Top-Rated Things to Do in Door County, WI


By Sarah Anderson

Welcome to Door County, Wisconsin, a hidden gem nestled along the scenic shores of Lake Michigan. With its charming small towns, picturesque landscapes, and endless recreational opportunities, Door County is a dream destination for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and foodies alike.

Take a stroll along the historic streets of Fish Creek, a quaint village known for its art galleries, boutique shops, and cozy cafes. Indulge in the local delicacies, such as freshly caught whitefish, cherry pie, and locally produced wines. Don’t miss the chance to explore Peninsula State Park, where you can hike through lush forests, enjoy breathtaking views of the bay, and even catch a show at the outdoor amphitheater.

If you’re looking for some adventure, venture to Cave Point County Park, where you can witness the raw power of Lake Michigan as it crashes against the rugged limestone cliffs. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature as you kayak along the shoreline or go on a scenic boat tour to see the iconic lighthouses that dot the coast.

No trip to Door County is complete without a visit to Washington Island, a serene escape just a short ferry ride away. Rent a bicycle and explore the island’s charming villages, tranquil beaches, and historic sites. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Stavkirke, a stunning Norwegian-style church that stands as a testament to the island’s rich Scandinavian heritage.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a taste of local culture, Door County has something for everyone. From its vibrant arts scene to its breathtaking natural beauty, this hidden gem is waiting to be explored. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to experience the top-rated things to do in Door County, WI.

Explore the Stunning Scenery

Door County, WI is famous for its breathtaking natural beauty and stunning scenery. With its picturesque coastline along Lake Michigan and the peaceful countryside, this area offers a wide array of opportunities to explore and immerse yourself in nature.

One of the best ways to experience the stunning scenery of Door County is by taking a scenic drive along the coastal roads. As you drive along Highway 42 or Highway 57, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the sparkling blue waters of Lake Michigan, charming lighthouses, and rocky shores. Be sure to make stops at lookout points and parks along the way to fully appreciate the beauty of the area.

If you prefer a more active approach, there are plenty of hiking and biking trails that will lead you through the region’s diverse landscapes. From dense forests to open meadows, you’ll get a chance to see the area’s flora and fauna up close. Some popular trails to explore include Peninsula State Park, Newport State Park, and Cave Point County Park.

For a unique perspective of the scenery, consider taking a scenic boat tour or a kayak trip. These activities allow you to get out on the water and see the stunning bluffs, limestone caves, and hidden beaches that line the coastline. You may even spot some of the local wildlife, such as bald eagles and white-tailed deer.

As you explore the stunning scenery of Door County, don’t forget to bring your camera. This area is a photographer’s dream, with its picturesque landscapes and dramatic sunsets. Capture the beauty of the cherry orchards in bloom, the vibrant fall colors, or the peaceful winter snowscapes.

Whether you choose to drive, hike, bike, boat, or photograph the stunning scenery, Door County, WI offers endless opportunities to immerse yourself in its natural beauty. Take the time to explore and appreciate the unique landscapes that make this area a top-rated destination.

Visit the Historic Lighthouses

One of the must-see attractions in Door County is its historic lighthouses. With a coastline stretching for miles along Lake Michigan and Green Bay, the peninsula is home to several picturesque lighthouses that have guided ships for over a century.

A visit to the lighthouses allows you to step back in time and learn about their fascinating history. These iconic structures played a vital role in the maritime history of the region, helping ships navigate safely through the treacherous waters. Many of the lighthouses have been beautifully preserved, giving visitors a glimpse into the past.

Some of the most popular lighthouses in Door County include Cana Island Lighthouse, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, and Sherwood Point Lighthouse. Each of these lighthouses offers its own unique charm and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Cana Island Lighthouse, located on a small island just off the coast, is accessible by a scenic causeway and offers panoramic views of Lake Michigan. Climb to the top of the tower for a breathtaking view of the surrounding waters and the peninsula.

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, perched on a bluff overlooking Green Bay, offers interactive exhibits and a guided tour that takes you through the restored keeper’s house. Learn about the challenges faced by the keepers and their families as they maintained the light.

Sherwood Point Lighthouse, located at the entrance to Sturgeon Bay, is known for its striking red brick exterior. Take a guided tour of the lighthouse and soak in the history while enjoying the sweeping views of the bay.

Whether you’re interested in maritime history, stunning views, or simply enjoy exploring historic sites, a visit to the lighthouses of Door County is a must. Don’t forget to bring your camera and capture the beauty of these iconic landmarks.

