(Updated 2020) Thinking about taking a Family Vacation to Door County, Wisconsin? Find out the best things to do in Door County With Kids. You’ll be amazed at all the fun door county attractions for the whole family.
Our guide to things to do in Door County will show you what you can’t miss on your vacation. From swimming at the beaches in Sister Bay to hiking in State Parks like Peninsula State Park. Families will also love having dinner at a fish boil, exploring local museums and the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse.
Find some great Door County Hotels to complete your visit. Follow along with me to help plan your unforgettable Door County Vacation.
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10 Best Things to Do in Door County Wisconsin with Kids
Why Take a Door County Vacation
My family and I were searching for a long weekend getaway not far from Chicago. We needed something we could get to relatively quickly, be fun for the kids and not too expensive. In our search, we came across Door County, Wisconsin.
It’s a place we had been to without kids but we weren’t quite sure if there would be enough activities for kids. Turns out YES there are tons of fun cheap activities for the whole family. I have created a list of 10 Best Things to do in Door County, Wisconsin that my family enjoyed and I hope you can use this list to have a great family vacation too!!
Getting to Door County & Map
Just north of Green Bay, you’ll find Door County Wisconsin a peninsula that is 75 miles long and 10 miles wide. The peninsula is made up of 15 cute towns to explore. With one large island, you will need to access by boat called Washington Island.
Visitors can drive the main highways of 42 & 57 to travel around the peninsula. It is only a 4-hour drive from Chicago and 4 1/2 hour drive from Minneapolis. Making it a perfect distance for a long weekend getaway or full family vacation.
To get a better idea of the layout of Door County take a look at this Door County Map.
Top Things to Do in Door County Wisconsin
1. Explore the Door County State Parks
My family loves to hike and explore nature so over our 5-day trip to Door County, Wisconsin we visited several State Parks. There are five state parks throughout Door County that you can visit. Each park offers something unique to the area. The following three were our favorites.
Potawatomi State Park
This park is a great first stop on your drive into Door County. It is located in Sturgeon Bay and can be just a quick hour or two stop.
Much of the area you can drive and just stop at the pullouts for views and pictures or if the kids are older take a hike. There is also a really cool 75-foot observation tower that overlooks Green Bay. It’s worth the climb up for the view however if you have toddlers who wander off, hold on tight.
Whitefish Dunes State Park
This park is located on the Eastern side of Door County. It has a small nature center and ranger stand. There is an easy hike for kids from the nature center that also has displays of how people lived in this area. The kids really enjoyed seeing this part of the park.
There are several different hiking options from the ranger stand including an easy boardwalk hike.
The other great part about this park is the beach. There is a thin strip of beach located along the shore. The waves were a little bigger on this side which was fun for the kids to jump and play.
On a hot sunny day, this part of the park gets very crowded. I suggest you get there earlier in the day to get parking and a spot on the beach.
Tip: Changing rooms and bathrooms are located near the entrance to the beach so you can hike and then change into your bathing suits or wash off the sand when you’re done.
Peninsula State Park
This by far is the most popular state park in Door County. It is located on the west and central side of the peninsula. Which makes it easy to get to from most of the hotel accommodations. They also have great campsites here if you prefer that over a hotel.
Peninsula State Park offers a lot from the nature center to the beaches to fun hiking trails. Our kids really enjoyed exploring the nature center and talking to the rangers.
When we were there they even had a scavenger hunt in their nature preserve for the kids and a craft. Lots of families were also biking throughout the park and stopping to enjoy all the overlooks.
Another popular stop in this park is the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. It is one of the few lighthouses you can go inside for a guided tour. The house is recreated to look like it did when the family who worked the lighthouse lived there.
Tip: It is tight in the lighthouse and might be harder with younger children who are squirmy. My 8-year-old enjoyed it a lot, my 5-year-old was bored. But can’t please both all the time, right? The 5-year-old loved the rest of the park.
Food in the State Parks
We did not see anywhere to buy food in the parks so remember to pack a picnic, snacks, and water.
2. Door County Historical Museum
The Door County Historical Museum was a great little find in downtown Sturgeon Bay. It is free admission and displays the great history of the area. There is a neat taxidermy display made by a local of all the animals and birds in the area created to look like the animal’s natural surroundings.
If your kids like firetrucks, there is a whole display of old firetrucks and a fake jail my kids thought was fun to play in. Downstairs is a mock town of what the area would have looked like back in the day.
The museum’s downtown location made it a great place to stop for a meal after or just ice cream for the kids. Overall it was a fun free activity which has enough variety to make it fun for all ages.
Tip: We made this stop on our way into Door County after our hike in Potawatomi State Park. The two locations are about 15 minutes apart.
Address – 18 N. 4th Ave. Sturgeon Bay
3. Door County Cherry Picking and Wine Tasting
What a great combination for both kids and parents! Cherry-picking in the late summer is all over Door County and it is the thing to do, so there are lots of places to choose from.
We went to Lautenbach’s Orchard Country in Fish Creek. The kids had a blast running around the Cherry Orchard trying to find the best cherries.
Afterward, we went into their cute store and did a quick wine tasting for the adults and apple juice tasting for the kids. A win for everyone.
