How to Get to Washington Island, Wisconsin

Your Guide on How to Get to Washington Island

Wondering how to get to Washington Island? Washington Island, located in Door County, Wisconsin, is a unique and charming destination that offers a variety of attractions and experiences for visitors. There are less than 1,000 full-time residents of this beautiful island, which features tons of things to do outside in nature or inside (like shopping and eating!). Getting to Washington Island in Door County, Wisconsin, is an exciting adventure that involves a combination of driving, ferry rides, and careful planning. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get to Washington Island:

1. Drive to the Northern Tip of Door County: Washington Island is located at the northern tip of Door County. If you’re coming from outside the area, your journey will likely begin by driving to Door County itself. You can reach Door County by taking Interstate 43 from the south or various scenic routes if you’re coming from the west or north.

2. Take the Ferry to Washington Island: Once you’ve arrived in Door County, you’ll need to take a ferry to reach Washington Island, as it’s located just off the coast. The Washington Island Ferry Line operates the ferry service between Northport on the Door County mainland and Washington Island.

The ferry ride itself is an integral part of how to get to Washington Island. It’s an experience, offering beautiful views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding landscapes. The ferry is suitable for both passengers and vehicles, making it a convenient option if you’re bringing your car along. The ferry ride takes approximately 30 minutes.

washington island ferry

3. Ferry Schedule and Reservations: It’s important to check the ferry schedule in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons and holiday weekends. The ferry schedule can vary depending on the time of year, weather conditions, and demand. You can find the ferry schedule and make reservations on the Washington Island Ferry Line’s official website. Taking the ferry is probably our favorite part of how to get to Washington Island, but the crossing can get rocky so bring your seabands!

4. Arriving on Washington Island: Once you arrive on Washington Island, you’ll find yourself in a unique and enchanting environment. The island has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, with various attractions and activities to explore, as mentioned in the previous responses about things to do on Washington Island.

5. Exploring the Island: Now that you know how to get to Washington Island, here’s how to get around it. You can explore Washington Island by driving your own vehicle, renting a bike or moped, or simply walking around (though we don’t recommend this as the island is 35 square miles!). The island is relatively small and easy to navigate. You can visit attractions like the Stavkirke Church, Lavender Farm, Mountain Tower Lookout, Schoolhouse Beach, and plan a journey to Rock Island State Park. (Here are our Top Things to do on Washington Island!)

6. Return Trip: When it’s time to leave Washington Island and return to the Door County mainland, you’ll follow the same steps in reverse. Check the ferry schedule for departure times and make sure to arrive at the ferry terminal with enough time to board.

7. Alternative Transportation: If you prefer not to bring a vehicle onto the island, you can choose to park your car on the mainland and explore Washington Island by walking, biking, or renting a vehicle on the island itself. This can be a great way to fully immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty and slower pace.

biking washington island
Biking Washington Island is a great way to see everything!

Getting to Washington Island involves driving to Door County, taking the Washington Island Ferry from Northport, and then enjoying your time on the island. Be sure to plan ahead, check the ferry schedule, and consider your transportation options while exploring all the wonderful things to do on Washington Island. Now you know how to get to Washington Island, what are you waiting for!? Looking for other adventures to have in Door County? Check out our guide to Door County here.