Sample Local Wineries and Breweries

Door County, WI is known for its vibrant local wineries and breweries. Whether you’re a fan of wine or beer, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here are a few top-rated establishments to check out:

Winery/Brewery Description Website
Door Peninsula Winery One of the oldest wineries in Door County, Door Peninsula Winery offers a wide selection of award-winning wines. Their tasting room allows visitors to sample their delicious offerings and learn about the winemaking process. Visit Website
Island Orchard Cider If you’re a fan of hard cider, make sure to visit Island Orchard Cider. They specialize in crafting European-style ciders using traditional methods. Their orchard is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy a refreshing drink. Visit Website
Hinterland Brewery Hinterland Brewery is a local favorite for beer lovers. They are known for their handcrafted, Belgian-inspired beers with unique flavors. Their taproom is the perfect place to try a flight of beers and enjoy some delicious food. Visit Website
Shipwrecked Brew Pub Located in a historic building in downtown Egg Harbor, Shipwrecked Brew Pub offers a variety of craft beers brewed on-site. They also have a full menu of tasty pub food to accompany your beer tasting experience. Visit Website

These are just a few examples of the local wineries and breweries in Door County. Whether you prefer wine or beer, be sure to explore the area and discover the unique flavors and experiences that await you.

Enjoy Delicious Food

When visiting Door County, Wisconsin, be sure to take time to indulge in the delicious local cuisine. With a variety of dining options available, there is something to satisfy every palate.

One of the highlights of Door County is its fresh seafood. Whether you’re in the mood for a shrimp boil, a plate of fresh-caught lake fish, or a mouthwatering lobster roll, you’ll find it here. Don’t forget to try the locally sourced oysters, which are known for their unique flavor and freshness.

If you’re more of a land lover, fear not – Door County has plenty of exceptional options for you as well. Sink your teeth into a juicy, handcrafted burger made with locally sourced beef. Or, sample some of the area’s renowned BBQ, with tender ribs and savory pulled pork. For a taste of Wisconsin, don’t miss the opportunity to try some of the region’s famous cheese, whether it’s a classic cheese curd or a delectable cheese plate.

For those with a sweet tooth, Door County has you covered. Indulge in homemade pies, made with the freshest fruits of the season. Savor a cone of locally made ice cream, with flavors ranging from classic vanilla to unique creations like Door County cherry. And don’t forget to stop by a local bakery for a taste of the area’s famous cherry pie – a true Door County delicacy.

When it comes to beverages, Door County offers a wide selection of locally brewed beers and wines. Visit one of the many breweries or wineries in the area to sample some of the finest craft beers and wines Wisconsin has to offer. If you prefer non-alcoholic options, try a freshly made fruit smoothie or a cup of locally roasted coffee.

With its diverse and mouthwatering food scene, Door County is a culinary destination that is sure to impress. So come hungry and prepare to indulge in the delicious flavors that this beautiful region has to offer.

Take a Scenic Drive

One of the top-rated things to do in Door County, WI is to take a scenic drive. The county is known for its beautiful landscapes and winding country roads, making it a perfect destination for a leisurely drive.

Start your journey from Sturgeon Bay and head north along Highway 42, also known as the “Door County Coastal Byway.” This scenic route will take you along the shores of Lake Michigan and offer breathtaking views of the water and the surrounding countryside.

As you drive, make sure to stop at some of the picturesque villages and towns along the way. Ephraim and Fish Creek are particularly charming, with their quaint shops, historic buildings, and stunning water views. You can explore the local art galleries, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, or simply enjoy a walk along the waterfront.

Continue your drive to Peninsula State Park, where you can take in the beauty of the park’s forests, bluffs, and shoreline. The park offers several scenic overlooks and hiking trails, allowing you to explore the area on foot.

If you’re interested in history, make a stop at the Cana Island Lighthouse. This historic lighthouse offers tours and provides a unique glimpse into Door County’s maritime past. From the top of the lighthouse, you can enjoy panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding area.

Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or simply looking to relax and enjoy the beauty of the countryside, taking a scenic drive in Door County, WI is a must-do activity. So, grab your camera, hit the road, and get ready to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Go Hiking in State Parks

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Door County offers plenty of opportunities for hiking in its state parks. With its diverse landscape of forests, cliffs, and shorelines, you’ll find numerous trails to explore.

One popular state park for hiking is Peninsula State Park, which covers over 3,700 acres and offers 20 miles of scenic trails. The Eagle Trail is a highlight, offering stunning views of the Niagara Escarpment and Green Bay.

Another great option is Newport State Park, known for its pristine wilderness and dark sky preserve. The park has over 30 miles of hiking trails that wind through forests, meadows, and along Lake Michigan. Be sure to check out the Europe Bay Trail for beautiful lake views.

