Things to do on Washington Island, Wisconsin

Washington Island

Washington Island is an island situated at the Top of Door County, Wisconsin, in Lake Michigan.  Washington Island is located 7 miles away from the tip of Door County and is five miles wide.  It has 700 year-round residents. Many of the settlers of Washington Island are of Scandinavian and Icelandic descent.

You can only get to Washington Island by ferry.  It takes about 30 minutes to get to Washington island via the Washington Island Ferry Line.  You can bring your car to the Ferry, or you can bring a bike for a lower rate.

 

A few things to consider before you head to Washington Island

  • During the summer, there can be a long line to get onto the Washington Island Ferry. If you don’t want to wait, I suggest arriving in Gills Rock, Wisconson, to the ferry early in the morning.
  • You may want to consider packing a cooler of food.  Although there are some incredible places to eat on Washinton Island, they can get really busy with visitors during the high season.  I recommend bringing lunch in the cooler, so you don’t have to scramble to find a meal. You can also read my tips on packing food when traveling. 
  • You will have minimal cell phone coverage on Washington Island.  It would be best to consider downloading the google map of Washington Island before you head over so that you will have directions while on the Island.
  • Go to Washington Island ready to relax- Door County is always busy during the summer and fall.  Heading over to Washington Island is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of Door County.  Take your time and enjoy everything Washington Island has to offer!

Things to do on Washington Island, Wisconsin 

Schoolhouse Beach

Schoolhouse Beach, located on Washington Island, is truly a unique experience. There are only five smooth rock beaches like it in the entire world! The rocks on the schoolhouse beach are so beautiful and cherished that taking rocks from this beach is against the law. The stones on this beach are smooth, and they are surprisingly comfortable to walk on. The water is super refreshing and crystal clear. Spending an afternoon at Schoolhouse Beach is a unique experience.

Hike Little Lake 

Ever since the pandemic hit in 2020, my family is always on the lookout for a new trail to hike.  If you are looking for a short and sweet, but beautiful hike look no further than a little lake.   Little Lake preserve has a .8 mile trail that is easy to hike with small children.  You will find another beach with smooth rocks when you hike Little Lake.

 

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Percy Jackson County Park

Percy Jackson is a less crowded park and beach to consider while visiting Washington Island.  There are campfire rings.  Your kids will love visiting Percy Jackson park for a picnic or a beach day.

Island Lavender

Island Lavender is a truly unique experience. Island Lavender is a lavender farm and store.  You will find plenty of photo ops in the lavender farm, check out handcrafted lavender products, and try delicious food products made from lavender.  I highly suggest you try a lavender macaroon while you are at Island Lavender!

I have included Lavender Macaroons in my list of Top food gifts from Door County. 

Ride Bikes

Although a good number of folks take their cars over to Washington Island every day, the roads are still not busy.   If you like riding bikes, I suggest leaving your car in Gills Rock and just taking your bike over to the Island on the Ferry.  Washington Island is a glorious place to ride bikes.  You can see most of the Island when you travel by bike.

Washington Island Farm Museum

Washington Island Stavkirke

 

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Sand Dunes Beach Park

Washington Island Sand Dunes Beach Park is a quiet and pretty sandy beach that kids love.  Your kids will love playing on the Sand Dunes!

Jacobson Museum

 

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Picnic

There are many beautiful places to picnic while on Washington Island.  I recommend Schoolhouse beach, Percy Jackson County Park, or little lake.

Fishing Charter Tours

There are several places where you can fish on Washington Island.  You can find a spot at Little Lake, or you can take a fishing charter boat.  There are a few different places where you can rent a charter on the Island.

Mockingbird Charters  623 Bay Point Rd, Washington, WI 54246

Washington Island Art and Nature Center 

Washington Island Art and Nature Center is a fun place to take kids! They can watch bees create a hive, hold snakes, and read about other animals.  This is a fun place to visit for all ages, especially if it gets cold or rainy.

 

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Jackson Harbor Maritime Museum

 

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