I was invited to experience Door County, Wisconsin as part of a press trip. However, all thoughts about the experiences are my own opinion.
Over the past few years, I have had numerous friends mention that they were ditching the typical summer beach vacation for a trip up North.
I have to be honest, there were quite a few times that I gave my friends the side eye when they mentioned this plan.
After my trip to Door County, Wisconsin, I totally get it.
I got to visit Door County as a part of a press trip, and spent the entire time thinking about which parts of the trip my kids would love.
The answer was simple, they would have loved every activity that I got to do.
Just a point of clarification, Door County is hands down for the outdoor lover.
Ok, now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way.
Here are our picks for things to do in Door County, Wisconsin:
Go explore a lighthouse
While I was in Door County, I discovered that one of the most popular attractions is the Cana Island Lighthouse, and for good reason, it is absolutely breathtaking.
The group that I was with, got to experience the lighthouse a little differently. The standard, is to take a wagon (think pumpkin patch style wagon) pulled by a tractor across to Cana Island. However, the day that we visited was a very rough day on Lake Michigan. The trip to the island was canceled because it was frankly rougher than the tour operators like.
We forged on, and had the experience of our lives. A few points of clarification. We were at no point in danger, you should never try this on your own our while you are in your car, and lastly, sometimes doing the things that you are nervous about prove to be the memories that last the longest.
Check out the video that I posted on my facebook page about our passage.
Once you are on the island, you are free to explore the light house (it is 97 steps to the top) and the keeper’s quarters. The grounds around the lighthouse are also, incredibly beautiful.
Cost to visit the Cana Island Lighthouse:
Adults — $12 and includes entrance to the island, keeper’s quarters and light tower.
Kids (5-17) — $10 and includes entrance to the island, keeper’s quarters and light tower.
Explore Lake Michigan via kayak
Since, Door County is situated on Lake Michigan it is natural that there would be an opportunity to explore the water. There are a wide variety of options available when it comes to water adventures.
I tried my hand at kayaking, the first kayaking trip I took was to be to explore the caves formed by the water, but high winds and unpredictable waves canceled that trip. While, this was initially disappointing, I am grateful for tour guides who keep safety at the forefront.
When I did get to go out via kayak I opted for a double kayak with my buddy and we paddled around Lake Michigan together. It was in a very controlled environment, so while I had the tendency to feel nervous about the sheer size of the water stretched out in front of me, the boundaries the guides placed on the trip helped to keep my nerves at bay. I took off from Peninsula State Park, where you can also give other water activities like hydrobikes and standup paddle-board a try.
Even if you aren’t experienced, go ahead give it a try. Listen to the sounds of nature, it is like balm to the weary soul. You’ll be glad you did.
Prices will range based on tour company.
Go on a high speed rigid inflatable tour boat
This trip with Door County Adventure Rafting was hands down, the most fun that I had the entire time I was in Door County. That is saying a lot!
The combination of an absolutely fantastic guide and the most fun I have had in a very long time made for the perfect adventure.
The boat that we were on was built to go fast, and rode the waves the way a jet ski does, just in a much bigger format.
Always, thinking about my kids, I asked what age was allowed. While there is no real restriction, the guideline is a kid who is able to hold on. Just for reference, my arm that I held on with ached the next day because of using those muscles.
Our guide, did a combo format of the thill of the boat gliding across the water along with stopping at various points of intrest to discuss the history. This allowed me a moment to relax and take in the sites and snap a picture before speeding off again.
After we got off the boat, the group I was with commented that they hadn’t laughed that much or that hard for a very very long time. My ribs hurt after the trip, because I laughed the entire time.
The cost of the tour is $45 for adults and $25 for children, and worth every penny.
Take a hike
In a place like Door County the obvious suggesting for an activity is to go on a hike. There are a plethora of trails and parks to choose from with varying degrees of difficulty.
Full disclosure I am still very much learning to appreciate hiking. Honestly, I am a results person, so for me, I don’t hike and take in the beauty. I often hike and wonder “when we are going to get where we are going.” That mindset is something that I am still working on. The other thing about hiking is that you don’t have to do it at a breakneck speed you can leisurely stroll and take in the sights.
Explore Door County by bicycle
In Door County, many of the accommodations offer bikes to their guests to explore the grounds.
There are seemingly just as many bicycle paths as hiking trails.
While I didn’t hop on a bike during this trip, several of the folks in my group did and they had a great time. My kids love to bike no matter where they are so this would an activity they would choose.
Experience sunset by boat.
The first evening that I was in Door County, I got to experience sunset by boat with Sister Bay Scenic Tours.
The tour was about 2 hours and took us past some beautiful sights and really gave some perspective into how large the area really was.
There is a cash bar on the boat if you want to enjoy a cocktail while the sun goes down all to the sounds of a musician singing during the trip.
No matter what activity you choose to do while you are in Door County Wisconsin, you will be blown away by the beauty of the area.