Wisconsin: 12 Seriously Fun Things You’ve Got to Do in Door County with Kids

Think about visiting Door County with kids. Seriously. Door County, Wisconsin is a hidden gem, especially for kids and families.

Few outside the state have ever heard of (much less been to) this delightfully scenic peninsula, yet it’s just 4 hours from Chicago.

It’s close enough for a weekend getaway, but you’ll want to spend more time in this carefree peninsula that’s made up of 15 quaint towns and villages.  

Enjoy a hike in a state park, a cuddle with farm animals or a day spent at a sandy beach. Here are the most fun things to do in Door County with kids.

#1: Ride a Bike at Peninsula State Park 

Sunset Bike Trail Sign at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconson

Rent a hybrid or mountain bike from Edge of Park Rentals at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek. They also have kids’ bikes, tagalongs and bike trailers.

Set off on the 10-mile Sunset Trail, which takes riders on a wonderfully scenic route with stops at Eagle Bluff Lighthouse and Nicolet Beach.

In summer, the Northern Sky Theatre puts on original musicals under a sky full of stars at the park’s outdoor amphitheater.

#2: Go to the Beach at Waterfront Park

In Sister Bay, the kids will love splashing in the water, building sand castles and paddling kayaks at Waterfront Park, the largest public waterfront in Door County.

Waterfront Park is among the top Door County beaches thanks to a sandy beach, a small pier and a swim-out platform for jumping into the water. 

A large playground and grassy area for kicking around a soccer ball keep kids busy. For dinner, stop in local pizza place, Wild Tomato, for delicious wood-fired pizza.

#3: Take a Hike to “Old Baldy”

Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Door County is home to five state parks, including Whitefish Dunes State Park in Sturgeon Bay.

It’s an absolute must to hike the 2.7-mile Old Baldy Loop Trail to reach the top of “Old Baldy” (take the red trail to Old Baldy, then the yellow trail on the return).

Old Baldy is the tallest sand dune in Wisconsin, rising 93 feet above lake level. The park has a hands-on nature center and a white sandy beach along Whitefish Bay.

When conditions are right, it’s possible to go kayaking on Lake Michigan’s crystal-clear waters on your family vacation.

#4: See Baby Goats on a Farm Tour

In Sister Bay, make time for a two-hour farm tour at Door County Creamery. Farm tours run May to October.

All tours include gelato and cheese tasting (cheese curds, oh yes), a patio lunch and special time to get up-close with mommy, daddy and baby goats. 

Door County Creamery is also known to offer goat yoga in conjunction with Ironwood Yoga of Sister Bay.

Yoga mats are provided for this 40-minute session with baby goats.

#5: Go to a Classic Ice Cream Parlor 

Wilson's Ice Cream Parlor in Ephraim, Wisconsin

In Ephraim, it’s a must to go to Wilson’s for a frosted mug of home-brewed draft root beer, a flame-broiled burger and fries, and an ice cream sundae.

Wilson’s has been a family-owned landmark in Door County for more than 100 years. In summer, there will be crowds, but don’t let this stop you.

Order up a Cherry Berry Delight or a Clown Sundae to-go to eat it across the street for delightful water views.

Wilson’s is one of the best restaurants in Door County for families. The ice cream alone is worth a road trip to Door County.

#6: Watch a Drive-In Movie 

Given there are so few drive-in theatres left in the United States (around 330, according to DriveInMovie.com), it’s a must to settle in for a family-friendly flick.

At Skyway Drive-In Theatre in Fish Creek, pull up to a speaker post to listen in or tune your car radio to FM 100.5 or AM 530.

There are plenty of snacks and treats available too, like foot long hot dogs, pizza, nachos and ice cream sandwiches. Watch from your car or watch from the lawn.

#7: Settle in for an Authentic Fish Boil 

A Fish Boil at Rowleys Bay Resort in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin

An authentic Fish Boil dinner is a true Door County tradition. You’ll find them all across the scenic peninsula. 

One of the best places for a Fish Boil is Rowleys Bay Restaurant at Rowleys Bay Resort in Ellison Bay (open seasonally from late-May).

