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Door County Fall Camping Guide

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As the vibrant foliage paints the landscape in shades of red, orange and gold, fall becomes the perfect time for camping in Door County, Wisconsin. With its picturesque peninsula stretching between Lake Michigan and Green Bay, this region is renowned for its serene shoreline, limestone cliffs and rich history. In this guide, we'll take you through some exceptional campgrounds that offer a variety of experiences, from rustic outdoor adventures to equine-friendly camping and family-oriented facilities.

Family-Friendly Camping in Door County

Disconnect from technology and reconnect in nature on a family camping trip to Door County. From the crackling campfire stories to the thrill of exploring the great outdoors, every moment fosters a sense of togetherness that transcends generations and makes for lifelong cherished memories. 

Perhaps one of the most recognized brands in camping is Kampgrounds of America, and the Door County KOA is nestled on 58 acres of wooded land and features tent sites, cabins and RV sites. Once you're settled, reel in fun at the catch-and-release fishing pond, and challenge fellow campers and family to friendly games of basketball, horseshoes, volleyball or min-golf. 

Children jumping into a pool.

The Geitner Homestead Equine Campground is a family favorite rooted in a century-old dairy farm that beckons equine enthusiasts and campers alike. Among the 29 campsites are specialized equine sites with steel gate corrals for horses, water and electric hookups. Embark on riding adventures along over six miles of trails that traverse obstacle courses, prairies, farm fields and woodlands, making this a haven for both riders and their trusty steeds. 

The Harbour Village Resort sprawls across 300 acres and caters to every kind of camper. Yet, with the water park boasting two exhilarating 350-foot water slides, this is the place for endless family fun. Beyond the aquatic excitement, take strolls along the nature trail, unwind on the jump pillow and enjoy many themed family activities scheduled on weekends. Harbour Village Resort promises an all-encompassing camping experience amidst the beauty of Door County.

You've probably heard of Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park, it's the beloved camping destination with roots back to 1969, and Sturgeon Bay — the home of the very first one. Today, Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park of Door County remains a staple for wholesome family friend vacations. Choose from various campsites, including cabins, tent and RV sites and even RV rentals. The fun never ends here with heated and outdoor pools, a jump pad, mini golf, train rides, a game room, basketball and volleyball courts, tetherball, a playground and much more.

children hugging Yogi Bear

Moving along the peninsula, you'll find Frontier Wilderness Campground, a pet-friendly campground on 40 acres of serene woodland, a mere two miles outside the vibrant Egg Harbor. Enjoy nights filled with campfires under the stars, treat yourself to ice cream delights from the campground store, try your hand at playful putt-putt mini-golf matches, capture timeless memories in the iconic big red chair and more. 

The "home of happy camping" is perched above the enchanting Fish Creek village and a mile from Peninsula State Park. It's Fish Creek Campground & RV, a recreational haven boasting a lively rec room complete with various games, from ping pong and foosball to kids' bowling and chalk artistry. Tap into your competitive side through friendly video games, classic board games, basketball, cornhole, pickleball, shuffleboard, gaga ball and more.

For the quintessential wooded camping trip, Baileys Woods Campground in Baileys Harbor is the place to be. This harkens back to days-gone-by camping, where sites are tucked away in dense woods, making for a secluded feel. A large playground offers a spot for youngsters to make new friends, and the welcome center provides games, snacks for purchase and more. 

Perfect for families with young adventurers, your children or grandchildren will revel in the delight of trout ponds, a heated pool, swings and a sandbox that promises endless fun at the 67-acre Aqualand Campground in Sister Bay. Here, kids can climb trees in the charming "Cedar Grove" or daydream beneath the weeping willow or catch a prized fish. 

The Wagon Trail Campground borders the Mink River Nature Conservancy Preserve in Ellison Bay. Not only can you choose a tent site, cabin or RV site, but this campground also offers yurts — quaint circular tent structures that can sleep up to five. From here, you go on adventures and hike to Sandy Bay Town Park and a shallow beach ideal for children or walk to Rowleys' Bay Resort for dinner, a drink, sweets or to board a boat. On-site, your kids can play games, fish and more.

Minimalist, Rustic Camping in Door County

As fall casts its enchanting spell over the peninsula and its islands, the rustic campgrounds at Door County’s State Parks put you in the heart of the region's natural beauty.

Camp within diverse landscapes and echoes of ancient tales at Potawatomi State Park. This captivating outdoor haven spans 1,200 acres of pristine wilderness along the enchanting shores of Sturgeon Bay in southern Door County. Its name pays homage to the Indigenous people who were the original stewards of the region — the Bo-De-Wad-Me tribe, known as the "keepers of the fire." As you tread the same land they cherished, you'll be transported to a realm where history and nature intertwine. 

