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No boat? No problem! With over 300 miles of shoreline and plenty of public shoreline access, there’s no reason to stay landlocked when visiting Door County. There is a variety of ways to ensure you spend time afloat Lake Michigan; here are seven ways to get yourself on the water.
The bluffs, harbors and caves makes kayaking Door County a scenic and unique way to view the peninsula and all its geological highlights. Some rentals even offer glass-bottomed boats to see what's happening below. Even when winds are blowing, there is typically a harbor or bay that offers serene waters to paddle. Unless you’re an experienced kayaker, joining a guided tour is the way to go.
Opt for a more relaxing way on the water with a scenic boat tour. See the beautiful homes along the rocky shoreline of Fish Creek or cruise out of Bailey’s Harbor to see Cana Island, multiple lighthouses and - if you’re lucky - shipwrecks on a clear day.
Take the whole group on the water with a pontoon rental! Don your life jackets and pack your cooler and then head out for a half day or full day of family fun. Enjoy deeper waters to cannonball into and explore the harbor for new places to swim, sip and sunbathe.
Or, kick it into higher gear with jet skis. Ride the waves and soak in the sunshine with rentals in Sister Bay or Fish Creek.
Get a core workout and feel the waves underneath your feet with a paddleboard rental. Rental paddleboards offer great stability and allow for ease of travel on a calm day, but it’s best to dress for swimming. On a hot day it offers the perfect combination of getting wet and floating on the lake.
Sail away on one of the many beautiful sailboats available for tours. Join a group for a tour, or arrange your own romantic sail with your sweetie on the Edith M. Becker. Or, try a catamaran tour and see the shores from two hulls.
At the very tip of the peninsula at the so called “Death’s Door” you can find two ferry rides awaiting you. Both are around 30 minutes and offer a new experience of Lake Michigan. The first takes you to Washington Island via a car and passenger ferry. Ride on the upper deck to feel the wind in your hair and get a great view of the island.
The second is called Karfi and goes from Washington Island’s northeastern harbor to Rock Island. This ferry is smaller and does not carry cars. Hikers, bikers and rustic campers and shuttled over to this foot traffic-only island.
Last but certainly not least, don’t overlook the abundance of public parks and beaches. Many waterfront parks have favorable swimming areas and often an area for launching kayaks. It’s easy to pass away a summer afternoon between the sand and the shallows. Bring your own beach ball and floatees - and don’t forget your sunscreen and shades!
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