resorts to choose from, plus it’s home to the beautiful Sister Bay Beach.
Cons to staying in Sister Bay
- It’s the furthest location north that this post mentions – so it is not as centrally located as some destinations in Door County.
- Again, this is a popular place to stay, so there are going to be quite a few people staying here as well. If you’re looking for a quiet place to stay, Sister Bay may not be for you.
Where to stay in Sister Bay
- The Dörr Hotel – is an awesome new waterfront hotel in Sister Bay! It’s a very cool and contemporary hotel that also features free breakfast. (Most hotels in Door County are historic or a bit dated – this is the only one I am aware of that is modern in style.) It’s within walking distance of all the shops, restaurants, and the marina.
- Scandinavian Lodge – is a family-friendly condo complex that features a wonderful pool area. This is set back a little further than The Dörr Hotel and will require about 15 minutes of walking to get to the marina (or it’s just a couple minute car ride!).
- Country House Resort – this is an adult-only (children 13 years and older), waterfront resort. Rooms feature in-room whirlpools and gas fireplaces, and you will also have access to complimentary bikes, kayaks, tennis, a European-style continental breakfast buffet (May-Oct), a heated outdoor pool, an outdoor whirlpool, fire table, fishing dock, and shoreline nature trail.
- Goose & Twigs – just a couple of minutes walking from the main drag of Sister Bay. Goose & Twigs also features a fabulous onsite cafe.
- Open Hearth Lodge – features an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as outdoor BBQ facilities and a fire pit. It’s a few minutes drive from the city center.
Full disclosure, Baileys Harbor has become my personal favorite place to stay in Door County. I would argue that it’s the best place to stay in Door County if you’re looking for relaxation. It’s a quieter alternative to the first 2 spots mentioned, but still has its share of lovely restaurants and shops. I am obsessed with the Nathan Nichols and Company furniture shop in Baileys Harbor. This is a great place to stay if you prefer a little less commotion and enjoy the outdoors. (The older I get the quieter I want my vacation spots to be!)
Pros to staying in Baileys Harbor
- Baileys Harbor is very centrally located – making it easy to get to other attractions in Door County.
- Compared to the previous 2 locations, Baileys Harbor is a far more relaxed and quiet place to stay.
- Baileys Harbor has over 6,000 acres of public land to explore – including the gorgeous Ridges Sanctuary pictured above.
- There is a great variety of lodging options – from quaint lake houses to waterfront hotels to cabins and more.
- Despite being quieter, Baileys Harbor does have some great dining and bar options (such as Harbor Fish Market & Grille) and is also home to Stone’s Throw Winery. They also have some fun dive bars (like the Blue Ox).
Cons to staying in Baileys Harbor
- There isn’t quite as much to do within walking distance of the main street. You’ll have to be OK with driving a bit to get to some of the great activities and places to visit in Baileys Harbor.
- The fact that it is quieter and doesn’t have as many shops and bars, may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Where to stay in Baileys Harbor
- Carraig Mór – this is a gorgeous two-story, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom home that’s within walking distance of downtown Baileys Harbor. It’s fabulous for a family traveling together or a group of friends (AND it’s pet-friendly). The porch and garden in the back (complete with a tire swing) are fantastic, and the owners are incredibly helpful and responsive. 10/10 recommend staying here!
- Baileys Harbor Yacht Club Resort – offers a variety of rooms and suites, and also features an indoor pool, hot tub and free WiFi. Some rooms also have a kitchen with a dishwasher, a microwave, and a fridge.
- Square Rigger Harbor Motel – don’t let the word “motel” fool you! Square Rigger Harbor Motel is a lovely place to stay and even has a private beach area for guests. It’s within walking distance of Baileys Harbor restaurants, bars, and shops.
- Ridges Inn & Suites – offers a rustic and relaxing stay close to downtown Baileys Harbor. You can enjoy fires by the creek and easy access to walking trails when staying here.
- Beachfront Inn – as the name suggests, you’ll have beach access as well as an outdoor pool when staying here! They also have nightly campfires on the beach. Plus, it’s the most centrally located accommodation on this list – you’ll be within walking distance of the restaurants, bars, and shops of downtown Baileys Harbor.
Ephraim is nestled along the scenic shores of Green Bay and is located just between Fish Creek and Sister Bay. The beautiful village of Ephraim is known for its art scene and reminds many visitors of New England. This is my second favorite place to stay in Door County. (It’s a very close second to Baileys Harbor!)
Pros to staying in Ephraim
- Ephraim is a quieter area, and not as touristy as Fish Creek or Sister Bay. This area is a favorite among locals and is absolutely stunning no matter what time of year you visit.(Although, I personally love it during fall.)
- It’s home to one of the best Fish Boils in Door County (in my opinion). This is located at the Old Post Office. Wilson’s Ice Cream is also THE spot to get ice cream in Door County!
- This is a great spot to visit if you enjoy some peace and quiet in a quaint waterside village.
- It’s only about a 10-minute drive to Fish Creek, though, if you want a little more action!
Cons to staying in Ephraim
- There isn’t as much to do within walking distance – you will have to be prepared to drive a little here.
- This is a quieter area, that doesn’t have an abundance of restaurants and bars as some of the other spots mentioned.
Where to stay in Ephraim
- Edgewater Resort – has the best location in Ephraim, in my opinion! It’s located adjacent to the Old Post Office Restaurant (famous for its fish boils, pictured above). Plus, you’re within walking distance of Wilson’s Ice Cream, and the fabulous shops of Ephraim. It also has a pool, and it’s pet friendly!