Couple and dog hiking in the meadow

A visit to Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek puts you in the center of activity, with extraordinary hiking, biking, and off-road cycling trails just steps from your sleeping bag. If you've seen Sven's Bluff or Eagle Terrace in summer, just wait until you see it in the light of an early fall morning or sunset. If you want to take a step into seclusion, visit Newport State Park's backcountry campsites that you can only access on foot in Ellison Bay. 

Discover untouched beauty at walk-in campsites that invite you to carry your supplies and settle into a simpler way of living at Rock Island State Park. Accessible only by ferry from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day, this primitive island sanctuary offers a rare escape from the modern world, where vehicles are left behind for the allure of secluded hiking trails, a serene swimming beach and endless stretches of shoreline waiting to be explored. 

Landscape of rocky beach

RV Camping in Door County

When life comes at you fast, RV camping offers a timeless escape and a chance to rediscover the art of slow exploration and the thrill of setting off with your own little home on wheels. Grab the keys, let the engine purr and explore Door County RV camping experiences that promise the comforts of home within the great outdoors.

We start in Sturgeon Bay with two RV camping locations. Monument Point Camping offers completely wooded, secluded RV sites with picnic tables and fire pits. Located a stone's throw from the highest-rated bass fishing waters in the country are Countryside Motel & RV Sites in Sturgeon Bay. This place boasts 16 big rig-friendly, level RV sites and a motel.

Next up along the peninsula is HTR Door County. Formerly known as Egg Harbor Campground & RV Resort, this ultimate RV camping haven promises an adventure-filled escape for all ages. Luxurious RV spots cater to everything from pop-up campers to the largest class-A motorhomes. 

You'll recognize Fish Creek Campground & RV in Fish Creek from the family-friendly spots above. This campground and RV park offers premier pull-thru/back-in RV sites. If you want to pull up a stone's throw from the pristine shores of Lake Michigan, Baileys Grove Campground in Baileys Harbor offers easy access to sandy beaches, renowned fishing charters, the iconic Cana Island Lighthouse and the captivating Ridges Sanctuary. All 95 RV sites provide modern amenities, fire rings and picnic tables. And after a rewarding day of fishing, you can clean your fresh dinner at a professional fish cleaning station.

In Sister Bay, you can stay at Dovetail Acres Campground, Door County's newest state-of-the-art campground offering 60 RV sites, with 27 designated pull-through sites and 33 designated back-in sites. Each site includes fire rings, picnic tables, and grills, and the on-site convenience store features LP gas, wine, beer and various camp supplies. The final RV campground is the Hy-Land Court Campground, located between Sister Bay and Ellison Bay. This wooded oasis can accommodate all sizes, from tents to large motor homes, within a beautifully landscaped campground. 

Fall Door County Camping Tips

Plan ahead. 
Even though it's not prime camping season, Door County's campgrounds — especially those in Peninsula State Park — are often booked full on fall weekends. Book in advance or make weekday plans when you'll find prime sites easier to come by, and you'll get the bonus of a less crowded, more solitary experience.

Follow Door County Leave No Trace 7 Principles
Review these timeless tenets of good land stewardship and travel etiquette before venturing out to camp in Door County. From being mindful of your personal impact on nature spaces to embracing an overall ethos of “leave it better,” the Door County Leave No Trace 7 Principles should always be on your mind when you explore the outdoors.

Be adventurous. 
It may take more travel and a little more energy, but the trip to Rock Island State Park or hike into the backcountry sites of Newport State Park is well worth the effort. Two nights on Rock Island can give you memories you'll never forget, and you'll get the chance to visit the oldest lighthouse in Wisconsin, a gorgeous boathouse and a stunning beach. But you have to do it before the ferry only runs through early October. At Newport State Park, you can check out one of the country's only dark sky parks, where you'll see the stars and Milky Way like never before and camp in seclusion with Lake Michigan's waves as your lullaby.

Leave your firewood at home. 
Firewood can harbor many destructive pests, including the Emerald Ash Borer. Purchase firewood where you stay and keep it in that area.

Chase the light. 
The colors of fall are best at sunrise and sunset. Get up early and catch your favorite trail or view in the stillness of sunrise light, or find a secluded spot to catch a memorable sunset.

Be prepared. 
When you camp in the fall, you'll need to put in a little extra preparation. Nights can be unexpectedly chilly, so bring layers and a solid sleeping bag. Average low temperatures in September are in the low 50s, while October can drop into the 30s. Pack a hat and light gloves, and always bring a hooded sweatshirt. You'll never regret having one in Door County.

Indoor amenities.
Local campgrounds and camping resorts offer a wide array of amenities, perfect for those who fear a cool or rainy fall day. Game rooms, swimming pools, covered spaces and even group activities are available at many of these campgrounds.

Gear and supplies. 
If you forget some gear, don't worry. You can swing by Ecology Sports in Sister Bay, Bayshore Outfitters in Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay, and Nan & Jerry's in Fish Creek to find specialty camping gear, or visit local convenience stores for basic camping necessities.

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