Itinerary: 48 Hours of Fall Fun
With cooler weather, plenty of outdoor space, thriving food and arts scenes, and award-winning fall color, Door County is the perfect place for an autumn getaway.
Here’s how to spend a relaxing weekend enjoying wholesome fall activities and soaking up Wisconsin’s best fall foliage.
After you arrive in town, start your trip off right with immediate fall-color views. Local marinas, waterfronts, and community parks are perfect for sneaking a preview of the fabulous fall color to come. Take a short walk to one from your lodging and take in the colorful shorelines from the beach.
Then, head back to town for an evening meal, whether steaks and seafood at a classic Wisconsin supper club, elevated bar fare at a cozy tavern, high-end cuisine at fine-dining restaurants, or a plethora of other dining options.
Follow up with beers, cocktails, or hot drinks at a local watering hole or head out for some live music from local artists.
Wake up early and head to the eastern side or northern tip of the peninsula—or one of these picture-perfect sunrise locations—to catch a harvest sunrise. Then, be sure to fuel up with some food and coffee or tea at a locally owned cafe or breakfast joint before gearing up for some outdoor adventure.
Hiking trails of all types, lengths, and difficulties are plentiful in Door County, as are biking trails, boat and kayak launches, lookout towers, and golf courses—spend the morning doing whatever makes you feel most alive and keeps you in sight of fall color at all times.
And, if fall color is your main motivation, check out this scenic-view focused itinerary for specific stops and overlooks made specifically for view chasers.
After you’ve gotten your blood pumping a bit, slow things down and enjoy the autumn air at a farm or orchard, where you can pick your own apples and pumpkins, shop for artisan goods, and embrace classic fall activities like corn mazes and hayrides. A few community farmers markets run through October as well.
For an alternative, or if the weather isn’t cooperating, hit up the stores and shops, learn about local history at a museum, or find another indoor activity that suits your style.
After a busy morning, take a beat at a lunch spot or pick up some snacks and supplies at a market to enjoy a fall picnic in the sun. Many parks and even roadside stops offer scenic views, picnic tables, and greenspaces for spreading out.
After you’ve lunched and rested, take a drive on the iconic Door County Coastal Byway for a true tour of local fall color. You’ll be treated to forest and lake views, bluffs and cliffsides, small-town main streets, and, at the Byway’s northern crux, “the famous curvy road,” which is simply stunning when enrobed in fall color.
The Byway is made up of Highways 42 and 57 and traverses much of the peninsula, so there will be no shortage of stores, parks and preserves, shorelines, and places to stop for scenic views, short hikes, and photos along the way.
Once you have your day’s fill of fall color, head back to your hotel or lodging to rest up for dinner.
Dinner and a show: it’s a classic combination for a reason.
Grab a hearty meal and wine or drinks at some of our most unique restaurants before catching a play from one of our professional theater groups.
Read up on shows running in October and snag your tickets before they sell out:
The Peninsula Players’ Murder for Two runs through October 16
Northern Sky Theater’s Sunflowered plays through October 29
Birds of North America at Third Avenue PlayWorks runs through October 30
If you’d rather, check out these after-dinner activities or just hit up a bar or brewery for a lower-key night.
After breakfast in town, head out for one more foray into the woods, where you can get up close and personal with the gorgeous golds and oranges of the fall-time transition.
Keep it easy and breezy on a trail at a nature preserve or do something a little more intensive on the short-but-punchy Eagle Trail or the long-and-loping Europe Bay Trail, both located in state parks.
After your invigorating morning hike, mosey up and down Highway 42 or 57 in search of farm markets and roadside stands where local farmers and producers will be selling their wares. (Don’t forget there’s a Sunday farmers market as well.)
Stock up fresh apples and produce, pumpkins and gourds, handmade food products, locally made arts and crafts, harvest decor, and much, much more before you pack up the car and head home for the week.
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Headed up to Door County for some fall-color appreciation? Don’t forget to sign The Pledge and commit to traveling and exploring Door County responsibly.
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