- Ephraim Village Cottages – are a homey set of cottages that feature real wood-burning fireplaces and are just a 1 minute walk to the beach. The owners live right by the cottages too and are always kind and available to help. It’s a great place for families (and they’re dog-friendly)!
- Bay Breeze Hotel – is one of the highest-rated hotels in Ephraim, thanks to its lovely staff and fabulous rooms. Plus, they offer access to a private beach just across the street from the hotel.
- Eagle Harbor Inn – is a cozy B&B located just minutes from the beach. It also has an indoor pool, sauna, and fitness center.
- Somerset Inn & Suites – is great for those traveling with kiddos and pets! It provides a playground, outdoor pool, indoor pool, hot tub, and barbecue. It’s a bit further away from the center of Ephraim, though.
Egg Harbor was named “one of the best small towns in America”. And it’s not hard to see why! It features a brand new marina and beach, along with a lovely park and a variety of shops, art galleries, breweries, and restaurants.
Egg Harbor, in my opinion, is the perfect “in-between” place to stay. Meaning, that if you don’t want to be in a quiet location such as Ephraim, but also aren’t a fan of the tons of people, like what you’ll find in Fish Creek – Egg Harbor is a great compromise. You’ll have plenty to do here, without feeling too overwhelmed by fellow tourists. (I used to always stay in Egg Harbor when I first started coming to Door County in college – it has some great budget-friendly lodging options too.)
Pros to staying in Egg Harbor
- Egg Harbor is a great mix of restaurants, art galleries, unique local clothing stores, and souvenir shops. It’s a little more spread out than Fish Creek, but it is still possible to make it to all of these great stops without having to move your car!
- Egg Harbor has both Shipwrecked and One Barrel Brewing Company almost right next to each other. You won’t run out of beers to sample here!
- It’s not as quiet as Baileys Harbor (for example) but also isn’t quite as busy of a spot as Sister Bay – it is a good “in-between” place to stay.
Cons to staying in Egg Harbor
- It’s a little further south than most of the places mentioned in this post and not as centrally located. This could be a con depending on what you all plan to do when you visit Door County. (For example, it’s about a 30-minute drive to Sister Bay from Egg Harbor, but it’s only about a 10-minute drive to Fish Creek.)
- While I wouldn’t say it is as busy as Fish Creek and Sister Bay – it’s still a busy town, and not quite quiet enough for me these days!
- Ashbrooke Hotel – is an adults-only hotel in Egg Harbor that features an indoor pool and outdoor fire pit area, as well as a library. This is a great place to stay for couples looking for a romantic weekend getaway in Door County.
- Newport Resort – is within walking distance of the Egg Harbor’s many lovely shops and restaurants. It features suites that have fully-equipped kitchens, whirlpool tubs, gas fireplaces, as well as an outdoor pool, indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, and outdoor playground.
- Lull-Abi Inn – is also within walking distance of the best Egg Harbor has to offer, and typically has very affordable room rates.
- The Landing Resort – is nice and close to Egg Harbor’s restaurants and bars and also has an indoor and outdoor pool. This is a great place for families traveling together.
Sturgeon Bay is the gateway to Door County and is also the biggest city you can stay in in this lovely area. Sturgeon Bay has TONS of things to do and has an incredible variety of restaurants and bars. Personally, I stay in Sturgeon Bay when the goal of the trip is to go fishing. Whether you’re into sport fishing (like bass) or looking to fill your freezer with some salmon – Sturgeon Bay is a great spot to go.
Pros to staying in Sturgeon Bay
- Sturgeon Bay has a little something for everyone – from state parks and museums to unique shops to ethnic cuisine to world-class fishing, you can do it all here.
- Sturgeon Bay is a walkable city for the most part – you can cover a lot of great tourist spots on foot.
- If you’re into fishing, Sturgeon Bay will not disappoint!
Cons to staying in Sturgeon Bay
- It’s the furthest south of any of the destinations in Door County. So, it’s a bit of a drive to the rest of the destinations. (For example, Fish Creek is 30-minutes away and Sister Bay is about 45-minutes away. Not terrible, but it is further.)
- This doesn’t have quite the same “quaint Door County vibe” as you’ll find in the rest of Door County. Sturgeon Bay is a little faster-paced and has a bigger city vibe. (I mean it’s no Chicago, but it’s faster-paced than Egg Harbor, for example).
Where to stay in Sturgeon Bay
- Inn at Cedar Crossing – this is a very cute and historic place to stay in Sturgeon Bay and has just 9 rooms. It is in a fabulous location too, with many shops and restaurants right outside the door (plus, the great onsite dining options). They also include a fantastic breakfast during your stay.
- Westwood Shores – these are furnished condos that have some great onsite amenities like a fitness center, saunas, pools and gorgeous waterfront views.
- Best Western – one of the only “chain” hotels you’ll find in Door County. This hotel is a bit off the beaten tourist path, though, and will require you to drive to shops and museums in downtown.
- Holiday Music Motel – is one of the top-rated places to stay in Sturgeon Bay thanks to its affordable rates, helpful staff, and unbeatable location. The rooms are very fun and unique too!
- White Lace Inn – is a quaint B&B that features 18 beautiful guest rooms. It’s just a few minutes walk to the many Sturgeon Bay restaurants, bars, museums, and shops.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions in the comments section at the end of the post! I would love to hear where your favorite places to stay in Door County are as well!
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