The Best Towns and Where to Stay in Door County | Vacation Victory (2022)

The Best Towns and Where to Stay in Door County | Vacation Victory (1)

You already know that Wisconsin’s peninsula is a beautiful vacation destination. The question now becomes, where to stay in Door County?

Which Door County towns are the best hubs from which to explore the parks and shorelines of this remarkable place?

Which towns have the best restaurants?

These were the questions we asked ourselves when planning our first Door County vacation.

After many visits since then, we’ve gathered a list of our favorite places to stay. You’ll find that list below.

Top 4 Best Places to Stay in Door County

Deciding where to stay in Door County involves choosing between a lot of great towns and villages.

Our favorite places to stay all happen to be fairly close together. But this is for good reason:

  • Location: These four places are centrally located for easy access to all the other destinations and attractions.
  • Transportation: Speaking of easy access, the top four Door County towns and villages listed below are all located right off of the main highway. So getting around is quick.
  • Accommodations: We wouldn’t recommend a place to stay if there weren’t great lodging options! Check out Airbnb, local hotels, or even campsites.

Now the choice is up to you.

We’ve given our best four recommendations first, but if you had another location in mind don’t worry. There are great reviews of other towns and villages at the end of the article.

1. Ephraim

You’ll know you’ve entered the heart of Ephraim when you see the red CocaCola signs on top of Wilson’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor.

In fact, this picturesque location is home to four of our favorite places to eat.

We love this village because of its small feel and quaint charm.

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If you plan to spend time exploring Peninsula State Park, then you can’t go wrong with Ephraim.

See it on Google Maps: Ephraim, WI

2. Egg Harbor

If you’re looking great AirBnB stays, then Egg Harbor certainly won’t disappoint. Here are a few of our favorites from Super Hosts Rob & Suzie: Flats on Church and Modern Craftsman Home.

Not to mention the Landmark Resort. There’s no denying that this town has some of the best lodging options on the peninsula.

Besides having great places to stay, Egg Harbor is home to the Door County Trolley. If you haven’t already, check out their website for some high-quality tour options year around.

We love this town for its traveler’s convenience.

Between the fantastic stays, great restaurants, and awesome tours, Egg Harbor is the perfect home base for a Door County vacation.

See it on Google Maps: Egg Harbor, WI

3. Sister Bay

With the largest expanse of public shoreline in Door County, you can’t go wrong with Sister Bay.

Plus, this is the closest option to Newport State Park in our Top 4. Newport is our favorite park on the peninsula.

If all of that doesn’t convince you, then goats eating grass off the roof of a Swedish restaurant might pique your interest. Sister Bay is home to Al Johnsons and their Swedish pancakes can’t be missed.

Sister Bay, WI is also home to a great outdoor gear rental store called Bay Shore Outfitters. So if you need cross country ski’s or stand up paddleboards, this is a great place to stay.

See it on Google Maps: Sister Bay, WI

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4. Fish Creek

Finally, Fish Creek is the last place on our Top 4 list of where to stay in Door County and it’s certainly one you should consider.

First of all, if you haven’t heard of Wild Tomato Pizza yet, then add it to your list right now. Fish Creek is home to its original location and is definitely one of our favorite places to eat on the Peninsula.

Similar to Ephraim but on the south side of the park, Fish Creek is another perfect home base for a Peninsula State Park vacation.

This Door County town is where we stayed on one of our first trips to the area. We used a really nice AirBnB but there’s also a great Inn and Restaurant called the Whistling Swan that would be a great place to stay.

See it on Google Maps: Fish Creek, WI

Other Places to Stay in Door County

Alright, we chose our favorite places for where to stay in Door County above, but these are certainly not the only options.

We love Baileys Harbor, Washington Island, and other places mentioned below for so many reasons.

Check out these other great places to stay for a perfect Door County vacation home base.

Baileys Harbor

Baileys Harbor is one of the few places on the east side of the peninsula along the Lake Michigan shoreline that has a lot of cool things going on.

