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Day Trip Guide to Door County, Wisconsin

5 minutes read May 20,2020
Day Trip Guide to Door County, Wisconsin

Extending into Lake Michigan is Door County, named after the once-dangerous Death's Door strait between the peninsula and Washington Island. But the era of shipwrecks is well in the past and the area is now a spectacular destination!

Door County is filled with things to do, including state parks, farms, wineries, and more. It's a big area, though, and it helps to have some recommendations. With that in mind, we've created a guide for your day trip to Door County, Wisconsin. Take a look and find a spot that interests you!

Cave Point County Park

10 Things to Do in Door County

1. Cave Point County Park

With iconic limestone ledges and underwater caves, Cave Point County Park is a top destination in Door County. Between the park's trails and neighboring Whitefish Dunes State Park, there are many places to hike. Plus, Cave Point offers stunning views of Lake Michigan.

Some other activities include kayaking by the sea caves, scuba diving, and fishing.

2. Peninsula State Park

Getting in touch with nature is easy at Peninsula State Park. The park features lush forests, lakeside bluffs, and sandy beaches. Hiking and biking are both great ways to explore the park's trails. This park is also home to an 18-hole golf course, a 19th century lighthouse, and more. It's also pet-friendly!

3. Rock Island State Park

Not to be confused with the Tennessee destination, Rock Island State Park is a unique Door County stop. To get there, you'll need to take two ferries. One ferry takes you to Washington Island and can carry people, cars, and bikes. The second ferry to Rock Island only takes passengers.

Once there, you can explore the primitive island. The rocky beaches and dense forests are ideal for hiking and photography. You can also tour the Pottawatomie Lighthouse and stone buildings from the island's past owner.

Wine Glasses Cheers

4. Door County Wineries

Numerous wineries call Door County home. The area's location on a peninsula means that it gets just the right weather for growing grapes. Some of the area's finest wineries include:

5. Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant

Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant is one of Door County's most fun attractions. It's best known for its grass roof, upon which goats graze throughout the day. But the traditional Swedish food, such as meatballs and pancakes with lingonberries, is also top-notch.

6. Local Farms

With a unique peninsular climate, Door County has many wonderful farms. Taking a drive around the island's roads can show you many, but here are a few to visit:

And while not a farm, Door Artisan Cheese Company makes and sells Wisconsin cheeses.

Cana Island Lighthouse

7. Cana Island Lighthouse

Standing for more than 150 years, Cana Island Lighthouse is a symbol of Door County. It'll take you 97 steps to reach the top, but the views are well worth it.

Lake Michigan frequently washes over the causeway, making it difficult to walk across. As such, visitors can park and take a complimentary haywagon ride to the island.

8. Ellison Bluff State Natural Area

Tucked away in the forest, Ellison Bluff State Natural Area is a hidden gem of Door County. A wooden walkway takes visitors to a literal cliff's edge. From 100 feet above the water, you can observe Lake Michigan from sheer limestone bluffs.

There's also a 1.2-mile loop trail for walking and jogging.

Newport State Park

9. Newport State Park

Does Door County ever run out of parks? The answer is a simple no!

Newport State Park features more than 11 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. It also has 30 miles of hiking trails, making it easy to spend hours here.

Most notably, Newport State Park is an International Dark Sky Park. That means you can see many more stars than in most places. Stargazing requires planning and late nights but is an experience you won't forget.

10. Washington Island and Schoolhouse Beach

We featured Rock Island State Park earlier. But to get there, you have to take the ferry to Washington Island. Spend some time on the island before moving on!

Washington Island has many beautiful spots. One of these, Schoolhouse Beach, is iconic for the smooth rocks covering its shores. Other notable spots include Detroit Harbor State Natural Area, lavender farms, and many beautiful shorelines.

Cabins Fond Du Lac East/Kettle Moraine KOA

Stay at Fond du Lac East/Kettle Moraine KOA

Situated 120 miles south of Door County is Fond du Lac East/Kettle Moraine KOA. Nestled in the Kettle Moraine Forest, our campground is an ideal distance for day trips to the peninsula. Family-friendly accommodations are available, including tent and RV sites.

While visiting, be sure to enjoy all the amenities. Head outside for a game of shuffleboard or sand volleyball, then cool off in one of three swimming pools. Other activities include mini golf, live music, a snack bar, and a dog park.  

Ready to take a trip to Door County? We're with you! Be sure to share this post with your travel buddies before planning.  

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