Door County is one of Wisconsin’s most beloved vacation destinations. With its wide variety of unique activities, exquisite dining, exciting events, and gorgeous scenery, Door County boasts a nearly never-ending list of things to do during your vacation. The real question is, “When is the best time to visit Door County?” Here are some of the best things to do in Door County during each fun-filled season.
When you plan a trip to Door County, you won’t want to be without our complimentary Door County Vacation Guide. With this handy guide in hand, you can spend less time planning your vacation and more time enjoying it!
It’s Always the Best Time to Visit Door County
Here’s the thing—when it comes to visiting Door County, every day of the year is special and perfect in its own way! Whether you stay here during spring, summer, fall, or winter, you’ll be surrounded by fun-filled activities and picturesque sights.
Things to Do in Door County During the Spring
1. Admire the Cherry Blossoms
Did you know that Door County is known for its beautiful cherry blossoms? When the winter season ends and the spring season begins, these stunning blossoms cover the trees throughout Door County. You’ll see flowers in the apple trees too! Here is where you can catch sight of these infamous blossoms:
- Apple orchards (Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market is a local favorite)
- Trolley tours (Door County Trolley offers a Spring Blossom Tour)
- One of the Door County’s 19 county parks (Cave Point County Park is a great option)
- Hiking trails (Newport State Park offers an extensive trail system, as well as long, scenic stretches of beach along Lake Michigan
2. Explore the Historic Lighthouses
Door County is home to 11 historic lighthouses. Although most of these beacons have long since retired, they still stand as symbols of strength and protection along Door County’s shores. A visit to our peninsula is incomplete without seeing these breathtaking figures. Some of our favorite local lighthouses include:
- Sherwood Point Lighthouse
- Cana Island Lighthouse
- Plum Island Lighthouse
- Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Light
3. Visit Door County Parks
Several incredible state parks, county parks, and nature preserves are scattered throughout Door County, creating numerous opportunities for a full day of exploration and outdoor activities. Whether you choose to hike along the trails, observe the local wildlife, or spend some time on the water, boredom is never an option! Here are some of the most popular parks that our previous guests have raved over:
- Newport State Park: As Wisconsin’s only formally designated wilderness park, Newport State Park is an ideal destination for nature watching. It’s also popular for water sports, hiking, and fishing.
- Peninsula State Park: This pristine land is Wisconsin’s most complete park and one of the largest Door County points of interest. It includes a summer theater, 18-hole golf course, sand beach, bike trails, and more!
- Whitefish Dunes State Park: Whitefish Dunes is a day-use park that protects the fragile dune environment. Here, you can stroll along the boardwalk, watch waterfowl birds, discover lively wetlands, and experience year-round programs.
Things to Do in Door County During the Summer
1. Unwind on the Beaches
Door County is home to over 300 miles of shoreline and 53 public beaches, each boasting its own unique features! Whether you spend the day swimming, soaking in the sun, or enjoying a romantic waterside picnic, a visit to one of these beaches is a must for your Door County summer itinerary. Here are just a couple of our personal favorites that we’re sure you’ll love just as much as we do.
- Schoolhouse Beach is one out of only five beaches in the world to have limestone sand. It was also recently rated as the most romantic spot in Wisconsin by Travel + Leisure.
- Egg Harbor Beach is located a short distance from our adults-only hotel, The Ashbrooke Hotel. Egg Harbor Beach is one of the peninsula’s most popular waterfronts. You’ll enjoy a wide array of amenities, including restrooms, outdoor showers, a pavilion, and more.
2. Enjoy an Evening at the Theater
If you foster a deep appreciation for the performing arts, the best time to visit Door County is the summer season. This time of year, many of Door County’s theaters open their doors to visitors and locals alike for spectacular performances that will leave you completely dazzled. Many of these theaters are held in outdoor amphitheaters and auditoriums, allowing you to enjoy a wonderful show underneath the stars. Here’s a quick look at some of our area’s top summer theaters!
- Each summer, Door Shakespeare brings your classic favorites to life in their beautiful outdoor venue. They strive to bring visitors an exciting lineup of Shakespeare’s best masterpieces and works from other classic playwrights.
- Northern Sky Theater is a professional Door County theater that’s truly unlike any other! They create, develop, and produce all their own musicals based on the populist culture and heritage of the United States. Many of their plays are set right in Door County and are written with laugh-out-loud humor and tenderness.
- Peninsula Players in Fish Creek is a seasonal lakeside theater and America’s oldest resident summer theater. Its history and captivating plays have attracted visitors for nearly 85 years, and we’re sure you’ll be just as amazed!
