Cruising Peninsula State Park

As the tourists were saying their final "good-bye" to Door County on Labor Day and Hwy 42/57 was non-stop traffic going south as far as you could see, Jane and I decided that our last day of summer vacation should be spent at one of our favorite places:  Peninsula State Park.  For those of you who may have visited Peninsula State Park, you know that you can go several times a year and not see and do everything that is available there.  For those of you who have never visited the park, put it on your "must-do" list for next summer; it is a must-see! Peninsula State Park is located in Fish Creek; 25 miles north of Sturgeon Bay.  Highway 42 takes you straight into this quaint village.  As you drive into Fish Creek you will take a right at the stop sign and continue on Hwy 42 until you see the park entrance on the left.  The daily fee to visit the park is $7.00.  For over a century this park has been a destination for thousands of visitors.  It provides a beautiful, relaxing beach, hundreds of campsites and hiking trails that are second to none.  We visit the park several times each summer and enjoy something new each time.  The park is also available for winter camping, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding. First we headed to Eagle Bluff Lighthouse.  Making our way up the park through beautiful full green trees, we noticed that some trees were actually showing signs of fall; this park is unbelievable when it is full color.  We know we'll be back to enjoy the fall foliage!  Eagle Bluff Lighthouse was built in 1868 to guide vessels through the treacherous Strawberry Channel.  The information plaques on the property are worth taking your time to read; they are amazing stories. There are areas to sit and enjoy the view and guided tours are available led by members of the Door County Historical Society. From there, we enjoyed a beautiful ride through the park up to Weckler's Point and down to Nicolet Beach.  There is a large area for picnickers equipped with grills and tables.  A beach store sells essentials and offers ice cream and other treats.  A very nice restroom area has showers and provides beach-goers and campers an area to change.  There is paddleboard, paddleboat, kayak and canoe rentals available in the beach area, as well.  After a quick stop to check out the few visitors that were enjoying the water we decided to take one of the hiking trails and explore on ground rather than on road! Peninsula offers 20 miles of hiking trails as well as a vita course.  The trails are clearly marked with frequent signs but we later decided that we were glad we took a map.  Getting turned around is easy to do and unless you are a skilled hiker, you could end up on a trail that may be more difficult than you planned.  Watch also, for bike riders as there are 20 miles of trails available and bicyclists do gain good speed when they are traveling down hill! One of the best parts about living and working in Door County is meeting people who either call Door County their home or visit so often they call it their "second home". we met such a group at the Eagle Panorama overlook as we took a break to enjoy the beauty of Lake Michigan.  When we were there, we met a family who talked about camping in Door County for 80 years! They live in different parts of the country now but come back to the county and the memories they made here.  It is indeed their "second home". Finally as the day came to a close I decided that it was time to attempt to make it all the way to the top of Eagle Tower, which is 250 feet above the shoreline!  It is a 75 foot tower that gives you a bird's eye view of the park and surrounding areas. Not one who enjoys heights, I told Jane it was now or never!  She chose never because she isn't fond of heights either, and had no desire to overcome her fear today. As we were leaving, we saw this couple walking down the trail hand in hand enjoying a beautiful day in Peninsula State Park.  Fall is on its way, but we will cherish the memories of another beautiful summer day spent in Door County!