Door County is abundant in unique ecosystems and natural beauty, making it one of the best Wisconsin destinations for viewing the wonders of nature. If you’re searching for a quiet place to enjoy the waterfront and learn more about the history of the land, Whitefish Dunes State Park is a must for your itinerary! This lovely park is bordered by Lake Michigan and provides plenty of things to see and do any time of year. Get outdoors and revel in the famous beauty of Door County at this one-of-a-kind state park!
Interested in more outdoor destinations like Whitefish Dunes State Park? Download your free copy of our Door County Vacation Guide for a full list of recommendations on local parks, outdoor activities, dining, and much more!
Brief History of Whitefish Dunes State Park
The Whitefish Dunes State Park we see today has been shaped by its geological prehistory, the people who once called it home, and its scenic natural resources.
Evidence of 8 separate tribes and settlers has been discovered at the park, some ranging all the way back to 100 B.C. The seasonal abundance of fishing opportunities is believed to be the major reason so many settlers made their homes here. You can learn more about each group of occupants on the Whitefish Dunes State Park History page!
During the mid-1800s, two brothers began a commercial fishing operation in the area with the help of the Potawatomi Indians. The fishery operated until the 1880s, but it slowly depleted as the decline of maritime activity and lumbering took place before the beginning of the 20th century.
Due to the park’s rich history and potential for future research, Whitefish Dunes State Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In July of 1967, it officially was deemed as a state park in order to protect the sand dunes and rare plants that grew there. Today, the park is still heavily enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and continues to serve its purpose as a safe haven for the fragile dune environment.
Things to Do at Whitefish Dunes State Park
Since the park is open all year-round, there will always be an opportunity to enjoy the variety of activities and facilities. Here are just some of the most popular things to do that we’re sure you’ll love!
Whitefish Dunes State Park is the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll along Lake Michigan! The park is also home to Clark Lake, which is the perfect place to search for waterfowl birds. Along the boardwalk, you’ll discover the vast wetlands and paths to the forested sand dunes or beech forest. Hiking in the park is a very relaxing way to spend your day and may even become one of the highlights of your trip!
During the warmer months, you’ll be able to take a refreshing dip in the lake or journey into the waters by boat! There is nothing quite like a hot summer’s day spent lounging on the park’s beach or riding the lake’s gentle waves aboard a canoe or kayak.
Picnicking is a very popular activity for couples and families visiting the park. You may choose to enjoy a packed meal by the water or take advantage of the park’s picnicking facilities. Whatever you decide, beautiful scenery will set the ideal backdrop for your memorable lunch.
Visit the Nature Center
The exhibit room of the Nature Center is filled with interactive displays that illustrate the park’s unique environment. You may also choose to become a Wisconsin Explorer and participate in a variety of hands-on, educational activities.
Take a step back in time and discover how 3 groups of settlers lived in Whitefish Dunes State Park. Just outside the nature center, you’ll find recreations of village sites from the Middle Woodlanders, Late Woodlanders, and the Oneota people.
Return to The Ashbrooke For Some Well-Deserved Relaxation
As one of the only adults-only hotels in Door County, The Ashbrooke is an ideal destination for couples looking to getaway from it all and simply relax. In addition to our convenient location in the heart of the peninsula, guests will also enjoy well-appointed rooms, luxury amenities, and access to exclusive specials and vacation packages! Ready for the getaway of a lifetime? Book your favorite room with The Ashbrooke and we look forward to welcoming you to Door County soon!
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to download your free copy of our Door County Vacation Guide! It’s a handy reference to all of the best things to do during your peninsula getaway.