To begin with, Baileys Harbor is home to one of our favorite breweries in all of Wisconsin. Its appropriately named Door County Brewery Co. and has an amazing vibe and great live music.

If wine is more your thing, one of the great Door County wineries is called Stone’s Throw and is also located in Baileys Harbor.

Baileys Harbor is perfect for those wanting to get a little further removed from the hustle and bustle of other parts of the peninsula.

See it on Google Maps: Baileys Harbor, WI

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Washington Island

The only reason Washington Island didn’t make our Top 4 is that its a little hard to get to. But if you’re willing to take the ferry across Death’s Door then you won’t be disappointed!

In fact, we camped out on the island during our first trip to Door County.

We wrote a really in-depth guide about it that you should check out by pressing the button below.

As I said, we went camping and stayed at Washington Island Campground, but there are also some great hotel options.

It may not make the best home base for exploring all of Door County, but if you’re looking to get away from people and enjoy some island time, Washington Island is where to stay.

See it on Google Maps: Washington Island

Ellison Bay

Home to one of the finest dining establishments in Door County, Ellison Bay has a lot to offer.

You’ll have to drive pretty far north, but Island Orchard Cider might be worth the drive.

Fun fact, one of Wisconsin’s largest and most expensive homes, called Sur la Baie, is located in Ellison Bay.

Besides all of that, we haven’t spent a whole lot of time in Ellison Bay. However, it’s definitely on our radar and worth checking out.

See it on Google Maps: Ellison Bay, WI

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Sturgeon Bay

Being the largest town in Door County, you may be tempted to drive right past Sturgeon Bay in hopes of a smaller, more quaint village.

However, the town of Sturgeon Bay offers options and convenience when it comes to dining and places to stay.

If your planning to tour the Door’s many lighthouses, then the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead Light will certainly be on your list.

With everything from large vessels to small charters, Sturgeon Bay is known for boats and the canal they travel through connecting Lake Michigan to Green Bay.

When asking where to stay in Door County, you can’t go wrong with Sturgeon Bay.

See it on Google Maps: Sturgeon Bay, WI

Jacksonport

Finally, we’ll end this list of Door County towns with Jacksonport, Wisconsin.

On our list as one of only two towns along the Lake Michigan shoreline, Jacksonport is perfect for sunrises and hiking.

Cave Point County Park is only a ten-minute drive south of Jacksonport. No matter how much time you have on the peninsula, we recommend you make a stop at Cave Point.

For kayakers, Jacksonport has a great boat launch from which to start your maritime exploration of the Cave Point County Park caves.

Press the button below to check out our post on the best things to do in Cave Point County Park.

A Cave Point County Park Guide

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Between that and Whitefish Dunes State Park, the town of Jacksonport is perfect for those who love the outdoors.

See it on Google Maps: Jacksonport, WI

FAQs

What town is the best to stay in Door County? ›

Of all the options of places to stay in Door County, Sturgeon Bay is by and large the most popular choice and it is not hard to see why. With a picturesque lighthouse, a calm canal and, of course, a gorgeous waterfront to match, Surgeon Bay steals the hearts of all who visit.

What part of Door County is the best? ›

Sister Bay is the best town to stay in Door County as it offers many attractions, easy access to the other towns, and great hotels such as The Dorr Hotel.

What is the best month to visit Door County? ›

The most popular time for a Door County visit is May through October when three-quarters of the tourists make their way to the area. Spring offers the beauty of apple and cherry blossoms and wildflowers with fewer crowds, although the weather can still be cool and wet.

What cities are near Door County? ›

Door County

What is the prettiest town in Door County? ›

Fish creek is definitely amongst the best towns in Door Country. Even the nature itself behaves civil here. It houses the biggest golf course in all of Wisconsin.

How far is Fish Creek from Egg Harbor? ›

There are 6.12 miles from Egg Harbor to Fish Creek in northeast direction and 7 miles (11.27 kilometers) by car, following the WI-42 route. Egg Harbor and Fish Creek are 11 minutes far apart, if you drive non-stop . This is the fastest route from Egg Harbor, WI to Fish Creek, WI.

