15+ Best Things to See and Do in Door County, Wisconsin
A trip to Door County, Wisconsin has been on my bucket list since we purchased Poppy. I am thrilled to share that it was everything I thought it would be and more. If you are looking for beautiful views, outdoor activities, quaint towns, delicious food, and drinks, Door County is a great place to explore for the whole family as a family vacation. We had a great time exploring many of the best restaurants and natural beauty.
Here are 15+ of the best things to see and do in Door County in late September.
Where is Door County located?
Door County, Wisconsin is the very northern peninsula on the east side of the state. It is the easternmost county in Wisconsin and consists of several small towns including Sturgeon Bay, Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Sister Bay, Ellison Bay, and Washington Island. Due to its location, it is filled with lighthouses, miles of shoreline, and one of the best places for outdoor recreation. Green Bay is located on the west side of the peninsula while Lake Michigan is located on the east side of the peninsula.
Depending on the season you visit Door County you can enjoy sandy beaches, lighthouse tours, cherry blossoms, cherry orchards, historic lighthouses, cross-country skiing, local artists, scenic views, and so much more.
Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant
Tip: Breakfast or Lunch Spot – Plan at least a half day eating and exploring this small town and playing on the playground.
Address: 10698 N Bay Shore Dr, Sister Bay, Wisconsin
When I was doing research on things to do and places to eat while in Door County, Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant was listed as one of the top things on my many lists and it did not disappoint. I was a little worried we would not see the goats on the roof, but we did. Before you go you can take a look at their Goat Cam to see what the goats are up to, but either way, you will want to make a visit.
The food, and atmosphere were so much fun and the kids really enjoyed walking through their small gift shop. Make sure you order some of their famous Swedish Pancakes with some Lingonberies. Our daughter enjoyed the pancakes so much that we came home with a box to try and make on our own.
You are more than likely going to have to wait for a table. Take a stroll across the street to Waterfront Park in Sister Bay. You can walk along the docks, and take in the crisp lake air, and natural scenery. There is also a fun playground right along the lake for the kids to play on while you wait for your name to be called.
Cana Island Lighthouse
Tip: Plan a half day for this fun attraction.
Address: 8800 E Cana Island Rd, Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin
While you are in Door County it will be recommended to visit several lighthouses in the area. If you are to visit just one lighthouse make it the Cana Island Lighthouse! The Cana Island Lighthouse is located on a 9-acre island north of Bailey’s Harbor. Not only is the lighthouse fun to see, but the experience of getting to the little island and the views make it a fun attraction.
The small island is accessible by a short walk or tractor ride across a causeway. Depending on the time of year the causeway may be covered with water or not. When we visited it was not covered in water. We decided to ride the tractor ride across but walked back. The kids enjoyed walking “between” the lakes.
When you arrive on the island they have a small shop where you pay a small admission to go into the lighthouse and explore the surrounding grounds. You can pay an additional amount of money for the 102-step climb to the top and take in the magnificent and unique views of Lake Michigan off the Door County peninsula. Unfortunately, when we were there it was short-staffed so no tours were happening and we could not climb to the top. The lighthouse and tower are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May through October.
After we explored the Cana Island Lighthouse and other parts of the island, we spent some time climbing the large rocks right on Lake Michigan.
Cave Point County Park
Address: 5360 Schauer Rd, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Cave Point County Park is known for its Dolomite and Limestone ledges. It also features underwater caves, kayak tours, hiking trails that link up to Whitefish Dunes State Park, and breathtaking limestone cliffs along Lake Michigan. If you love nature this is a great place to visit and take pictures.
Door County Brewing
Tip: Make a stop here after a visit to Cana Island Lighthouse!
Address: 8099 HWY 57, Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin
You can visit Door County without a stop at Door County Brewing! Their taproom offers a fun and unique vibe with a large outdoor patio. There are tons of games available to play and live music regularly. Make sure to sample one of their experimental beers from Hacienda Beer Co.
Door County Coffee & Tea Co.
Tip: A great breakfast spot before you begin your day exploring.
Address: 5773 WI-42, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Before heading off on your day of adventures in Door County fuel up at Door County Coffee & Tea Co. Grab a coffee to go or stay for breakfast too! While you wait for your cup of joe take a stroll through their large gift shop. You will definitely find a souvenir and maybe even some stocking stuffers for the family.
Door County Historical Museum
Address: 18 N 4th Ave, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
The Door County Historical Museum is open 7 days of week May through October. This is a wonderful place to take in the history of Door County. In this history museum, you will have the chance to see many artifacts and collections that take you through the background of Door County.
Door County Maritime Museum
Address: 120 N Madison Ave, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
The Door County Maritime Museum is another great spot to take in the history of Door County indoors. Plan this on a day when it may be rainy or too cold to explore outdoors. At this museum, you will specifically learn about maritime history and be able to participate in interactive exhibits and other educational opportunities.
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse
Address: 10249 Shore Rd, Fish Creek, Wisconsin
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse is located within Peninsula State Park. When visiting this lighthouse you will be able to see the Green Bay islands and take a tour to learn how this lighthouse helped guide vessels through the narrow Strawberry Channel. The Door County Historical Society offers a guided tour from mid-May through mid-October for a fee.
