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“Wild in Wisconsin”
Sturgeon Bay and Baileys Harbor: Travelers to the county who want to wet a line generally take a guided fishing trip onto Lake Michigan for some salmon or lake trout fishing. You can’t beat charter operators here, which rival even Milwaukee for fish taken.
Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal: For tossing your own line, try the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. You can also land salmon and trout along here starting in May.
Sturgeon Bay and Detroit Harbor on Washington Island: This county has some of the country’s best smallmouth bass fishing, and these are two great places to catch a trophy.
Baileys Harbor: Travelers on a budget or leery of Lake Michigan swells have an excellent opportunity for a middle ground of fishing here. Guided kayak fishing tours are available.
Ice fishing on Green Bay or Sturgeon Bay: You can’t really say you’ve experienced all of Wisconsin until you’ve stamped your feet for hours inside a shanty fishing for whitefish, northern pike, or walleye. Check icefishdoorcounty.com for shack rental opportunities and fully-guided trips.
Potawatomi State Park: The 3.6-mile Tower Trail has great lakeside scenery and a commanding view of the sunset from its fire lookout tower, but you may want to hike along the bay on the first three miles of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
Dunes State Park: The 2.8-mile Red Trail has outstanding dune-scape topography; alternately, take the 2.5-mile Black Trail to extraordinary sea caves.
Peninsula State Park: The aptly named 10-mile Sunset Trail is a mixed-use trail with commanding views.
Baileys Harbor: The Ridges Sanctuary has myriad nature trails through 1,000 acres of what the U.S. Department of Interior has described as one of the most ecologically precious in the nation.
Newport State Park: The seven-mile Europe Bay Trail leads into the last remaining true wilderness in the county at the only designated wilderness park in the state, and for a reward you get magnificent lake views.
Rock Island State Park: The effort of taking two ferries to get here is balanced by the reward of sublime isolation and a five-mile loop trail passing lighthouses and innumerable commanding views of Lake Michigan.
Kayaking and Canoeing
Baileys Harbor: At Kangaroo Lake you’ll find the easiest and most stress-free paddling; in fact, most use a canoe to explore the Nature Conservancy-protected lake, a crucial waterfowl area home to rare ecosystems. Should you wish to go out on Lake Michigan, do it with a guided tour to be safe. A great option is a glass-bottomed kayak tour out of Baileys Harbor.
Peninsula State Park: Virtually anyone can kayak to Horseshoe Island and hop out to scramble along its short trail.
Potawatomi State Park: Island-hop the protected bay that is dotted with islands.
The icy waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan, particularly near Potawatomi State Park and Baileys Harbor, have preserved numerous wrecks. Diving outfitters in Door County can lead you to the best diving sites.
Newport State Park: It’s hike-in, cycle-in, or canoe-in camping only here at the state’s only designated wilderness park; you can’t beat it.
Rock Island State Park: Second to Newport State Park, Rock Island is as far as you can go on the Door Peninsula. There’s always a refreshing breeze at the all-beach-sites campground.
Peninsula State Park: It gets more visitors than Yellowstone National Park, yet you can find your own solitude. Go for North Nicolet Bay, which is smaller and has no electricity.
Potawatomi State Park: The sites are close to each other, but go for even numbered sites (against a cliff for some solitude) and you’ll be all right. There’s even a camping cabin.
Rowleys Bay: There are many sites and top-notch facilities in a lovely setting along the bay at Wagon Trail Resort. A separate tent area features three isolated tent sites. There is an excellent private campground and you can even rent a yurt.
Peninsula State Park: The 10-mile Sunset Trail is a favorite Door County trail; it’s aptly named, with lovely sunset views.
Newport State Park: Off-roading is best here; it’s isolated and challenging but not death-defying. The top choice is the Europe Bay Trail, which leads to a promontory overlooking Lake Michigan.
Potwatomi State Park: Eight miles on its bicycle-only trail takes you through woods and meadows and along ridges as well as a rocky shoreline before rewarding you with views of Green Bay from high atop a bluff.
Highway B: On this road in Door County, pretty much everything is lovely, but the stretch of county road from Sturgeon Bay to Egg Harbor is unbeatable, running right above the water.
Highway T: This county road departs Sturgeon Bay and leads to Whitefish Bay along a Wisconsin Rustic Road. Enjoy tunnels of trees, a lighthouse, and epic dunes.