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Door County, Wisconsin

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Explore Door County Communities

Explore Door County Communities

One of the best ways to get to know Door County is to explore the vibrant towns, villages, and communities that comprise it. Some people choose a single community and remain there their entire trip, and others bounce around between places to get a fuller sense of place.

Explore Door County Locales

Rowleys Bay

Sitting just across its namesake bay from Newport State Park, Rowleys Bay is an out-of-the-way town tucked away on the northeast side of the peninsula. Its signature offering is the Mink River and Mink River Estuary, a beautiful and ecologically diverse wildlife area perfect for a quiet paddle, hike, or fishing.

Top Attractions: Mink River Estuary, Paddling, Birding & Wildlife

Baileys Harbor

A near-perfect confluence of art and nature, Baileys Harbor is home to thousands of acres of beautiful, protected lands. Here, you’ll also find plenty of space for hiking, biking, motorcycling, and paddling as well as a fair share of independent restaurants, a brewery, a coffee shop, waterfront lodging, and three historic lighthouses.

Top Attractions: The Ridges Sanctuary, Paddling & Kayaking, Lighthouses
Top Events: Peninsula Century Spring Classic, 4th of July Celebration, Autumnfest

Washington Island

Start with the 30-minute ferry ride across Death’s Door strait and drive your car or rent a bike or UTV to explore the island. You’ll find a few lodgings, restaurants, and art and historical museums, but mostly you’ll find wide-open spaces perfect for biking, hiking, driving, and exploring. Don’t miss the smooth-stone Schoolhouse Beach, the lavender farm, or the rolling fields of green. If you have a whole day, hop a second ferry and explore incredible Rock Island State Park.

Top Attractions: Schoolhouse Beach, the Stavkirke, Rock Island State Park
Top Events: Death’s Door BBQ, Washington Island Lavender Festival, Washington Island Music Festival

Southern Door County

Southern Door is the entryway to Door County. The area features a quieter, more pastoral version of Door County that offers peace, quiet, and room to roam. Here are two of the most popular southern communities:

  • Brussels: Come here for the Belgian chapels and architecture, traditional food, and beautiful countryside.
  • Forestville: Get a taste of Door County without the crowds—try motorcycling, biking, and hiking down here.
Sister Bay

Sister Bay has gained a reputation for being the outdoor dining hub of the county. Visitors also flock here for the beaches, where sunbathing, swimming, paddling, boating, and other water sports are all on the menu.

Top Attractions: Food & Drink, the Waterfront, Water Activities
Top Events: Peninsula Century Spring Classic Bike Ride, Fall Festival, Capture the Spirit

Carlsville

Carlsville may be famous for attracting early settlers named “Karl,” but these days it’s better known for offering an outsized number of artisan goods and shops. Find local coffee, wine, spirits, sweet treats, and fish boils in addition to farm and animal experiences as well as biking and motorcycling or driving.

Top Attractions: Local Coffee, Peaceful Scenery, Wine & Spirits

Gills Rock

Gills Rock is the last stop at the tip of the peninsula before the highway heads back down south or you (and your car) continue north to the Washington Island Ferry port. Stop here for the coastal feel, quaint maritime scenery, the famously windy road, views of Death’s Door, the maritime museum, and access remote Newport State Park.

Top Attractions: The Windy Road, Washington Island Ferry, Portes Des Morts Park

Ellison Bay

This tiny town is a fascinating combination of art, history, oddity, and maritime allure. Between The Clearing Folk School, artist studios and galleries, and indie shops, there’s no shortage of unusual experiences to be had here. Outdoorspeople will enjoy exquisite lake views, dramatic bluffs and cliffs, boating and paddling opportunities, and access to the extraordinary Newport State Park.

