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9 Door County Secrets to Find On Your Next Visit


While your visits to Door County may have taken you to the see the area’s iconic lighthouses, shoreline, museums and more, you may not be familiar with some of our lesser-known sights. For your next visit, plan to get away from the norm and try some of these:

This boat ride

Washington Island Ferry. Bring a hoodie and cross Death’s Door for views of island lighthouses from the car ferry’s top deck. To save a few bucks take the trip by bike, then pedal around the island to check out beautiful views of the mainland and dip your toes in the water at Schoolhouse Beach. 

This picnic

Eagle Terrace. Overshadowed by Eagle Tower, many locals have never even been to Eagle Terrace, found just a few steps away in Peninsula State Park. Pack a picnic or coolers and soak in the sights from the elevated terrace area.

This view

Ellison Bluff County Park. Make some time on your visit for some breathtaking views like the one at Ellison Bay. Go off the beaten path and out onto a walkway that stands 200 feet above Lake Michigan.

The stately Thordarson boathouse on the Rock Island coast.

This off-shore adventure

Rock Island’s Thordarson Boathouse. For those who really want to get away, Rock Island requires two ferry rides and a bit of hiking. Once there, you’ll find soaring bluffs, one of the most stunning buildings on the peninsula, and what some visitors call, the most beautiful beach.

This slice of history

Heritage Village at Big Creek is located just over the Bay View Bridge in Sturgeon Bay on the grounds of Crossroads at Big Creek. Get a glimpse of 1880s Door County life in this replica village with a chapel, school, general store, and blacksmith shop.

This climb 

Mountain Tower Park. While Eagle Tower is closed for reconstruction, you can still take in the stunning panoramic view of Washington Island and the northern tip of the peninsula with this park tower. 

This bike ride

Garrett Bay Road. Ride north past Ellison Bay and you’ll find a stretch beloved by local cyclists. Wind through the woods and along the shoreline between Ellison Bay and Gills Rock, then stop for smoked fish and a respite on the water at Charlie’s Smokehouse.

This cemetery

Take in a mix of history and scenery at the Claflin-Thorp Cemetery. The cemetery is tucked into the woods off the Sunset Trail in Peninsula State Park and is easy to miss, but if you manage to find it, you’ll see the final resting place for many of Door County’s founding families. Keep an eye out for special “Talking Tombstones” presentations from the park.

This run:

Each July 4, the Friends of Gibraltar Schools hosts the Hairpin Run in Fish Creek, but you don’t have to wait for Independence Day to take your shot. Follow this route on a warm day and enjoy shade beneath a canopy of trees as you run past some of the peninsula’s most jaw-dropping homes and prestigious addresses. Finish the journey with t a cup of fresh coffee in Fish Creek.

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