8 Top-Rated Attractions In Door County, Wisconsin (2023)
For travellers who aim of exploring all the ‘BESTS’ from the West, Door County is a must-visit region. The idea of historic villages, lighthouses and miles of shoreline here is enough to attract and captivate the wanderers. Sitting right between Green Bay and Lake Michigan on the Door Peninsula, Door County is Wisconsinite’s favourite holiday spot. As picture-perfect it looks on magazines and the internet, this scenic peninsula is even more gorgeous when looked from closely. Your interests can vary from spending a leisurely vacation, exploring nature or indulging in outdoor fun; this Cape Cod of the Midwest will offer possibilities for all of them.
Door County is home to picturesque state parks, an array of stunning beaches, spectacular museums, wineries, lovely farms, theatres, and endless other recreational destinations. Be it under the scorching summer heat or the chilly wintery breeze, this section of Wisconsin ensures travellers engagement to a really high level. Want to learn more?
8 Top-Rated Attractions in Door County, Wisconsin
Have a look at our compilation of popular places and activities to try when in Door County.
1. Door County Maritime Museum
Sitting in the heart of Door County, the Maritime Museum is from where one must start their exploration. It has three different substitute sites, including a Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay, another in Gill Rocks and the Cana Island Light just north of Bailey’s Harbour. All of these locations pay tribute to the rich marine history of the region and how it influenced the life of various people. Inside the museum, guests can see maritime equipment, models of ships and boats, restored boats, and personal memorabilia. Highlights of the museum are the Baumgartner Gallery and the Horton Gallery. Here one can earn a memorable experience through interactive exhibits. Once done with indoor tours, step outside the museum and step onboard a 149-foot tugboat, the John Purves. One can even learn how these boats operate by opting for guided tours.
2. Cave Point County Park
Cave Point is roughly a 19 acres County Park and one of the top-rated attractions in Door County. This iconic natural landscape is home to breath-taking landscapes, underwater caverns, awe-striking coves, lush greenery, and other elements. However, the major highlight here is the limestone cliffs facing Lake Michigan. Upon looking down from these cliffs, Lake Michigan looks extraordinarily splendid. The limestone cliffs also make for a great diving platform (if you are a professional swimmer). During winters, the similar cliffs turn into a winter Iceland that is so photogenic that one might fail to believe their eye. The County Park also operates kayaking, canoeing, picnicking, hiking, and rock climbing.
3. Peninsula State Park
The most complete and third-largest state park in Wisconsin, the Peninsula State Park is a gem of Door County. This 3,776-acre natural landscape welcomes nearly one million visitors annually, not just from the Nation but also internationally. There are several interesting spots throughout the park, including Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Eagle Tower, Horseshoe Island, Wetlands, Golf Courses, an Open-air Theatre, and whatnot. The State Park also runs 3 group campsites and 468 family campsites. Every single campground here has bathroom facilities and flush toilets. Campers can choose from different grounds, be it some amidst the woodlands or another close to a beach. Though accessing the park is possible year-round, a few attractions inside operate seasonally.
4. Ridge Sanctuary
Wisconsin’s first land trust and the most biologically diverse ecosystem, the Ridge Sanctuary, is located in the Baileys Harbor. Due to the diversity of unusual habitats here, the sanctuary is housing the greatest concentrations of rare plants in the Midwest. Further, there are 30 narrow, crescent-shaped sandy ridges, a result of cyclical changes in Lake Michigan water during the past millennium. The formation of every single ridge took about 30 to 40 years, and various of them are accessible. During the flowering season, the Ridge Sanctuary welcomes the spread of Orchids which constitute nearly 25 native species. During summers, the Sanctuary authorities offer guided tours and programs. However, during winters, opportunities for snowshoe hiking come live. Even though non-guided tours are always allowed, guided tours are still recommended for a better experience.
5. Schoolhouse Beach Park
Schoolhouse Beach is a sandless beach, one of the only five of its kind across the world. Underwater level or at the beach, there are literally pebbles all around. These pebbles add a very distinctive yet appealing look to the beach. The absence of sand makes the water here appear really clean and clear. The visibility here is so clear that one can literally see where the limestone rocks sit at the bottom. Individuals from across Wisconsin visit here for swimming or building cairns and other peculiar sculptures with stones. The rocks you see here aren’t the usual, but the ones deposited here millions of years ago. That is why, as per law, removing pebbles from Schoolhouse Beach is illegal. This unique lake bed also offers kayaking and canoeing opportunities. Or, on a sunny Sunday, bring your own picnic and enjoy a joyous time with friends and family.
6. Sister Bay Beach
Sister Bay Beach is a summer destination located in the Door County Peninsula. This public waterfront in Door County offers over 600 feet of sand beach, 900 continuous linear feet of water frontage and a 900 sq. ft outdoor stage. There are gazebos, picnic tables, bar-b-ques, a Village Hall with a kitchen, huge grasslands and much more. On a summer afternoon, one can go swimming and sunbathing whereas one can gaze sky on a clear stary night. Or reach here before 5 and sit down for observing a mesmerising sunset. For added activities, there are even rental facilities and a neighbouring marina. Note: There aren’t lifeguards on duty, but before going swimming, do visit the Pier. As advised, if the water level crosses the Pier, swimming here can prove unsafe.
7. Ellison Bay Bluff Park
If you are looking forward to capturing the most breath-taking views of Door County, then do visit Ellison Bay, Bluff Park. This 174-acre space is the second-largest park and a popular recreational spot in Door County. As a part of the Niagara Escarpment, there are high limestone cliffs whose formation are known by glacial inland seas. The highlight of the park is the stairway leading to a viewing site that offers the most treasurable views of the water. On a bright clear day, looking around to the endless panorama of land and water feels divine. Further, there are a few hiking trails and a picnic area towards the eastern park boundary. Upon walking through nature, one can spot a variety of migratory birds. There are even twenty-six species of land snail, of which two are glacial relict species, and five are very rare. The best time to be here is either during clear Summer or Falls.
8. Stone’s Throw Winery
To have a memorable time with your partner, visit the Stone’s Throw Winery in Door County. Established back in 1993, the Winery produces California grapes of the most premium quality. Some of the finest from their collection include Chianti Riserva, Valpolicella Classico, Rosso, and Cava Reserva. Along with wine, this space also owns two fantastic restaurants that deal in full Italian cuisine. The Winery offers a few wine samples for free, followed by several paid options. Interested visitors can also go for vinery tours and learn about different productions and processes. For anyone who is looking for an unspoiled, uncrowded and peaceful winery experience, Stone’s Throw is the ultimate spot for them.
Best time to visit Door County: Even though tourism in Door County is popular throughout the year, a few factors can influence the same. For example, the month of July and August and weekends of October in Door County are extremely busy. Whereas from May to the first three weeks of June, hotels here provide a great discount. Mid-August and weekdays in September and October also are ideal from an affordable trip point of view.