Top 5 things to do in Door County, Wisconsin

Door County is the part of Wisconsin that is situated between Lake Michigan and Green Bay. It has become a trendy vacation spot over the last several years. Door County comprises about ten small towns, 3 Wisconsin State Parks, over 300 miles of shoreline, and countless county parks. Planning your first trip to Door County can be overwhelming. I am here to help you! If you’re a newcomer to Door County, here are the top five things you should add to your Door County bucket list! 

Door County has become a top-rated tourist destination in the Midwest, and it’s not hard to see why. There are so many fun activities for families in Door County, so many unique restaurants and shops. Lighthouses and beaches galore, and more parks and trails than one can walk in a week, let alone a weekend.  

I am here to help you! I have been visiting Door County every summer since the mid-1980s. I have watched it change and grow over the years. Every year, when I take my family to Door County, there is something new to try, and a discovery is made. Because I have probably done almost every activity, eaten at practically every restaurant, and spent the day at nearly every beach, I am here to help you plan your first trip to Door County!

If you’re visiting Door County for the first time, here are my top five activities I recommend you do! 

Three of these activities I am going to talk about today are located within Peninsila State Park.  You will need a Wisconsin State Park Sticker on your car to enter.  If you’re local to Wisconsin, I suggest purchasing a season pass.  Your pass will grant you admission to any Wisconsin state park for an entire season.

Top Five Activities in Door County, Wisconsin

1. Visit 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. You will have to take the Washington Ferry over to Washington Island to visit Schoolhouse beach, and the trip is worth it! You can take your car to the Ferry, or you can also bring your bikes and ride around the Island as well. 

2. See a Play at Northern Sky Theater

I have been seeing plays at Northern Sky Theater for so many years that I remember when it was called American Folklore Theater. I even saw a family friend propose to his wife at one of their shows! Seeing a live play at this unique theater in the woods within Penninsula State Park is worth every penny. All the shows are original and are developed in-house. Northern Sky Theater has been writing original plays and performing them since 1970! If you visit Door County only for a few days, seeing a Play at Northern Sky Theater is the one nighttime activity you should make sure you do. Northern Sky Theater is terrific for all ages! Kids LOVE seeing plays at this little theater in the woods!

3. Climb Eagle Tower

The New Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park opened in summer 2021, and it is a sight to see! The new Eagle tower is handicapped-accessible. There are two ways to get to the top of Eagle Tower. You can climb the stairs or walk up the 800-foot ramp over the tree canopy to access the tower. Not only does the tower provide you a stunning view of Green Bay, but you feel like you’re walking over the trees if you walk up the ramp. Eagle Tower is a must-see in Door County, and your entire family will love it!

4. Eat Swedish Pancakes at Al Johnson’s

10698 N Bay Shore Dr, Sister Bay, WI 54234

There is no restaurant quite like Al Johnson’s Restaurant and Butik. Al Johnson’s is the casual Swedish restaurant famous for having goats on top of their roof! If you’re a newcomer to Door County, I highly suggest eating at least one meal at AL Johnson’s. Al Johnson’s doesn’t take reservations, so I recommend getting there first thing in the morning for breakfast or plan on having pancakes for lunch or dinner. While you’re there, check out the Stuber outside or shop for Swedish goods in the Butik. Make sure to dunk your pancakes and meatballs in some lingonberries while you’re there! 

Pro Tip: to avoid crowds, go to Al Johnson’s for dinner!  They serve pancakes all day long!

5. Hike Eagle Trail

If your family likes to Hike, I highly suggest you hike Eagle Trail while you’re in Peninsula State Park. I have walked so many trails in Door County, but Eagle Trail has always been my favorite. Eagle Trail is marked as “difficult” because there are parts where you’re walking on many rocks. However, it is a perfectly safe trail for kids to walk on. Eagle Trail has breathtaking views and is just challenging enough to be interesting. You will get gorgeous views of the water and see some fabulous-looking limestone.  Download the map to Eagle Trail. 

Did you try any of the activities I suggested on your first trip to Door County? What are your favorite things to do in Door County? Comment below and let me know if you tried any of the activities above!

 

 

 

 

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