For a unique hiking experience, head to Rock Island State Park, accessible only by ferry. This secluded island park has six miles of trails that take you through forests and along rocky beaches. Don’t miss the iconic Pottawatomie Lighthouse and the beautiful views from its tower.

Other state parks in Door County, such as Whitefish Dunes State Park and Potawatomi State Park, also offer hiking trails with different levels of difficulty. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hiker, there’s a trail for everyone to enjoy.

Before you head out, make sure to check the park’s website for any trail closures or special rules. And don’t forget to pack water, snacks, and appropriate footwear for a comfortable and enjoyable hiking experience.

So, put on your hiking boots and explore the natural beauty of Door County’s state parks. You’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views and the chance to connect with nature in a truly special way.

Discover Unique Art Galleries

One of the highlights of visiting Door County, WI is exploring its vibrant art scene. The county is home to a number of unique art galleries that showcase the talent and creativity of local artists.

Immerse yourself in the world of art by visiting the Edgewood Orchard Galleries. Located in a picturesque orchard, this gallery features a wide range of contemporary artwork including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and jewelry. Take a leisurely stroll through the meticulously landscaped gardens while admiring the beautiful artwork on display.

If you’re interested in exploring a more eclectic and unconventional art gallery, check out the Cupola House Gallery. Housed in a historic barn, this gallery showcases a mix of traditional and contemporary artwork. From oil paintings to mixed media sculptures, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.

For a truly unique art experience, don’t miss the Peninsula School of Art. This non-profit organization offers classes, workshops, and exhibitions that celebrate the creativity of both emerging and established artists. Explore the various studios, watch artists at work, and even try your hand at creating your own masterpiece.

Lastly, be sure to visit the Woodwalk Gallery to discover a mix of fine art and fine craft. Set in a beautifully restored 1890s barn, this gallery features a diverse collection of artwork including paintings, photography, fiber art, and more. Enjoy the serene atmosphere as you peruse the unique pieces created by talented artists.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of creativity, exploring the art galleries in Door County, WI is a must-do activity. Uncover hidden gems, support local artists, and experience the rich artistic heritage of this charming county.

Go Shopping in Quaint Boutiques

If you love exploring unique shops and finding one-of-a-kind treasures, Door County is the perfect destination for you. This charming region is home to a variety of quaint boutiques where you can browse and shop to your heart’s content.

From charming art galleries to specialty stores, Door County has it all. Visit Peninsula Art School, where you can find beautiful pieces of art created by local artists. This is the perfect place to pick up a unique painting or sculpture to remember your trip.

If you’re a book lover, don’t miss Book World in Sister Bay. This cozy bookstore is filled with a wide selection of books, including local literature, bestsellers, and children’s books. Spend a leisurely afternoon browsing through the shelves and find the perfect read to enjoy during your vacation.

For those who appreciate handmade crafts, a visit to Door County Craft Market is a must. This boutique showcases the work of local artisans, including pottery, jewelry, and textiles. You can find a special handmade souvenir to take home or a unique gift for a loved one.

Quaint boutiques like Ecology Sports in Baileys Harbor offer a fantastic selection of outdoor gear and apparel. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, or kayaking, you’ll find everything you need for your outdoor adventures here.

While exploring Door County’s charming boutiques, don’t forget to stop by some of the local food shops. The Pear and the Pickle, located in Ellison Bay, is known for its delicious sandwiches and homemade confections. Pick up some treats for a picnic lunch as you continue your shopping adventure.

No matter what you’re looking for, Door County’s quaint boutiques have something to offer everyone. Experience the unique charm and local flavor of the region through its shops and take home memories that will last a lifetime.

Rent a Kayak or Canoe

Exploring the stunning waterways of Door County is an absolute must-do activity during your visit. One of the best ways to experience the area’s natural beauty is by renting a kayak or canoe.

With several outfitters and rental companies throughout the county, finding the perfect vessel for your adventure is a breeze. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a beginner, there are options available for all skill levels.

Embark on a relaxing journey along the calm shores of Lake Michigan or venture into the scenic Mink River Estuary, known for its diverse wildlife and tranquil atmosphere. Paddle through serene bays and hidden coves, taking in the breathtaking sights and sounds of the surrounding nature.

Keep an eye out for the local wildlife, including eagles soaring overhead, herons wading in the water, and turtles sunning themselves on the riverbanks. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a playful otter or a majestic deer drinking from the shoreline.