What town in Door County has the most shopping? ›

Sturgeon Bay

The largest community in the county offers three distinct shopping districts. Most well-known is the historic 3rd Avenue, with boutiques, candy stores, and a marketplace.

What's so special about Door County? ›

Door County offers more miles of shoreline, one of the highest concentrations of lighthouses and more state parks – a total of five – than any other county in the state. The Door County area offers a wide variety of outdoor recreation and is also known for its art galleries and performing arts.

How do you get around Door County? ›

Like many relatively rural areas, Door County lacks public transportation, and its towns are spread out enough that driving between them is a must. So, although you will definitely need a car to get around, the streets and highways will be pleasantly void of buses, high-speed trains, rideshare companies, and taxis.

What is the best time to see fall colors in Door County? ›

The best time to see fall colors in Wisconsin, especially Door County, is late-September to mid-October, but spectacular color can be found in the area all autumn long.

Where should I go in Door County in the fall? ›

One of the best places to enjoy Door County fall colors here is The Ridges Sanctuary, but destinations to consider include Toft Point and Kangaroo Lake Preserve. There's also a great fall festival here each year, along with a brewery, great restaurants, and plenty of shops to enjoy.

What is there to do in Door County off season? ›

  • Back.
  • ATVing & UTVing.
  • Disc Golf.
  • Fishing.
  • Nature Preserves & Conservation.
  • Parks.

Is Door County walkable? ›

This small town in Door County may be one of the most walkable vacation spots in all of Wisconsin.

What is Sturgeon Bay known for? ›

Sturgeon Bay is a fisherman's mecca, with some of the best bass fishing in the world. Tour a restored tug, visit the phenomenal Door County Maritime Museum, learn the history of Door County, stroll down historic 3rd Avenue, or step into nature at Potawatomi State Park on the city's edge.

What is Egg Harbor known for? ›

Whether you love cheese, fresh produce, or fine dining, Egg Harbor is the place for food lovers. Artisan cheese shops, farm markets, a brewery, two wineries, and specialty food stores are just the start.

What shops are in Fish Creek? ›

  • Lautenbach's Orchard Country. 494. ...
  • Edgewood Orchard Galleries. 201. ...
  • Interfibers Studio Gallery Door County. Art Galleries. ...
  • Connie Glowacki Artist. Art Galleries. ...
  • Curt's Spice Co & Oilerie, Fish Creek, Wi. Speciality & Gift Shops. ...
  • Hide Side Corner Store. Speciality & Gift Shops. ...
  • Hyline Orchard Farm Market. ...
  • O'Meara's Irish House.

Where do you fly into for Door County Wisconsin? ›

Three international airports in Wisconsin can serve as your gateway to Door County. The nearest is the Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay (one hour drive to Sturgeon Bay). The Appleton Airport is the next closest (one hour and twenty minutes to Sturgeon Bay).

Is Sturgeon Bay Nice? ›

Sturgeon Bay, WI is a nice family friendly town that is very safe, very short commute times, because it is a small of less than 10,000 people. It is a very tourist driven area, so most of the jobs available are very seasonal unless you like factory work or the ship yard.

How many towns are in Door County? ›

Door County

How many wineries are in Door County? ›

Door 44 Winery

In addition to visiting the wineries themselves, you can also enjoy Door County wine a few other ways, such as: Taking a driving tour of the Wine Trail: visit all eight or a combination of all eight wineries on the peninsula.

What is there to do in Door County 2021? ›

Top Attractions in Door County
  • Cave Point County Park. 1,244. Parks. ...
  • Washington Island Ferry Line. 649. Ferries. ...
  • Peninsula State Park. 1,736. State Parks. ...
  • Stone's Throw Winery. 751. Wineries & Vineyards. ...
  • Schoolhouse Beach. 438. Beaches. ...
  • Seaquist Orchards Farm Market. 216. ...
  • Harbor Ridge Winery. 307. ...
  • Washington Island Stavkirke. 250.