Don’t worry if you can’t visit in the summer they also have apple picking with a fall festival and sleigh rides in the winter. So, no matter what season this is a great stop.
Address – Lautenbach’s Orchard Country – 9197 WI-42, Fish Creek
4. Door County Fish Boil
Fish boils are a Door County tradition and are a must-try with the kids!
How is a fish boil fun you ask? Well, it’s the theatrics of the whole event. First, you start out watching the fish, potatoes, and onions being prepared in a huge outdoor kettle while the cook explains the tradition.
But the really fun part is when the fish “boils over” and huge flames shoot up in the air. It’s pretty cool to watch. My kids watched it three times while we ate.
There are tons of restaurants that offer fish boils in the area. We choose Pelletier’s Restaurant and Fish Boil in Fish Creek. I liked that they also offered a kids meal so picky eaters could have something they like to eat and still watch the show.
The restaurant is located in downtown Fish Creek which gave us a chance to walk around the downtown area shops. Plus it had a nice outdoor seating so the kids could keep watching the “show” while eating. Make sure to make reservations as all the restaurants fill up quickly.
Address – Pelletier’s Restaurant and Fish Boil, 4199 Main St., Fish Creek
5. Beaches at Waterfront Park, Sister Bay
We were looking for a beach area to take the kids and found this little gem. Located in downtown Sister Bay you’ll find Waterfront Park the largest public waterfront in Door County.
It offers a great little beach, a pier and swim out platform to jump off. The beach area is great for all ages because it has a sandy entrance for the little kids and the swim out platform for the big kids.
In the park, there is a playground, bar-b-ques, picnic tables, and an outdoor concert stage area. There are concerts and movies in the park throughout the summer months. Check the Sister Bay Calendar of Events to check times.
Kids will also enjoy watching all the boats coming in and out of the marina area. We planned on spending a couple of hours but stayed all day!
Waterfront Park has a great location in the heart of all the restaurants and shops in Sister Bay. We took advantage of this and walked over to pick up dinner from the local pizza place Wild Tomato and had a picnic on the beach. The kids were thrilled we didn’t have to leave for dinner.
Pack your own meal and it’s a great place for a fun FREE family day out.
Location – Off of Highway 42 in Downtown Sisters Bay (there is a small parking lot for the park)
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6. Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant
Located just down the street from Waterfront Park is Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant. Why must you drive by this restaurant? There are goats living on top of the grass-covered roof! How cool is that? Feel free to stop there to eat or just drive by a couple of times to look at the goats.
Tip: The lines get long here so be prepared to wait if you want to eat in the busy season.
Address – 10698 N. Bay Shore Dr., Sister Bay
7. Mini Golf
What is a family vacation without mini-golf? There are tons of places to play. I would pick one that is closest to where you’re staying. We didn’t necessarily see one that stood out more than the others so I think you will have fun at whichever one you pick.
8. Waterfront Restaurant – Fred & Fuzzys
Fred and Fuzzy’s Waterfront Bar & Grill is a great relaxed family-friendly waterfront restaurant to take the kids. Very casual and perfect place to watch the sunset. The kids can go down to the pier or throw rocks in the water while you relax waiting for dinner.
It is also right next to the famed Pebble Beach. Just keep in mind all of the seating is outside so don’t go on a rainy day.
Address – 10620 Little Sister Rd., Sister Bay
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9. Pebble Beach, Sister Bay
This beach is a little tricky to find in a residential neighborhood but it’s worth it. Just drive to the end of Pebble Beach Rd in Sister Bay and you will run into it. The entire beach is made of Pebbles. Pretty cool to see and a great place to skip rocks.
However, it’s not a beach you spend a long time at so check it out before heading out to dinner at Fred and Fuzzy’s.
10. Wilson’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor
Wilson’s is a Door County Landmark and has been in Ephraim since 1906. It’s a fun spot to stop for ice cream or for lunch.
With its fame comes the crowds so you might want to choose to eat a little early or pick up your ice cream and eat it across the street overlooking the water.
Address – 9990 Water St. S. Ephraim
Door County Hotels
Now that you know all the fun things to do in Door County you need to find a place to stay. In Door County, you will find a fun mix of resorts, small local hotels, and B&Bs.
Find one that fits your family in the Booking.com guide below. I use this site to get a better idea of what my lodging options are and the price range. I usually find great deals for our family and I hope you do too.Booking.com
Door County Events
All year long there are fun events going on in Door County. In the summer months see concerts, movies in the park and attend festivals. In the fall go apple & pumpkin picking, take a hayride and go to a Halloween festival. In the winter go ice fishing, attend the Fire & Ice Festival and enjoy the snow.
Before you go check out the Door County Events page to help plan your trip.
Those are my Top 10 Things to do in Door County Wisconsin with kids. I hope this list gave you some great ideas and helps you plan your next family vacation to Door County, Wisconsin.
More Wisconsin Family Vacation Ideas
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- 30 Fun Things to do in Wisconsin Dells
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- Why You’ll Love Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark Resort
- Best Downtown Wisconsin Dells Attractions
Need more great family getaway ideas in the Midwest? Check out these 10 Awesome Family Getaways in the Midwest.
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