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History comes alive in Gills Rock, where commercial fishermen still head out to the waters of Lake Michigan all year, and the Door County Maritime Museum tells Door County’s origin story. It’s all done with a view here because the village cradles Hedgehog Harbor, with its pristine bluffs and sunset views.
This tiny village packs plenty to explore, from adventurous wilderness parks to historic shipwrecks off the shore. Learn more at DoorCountyNorth.net.
This small town packs authentic eating experiences. Dining with a stunning sunset view, smoked fish fresh off the boat, and homemade jams and pies from a farmstand make it worth the drive to the country. The Gills Rock restaurant list is a short one, but a delicious one.View All Restaurants
A photographer’s paradise with rustic fishing piers and boats, gorgeous sunsets, rustic back roads made for postcards, and two sprawling shoreline parks, Gills Rock packs much to do in a tiny town. Hike in secluded wilderness that will make you forget you’re in one of the Midwest’s most popular destinations, or bike through some of the most beautiful canopies in the region. In Gills Rock, you’ll find activities that change your state of mind.View All Activities
As I finished my campground duties I glanced up at the tree tops. “Finally, a calm day,” I thought to myself. This August was a windy one...
Gills Rock was originally called Hedgehog Harbor, which was named after a family of hedgehogs that took up residence in a local fisherman and boat-builder’s sloop during the winter of 1855. The cove was renamed Gills Rock in 1870 in honor of Elias Gill, a prominent local lumberer.
1. Get your “winding road” photo. The winding road at the tip of the peninsula might be one of the most-photographed sites in Wisconsin. Drive up and get your version.
2. Speaking of photos, this small village is full of photo ops that scream Americana. Quirky roadside displays, historic schoolhouses, the rustic fishing piers, jaw-dropping countryside, and spell-binding sunsets could keep a photo buff busy all day.
3. Catch the sunrise at Death’s Door. Head to the end of the road at the Washington Island Ferry dock to catch the sun as it rises over spooky waters. This is also a great spot for watching the Northern Lights when they come out to play.
4. Kayak the bay. It’s not always easy, but your paddle will scarcely be interrupted in this tranquil bay.
5. Hike at Door Bluff Headlands. Free from crowds, this park is a secret favorite of Northern Door locals who love its rocky shore.
6. Visit Newport State Park. This park features tranquil hiking trails, off-road biking, kayaking, backcountry camping, and a sand beach. Newport State Park is the state’s only formally designated wilderness park.
7. Check out our maritime history. If you're on the brink of Death’s Door, you’ve got to check out the Door County Maritime Museum’s northern location. Learn the history of the fishing and shipping industry and find shipwreck markers on sublimely canopied shoreline roads.
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