What food is Door County known for? ›

Foodie Favorites: 9 Door County Restaurants
  • Wickman House – Ellison Bay. ...
  • Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant – Sister Bay. ...
  • Door County Creamery – Sister Bay. ...
  • Door County Coffee & Tea Co. – ...
  • Villaggios – Fish Creek. ...
  • Rowleys Bay Restaurant – Ellison Bay. ...
  • Scaturo's Baking Compay & Café – Sturgeon Bay.

Are there bears in Door County? ›

The bear population in Wisconsin has increased over the years to 25,000. Wildlife experts estimate that there could be anywhere from 10 to 20 black bears in Door County. Black bears have expanded their range in Wisconsin.

Is there a ferry from Door County to Mackinac Island? ›

The quickest way to get from Door County to Mackinac Island is to taxi and fly and ferry which costs $500 - $1,400 and takes 8h 13m. How far is it from Door County to Mackinac Island? The distance between Door County and Mackinac Island is 161 miles.

Are there Ubers in Door County? ›

Uber has established itself in the greater Green Bay area, which provides the online infrastructure that includes all of Door County.

Is there a train to Door County? ›

There are 9 ways to get from Chicago to Door County by train, bus, taxi, night bus, car, plane or car ferry.

What is the famous road in Door County? ›

One of the most famous stretches of road in the Midwest can be found at the tip of the Door County peninsula, where Highway 42 curves for no discernible reason as it nears Northport and the Washington Island Ferry dock. The curves make for a beautiful picture, a fun drive, and the obvious question “why all the curves?”

How long do fall colors last in Door County? ›

3 Ways to Embrace the Beauty of the Season

The best time to see fall colors in Wisconsin, especially Door County, is late-September to mid-October, but spectacular color can be found in the area all autumn long. Here are three ways to experience Door County's palette of fall colors: Plan a Fall Camping Trip.

Where is the best place in Wisconsin to see fall colors? ›

Hilltop Color Tour

Timm's Hill, near Ogema, is the highest point in Wisconsin – 1,951 feet above sea level. At its top, an observation tower rises an additional 60 feet for outstanding views of the surrounding forest and its vibrant fall colors.

What is open in Door County right now? ›

Open
  • Brick Lot Pub & Grill.
  • Culver's.
  • Glacier Ledge/DOOR ARTISAN CHEESE COMPANY.
  • Rendezvous.
  • STAGE ROAD INN.
  • The Grove.
  • Village Kitchen.
  • WANDA JEAN'S FAMILY RESTAURANT.

What is there to do in Sturgeon Bay in October? ›

In the great outdoors
  • Relax – take a fall color tour on winding country roads.
  • Pick sweet, crisp apples or sip fresh-pressed cider.
  • Enjoy the last fruits of the fields at the Farmer's Markets.
  • Stroll the sand Dunes, or bask in the spring sunshine at Whitefish Dunes State Park.
  • Fish the canal, bay or lake.

Is there anything to do in Door County in the winter? ›

By Foot: Door County's plentiful trails are the perfect spots to try cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter biking, and other winter sports. By Ice: If you're a fan of extraordinary views, try venturing out onto a frozen lake for a little ice fishing. Or, strap on the old skates at the Teresa K.

Where should I stay in Door County in the winter? ›

  • A Peninsula Park-View Resort. 3397 Hwy 42. Fish Creek, WI 54212. ...
  • Bay Shore Inn. 4205 Bay Shore Drive. ...
  • Birchwood Lodge. 10501 Hwy 57. ...
  • Blacksmith Inn On The Shore. 8152 Hwy 57. ...
  • Bridgeport Waterfront Resort. 50 W. ...
  • Chanticleer Guest House. 4072 Cherry Rd. ...
  • Church Hill Inn. 2393 Gateway Drive. ...
  • Cornerstone Suites. 6960 Hwy 42.

Is Door County an island or peninsula? ›

Door County is known primarily as a beautiful stretch of peninsula, but what many don't know is that there is an array of islands accessible by boat that offer unique experiences and new adventures. There are a total of 35 islands that pepper the waters surrounding Door County, but only a few are readily accessible.

