A string of charming towns and villages -- each different from the one before it -- running along the Door Peninsula's Lake Michigan shoreline make for a laid-back and unique vacation spot. Kids love the abundant nature, opportunities for outdoor play, and one-of-a-kind restaurants and attractions.
The summer is the most popular -- and therefore, busiest -- time of year for visiting Door County, but June is generally slower than July and August. May is likely to bring unpredictable weather but smaller crowds and cheaper lodging, while late September and October offer brilliant autumn colors and off-season rates, but reduced hours at certain attractions.
The bay has an insulating effect on the weather in Door County, so you can expect it to be generally milder than ot anher regions in the upper Midwest. July is the hottest month, but the average high is still only about 80 degrees. June and August have average highs in the mid-70s. Late September and October are crisp and pleasant, and winter in Door County is snowy but mild, save for the occasional cold snap.
Green Bay is the closest major city and less than an hour's drive from Sturgeon Bay, while Chicago and Minneapolis are within a half-day's drive and Madison and Milwaukee are 2.5 to 3 hours away. The closest airport, Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB) is in Green Bay. Northwest, Midwest, and Delta fly there, as well as a few small regional airlines.
A shuttle is available to get you from Green Bay to Door County; and Service Taxi Cab is available for getting around the county ((920) 743-3443). Most of Door County's towns are extremely friendly to walkers and bikers, but Door County is spread out, so if you plan on sampling amenities and attractions from different areas of the peninsula, you'll probably want to drive or rent a car from one of the four national outlets at the airport.
The cities, towns and villages that make up Door County celebrate seasonal festivals year-round. Some of the highlights include:
Door County is small enough to be manageable even during a short vacation, but the main roads meander along the shore and through small towns along the way: expect an hour's drive time between the northernmost tip of the peninsula and the southern part of the county. Egg Harbor is a good centrally-located spot to base your stay, but since the flavor of each different part of the region is so unique, you may want to try staying at more than one hotel or campground. Once you're there, expect your fun to be laid-back. For information on everything from getting to Door County to what to do once you're there, check the Door County Visitor Bureau website.
The Door County website offers seasonal promotions and vacation packages. You can also sign up at wistravel.com for discounts on services, accomodations and attractions throughout Wisconsin, including Door County.
Door County is a great place for camping, with options ranging from full-service resort areas to the backwoods. Unless your family is expereinced in off-season camping with the cold-weather gear to match, summer is the best time to camp here: nighttime temps drop close to freezing starting in October, and the region generally stays cold at night into May. Black bears are common in Wisconsin, especially in natural areas like the state parks. Read this article for advice on staying safe while camping in bear-heavy areas.