Here Are the 9 Best State Parks in Door County You Need to Experience

Door County’s natural scenery is one of the area’s main draws. With the many state parks, county parks, nature preserves, and other fascinating natural areas, your options for exploration and recreation are nearly endless. We’re more than happy to recommend some of our favorite State Parks in Door County that you certainly won’t want to skip. 

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9 State Parks in Door County Parks You’ll Love 

The Door County peninsula is home to a plethora of breathtaking parks featuring biking trailshiking trailssandy beaches, lakes, lookout points, and more!  

State Parks in Door County 

1. Potawatomi State Park 

potawatomi state park sturgeon bay wisconsin door countyStretching across two miles of the Green Bay shoreline, Potawatomi State Park is the perfect destination for outdoor exploration. With its many miles of biking and hiking trails, groomed ski trails in the winter, and a boat ramp for those who want to venture into the bay, this park is 1178 acres of pure outdoor fun. The observation tower is most likely one of the park’s most beloved attractions and rewards visitors with breathtaking views of the bay, rolling terrains, and limestone cliffs.

2. Peninsula State Park 

Located along the bay, this park in Door County reigns as the largest state park in the area spanning over more than 3000 acres. No matter what time of year you go, there is always something to do. During the warmer months, you can golf on the 18-hole golf course or go swimming, kayaking, and fishing. Cooler months provide the perfect conditions for snowmobiling and sledding. Plus, Peninsula State Park offers an abundance of nature programs to enjoy where you can spend hours bird watching, hiking through a hemlock cedar forest, or learning about astronomy while gazing through a telescope into the night sky. It’s also home to the historic Eagle Bluff Lighthouse 

3. Rock Island State Park  

You can only get to Rock Island State Park by ferry, making it a unique Door County park! This island is visited by locals and visitors alike and has many biking trails, hiking paths, and beaches to explore.   

4. Newport State Park  

newport state park stargazingNewport State Park is Wisconsin’s only formally designated wilderness park. Visitors from all over the nation flock to this local park for its world-famous stargazing opportunities. It is one of only 48 designated parks on the planet for viewing the dark sky. During the warmer months, you’ll enjoy unobstructed views of the eastern night skies and the stunning aurora borealis northern lights! 

5. Whitefish Dunes State Park  

Located alongside Lake Michigan in Sturgeon Bay, this waterside wonderland is the perfect spot to revel in Door County’s natural beauty. You can spend the entire day at Whitefish Dunes State Park enjoying activities such as swimming, boating, hiking, and picnicking. You’ll also find a re-creation of the villages where Door County’s original settlers lived. It’s the best way to take a step back in time and experience what life was like in Door County hundreds of years ago. 

Other Door County Parks and Nature Centers 

6. Cave Point County Park 

Cave PointThis hidden gem is a sightseeing treasure that allows you to explore sea caves formed by powerful waves pounding against the bluffs. This park spans over 19 acres and features a hiking trail and several lovely spots to have an afternoon picnic or watch the sunset. A rocky shoreline and spectacular water sprays add to why it is an all-time Door County favorite.

7. Egg Harbor Beach Park  

When you stay with us at The Ashbrooke Hotel, you’ll be a short walk away from Egg Harbor Beach Park. This popular destination includes a picturesque beach and picnic pavilion, a playground area, and a swimming area. It’s a fantastic spot for splashing in the water on a hot day, building sandcastles, or lounging in a chair and taking in panoramic vistas. 

8. Schoolhouse Beach 

Located on Washington Island, Schoolhouse Beach is one of five beaches globally like it and is a part of the Niagara Escarpment. This protected harbor area offers opportunities for swimming and diving. The beach also provides picnic tables and grills for the perfect beach day.  

9. Frank Murphy County Park 

This 14-acre park is located on Horseshoe Bay, south of Egg Harbor. Notable features include 1,600 feet of sandy beach, boat launching facilities, a dock, a picnic area, a volleyball court, and a playground area. Parking and restroom facilities are available.

Outdoor Things to Do in State Parks in Door County

This enchanting region beckons nature enthusiasts with a wide array of exciting activities. Whether you’re an avid hiker, an angler looking to reel in the catch of the day, a biking enthusiast ready to explore scenic trails, or someone yearning for a tranquil kayaking experience, Door County has it all. Here are some thrilling activities that await in this picturesque corner of Wisconsin.

Fishing

Father and son fishing.Door County state parks offer excellent fishing opportunities, including Potawatomi, Whitefish Dunes, Peninsula, and Newport state parks. Visitors can fish for species like trout, salmon, and others in the area’s lakes and rivers.

Hiking

Discover the diverse hiking trails that Door County has to offer, each with its own unique charm. All the parks offer various different experiences. Spend the day exploring lush forests, encounter stunning vistas, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Door County’s hiking wonderland.

Biking

Door County TriathlonFor biking enthusiasts, Door County offers diverse experiences. Peninsula State Park boasts a range of biking trails, from paved to unpaved, catering to all riders. Potawatomi State Park also provides designated biking routes. While Newport State Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park offer biking options on select trails. Whether you seek off-road excitement or a leisurely ride, Door County has biking adventures.

Kayaking

For seasoned kayakers, Door County beckons with its pristine waterways, hidden caves, and stunning bluffs. Explore at your own pace or opt for guided tours with Door County Kayak Tour for expert insights and group camaraderie.

Snowmobiling and Cross-county Skiing in Door County

In the winter months, Door County transforms into a wonderland for snowmobilers and cross-country skiers. Ahnapee State Trail along the Ahnapee River, Potawatomi, and north of Baileys Harbor through parts of Mud Lake State Wildlife Area, offers designated snowmobile trails, providing exhilarating rides through scenic landscapes. For cross-country skiing enthusiasts, All the state parks except Rock Island offer miles of groomed trails, as well as Door County Land Trust, Crossroads at Big Creek, and the Ahnapee State Trail.

Diverse Experiences Await

There are abundant activities to explore the natural beauty and local culture. Several state parks offer beaches for swimming and sunbathing. Birdwatching enthusiasts can flock to Bailey’s Harbor Ridges County Park. The Cana Island Lighthouse provides breathtaking views. Peninsula State Park invites a perfect setting for picnics. Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market tempts with wine tasting, and you can even pick cherries there. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking relaxation, Door County has something for every traveler.

Essential Gear for Door County State Parks

To fully enjoy Door County’s state parks, pack wisely. Comfortable shoes with ankle support are essential for hiking. In fall and winter, layer up with a heavy coat, gloves, and a scarf. Waterproof boots and warm socks are a must for winter activities. Spring calls for rain gear and waterproof boots. In summer, wear light layers and sun protection. Remember essentials like a camera and a backpack for snacks and water. Year-round, consider a first aid kit, compass, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a water bottle. Tailor your gear to your planned activities for a memorable adventure.

Relax at The Ashbrooke Hotel 

amenities at the ashbrooke - bedroomAfter a full day of experiencing our outstanding local parks, come back and unwind at The Ashbrooke Hotel. Located in the heart of Door County, we offer numerous amenities, including luxurious rooms, an indoor pool, and easy access to all of Door County’s great restaurants, museums, galleries, and more. To save you money and make the most out of your trip, we always offer top-notch specials and packages!   

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