Door County, Wisconsin, is definitely an area worth exploring. With its limitless nature-seeking opportunities, beautiful lighthouses to climb, and local art at every turn, there’s always something to discover in this humble little county. Its past is murky – Door County used to be referred to as Death’s Door territory, and the strait between the Door Peninsula and Washington Island is riddled with shipwrecks. Beyond ghost tales, however, is an area alive with music, theater and activity. Any traveler with a hunger for local flavors, a sense of discovery, a love of nature and good shoes would be remiss if they didn’t make a stop at Door County, just 54 miles from the Austin Straubel International Airport near Green Bay and a bit over two hours from Milwaukee.
Photo by Joe Hardenbrook via Flickr.
Bigger than your average park, this 104-year-old state park is host to a variety of outdoor activities and an estimated one million visitors annually. Within its 3776 acres, it has four campgrounds, a lighthouse, a theater, a golf course, bike trail, and plenty of vantage points for nature viewing. Such an expansive piece of land means that visitors can golf, fish, kayak, bike, hike, boat, camp and whatever unplugged activity they want to engage in.
Photo by Denara via Flickr
Door County, a peninsula jutting out into Lake Michigan, is home to one of America’s most scenic wine countries. Amongst the 250 miles of coastline, bluffs and charming towns, there are a number of wineries that are well-known for their fruit wines: apple and cherry. Travelers are welcome to visit many of the wineries, either to take in the scenery or enjoy the wines. The Door County Wine Trail is a group of seven such wineries, and a stop at each is sure to leave travelers thoroughly satiated.
Photo by Peninsula State Park via Flickr.
Deep in the heart of the Peninsula State Park is a platform buzzing with energy. If you have a flair for drama and don’t mind mosquitoes, catch a show beneath the stars at the American Folklore Theater. Specializing in American Musical Theater and plays that unveil the true American folk identity, this little stage in the woods brings thousands of theater-fanatics down the trail. Tickets are cheap, and the plays are kid-friendly and thought-provoking.
Photo by BerlyJen via Flickr.
Beaches abound at Washington Island. Limestone shores and crystal clear waters surround this mysterious little island just six miles off the tip of the Door County Peninsula. Far from its history of shipwrecks and disappearing sailors, Washington Island has emerged as a quick, pleasant destination for beachcombers and history buffs alike. Hop on a ferry, operated by the Washington Island Ferry Line, or fly into the tiny, grassy Washington Island Airport, but once you get there, the best way to get around is by bike.
Photo by Eva's Photography via Flickr.
Anyone looking for a convenient and luxe place to stay on their trip need not look further than the Bay Shore Inn, a resort on the shores of Sturgeon Bay with a private sand beach, tennis and basketball courts, country gardens and free bikes to ride the 2.5 miles to downtown Sturgeon Bay. Early morning golfers can hit the links in minutes from their hotel room, and – oh yeah, all their TVs have HBO.
Photo by Kathy via Flickr.
There’s only one word to describe the White Gull Inn: charming. It’s a bed and breakfast and an award-winning restaurant. They specialize in fish boils and cherry pie. Picturesque, that’s another word. Rustic. Delicious. Just a short walk or bike ride from the inn is the historic village of Fish Creek, a small hamlet known for its lighthouses, local art, and fishing community. Timeless.