As you drive through Peninsula State Park to the lighthouse, you will discover many hiking trails and fun spots to stop at and take in incredible views of the lake and beautiful shoreline.
Tip: Research which fish boil you want to attend and make reservations early!
Address: 10040 Water St, Hwy 42, (located At Edgewater Resort) Ephraim, Wisconsin
When you are in Door County you do not want to miss an authentic fish boil. A great experience and dinner all rolled into one. There are many fish boils offered all over Door County. Fish Boils were made popular by Scandinavian immigrants in the 1800s who needed to economically feed large crowds. Today, it is considered a popular attraction when you visit Door County.
We had not planned to attend a Fish Boil, but while waiting for breakfast one morning we heard amazing things about the Old Post Office Restaurant Fish Boil which required reservations. Lucky for us we got in!
The evening begins with a story behind the Fish Boil with Boil Master. You can watch as he places the Lake Michigan whitefish into the roaring open fire. The kids loved watching the big fire and the entire meal was delicious!
Lautenbach’s Orchard Country
Address: 9197 WI-42, Fish Creek, Wisconsin
Lautenbach’s Orchard Country is known for its cherry spitting contest and cherry picking, but if you visit off-season you still have the opportunity to give cherry spitting a try! Free cherries are available for pitting and spitting and the kids enjoyed giving it a try and seeing the record.
While the kids played around the grounds and spit cherries, the adults enjoyed a hard cider tasting or wine tasting. It was a beautiful place to relax after a day of exploring. You can also do some shopping for caramel apples, apple donuts, and other fun goods in their shop.
Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard
Tip: Make a visit for lunch and dessert after spending the morning hiking and exploring Peninsula State Park.
Address: 4054 Main St, Fish Creek, Wisconsin
Grab a sweet treat after exploring right outside of Peninsula State Park. Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard offers a large outdoor dining area along the lakeshore and a huge playground for the kids to play on. They serve frozen custard, pies, sundaes, sandwiches, and more.
One Barrel Brewery
Address: 4633 Market St, Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
If you are looking for a spot for the whole family to relax for dinner, One Barrel Brewery is the spot! They have a huge outdoor area with a sandpit the kids can play in while the adults sip on local brews. It will get chilly as the sun sets, but they offer a huge firepit to stay warm. If it’s too cold, you can head inside where they have board games and sell tasty pizza from Pizza Bros.
Tip: Plan your stop here. They are only open Thursday – Saturday!
Address: 7898 Co Rd A, Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin
Considered the #1 kid’s spot in Door County, PC Junction is a casual, train-themed restaurant that everyone will love! Your food is delivered by train and they serve cheeseburgers, salads, chicken sandwiches, and more.
Peninsula State Park
Address: 9462 Shore Rd, Fish Creek, Wisconsin
There are a few state parks within Door County, but Peninsula State Park is a must-visit. This state park is 3,776 acres full of camping, hiking trails, a lighthouse, a golf course, beautiful views, a sand beach, bike trails, a summer theater, and miles of shoreline. As you drive through the state park there are many spots to stop and get out to look at the views over the sky-high bluffs. Peninsula State Park is the third largest state park in Wisconsin!
As you drive through make sure you stop at Sven’s Bluff Overlook! This is a popular spot to take in beautiful views and selfies too.
Plum Loco Animal Farm
Address: 4431 Plum Bottom Rd, Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
Do your kids love animals? Plum Loco Animal Farm should be on your list! This privately owned farm offers a chance to feed animals such as horses, donkeys, goats, and more. In addition, your kids will spend hours using their imaginations in the hands-on play farm village. This farm has seasonal hours, so make sure you check before you plan to go.
Schoolhouse Beach Park
Take note! This beach/park is located on Washington Island which requires a ferry to get to.
Address: 1824 Washington Harbor Rd, Washington, Wisconsin
Schoolhouse Beach Park is a rare park that is made of polished limestone rocks. It is 1 of 5 beaches across the World like it and the stones are so unique and limited that it is against the law to take any from the beach. When it is warm enough visitors can swim in the clear water, but if it’s too chilly many like to spend time building sculptures with the stones.
After you park you will begin your walk through larger-than-life trees to the beach. I loved all the large tree coverage. It is nothing like you see in central Iowa.
Tip: This adventure should be planned as a day trip.
Washington Island was filled with many fun experiences for the whole family!
To visit Washington Island you need to take a 5-mile ferry ride across Death’s Door (where Green Bay and Lake Michigan meet). The kids had a ton of fun watching as we drove our car onto the BIG boat and floated across the water.
Once we arrived on Washington Island we stopped at Wisco Coffee + Candy for some caffeine and candy! The island offers many attractions and restaurants. Washington Island is where Schoolhouse Beach Park is located. In addition, we climbed 186 steps to the top of the island at Mountain Park & Lookout Tower.
If you love the smell of lavender and are looking for some unique gifts while visiting, make a stop at Fragrant Isle which is a lavender farm. If you miss peak season, walk into their shop and inhale relaxation.
Whitefish Dunes State Park
Address: 3275 Clarks Lake Rd, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Whitefish Dunes State Park is located on the Eastern side of the Door County peninsula. The state park offers many outdoor recreation activities including trails for hiking, a beach, picnic areas and shelters that overlook Lake Michigan, and a nature center with displays and exhibits you can visit all year round.