Cape Cod of the Midwest

Alexis Bakken 
Editor: Lili Sarajian

Door County, also known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” is on a peninsula that juts out between Green Bay and Lake Michigan in the wonderful state of Wisconsin. The most popular towns lining the shoreline include Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, Sister Bay and Ellison Bay.  These picturesque towns feature cute boutiques, art galleries, fantastic restaurants, state parks, hiking trails, fishing docks, cherry and apple orchards, and beautiful waterfront views. Door County also has a number of lighthouses to visit and more than 300 miles of shoreline. Here are the best ways to enjoy the Cape Cod of the Midwest on your next vacation!  

Explore the Door

One of the most beautiful things about Door County is the vast amount of recreational activities to explore. It’s also a place that has so much to offer no matter which season you visit. Every winter, my family and I travel to Peninsula State Park to cross-country ski on the trails. We also hike along the snowy paths to the nature preserve where we place birdseed on our mittens and smile as chickadees flutter around us. 

As the weather gets warmer, one of my favorite places to go is Nicolet Beach, tucked away in Peninsula State Park, where you can rent paddle boards, play a fun game of beach volleyball or make a sandcastle. I also love Waterfront Park in downtown Sister Bay. This beach can be found next to a large pavilion that offers live music for all to hear. Here, you can enjoy a bite to eat at Wild Tomato Wood Fired Pizza & Grille and lay out in the blazing sun. Other beaches include Egg Harbor Beach, Whitefish Dunes State Park, Ephraim Beach, Fish Creek Beach and Schoolhouse Beach on Washington Island. 

For a more adventurous day, head over to Gravity Trails in Fish Creek for zip-lining, kayak tours, paddleboarding and hiking. You can even explore the North Bay shipwrecks littering the bay and get a guided tour of the breathtaking Cave Point. 

I’m hungry!

Door county is bursting with great places to eat. Probably what has come to be my favorite restaurant of all time is The White Gull Inn. Their Cherry Stuffed French Toast and Hot Chocolate Teapot are to die for! I also enjoy eating at Chef’s Hat Cafe in Ephraim, and Julie’s Park Cafe right outside of Peninsula State Park. For dessert, it’s always a necessity to stop by Wilson’s Ice Cream in Ephraim for a delicious cone. Another place with yummy, creative treats is Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard in Fish Creek. Their eye-catching sign and cute outdoor seating make it a perfect place to enjoy a frozen treat. I personally recommend the Pudgy Bunny Sundae which is “a nest of OreoTM cookies, Chocolate Frozen Custard, covered in a Magical Chocolate Shell, bunny ears & a special bunny friend.” 

Feeding My Shopping Addiction

One of the best things to do while in Door County is shop! There are so many adorable small businesses that offer perfect gifts! I like to wander down Sister Bay with my mom and sister and visit every single shop along the street. One of my favorites is On Deck Clothing Co, which has unique styles and great sales in the off-seasons. I also enjoy Pipka’s of Door County and Ecology Sports.  If you’re searching for family fun seaside souvenirs, I recommend Beach People. Their two locations, Ephraim and Fish Creek are dedicated to embracing the happy side of beach life, with an exciting environment and merchandise for any wave rider, beach lover and sunset watcher. A few summers ago, I renovated my bedroom from baby pink teddy bears to a beachy sanctuary. Beach People provided everything I needed to achieve my beachy aesthetic. 

Cozy Inns

As a tourist destination, Door County does not fall short on great places to stay! From quaint bed and breakfasts to large resorts, you will not be disappointed! My family loves to stay at High Point Inn in Ephraim, and I always feel at home when I’m there. There’s nothing like coming back after a long day skiing to a warm and cozy fireplace and a cup of hot cocoa. We’re always welcomed with great hospitality and often take advantage of the nice indoor pool and hot tub. You can also check out Waterbury Inn, Eagle Harbor Inn, Edgewater Resort or Julie’s Park Cafe & Motel. If you desire a night under the stars, try camping at one of the many campgrounds in Door County. There’s Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek Campground, Tennison Bay Campground and many more!