Top Attractions: The Clearing Folk School, Newport State Park, Kayak Tours
Top Events: Groundhog Day Parade, Spring Arts Crawl, Uncork Summer

Juddville

Juddville is small and residential enough that you’ll have to head to a nearby town to find lodging, but its rusticness and natural landscapes more than make up for its lack of commercial services. Come here for the beautiful countryside, the Write On, Door County center, and lots of backroads perfect for driving, biking, or motorcycling.

Top Attractions: Motorcycling, Write On, Door County, and Farms & Orchards

Fish Creek

In many ways, Fish Creek is the hub of Door County. A good portion of the region’s top restaurants, shops, and outdoor attractions are in or near this quaint-yet-bustling town. Come here if you seek social and family life, arts and culture, historic sites, world-class dining, and shoreline sunsets.

Top Attractions: Shopping, Restaurants & Bars, Peninsula State Park
Top Events: Winter Festival, Inside/Outside Days, Jack O' Lantern Days

Ephraim

Ephraim is known as Door County’s quiet, historic town nestled on the shores of Green Bay. The idyllic setting offers the famously graffitied Anderson Dock, access to the county’s largest state park, and tons of water sports and activities in addition to a slate of restaurants, fish boils, and old-timey treats.

Top Attractions: Peninsula State Park, Fish Boils, Boating & Sailing
Top Events: Door County Half Marathon, Fyr Bal Festival

Jacksonport

Located on the “quiet” side of the peninsula, Jacksonport is a small town with unexpectedly big attractions, from the wildly popular Cave Point County Park and adjacent Whitefish Dunes State Park to an eclectic mix of restaurants and shops.

Top Attractions: Cave Point, Beaches, Biking
Top Events: Maifest, Polar Bear Plunge

Sturgeon Bay

Maritime and nautical themes reign supreme here, with iconic stops like the Pierhead Light, two additional lighthouses, a maritime museum, waterfront parks, a shipbuilding yard, the famous steel bridge, and plenty of fishing and paddling opportunities. Hundreds of shops, restaurants, and the arts and theater scene are also here.

Top Attractions: Three Shopping Districts, Potawatomi State Park, Pierhead Light
Top Events: Fire & Ice Festival, Shipyard Tours, Open Bass Tournament

Egg Harbor

Egg Harbor is a vibrant and bustling community on the peninsula if dining, shopping, nightlife, and social life are your aim. Here you will also find a marina, boating, a glittering waterfront, numerous golf courses, hiking and biking, and tons of festivals and events throughout the year.

Top Attractions: Golf Courses, Top-Tier Dining, Community Marina
Top Events: Door County Triathlon, Egg Harbor Ale Fest, Pumpkin Patch Festival

Other Ways to Discover Door County

With 19 communities spanning 300 miles of shoreline and peninsula, Door County can seem like a huge place with an infinite number of activities and experiences. If you’re looking for more ways to dig in to the Door County experience, use these helpful tools to start getting acquainted.

Introduction to Door County

Never even heard of Door County? Check out this 5-minute primer to get a quick introduction to Wisconsin’s favorite peninsula.

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Interactive Map

Use the interactive map to find where you can enjoy your favorite activities, lodgings, dining establishments, and more.

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Trip Planner

Answer a few questions about your tastes to discover new businesses, activities, and communities and build a custom itinerary.

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Destination Guide

If hard copy is more your style, order the official (and complimentary) Door County Destination Guide and get to planning.

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Spring

Spring is the season of cherry blossoms and new beginnings. Here’s what to expect if you’re up here March–May.

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Summer

Summer is for one thing: playing, dining, and living outside. Here’s everything the county has to offer to summertime visitors.

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Fall

Fall is an underrated time to visit DC. Fall color, cooler weather, and favorite autumnal foods are all on the docket.

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Winter

Winter is a fascinating time in Door County. Expect epic ice-covered landscapes, quiet fireside dining, and off-season solitude.

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Quiz: Find Your Travel Style

Scroll through this series of images and check the ones that depict the activities and experiences you’re interested in. Then, we’ll help identify your top trip styles and provide you with the activities, businesses, and attractions you’ll like the most.