A Runner's Weekend in Door County

So you need a vacation but you can’t take a whole weekend away from that training plan. Luckily, the running culture in Door County has created an atmosphere of like-minded athletes with quiet roads, hills and plenty of places to fuel up.

Ephraim is the perfect place to enjoy a scenic run or, for those that prefer other recreational pursuits, a leisurely hike, bike, swim, sail or round of golf. With spring just around the corner, shed those winter layers and reconnect with mother nature. Embark on your run or outdoor adventure and let the sun energize and warm your spirit. Afterward, relax and experience the charm and history of this community nestled along Eagle Harbor.

As one of the founding sponsors of the Door County Half Marathon and Nicolet Bay 5k, which returns to Peninsula State Park on May 6, 2017, book your stay in Ephraim and you’ll be right in the middle of all the race weekend festivities.

Running Through Ephraim, Door County

Now read on for a weekend itinerary that will make the most of your runner’s weekend in Door County.

Friday Night

Grab a room at Parkwood Lodge, located south of Ephraim and across the street from one of the greatest running playgrounds in the county, Peninsula State Park, and the perfect spot to base your active vacation. Rooms are affordable and all feature kitchenettes, while eight suites include wood-burning fireplaces to warm you up after your run!

Parkwood Lodge is a great home base for all of Northern Door’s running, hiking, and biking events, and is also a proud sponsor of the Door County Half Marathon and Nicolet Bay 5k, the Peninsula Century Rides, and many other great local events.

Take in a light dinner in Ephraim where you can now get a beer or glass of wine after 163 years of the dry village. Let’s save that sweet tooth until after you get some of your weekend running in.



Head on across the street from Parkwood Lodge to Peninsula State Park for your morning run. If you need a fast and smooth route along the water, park at the Fish Creek entrance and run Shore Road out to Eagle Bluff Lighthouse and back. Looking for some hills? Enter the park near Ephraim and park at the site of Eagle Tower. Take skyline road for some nice rollers on top of the Niagara Escarpment. Finish that run up with a couple climbs from the water up to Eagle Bluff along shore road.


Refuel with a home-cooked breakfast in Ephraim while looking over at the bluff across the bay that you just conquered. Stop by the visitor information center or visit the Ephraim Business Council website for full list of your tasty options.


Keep the blood flowing through your legs with some active recovery while taking a nice easy hike through some of the county’s hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Head south to explore Whitefish Dunes State Park. On your way down, grab a picnic lunch from a local market to relax with as you catch your breath with the scenic beauty.


Get some cross training in out on the water with a kayak or paddleboard rental in Ephraim’s Eagle Harbor. Or just sit on the beach and let the cool lake water ice your legs for tomorrow’s trail run.


With a day full of activity and another morning run planned for tomorrow, grab a nice big dinner to ease that appetite. Swing by any of the restaurants near Parkwood Lodge and enjoy the carbs and water of a cold beer. Cap off the night with a cone from the one of the historic local ice cream shops, with maybe one more stop by a local tavern. You might be a runner but you’re also on vacation, right?

Night Cap:

Back at Parkwood Lodge, relax in the heated pool and whirlpool. If you’re on the road with kids, you can enjoy the onsite game room, free Wi-Fi, tennis courts, and playground as well as picnic areas and charcoal grills. For a true Wisconsin experience, sit around a warm fire in the bonfire pit!



Let’s hit the trails with your running shoes this time! Leave the car at the hotel and hop straight across the road to meet up with trails in Peninsula State Park. Otherwise, make your way up to the quiet lakeside woods of Newport State Park. From the parking lot, head south on the Rowley’s Bay loop for a nice 4-mile loop or head north on the Europe Bay/Hotz Loop for a 7-mile trail. Both trails are gently rolling and not very technical, making them great for a smooth run.


Refuel with a light breakfast at one of the many local cafes and unwind after a long running weekend with a massage or gentle yoga session at a local studio or spa.

Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, tour, or booking a family reunion, Parkwood Lodge can accommodate you with their 59 rooms and suites. Call 920-868-2046 or 800-433-7592 to check rates and availability. Or you can reserve online.

Door County Half Marathon Peninsula State Park

Don’t forget to check out a list of all the running events taking place throughout the county each year and find a weekend to come back and compete against the locals and visitors from across the country.