50 Things to do with kids in Door County, Wisconsin

I have been spending summer vacation up in Door County since I was 2 years old.   I am now 38, so I consider myself to be an expert on all things Door County.   Door County is so special because you can visit every year and experience a different vacation every time you go.  I have so many special memories from my childhood in Door County, and now I enjoy living vicariously through my children as they get to experience Door County.   

Door County, Wisconsin, is on the peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, Wisconsin.  It is a unique place to travel.  It is known for its shorelines, parks, and beaches.  Door County also has an ordinance that keeps out big chain restaurants and attractions.  Almost all of the shops, hotels, restaurants, and attractions are locally owned and are one-of-a-kind.  If this is your first time traveling to Door County, I am here to help you!  Door County is very child and family-friendly. There is something new to see in every nook and cranny.  Here are 50 fun things to do in Door County with kids.

I will go over the best hikes, beaches, museums, tours, playgrounds, indoor activities, unique experiences, and kid-friendly food stops.

You should also check out 12 things to Eat in Door County. 

Before You Go

  • You should consider purchasing a yearly pass to Wisconsin State Parks.  Your yearly pass will admit your car to White Fish Dunes, Newport State Park, and Penninsula State Park.  There are 66 state parks throughout Wisconsin. You will be able to visit all of them with your pass.
  • I recommend traveling with a cooler and picnic supplies. Door County has many local food products to try.  Many of these items make great picnic lunches and dinners.

Top Door County Attractions for kids

 Plum Loco Animal Farm– Plum Loco Animal Farm is an awesome day trip for those with small kids!  There are so many animals to see and pet!

Washington Island Ferry– Kids love taking the ferry to Washington Island!  Check out Island Lavender or Schoolhouse Beach while you’re there!

Cherry Picking– Door County is known for its cherries!  When cherries are in season, cherry-picking is a fun activity for the whole family! Cherry-picking season in Door County is usually between mid-July-Mid August.  Each orchard has its own times and dates when they’re open.

Door County Creamery Farm Tour– Although this farm tour isn’t inexpensive, it is really unique and worth checking out!

Boat Tours- There are several interesting boat tours in Door County!  Seeing Door County from the water is really beautiful!

Kayak Tours-  Door County is a beautiful place to kayak!  I have done a kayak tour, and they are a great time!  This is a great activity for older kids.

Door County Trolly Tours-  I have taken my kids on several trolly tours.  When my kids were little, they loved Danial Tiger’s Neighborhood, so the trolly was really special for them.

Egg Harbor Fun Park

Johnson Park – I spent a lot of time at Johnson Park when I was a kid.  Go Karts are fun for older kids and mini-golf for younger kids.

Red Putter- This is a very nostalgic place for the adults who grew up going to the Red Putter.  A classic mini-golf experience.

Pirates Cove-  Another awesome round of mini-golf!

Nighttime Activities 

Fish Boil– If you’re new to Door County, you should go to a fish boil!  I have been to almost every fish boil offered in Door County, and I recommend the fish boil at the Old Post Office.

Drive-in Movie- A classic old-fashioned drive-in movie theater.  Pack some Door County snacks and watch a movie on a lawn chair or in your car.  You can stay for one movie or two.

Northern Sky Theater– Nothern Sky Theater is a unique experience and a must-do in Door County.  This delightful theater group has been putting on plays in the woods for 40 years.  I have been going to these plays since I was a small child, and I love taking my kids to these plays!

Peninsula Players– Another theater group doing plays.  You will view the play indoors if you go to this venue, but the grounds you get to roam before the play are beautiful.

Kid-Friendly Food Attractions

Al Johnsons Swedish Restaurant and Butik- When I was a kid, going to Al Johnson’s and getting a huge stack of Swedish pancakes with a side of Swedish Meatballs was the highlight of my vacation.  Now my kids love it too!  Check out the goats on the roof!  Al Johnson’s can be really busy, so get there early!

PC Junction– Pc Junction is a fun restaurant that will bring your food by train!  This is so much fun for kids!  PC Junction can get really crowded at lunchtime. I suggest going at 2 in the afternoon to ensure that you get a seat by the food train.

Seaquist Orchards– In my opinion, Seaquist Orchards has the best cherry desserts in all of Door County!  Head to Seaquist to pick up your pie and Door County Mustard!  There is a playground outside for kids to play on too!

