Door County is a tourism hot spot for Wisconsin. One of the most unique ecosystems in the state and one of the largest tourism centers in the Midwest. In Door County there are many “go to spots” that capture much of the tourism as well as many hidden gems that many tourist and even some locals miss. Here we compiled a list of the must see spots and activities that sum up a typical first timers trip to Door County.
Visit a Farmers Market
Door County has many small towns that multiply with the visitors and snow birds who spend their summers on the peninsula. Just about all of these small towns put on a farmers market at different times, so there is never a shortage of cute locals, crafts, and foods to visit. Farmers markets in Door County are a must. Here is a link to most of the farmers markets in Door County.
Anderson’s Dock in Ephraim
On Anderson’s Dock in Ephraim is the the iconic dock house full of graffiti. It is a highly Instagrammed tourist gathering in Door County, and very interesting.
Get a Burger and Ice Cream at Wilson’s in Ephraim
Until this past year Ephraim was a “dry town.” Alcohol was not allowed to be sold in the small Wisconsin town, and out of that circumstance Wilson’s, a classic 1950’s soda bar thrived. Wilson’s often has lines out the door for ice cream during summer weekends. Definitely a tourist hot spot worth checking out on your visit through the county!
Take a Kayak Tour
Being a peninsula, Door County has hundreds of miles of shore line to explore. Shorelines with sites including limestone bluffs, ship wrecks, harbors, islands, and 11 lighthouses to explore. There are multiple options for rentals and guided tours across the whole county to enjoy.
Visit Peninsula State Park
Peninsula is beautiful, and Wisconsin’s second state park. Door County’s most popular state park. There you can find hundreds of campsites, limestone bluffs along the trails, and a beach equipped with kayak rentals. In a few years expect a handicapped accessible observation tower!
Get some Ice Cream at Last Lick
Just outside of Peninsula State Park is a small ice cream joint that is located on Fish Creek in Fish Creek. Enjoy delicious ice cream and feed the ducks that inhabit the site. Definitely a fun stop before or after Peninsula State Park.
Shop at the Fish Creek Outlets
The Fish Creek Outlets and shopping in general in Door County is a popular tourist activity for the area. The shops feature unique and high end stores that you won’t find outside of metropolitan areas.
Visit Cave Point County Park
The touristy parts of Door County will always take your to the West side of the peninsula or the side on the Bay of Green Bay. This is because the water is calmer and warmer. Cave Point and Whitefish Dunes are the exception. Mainly Cave Point brings tons of visitors to jump off the cliffs (not safely, and not advised), check out the shallow limestone caves, and the flat rock beach. Next time you go to cave point give the state park next door some love, they have a great visitor’s center. If you are looking for hidden gems, the East side is where you want to be.
Take the Ferry to Washington Island
Washington Island is the oldest Icelandic settlement in the US. (Of course… A small island). There is a small community as well as some public parks and trails and a lavender farm. A popular visit for tourists. Our favorite part of taking the ferry to Washington island is that is gets you one ferry away from Rock Island State Park!
Pick Some Cherries
Door County is famous for their cherries, so if you are there in the mid to late summer, be sure to pick some! Door County provides one third of Wisconsin’s cherries and apples because of the limestone soil the trees thrive.
Fish Salmon on a Charter Boat
Salmon were introduced by the DNR a few decades ago, and now Door County has one of the best salmon fishing in the world. Many charters run throughout the county from southern door county to Sturgeon Bay to Bailey’s Harbor and north. If you are ready to spend a few dollars and possibly wake up early you won’t be disappointed.
Sip at a Local Winery
Wine is probably the number one Door County export after nature in general. Although we don’t recommend you fact check that last statement, if you are looking for something fun and popular to do in Door County, a wine tasting at one of the many wineries is recommended!
If you have ever been to Door County you probably know we missed a few tourist favorites, so you’ll just have to ask the locals! If you are looking for some more secretive spots in Door County, check out this post. We hope this post helped you. If you tried one of these or think our list is lacking, share your expertise in the comments as to what is should be included.