First-time visitor to Door County? You’re in for a treat! This charming peninsula in Wisconsin offers a wealth of picturesque towns, natural beauty, and delightful experiences. To help you make the most of your trip, we’ve curated the ultimate must-do list for first-time visitors to Door County. From scenic hikes to culinary delights, here are the top attractions and experiences that should be on your radar. We recommend driving up HWY 42 and then coming back down HWY 57 to get a taste of both sides of this beautiful peninsula! Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Door County or someone who comes here often, these are our favorites to-do.
Our Top 10 Must-Do List for the First-Time Visitor to Door County
- Explore Sturgeon Bay: The Gateway to Door County As a first-time visitor to Door County, start your journey in Sturgeon Bay, the gateway to this captivating region. Take a leisurely stroll through the downtown area and explore the unique shops and boutiques. Don’t miss Novel Bay Booksellers and Bayside Bargains for a taste of local treasures. When hunger strikes, indulge in a delicious meal at Kitty O’Reilly’s Irish Pub, where you can savor both traditional Irish fare and modern dishes.
- Discover the Natural Beauty of Peninsula State Park: No visit to Door County is complete without spending time in Peninsula State Park. Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails, with the Eagle Trail offering breathtaking vistas and a chance to spot the iconic Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. If you prefer biking, the Sunset Trail offers a scenic ride through the park’s diverse landscapes. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature and create lasting memories.
- Delight in Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market: For a taste of Door County’s renowned cherry orchards and delicious treats, head to Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market. Indulge in wine tasting, sample an array of locally-made goodies, and stroll through the picturesque cherry orchards. The charming atmosphere and delectable offerings make this a must-visit destination for food and wine enthusiasts.
- Enjoy a Scrumptious Breakfast or lunch at Summer Kitchen in Ephraim: As the day begins, make your way to Ephraim and treat yourself to a delightful breakfast at Summer Kitchen. This beloved establishment offers a charming ambiance and mouthwatering breakfast dishes that will fuel your adventures. From fluffy pancakes to savory omelets, you’ll find a variety of options to satisfy your cravings. Don’t miss their homemade granola!
- Marvel at the Beauty of Cave Point County Park: Prepare to be captivated by the mesmerizing natural wonders of Cave Point County Park. Located along the Lake Michigan shoreline, this park showcases stunning limestone cliffs, serene waters, and enchanting sea caves. Take a leisurely stroll along the trails, soak in the breathtaking views, and listen to the rhythmic crashing of the waves against the cliffs. It’s a must-see destination that truly embodies the beauty of Door County.
- Savor Delicious Pizza at Pizza Bros: Indulge your taste buds with a mouthwatering pizza feast at Pizza Bros. This local favorite is known for its authentic thin-crust pizzas, generous toppings, and cozy atmosphere. Enjoy a slice (or a whole pie!) of deliciousness and discover why Pizza Bros has become a beloved culinary gem in Door County.
- Wake Up with Door County Coffee: Coffee lovers rejoice! No visit to Door County is complete without experiencing the flavors of Door County Coffee. Sample an array of freshly roasted coffees and find your perfect brew. Whether you prefer a robust dark roast or a smooth flavored blend, this local coffee roaster is sure to satisfy your caffeine cravings. As a first-time visitor to Door County, there is Door County Peninsula Winery across the road open for tours, too.
- Journey to Gill’s Rock/Northport for Stunning Views: Embark on a scenic drive along the winding road of Highway 42 to Gill’s Rock/Northport. At the peak of your journey, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding waters and a glimpse of the ferry to Washington Island. Take in the natural beauty, breathe in the fresh air, and capture memorable photos of this stunning vista. As a first-time visitor to Door County, we recommend staying on the main peninsula and booking Washington Island and Rock Island for another amazing adventure.
- Experience History and Art at Anderson Dock: Make your way to Anderson Dock/Hardy Gallery in Ephraim, a historical gem that offers a glimpse into the area’s maritime past. Built in 1858 by Norweigan-born millwright Aslac Anderson, this dock served as a transportation hub during the sailing and steamship eras. Explore the restored dock, learn about its fascinating history, and soak in the scenic views of Eagle Harbor. As a first-time visitor to Door County, you have to grab the obligate tourist photo here!
- Explore Downtown Fish Creek: Afterward, head to downtown Fish Creek, a vibrant village known for its charming shops, galleries, and eateries. Take your time to wander through the streets, browse unique boutiques, and discover local art and craftsmanship. Don’t forget to sample some homemade fudge or ice cream as you explore the town’s delightful offerings. As a first-time visitor to Door County, don’t miss the Fish Creek Market, Shiny Moon Cafe, or the many boutiques.
Bonus: Catch a Door County Sunset! Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Door County or a seasoned traveler to the area, a Door County sunset never ceases to amaze.
For first-time visitors to Door County, this must-do list is your passport to unforgettable experiences and cherished memories. From exploring charming towns to immersing yourself in nature’s beauty and savoring local delights, Door County offers a treasure trove of adventures waiting to be discovered. Embrace the enchantment of this captivating peninsula and let your journey unfold, one remarkable experience at a time.