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Simply Smart Travel
by Jeff Orenstein

Door County Wisconsin
Amazing Vacation Spot on Lake Michigan

Sturgeon Bay Canal Station North Pierhead Lighthouse Full Moon:
Sturgeon Bay Canal Station North Pierhead Lighthouse Full Moon: One of eleven lighthouses on the peninsula, the Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Lighthouse shines its beacon to aid water navigation. Credit:. Door County Visitor

Door County, Wisconsin is one of the most delightful vacation spots in the Midwest. It deserves a prominent place on your vacation bucket list because of its abundant activities, scenic diversity and yearround charm.

Formed by the Niagara Escarpment and the glaciers, the county is a scenic 85-mile long peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan where you can catch both a sunrise and sunset over the water within a short drive from each other. In between you can visit delightful small towns, beaches, enjoy five beautiful state parks and even catch theatre in the woods at Northern Sky Theatre in Peninsula State Park.

It reminds us of Cape Cod with its 298 miles of shoreline, harbors full of sailboats, off-shore islands and abundant water-oriented activities. The justly famous and tasty Great Lakes Whitefish plays a prominent role in many local menus and is the focal point of the traditional fish boils that are offered in several places on the peninsula.

Scattered across the peninsula are delightful small towns such as Bailey’s Harbor, Egg Harbor, Ephraim, Fish Creek, Rowley’s Bay, Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay. Each town has its unique ambiance with a potpourri of locally owned shops, restaurants, inns, bed-and-breakfasts and some hotels. Adding to the local character is the paucity of national chains that look alike whether you are in Washington, Wyoming or Wisconsin.

First settled by Native Americans, the area was a magnet for Scandinavian and German immigrants who arrived by sailing schooners and steam ships. Their influence is felt today in the names of many shops and restaurants that are owned by their descendants and a palpable Scandinavian American cultural ambiance.

Sturgeon Bay Canal Station North Pierhead Lighthouse Full Moon
Sturgeon Bay Canal Station North Pierhead Lighthouse Full Moon: One of eleven lighthouses on the peninsula, the Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Lighthouse shines its beacon to aid water navigation. Credit:. Door County Visitor

Newport, Peninsula, Potawatami and Whitefish Dunes state parks are great places to explore Door County’s beautiful shoreline, dense woods and Great Lakes influence. They offer access to great vistas, extensive bicycle and hiking trails and some of the region’11 lighthouses.

Ice Fishing
Ice Fishing: Winter brings smaller but still significant numbers of visitors to enjoy Door County’s ice fishing, cross-country skiing, dining and shopping. Credit: Door County Visitor Bureau.

Agriculture is a prominent part of Door County and its most famous crop is cherries. The county is one of the top cherry producers in North America and exports its delicious crop far and wide. Locally, almost every shop and restaurant features some locally grown cherry product and pick-your-own sites abound during the summer season.

While summer is high season, winter is also a great popular pursuits.

Before You Go, Check out:

Getting There:

The closest major airport is Austin Straubel International Airport at Green Bay (GRB), 53 miles distant from Sturgeon Bay. Appleton International Airport (ATW) is an additional 30 miles away. By car, State Routes 57 and 42 run the length of peninsula north from I43 in Green Bay and Manitowoc, respectively. There is no public transportation on the peninsula so a car is necessary to get around. By train, Amtrak has frequent service to Milwaukee and connects to Green Bay by bus.

MustSees for a Short Trip:

If You Have Two Days:

Recommended for a slightly longer stay are:

Jeffrey and Virginia Orenstein are travel writers from Sarasota, Florida. Reach them at www.Simplysmarttravel.com or jorenstein@SimplySmartTravel.com