Door County – The Perfect Wisconsin Getaway (+ Bucket List!)

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Door County is one of my favorite places on Earth. Not only have I been vacationing in Door County my entire life, my husband and I even chose to have our wedding there. That’s how special of a place it is. Door County never gets old. The food, activities, and the relaxing atmosphere always bring me back to a sense of calm. How lucky are we to live in a state with this gem of a destination? 

If you have never ventured north to the “thumb” of Wisconsin I can’t recommend it more. Below find out the who, what, where, when, and whys of taking a trip to Door County, Wisconsin. Use my list of Door County favorites to begin planning your own trip.  

Why Door County?

Of all the places you could go during your precious time off of work why choose Door County? Though still in Wisconsin, Door County feels like a strip of quaint seaside towns. Door County has it all for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. There are beaches, shopping, music, theater, nature, etc.

Plus, Door County is really stepping up its game lately. You’ll find cool new restaurants, fun beer gardens, and tons of local festivals to keep things interesting.   

Just don’t expect to find chain hotels or restaurants – there’s not a Super 8 or Starbucks in sight (a huge bonus in my mind!). Instead, there are plenty of great local coffee shops and a variety of lodging to consider. You can choose to rent a house, book a room in a resort or B&B, or go camping. Each has its own appeal.

huge pot of boiling fish over fire
Traditional Door County Fish Boil

Where is Door County located?

Door County is the “thumb” of Wisconsin. The peninsula consists of many coastal, picturesque towns bordered on the east side by Green Bay and the west by Lake Michigan.  

Popular areas to stay are in Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, Bailey’s Harbor, and Sister Bay. I personally don’t consider Sturgeon Bay to be true Door County (no offense). 

Driving time from Madison is approximately three hours. 

Who should visit Door County?

Families

Couples

Girls’ Trip

Nature Enthusiasts

Groups of Friends

Who would not enjoy the peninsula?

Anyone looking for raucous nightlife. A bachelor or bachelorette weekend can still be fun if you have a more low-key type of group, but those looking to dance on top of bars and go wild in public should select a different destination. 

When should you plan a trip?

Any time. I have visited Door County during every season and each has its benefits. In summer, you can pick cherries, participate in all water sports and enjoy the beaches. Furthermore, everything is open. A word of warning – a number of establishments are only open between Memorial Day to Labor Day. This has never been an issue for me but if your heart is set on dining or shopping at a particular place during the off season, please check hours ahead of time.

The foliage in fall is a huge draw to the area while spring has the cherry blossoms that wow visitors. In winter you feel as though you have the place to yourself. I’ve gone to Door County twice in winter and had a great time (one for a romantic weekend and the second for a girls’ trip). Depending on your children’s ages, visiting Door County in winter as a family might not be that appealing. 

Bucket of cherries on a picnic blanket with a bottle of wine and two wine glasses

What should you do?

Here is a list of 25+ activities to do in Door County. Please, keep in mind there is so much more! I didn’t even list any of the festivals. For more comprehensive information on all things Door County visit the Visitor Bureau Website

Door County Bucket List:

  • Tour a lighthouse (there’s 11!) 
  • Hike The Ridges (the boardwalk is stroller-friendly)
  • Go cherry-picking
  • Sample goat cheese at Door County Creamery (and the gelato) 
  • See the lavender fields on Washington Island
  • Enjoy breakfast at Al Johnson’s and check out the goats on the roof (go early to avoid a wait!!)

mug of hot chocolate with a lot of whipped cream plus a picture of goats on the roof of Al Johnson's

  • Play yard games right next door at Al Johnson’s Stabbur Beer Garden
  • Take the ferry to Washington Island
  • Catch the latest movies at the drive-in movie theater
  • Partake in a fish boil
  • Go bike riding in Peninsula State Park (the Sunset Trail is a great one for families) 
  • Take a sunset sail 

View of sunset from edge of sailboat

flight of different flavors of cider

woman with baby in carrier hiking on rocks next to water

  • Get fudge and popcorn at Uncle Tom’s Candy Store
  • Minigolf at Pirate’s Cove
  • Delight in delicious custard at Not Licked Yet
  • Enjoy wood-fired pizza from Wild Tomato
  • Spend the day at a beach

toddler and baby at sand beach

Wilson's Ice Cream Shop

 

What’s your favorite thing to do in Door County?

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. Over the many years we visited Door Count, we have done many of the things on the bucket list. We’ve been there in every season. Wilson’s is a favorite of ours and coffee at the Chocolate Chicken! So much to see and do….so little time.

    • I forgot about the Chocolate Chicken, it definitely needs to be added to the list. I like to take my drink outside and enjoy the view.

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