Fish Boil dinners are held four nights a week and are far more than dinner. They are an event that begins at 4:30 pm with storytelling.

Then, a boil-over in a huge outdoor kettle takes place at 5 pm. Get ready for black smoke and huge flames. The result is beyond delicious.

#8: Eat Cherries at Seaquist Orchards

Wisconsin’s Door County is well-known for its Montmorency Tart cherries, which go into pie filling, jams, barbecue sauce and wines, even salsas.

Seaquist Orchards is the largest cherry grower in the county and well worth a stop, maybe for cherry picking, while in Door County. 

Take a one-hour tractor-guided farm tour across several acres of fruit trees, including cherry, apple and apricot from mid-May to late-October.

Stop in the bakery for a slice of fresh cherry pie. Seaquist Orchards even has its own Cherry Festival in late-July.

#9: Enjoy a Sunset Cruise on Sister Bay 

A Sunset on Sister Bay in Door County, Wisconsin

Enjoy a colorful sunset on a sunset cruise in Door County with Sister Bay Scenic Boat Tours. This 90-minute live music cruise departs daily at 7 pm.

Guests are taken out into the gentle waters of Green Bay for breathtaking views as the sun prepares to dip below the horizon.

Sister Bay Scenic Boat Tours books several other boat tours, including the popular Eagle Bluff & Horseshoe Island Excursion, which is just 75 minutes.

This narrated cruise takes guests past Eagle Bluff to see sea caves and rock formations of Peninsula State Park.

While in Sister Bay, stop at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf for mini golf. The 18-hole course was voted the Best in Door County by the Green Bay Press Gazette.

#10: Say Hi to the Animals at The Farm

In Sturgeon Bay, you won’t find just any farm. You’ll find The Farm.

More importantly, your kids will absolutely thank you when you stop so they can cuddle up with friendly kittens, lambs, piglets and rabbits.

The Farm calls this “a living museum in rural America.” Goat milking takes place every hour on the hour between 10 am and 4 pm.

Kids are encouraged to lend a hand at milking goats. Littles can also feed baby goats and lambs with milk bottles in the barnyard.

#11: Ride a Hay Wagon to Cana Island 

Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin

Door County’s Cana Island is home to the 89-foot-tall Cana Island Lighthouse. Of the 11 Door County lighthouses and range lights.

This is one the most iconic Door County lighthouses with its gleaming white tower. It’s also one of the most-photographed in all of the Great Lakes region.

Kids will love taking a tractor-pulled hay wagon across the water-covered causeway for a bumpy ride to the island.

Climb 97 steps of the tower’s spiral staircase to be richly rewarded with sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the Door County peninsula.

#12: Kayak Wisconsin’s Rugged Shoreline  

There are a variety of outfitters across Door County that offer guided kayak tours along the rocky shoreline.

You’ll paddle in and out of coves and caves in the crystal-clear lake water. One to try is a two-hour kayaking tour at Cave Point County Park for spectacular views.

Alternatively, check out a kayak at Peninsula State Park. Rent one at Nicolet Beach to kayak across Nicolet Bay to Horseshoe Island.

While on the island, make time for the one-mile hike along the Engelmar Trail that meanders along the edge of the 38-acre island.

Where to Stay   

Scandinavian Lodge in Sister Bay, Wisconsin

Now that you know what to do in Door County, here is where to stay on a Door County vacation. Among the top picks for families:

* Scandinavian Lodge (Sister Bay): traditional condo-style suites well-suited for families

* The Inn at Little Sister Hill (Sister Bay): there’s an outdoor pool and a children’s playground

* Pine Grove Resort (Ephraim): enjoy a private sand beach on the shores of Eagle Harbor

* The Landing Resort (Egg Harbor): a short walk from Harbor View Park and Egg Harbor Beach

* Bay Shore Inn (Sturgeon Bay): book a stay at this all-suite inn and savor a colorful sunset over Sturgeon Bay

If you’ve been to this family-friendly destination, let me know some of your favorite activities and things to do with kids in Door County, Wisconsin. 

Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Door County Visitor Bureau. However, I was not compensated and all opinions expressed here are my own.

Door County with Kids