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There's a reason Door County is known as "The Cape Cod of the Midwest": with nearly 300 miles of shoreline punctuating Lake Michigan and Green Bay, Door County inspires comparisons to oceanic coasts. But the freshwater breeze, rolling lake waves, sandy beaches and dunes, and rocky outcroppings remind visitors just how unique the Door County shoreline is. Door County's distinct topography and atmosphere make you feel as if you're in a distinct dimension—at once both familiar and new.
From the rocky shores on the eastern side of the peninsula to the sandy beaches on the west side—and all the marshlands, dunes, and inland lakes in between—the Door County shoreline is so diverse you'll want to explore every inch of it! Trek to these local spots for some of the most spectacular views you'll find this side of the escarpment.
Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek
From the lookout you can see that the trees grow almost right up to the waterline, which is common in many places in Door County. The trees are also growing at a steep incline. This is a great location to catch a Door County sunset and check out the stretch of shoreline that travels into Ephraim.
Door Bluff Headlands
12900 Door Bluff Park Rd, Gills Rock
Follow along the unmarked trail carefully and come upon breaks in the trees that let you see the most northern you can get on the Green Bay side of the Peninsula. There is a bald outcropping that will give you an unobstructed view of the Bay as well as the shoreline below. Tread carefully though; there is no guard rail. Make your way down to the water below and stand next to the towering bluffs that make up a lot of the Door County shoreline.
Ellison Bay Bluff
Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay
Take a walk down the wooden stairs and enjoy the view from the observation deck or take advantage of the wooden catwalk that extends over the edge of the bluff. See the shoreline below and the limestone cliffs from a new perspective. Another great location to catch a sunset.
Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek
Enjoy a day in the park and make sure to head over to the tower. The tower is 76-feet tall, which, when added to the height of the bluff, puts it 250 feet above Green Bay. Clear above the trees, the tower can offer panoramic views of the shoreline below as well as the rest of the park. The tower was closed in 2016 for repairs, and the new tower is scheduled to be constructed in early 2019 and re-opened in late summer.
W Cana Island Rd, Baileys Harbor
Make sure you show up at the right time to really enjoy this location. Like many other places in Door County, this section of shoreline changes and looks different depending on the water levels. Explore the dolomite bedrock beach here, when it isn’t covered by water, or watch the waves cover and uncover the rock croppings and imagine what it looks like in both states.
Whitefish Dunes State Park, Sturgeon Bay
A great place for photo ops, Cave Point is known for its limestone cliffs and underwater caves. Stand at the top and watch the water crash against the rocks or get up close and tour the cliffs and caves on a kayak tour.
Door County is part of a remarkable geological feature that is fondly referred to as the backbone of America. The Niagara Escarpment runs from east to west from New York state through southern Canada and the Great Lakes region, creating dramatic cliffs, ledges, bluffs, and rock formations. It's responsible for the limestone rock that lies under the Door County soil as well as the picturesque shoreline views of Green Bay and Lake Michigan found in many of our state and county parks.
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