3. Attend the Washington Island Music Festival
Every year in August, world-class musicians travel to Door County to participate in the Washington Island Music Festival. This charming island can only be reached by ferry, making the journey to the festival half the fun! Past musical performances at the event have included:
- Yuka Kadota, Violin
- Stefanie Jacob, Piano
- Scott Tisdel, Cello
- Joseph Claude, Oboe/English Horn
- And more!
Things to Do in Door County During the Fall
1. Admire the Beautiful Fall Colors
If you’re looking for a destination rich in vibrant fall colors and seasonal festivities, we‘ve got the perfect place for you. Fall in Door County is a magical time unlike anything else! The air is crisp and invigorating, and the weather is bright and welcoming, making it a best time to visit Door County. Here are some fantastic ways to view the fall colors in Door County:
- Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower: After a quick trek down the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in the park, visitors can climb the 75-foot observation tower and take in awe-inspiring views of Green Bay and the fall foliage.
- Door County Trolley Tour: This journey takes you to breathtaking vistas and bluffs overlooking the islands, providing jaw-dropping views of the autumn scenery. Don’t forget to take advantage of our “First Time in Door County” package to receive two free tickets for this trolley tour!
2. Experience an Authentic Fish Boil
If one of your favorite parts of vacation is indulging in the local cuisine, then you need to experience an authentic Door County fish boil. These unique community events bring everyone together for an evening full of fresh food, lively music, and good company. Fish boils typically are held from May through October at various local restaurants:
- Old Post Office
- The Viking Grill and Lounge
- White Gull Inn
- Pelletier’s Restaurant & Fish Boil
- Rowleys Bay Restaurant and Fish Boil
3. Attend the Fall Festivals
If you’re hoping to attend some incredible events during your time in Door County, then you better be here during the fall! The peninsula hosts various festive fall events that celebrate the beauty of the season and Door County’s vibrant culture. Here are some popular fall events that you’ll want to mark on your calendars immediately.
- Sister Bay Marina Fest: For over 25 years, the Sister Bay Marina Fest continues to be one of the county’s favorite end-of-summer events. With live entertainment, an abundance of food and beverages, fireworks, and a water ski show by The Waterboard Warriors, there are plenty of ways to have fun and make lifelong memories at this weekend event.
- Sister Bay Fall Fest: Known as the “Grandaddy” of all Door County Festivals, the Sister Bay Fall Fest is a top-rated autumn event. It celebrates the season with a classic car show, arts and crafts, a fun parade, and the famous Ping Pong Ball Drop!
- Pumpkin Patch Festival: This carnival celebrates the true autumn spirit! Unleash your inner child at the Pumpkin Patch Festival on carnival rides, browse the creative pumpkin and scarecrow displays, be wowed by a roaming magician, or participate in a silent auction!
Things to Do in Door County During the Winter
1. Go Wine Tasting
There’s no better way to warm up on a cold winter day than by sipping on award-winning wine. Door County is home to many locally-owned wineries and is quickly becoming one of the nation’s most respected wine regions. Nestled between Lake Michigan and Green Bay, the Door County Wine Trail is home to an array of unique wineries and tasting rooms, including:
2. Dine at Delicious Restaurants
One of the most exciting parts of any vacation is deciding where you’ll eat! When you stay with us, there are plenty of delectable dining options nearby! Whether you’re hungry for a hearty breakfast, delicious lunch, or a fine dining experience, you’ll find the perfect place to delight your taste buds. Here are some of our favorite nearby eateries:
- CHOP: An upscale American steak and seafood restaurant with an extensive wine list and patio seating (Sister Bay)
- Shiny Moon Café: A vibrant café offering breakfast, lunch, coffee, beer, and wine (Fish Creek)
- Chives Door County: This homey eatery serves small, medium, and large plates of upscale New American eats amid rustic-chic digs (Baileys Harbor)
- The Fireside Restaurant: A warm, wood-clad restaurant serving an array of Cajun seafood and meat plates alongside wine and cocktails (Egg Harbor)
3. Go Cross-Country Skiing
During the winter season, Door County transforms into a mesmerizing white wonderland. Cross-country skiing is a favorite activity for many winter visitors, and we’re sure you’ll love it! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, you will find a trail that is perfect for your skill level:
Need a Great Place to Stay? Stay With Us at the Ashbrooke Hotel
Located in the heart of Door County, our adults-only hotel is the perfect place to stay. In addition to our convenient location, guests will also enjoy comfortable guest rooms and suites, unique amenities (like an indoor pool), and access to exclusive vacation specials. It’s everything you need to make memories that you will always cherish.
Ready for the getaway of a lifetime? Book your next summer vacation at The Ashbrooke today!