Whether you prefer a guided tour or a self-guided exploration, renting a kayak or canoe is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Door County’s natural wonders. Pack a picnic lunch and stop at one of the secluded beaches or islands along the way for a scenic break.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to rent a kayak or canoe during your visit to Door County. It’s a fantastic way to get out on the water, connect with nature, and create unforgettable memories.

Attend a Local Festival

One of the top things to do in Door County, WI is to attend a local festival. Throughout the year, the county hosts a variety of festivals that showcase its rich culture and traditions. From music and art festivals to food and drink festivals, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

One popular festival in Door County is the Door County Beer Festival. This annual event celebrates the craft beer industry in the area and features a wide selection of local and regional craft beers to sample. In addition to beer tastings, the festival also offers live music, food vendors, and educational seminars on brewing and beer pairings.

Another must-attend festival is the Door County Cherry Fest. As Door County is known for its cherry orchards, this festival celebrates the cherry harvest season with a variety of activities. Visitors can enjoy cherry-themed food and drinks, live music, arts and crafts vendors, and even cherry-picking opportunities. The highlight of the festival is the cherry pit spit contest, where participants compete to see who can spit a cherry pit the farthest.

If you’re a fan of the arts, the Door County Renaissance Faire is the perfect festival to attend. Step back in time and experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Renaissance period. The festival features live entertainment such as jousting competitions, sword fighting demonstrations, and musical performances. Visitors can also browse through artisan booths, participate in interactive workshops, and enjoy traditional Renaissance food and drink.

These are just a few examples of the many festivals that take place in Door County, WI. Whether you’re a foodie, a beer lover, or a fan of the arts, attending a local festival is a great way to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the area. Make sure to check the festival calendar before your visit to see what events are happening during your stay.

Go Fishing on Lake Michigan

If you’re a fan of fishing, a trip to Door County, WI wouldn’t be complete without trying your luck on Lake Michigan. Known for its abundance of fish species, this Great Lake offers a fantastic fishing experience for both beginners and seasoned anglers.

Whether you prefer casting your line from the shore or heading out on a chartered fishing boat, you’ll have plenty of options to indulge in your favorite pastime. Lake Michigan is home to a wide variety of fish, including salmon, trout, walleye, bass, and many more.

For those new to fishing, consider booking a guided fishing tour. Experienced local guides will take you to the best fishing spots, provide all the necessary equipment, and teach you techniques to catch that trophy fish. They will also share their knowledge of the area and its history, making your fishing trip an educational and memorable experience.

If you prefer a more independent fishing adventure, Door County offers plenty of public access points along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Grab your rod, bait, and tackle, and find a peaceful spot to cast your line into the crystal-clear waters. Don’t forget to pack some snacks and sunscreen for a comfortable day by the lake.

During certain times of the year, you might even have the chance to participate in a fishing tournament. These exciting events bring together fishing enthusiasts from all over, competing for prizes and bragging rights. Check the local event calendar to see if any tournaments coincide with your visit to Door County.

Remember to check the fishing regulations and obtain any required fishing licenses before you head out. It’s important to respect the lake and its ecosystem to ensure future generations can enjoy this wonderful fishing destination.

So, pack your fishing gear, head to Door County, and enjoy the thrill of fishing on Lake Michigan. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the shore or an adrenaline-pumping tournament, you’ll find everything you need for an unforgettable fishing experience.

Learn About Local History

If you’re interested in the rich history of Door County, there are plenty of educational opportunities available. The area is home to several museums and historical sites that offer a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Museum/ Site Description
Door County Maritime Museum This museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the maritime history of the region. You can explore exhibits on shipbuilding, commercial fishing, lighthouses, and more.
Peninsula State Park Located in Fish Creek, this state park offers both natural beauty and historical significance. You can visit Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, which dates back to 1868, and learn about the area’s maritime history.
Door County Historical Museum Located in Sturgeon Bay, this museum features exhibits on the Native American tribes, early settlers, and the shipping and logging industries that shaped the region. You can also learn about the history of the local cherry industry, which has deep roots in the area.
Potawatomi State Park This state park in Sturgeon Bay offers beautiful natural scenery along with historical sites. You can explore the old Potawatomi Tower, built in 1932, and learn about the area’s Native American heritage.

By visiting these museums and historical sites, you can gain a deeper understanding of Door County’s past and the impact that it has had on the area’s culture and development.

Relax on Sandy Beaches

One of the top-rated things to do in Door County is to relax on its sandy beaches. The county is known for its beautiful coastline along Lake Michigan, offering visitors the perfect place to unwind and soak up the sun.

One popular beach in Door County is Whitefish Dunes State Park. This expansive sandy beach stretches for miles and provides ample space for activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. The park is also home to unique sand dunes, which are great for hiking and exploring.