What is there to do in Door County in March? ›

Fun for the Whole Family
  • Have some fun indoors at the newly reopened Cherry Lanes with bowling and arcade games.
  • Explore nature at parks and on walking paths.
  • Study local history at the museums.
  • Catch a movie Sturgeon Bay Cinema 6.
  • Visit a lighthouse.
Feb 1, 2020

Is October a good time to visit Door County? ›

1. Is October a good time to visit Door County? Yes! Door County in October is one of the best times to visit, especially for families as there are so many fun events going on.

How many lighthouses are in Door County? ›

Door County has 11 breathtaking, historic lighthouses located throughout the county.

Why do they call it Sturgeon Bay? ›

Settled in 1835, Sturgeon Bay grew as a lumbering community in the 1850s and was named for the once-abundant sturgeon in the lake.

Is Sturgeon Bay man made? ›

The Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal was dug by a private group headed by then-president of Chicago and North Western Railway, William B. Ogden, between July 8, 1872 and the late fall of 1881. Although smaller craft began using the canal in 1880, it was not open for large-scale watercraft until 1890.

Why is called Egg Harbor? ›

Great Egg Harbour got its name from explorer Cornelius Jacobsen Mey. During the Dutch desires for settlement and expansion in the "New World" in 1614, Mey came upon the inlet to this river. The meadows were so covered with shorebird and waterfowl eggs that he called it "Eyren Haven" (Egg Harbor).

Where was the first Egg Harbor? ›

Since the first Egg Harbor Café opened in Hinsdale, IL in December 1985, a growing base of wonderful customers have encouraged us to develop and expand. After 35 years, Egg Harbor Café has 20 locations in Illinois, Georgia and Wisconsin. We have been passionate about breakfast, brunch and lunch since 1985.

Is Egg Harbor Beach Open? ›

Our Egg Harbor location is open from 10am to 6pm daily, which gives you plenty of time to check out our rentals! Paddleboards and single kayaks start at $20/hour and tandem kayaks at $25/hour.

What's so special about Door County? ›

Door County offers more miles of shoreline, one of the highest concentrations of lighthouses and more state parks – a total of five – than any other county in the state. The Door County area offers a wide variety of outdoor recreation and is also known for its art galleries and performing arts.

How long is cherry season in Door County? ›

Stage 6 - Ready to Pick

During the dog days of summer—those long, sweltering days in mid-July to mid-August—Door County's cherries will be ready for the picking.

Why is it called death's door? ›

“Porte des Morts Passage, Wisconsin, is known as 'Death's Door,' owing to the numerous detached reefs and shoals obstructing its navigation . . . almost certain destruction to craft going ashore. These conditions have been the cause of many vessel disasters.”

What is Sturgeon Bay known for? ›

Sturgeon Bay is a fisherman's mecca, with some of the best bass fishing in the world. Tour a restored tug, visit the phenomenal Door County Maritime Museum, learn the history of Door County, stroll down historic 3rd Avenue, or step into nature at Potawatomi State Park on the city's edge.

What food is Door County known for? ›

Foodie Favorites: 9 Door County Restaurants
  • Wickman House – Ellison Bay. ...
  • Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant – Sister Bay. ...
  • Door County Creamery – Sister Bay. ...
  • Door County Coffee & Tea Co. – ...
  • Villaggios – Fish Creek. ...
  • Rowleys Bay Restaurant – Ellison Bay. ...
  • Scaturo's Baking Compay & Café – Sturgeon Bay.

Are there bears in Door County? ›

The bear population in Wisconsin has increased over the years to 25,000. Wildlife experts estimate that there could be anywhere from 10 to 20 black bears in Door County. Black bears have expanded their range in Wisconsin.

How do you get around Door County? ›

Like many relatively rural areas, Door County lacks public transportation, and its towns are spread out enough that driving between them is a must. So, although you will definitely need a car to get around, the streets and highways will be pleasantly void of buses, high-speed trains, rideshare companies, and taxis.

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