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Baileys Harbor is the largest village on the east side of the Peninsula, called by many “the quiet side.” While there are plenty of quiet moments to be had on the harbor, there are many more ways to describe this picturesque hub of lakeside Door County. In fact, Baileys Harbor can be decidedly loud and festive during the many community festivals held throughout the year.
The fun begins to ramp up in spring with the Blessing of the Fleet festival. This celebration welcomes a new season of fishing with arts and crafts, live music, local food and drink. Held at the start of June, the public is welcome to take tours of local Charter boats and commercial fishing fleets as well as access the Range Lights at Ridges Sanctuary.
Summer kicks off in patriotic splendor with the Fourth of July celebrations in Baileys Harbor. A favorite destination on Independence Day, the schedule is filled with a full day of activities attracting locals and visitors from all around to partake in the family fun. The day begins with a pancake breakfast before the annual parade makes its way through downtown. Post parade, kids are thrilled to take pony rides and wait their turn for the bouncy house. Food, drinks and live music can be found at the town hall and, of course, everyone looks forward to a spectacular fireworks display at dusk.
When fall approaches, things don’t slow down; AutumnFest is a favorite festival at the end of September that brings together the whole community. The fest features a Classic Car Show that invites car hobbyists and fans from across the county and state. Around town you’ll find hot rods, hot food, arts and crafts, rocking music and friendly people. Before the day of fun, run in the annual Hey Hey 5k that ends with a beer at the Door County Brewery.
Another parade takes the streets for Harbor Holiday, a celebration of winter and the holiday season. At the start of December, join the community in seeing the village lit up with Christmas lights and decorated with Christmas trees in the yards of local businesses and family homes. Warm up with caroling, hot chocolate, cookies and a wreath-making workshop. Join in the Harbor Holiday Party in Town Hall and watch out for Santa who rides the fire truck!
When it comes to food and drink, Baileys Harbor has become a hot spot. Foodies have plenty of options from morning to night, and everything in between. Start your day with a coffee and scone from Bearded Heart Coffee.
Pencil in lunch and a game of cornhole on the shore of Kangaroo Lake at the Coyote Roadhouse or grab lunch featuring fresh fish with Lake Michigan views at Harbor Fish Market & Grille. Fine dining isn’t hard to find with Chives Door County and the Florian II Supper Club located in the heart of Baileys Harbor, and Thyme Cuisine and Top Deck Restaurant and Bar a short drive away.
Looking for classic bar and grill fare? Look no further than the Peninsula Pub, known for great Friday Night Fish Fry and Packer parties.
Water is what shapes this harbor community, providing the stunning lakeside views along the bay and also providing access to two inland lakes - Kangaroo and Mud. So it’s no wonder there are plenty of ways to get out on the water or spend time on the beach.
Two public beaches are favorite places to be on a summery day. The beach at Anclam Park is sandy and protected by the skinny peninsula that sticks into the bay and allows visitors to walk out for gorgeous panoramic views of the lake.
Ridges Beach Park is a favorite place with it’s long sandy shore and shallow waters. If you visit on a windy day for you’ll get to see kiteboarders who take to the sky with their large kites to help them skim along the shallow water and leap into the air.
Kangaroo Lake Beach Road Park is a well kept secret spot. It’s a small access point perfect for launching your kayak or canoe or just going for a swim or getting your feet wet.
Truly the unique and unforgettable part of being in Baileys Harbor is the vast access to many landscapes and beautiful sanctuaries. Year round access to trails and protected natural areas provides an escape into the outdoors unlike anywhere else. Year after year visitors find new areas to explore in the various locations open to the public, including:
Embrace the outdoors by taking the rugged route and camping at the area campgrounds that provide close proximity to all Baileys Harbor has to offer. Camp or hook-up your RV at the Baileys Grove Campground which has excellent amenities including a pool and basketball court. Take to the forest at one of the 85 wooded sites at Baileys Woods Campground located one mile outside of town. And enjoy the grassy sites and amenities at the newest campground, Beantown Campground, also a short bike ride away.
Two famous lighthouses can also be seen in Baileys Harbor, including the one located on an island you can walk to. The Cana Island Lighthouse is a treasured attraction that provides daily tours and awesome views. Climb the winding metal staircase to the top of the lighthouse and peer out on the water from 89 feet above the ground.
The privately owned Birdcage Lighthouse can also be seen from a distance when you travel down Ridges Road which wraps along the harbor. The lighthouse was built in 1852 and served until 1869 when the Range Lights in the harbor and lighthouse on Cana Island were completed.
Take a piece of your visit in Baileys Harbor home with you from one of the local boutiques or markets! Food, wine, beer and fresh farm produce are some of the great products for foodies and you’ll find plenty of beautiful home goods and decor at Nathan Nichols & Company.
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