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If you haven’t experienced Door County in the wintertime before, you might be surprised to find there are a lot of fun activities to partake in, both indoors and outdoors. Here are some of the highlights to consider adding to your winter getaway plans!
In its 32nd year, the Winter Festival continues to entertain locals and visitors with games, food and drink, and a crowd ready to have fun in the snow! Enjoy family-friendly games, music, food, and a festive atmosphere under the large heated tent overlooking the frozen waters of Green Bay. Partake in the kickball tournament on the harbor, the chili cook-off, minnow racing, a bike toss, candlelight skiing, a Stumpf Fiddle Contest, Fruit Loop fun run, and more!
Stroll around town or climb aboard the Door County Trolley for a complimentary tour of the community. Witness novice, intermediate, advanced, and professional carvers transform blocks of snow and ice into works of art. On Saturday evening, check out the annual Fire & Ice Dinner, Dance, and Auction at Stone Harbor Resort with live music.
Started in the late 90s by Peninsula's Wildlife Naturalist Kathleen Harris, feeding the friendly little chickadees by hand at Peninsula's White Oak Nature Center has become a favorite activity for young and old alike in the winter months!
To get the chickadees to land on them, visitors place a small amount of sunflower or safflower seeds in the cup of their hands, raise it to shoulder height, and then wait. If they're ready to feed, the chickadees will come! Be still while they're feeding because if they become scared they won't visit other folks who come to feed them.
The Door County Pond Hockey Tournament takes place on the inland Kangaroo Lake in Baileys Harbor, with 60 teams competing in nine divisions. It’s not just a weekend of competitive fun for hockey players though—fans, friends, and family have a chance to get in on the fun with concessions, on-ice bonfires, and a festive atmosphere that will have you enjoying being outdoors on a frozen lake.
Hole #17 on the Peninsula State Park Golf Course is famous for its steep hill, and in the wintertime when conditions are right, it becomes the ultimate sledding hill. “Little kids think Hill 17 is a mountain,” local Laura Beck wrote in Door County Living magazine, remembering her time on the northeast Wisconsin mountain. “It seemed to take forever to work those little legs all the way to the starting point. Eyelids peeled backward. Cheeks burned from the chilly wind. Stomachs flew up to the throat and fluttered.” It is a feeling many locals and visitors can call to memory instantly and it is still there for all looking to spend a snowy winter day in one of the state’s most treasured state parks.
The Sister Bay Sports Complex also has a sledding hill, The Sister Bay Sledding Hill opens whenever the snow has flown enough to cover the hill and allow for installation of snow fencing. Please look for the “Open” flag on top of the hill before using the facility, and obey all posted rules for safety at the site. Good luck to all you would be tubers and sledders out there!
On the western shoreline you can find what is called "ice shoves." Because Green Bay completely freezes over with ice 2–3-feet thick, the ice is continuously expanding and can force large pieces of frozen ice up and onto shore. Some years the combination of expanding ice and wind has seen shoves more than 10-feet high! These slow-forming structures, usually found in late winter and early spring, have even crept onto shore far enough to cause damage to shoreline structures. It’s a sight to see, and the ice around the peninsula provides plenty of beautiful new structures not seen anywhere else.
When there is snow, there is no shortage of winter activities to take advantage of it. From silent sports of cross-country skiing and fat tire biking, to riding over 250 miles of snowmobiling trails, you will find it hard to stay inside.
For many locals and visitors alike, cross-country skiing is a favorite winter activity. Go out on an adventure of your own and see our parks in a new way this winter by skiing the Door. Peninsula State Park, Newport State Park, Whitefish Dunes State Park, and Potawatomi State Park all offer miles of ski trails. You can also ski groomed trails at Crossroads at Big Creek.
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