Another must-visit beach is Cave Point County Park, famous for its picturesque limestone cliffs and crystal-clear waters. Visitors can relax on the sandy beach while enjoying breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding coastal landscape. This beach is also a popular spot for kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling.

If you’re looking for a more secluded beach experience, head to Newport State Park. This hidden gem offers miles of sandy shoreline without the crowds, making it the perfect place to unwind and enjoy nature. The beach is surrounded by pristine forests and offers stunning sunset views.

For those looking for a family-friendly beach, North Bay Beach is a great option. This sandy beach has a designated swimming area, playground, and picnic tables, making it a perfect spot for a day of fun in the sun with the kids.

Whether you’re looking to swim, sunbathe, or simply relax by the water’s edge, Door County’s sandy beaches have something for everyone. Don’t forget to pack your beach towel and sunscreen for a day of ultimate relaxation in this beautiful Wisconsin destination.

Go Orchard Picking

If you’re looking for a fun and family-friendly activity in Door County, WI, look no further than orchard picking. Door County is known for its beautiful apple orchards, where you can spend a day in nature and enjoy the crisp autumn air.

There are several orchards in Door County that offer apple picking, so you have plenty of options to choose from. Some of the top-rated orchards include Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery and Market, Seaquist Orchards Farm Market, and Wood Orchard Market.

When you go orchard picking, you’ll have the opportunity to stroll through rows and rows of apple trees, picking the ripest and juiciest apples straight from the tree. It’s a great way to connect with nature and experience the joys of harvest season.

Not only is orchard picking a fun activity, but it also allows you to support local farmers and businesses. Many of the orchards in Door County are family-owned and operated, so you can feel good knowing that you’re directly supporting the local community.

Before you go orchard picking, make sure to check the orchard’s website or give them a call to find out their hours and any specific guidelines or restrictions they may have. Some orchards may require reservations or have specific harvest schedules, so it’s always a good idea to plan ahead.

So grab your family and friends, put on your walking shoes, and head to one of Door County’s top-rated apple orchards for a day of orchard picking fun. It’s an activity that everyone can enjoy, and you’ll leave with a bag full of delicious apples to enjoy at home.

Remember to bring:

  • Comfortable shoes for walking
  • Reusable bags or baskets for apple picking
  • Sunscreen and hats for protection from the sun
  • A camera to capture all the beautiful moments

So don’t miss out on the opportunity to go orchard picking in Door County, WI. It’s a memorable experience that will make your visit to Door County even more special.


What are some top-rated activities to do in Door County, WI?

Some top-rated activities to do in Door County, WI include visiting Peninsula State Park, exploring Cave Point County Park, tasting local wine at a winery, taking a scenic drive along the coast, and visiting the charming town of Fish Creek.

Which parks should I visit in Door County, WI?

There are two parks that you should visit in Door County, WI – Peninsula State Park and Cave Point County Park. Peninsula State Park offers beautiful hiking trails, a sandy beach, and stunning views of Lake Michigan. Cave Point County Park is known for its picturesque cliffs and caves that are perfect for hiking and exploring.

Can you recommend any wineries to visit in Door County, WI?

Yes, there are several wineries in Door County, WI that you should visit. Some popular wineries include Stone’s Throw Winery, Door Peninsula Winery, and Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery. These wineries offer wine tastings, tours, and beautiful vineyard views.

What is the best way to explore the coast of Door County?

The best way to explore the coast of Door County is by taking a scenic drive along Highway 42 or Highway 57. These roads offer breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding countryside. You can also stop at various lookout points and parks along the way to fully experience the beauty of the coast.

What can I do in the town of Fish Creek in Door County, WI?

In the charming town of Fish Creek, you can explore unique shops, dine at delicious restaurants, and enjoy live music and theater performances. You can also rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the waterfront, or take a scenic cruise on the bay. Fish Creek is a popular destination for its quaint atmosphere and beautiful views.

What are some popular activities to do in Door County, WI?

There are plenty of popular activities to do in Door County, WI. You can go hiking in Peninsula State Park, visit the Door County Maritime Museum, take a scenic drive along Highway 42, explore the charming town of Fish Creek, and enjoy a fish boil dinner.


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Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson, an Anchorage-based travel writer contributing her expertise to TravelAsker. Her in-depth knowledge of Alaska, both in her hometown and throughout the state, makes her the go-to local expert. From top-notch accommodations to delectable dining spots and thrilling activities, Sarah’s insightful recommendations ensure you’ll have a fantastic family trip in Alaska.

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