BLOG: Exploring Door County’s Parks in the Spring

Spring in Door County is a very quiet yet busy time because hotels and businesses are gearing up for the hustle and bustle that summer has to offer. If you are a person that likes a quiet, more peaceful paradise, then Door County is the place for you during springtime. As the weather warms and the flowers bloom it’s the perfect time to visit one of Door County’s amazing parks. I am going to take you on a journey to some of the perfect parks you need to see during your visit in Door County.

The best park, in my opinion, has to be Peninsula State Park. It is the most visited state park in the state of Wisconsin. I think the park deserves all of its hype. This park has an 18 hole golf course, great driving range, and new this year they have a small kids course for kids like me to practice their golfing skills. Peninsula State Park also has a pretty cool lighthouse that you can tour and they also have a tower that you can climb to the top of and see a great view and even snap some good photos that would be good wallpapers for your phone. I am fortunate to live just across the street from the park. My family loves biking and I really enjoy it. If you enjoy biking you should definitely visit my favorite bike trail which is Sunset Trail. By riding the Sunset Trail you see shoreline, the lighthouse, the beach and woods; you get to see all of the things this park has to offer. The trail is nearly 10 miles long, mostly is flat with some hills, making it perfect for a beginner or a seasoned biker.  One of the best parts about riding in the spring is the wildflowers you will see along the way.

Beginning on Memorial Day weekend you definitely need to visit Rock Island State Park. Rock Island is a small island located just off of Washington Island. To get there you have to drive from where you are staying on the Peninsula and go all the way to the tip of Door County until you get to Gills Rock or Northport Pier.  Then you need to take the car or passenger ferry to Washington island. Once you are on Washington Island you are going to drive to the other side of the Island to Jackson Harbor and take the Karfi passenger ferry to awesome Rock Island. As you arrive on Rock Island, you are a greeted by a historic rock boathouse which is super cool and has amazing architecture. Also located on the island is Pottawatomie lighthouse, which is  not just any lighthouse. This lighthouse is actually the oldest lighthouse on Lake Michigan, built in 1836 and it houses a small museum and offers tours. You can try your hand at pumping a well for water just like they did back in olden days. You can also take stairs to the water’s edge from the lighthouse to get a feel for what it was like to haul supplies. In addition to historic things, Rock island also has great hiking trails and beaches. There are great picnic areas too –  but remember there are no McDonald’s on the island or any other food!  So, bring your own food and picnic basket. If you want to do more than a day trip to Rock Island, make camping reservations and bring camping stuff to the island and stay the night. Remember to bring a wagon to tote your stuff around because the camping areas are pretty far away from where the ferry comes in and no vehicles of any kind are allowed on the island. The campsites are primitive, so you have to bring all your own supplies except for firewood, which you can there.  In all Rock Island is a fun experience and is a great spot for a family.

There are 3 other state parks, besides the two I’ve mentioned:  Newport State Park, Whitefish Dunes State Park and Potawatomi State Park. I hope you eventually get to see them all.  My final spring Insiders Tip is to check out one of the lesser known county parks.  Door County is home to many county parks that are gems. They are gems because no one knows about them and they each have special things to see like historic lighthouses, cool bike trails, historic information, hiking trails, and scenic views. Some of these parks include Cave Point, Frank Murphy Park, Cana Island, Ellison Bluff, and Door Bluff Headlands. All of these parks are great, and they are not crowded. Sometimes you are the only one on the trails.

It’s definitely time for warmer weather and it’s time to get out and explore Door County. I’m positive that you and your families will have a great time vacationing here in the spring. If you need help finding these parks then you can ask the Door County Visitor Bureau and they will certainly help and if you are staying at a hotel you can ask a desk clerk and I’m sure they could find the park you are looking for.