Articles x Stories
Please log In to view your favorite articles.
From boating and kayaking to fishing and swimming, Door County's 35 named islands make this area a water-lover's dream. The largest and most famous of all 35 is Washington Island, which is accessed by taking a ferry across Death's Door strait to an enchanting land of art, history, folklore, and recreation. And, beyond that, is the county's northernmost park: Rock Island State Park. Accessible only by boat or two ferry rides, the island does not allow vehicles, making it the perfect spot to truly get away for some peace and quiet.
Check Out the Spring Guide for Vacation Inspiration
Cana Island is home to Cana Island Lighthouse, which was built in 1869 and automated in 1944. It continues to be an active navigational aid and is also one of Door County's most recognizable landmarks. Located just off shore, the lighthouse grounds can be reached by walking across a gravel causeway. The keeper's house, oil house, and tower are open for tours May through October.
This 3,200-acre island is the second largest in Door County, lies 7.5 miles northwest of Fish Creek, and was named after Col. Talbot Chambers who sailed past it in 1816 on his way to establish a military post at the head of Green Bay. The island also contains an inland lake. In August 2017, the Door County Land Trust preserved nearly 500 acres of forest, wetlands, and shoreline on the inland Lake Mackaysee. The Chambers Island Lighthouse is open to visitors for guided tours.
This privately held island guards the entrance to Washington Island's Detroit Harbor. Local history has it that the island was a hideout for the Indians on Rock Island when they were under attack by marauding tribes. Your best chance to see Detroit Island is when you pass by on the ferry ride to Washington Island. The northeast portion of the island became known as Ribbit Point because at one time it was infested with rabbits.
Named for its shape, Hat Island is located due west of Peninsula Players Road to the northwest of Juddville Bay, providing a scenic foreground for the sunsets enjoyed by Peninsula Players' patrons. The privately owned island also is a favorite of seagulls and terns that nest there.
Hog Island is a National Wildlife Refuge and a nesting ground for seagulls and terns. It can be found located off the eastern shores of Washington Island and is visible from Percy Johnson Memorial County Park.
Also named for its distinctive shape, Horseshoe Island lies two miles offshore from (and is administered as part of) Peninsula State Park. During spring and summer, this uninhabited island is a popular destination for kayakers and boaters and includes a hiking trail circling the island. Once privately owned, Engelbert Folda lost the island when his banking empire collapsed during the Great Depression.
Located off the southeastern tip of Detroit Island, Pilot Island got its name from its importance to early navigators of the Death's Door passage. The island is visible from Northport and the ferry to Washington Island. The Pilot Island Lighthouse, built in 1858 and automated in 1962, is also part of the Door County Maritime Museum Lighthouse Festival held in June.
Part of the Grand Traverse Islands chain, Plum Island is the site of a Coast Guard station and the Plum Island Lighthouse Range Lights. The island lies in the middle of the Death's Door strait that separates the Door County Peninsula from Washington Island. The Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands finished a big project and have opened a dock for public use (2017). The general public can use the public docking area (availability runs on a first come first serve basis) and commercial moorage is available with a Special Use Permit only.
Discovered by Robert LaSalle in 1679, this 906-acre island is located one-mile northeast of Jackson Harbor on Washington Island. Accessible by ferry, Rock Island is a Wisconsin State Park featuring ten miles of hiking trails, rustic camping, and 2,000 feet of picturesque beach front perfect for swimming and fishing. Other attractions include Pottawatomie Lighthouse, Wisconsin's oldest lighthouse built in 1836 along with the Thordarson great hall and boathouse.
This pair of small, uninhabited islands owned by the state of Wisconsin, gave Sister Bay its name and are located due north of the Sister Bay marina.
Spider and Gravel Islands
Located east of Newport State Park, these tiny islands provide nesting opportunities for shorebirds and a resting spot for migrating birds. Gravel Island is the northern island, visible from the shores of Europe Bay, while Spider Island lies south of Newport Bay.
The observation tower at Peninsula State Park provides a great view of these four small islands clustered to the southwest of the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse and east of Chambers Island. These privately-owned islands are named Adventure, Jack, Pirate and Little Strawberry.
The largest Door County's island located just beyond the tip of the Door County Peninsula. Accessible by ferry across the Death's Door strait, Washington Island is where you will discover an enchanting land of art, history, folklore and recreation.
Sign up for Door County's monthly newsletter and receive vacation itineraries, travel tips and ideas, event announcements, and exclusive giveaways in your inbox.