Island Lavender – Island Lavender is a highlight if you head up to Washington Island.  Islands lavender makes dozens of handcrafted products out of their lavender.  You should stop, check out the grounds and have some lavender ice cream or Lavender caramel corn.  If you don’t make it to Washington Island, you can still stop at their location in Ephraim.

Door County Creamery– A visit to the Door County Creamery is always on my agenda every year.  Using farm-fresh goat milk, Door County Creamery has amazing cheeses, goat milk gelato, and everything on their menu is outstanding!  If you visit the creamery on a nice day, they might have some goats available for viewing.

Door County Ice Cream Factory– Every year, we get a Door County Cherry Pie, and it is not complete without a vanilla ice cream from the Door County Ice Cream Factory.  Hands down, the best ice cream in Door County.  You can also visit the shop for an ice cream cone or lunch.

Wilsons– Wilsons is an old-fashioned ice cream and soda fountain.  They have excellent burgers, ice cream sodas, ice cream cones, and a great old-fashioned atmosphere.

Door County Confectionery– Door County confectionery has several locations throughout Door County.  They have amazing homemade fudge, and you can buy candy by the pound.  Their salt water taffy is always a treat.  Stop by and pick up some treats before you head to the drive-in movies or a play.

Best Hikes for kids

The Ridges– The Ridges are particularly great for younger kids. Most of the trails are boardwalks.

Eagle Trail– Eagle Trail is moderate but safe for kids.  The views are breathtaking, and you get to view Door County history from a different angle.   Eagle trail is located in Penninsula State Park.

Sentinel Trail and Lone Pine Trail Loop– Sentinel Trail and Pine Trail Loop can lead to Eagle Trail if you want it to.  This is a great beginner trail for young kids.  Sentinel Trail is located in Penninsula State Park.

White Cedar Nature Center –White Cedar Nature Trail is a short .5 mile trail.  It leads around the White Cedar Nature Center.  We took our kids here when they were toddlers.  It was the perfect length for them, and the Nature Center is also really fun.   White Cedar Nature Center often has programming during the summer for kids.

Sunset Bike Trail -You can rent bikes just outside of Penninsula State Park.  The Sunset Bike Trail is located in Penninsula State Park and is always a highlight of our trip to Door County.

Newport State Park Loop

Newport State Park is located in Northern Door County and is less trafficked than some other parks.  You will find family-friendly, easy, peaceful hikes up at Newport State Park.

Playgrounds 

Sister Bay Marina

Gills Rock Town Park Playground

Bailey’s Harbor 

Gibraltar School Playground

Ellison Bay Community Park 

Best Beaches for kids 

White FIsh DunesIn My opinion, White Fish Dunes is the most attractive beach.   The one downside is that you have to walk about 1/2 mile to the beach from your car, so you will have to carry everything in one load.  It is worth it, though.

Sister Bay MarinaSister Bay Marina is a beautiful beach.  There is a playground and plenty of places around to get food.  I suggest getting here early.  Sister Bay Marina is really crowded during the high season.

Ephraim Beach- Ephraim Beach is also a beautiful beach but can also get pretty crowded.

Nicolet BayLocated in Penninsula State Park.  You can rent paddle boats at this beach, and there is also a general store and playground here.

School House Beach-If you take the ferry over to Washington Island, you must visit schoolhouse beach.  It is a beach filled with smooth rocks.  This beach is peaceful, unique, and beautiful.

Ellison Bay Community Park and Beach– On days where Sister Bay Marina gets super crowded, consider going to Ellison Bay Community Park.  They have tennis courts, a playground, a small beach, and a boat dock.

Newport State Park-If you’re looking for a less crowded beach, I suggest heading up to Newport State Park. It is a drive up north but worth it.

Activities for a Rainy Day

Hands-On Art Studio

ReClaimed Workshop Children must be over the age of 6 to participate

Sister Bay Bowl

Indoor Pool at Door County YMCA

Maritime Museum Located in Sturgeon Bay

Cana Island Light Station A historical lighthouse to tour in Baileys Harbor

Death’s Door Maritime Museum in Gills Rock

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse– Another historical lighthouse to tour.

What is your favorite spot in Door County?  I am curious to know what your family does when they travel there.  Door County is my favorite little county in Wisconsin and is such a special place!

 

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