Hamptons of the Midwest-Door County, Wisconsin
I wish I could take credit for discovering this gem but that goes to friends, Marty and Ray Johnson. Referred to as the “Cape Cod” or “Hamptons of the Midwest,” I’m still amazed most people we meet have never heard of Door County. Part of me wants to keep the location secret so hoards of visitors don’t flock to this pristine area but another part urges me to share this paradise with others craving natural beauty.
Door County-Wisconsin’s largest county by total area-is 2370 square miles with 80% of it water. The peninsula boasts 298 miles of shoreline along Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Nearly 30,000 people call Door County home; however, between Memorial and Labor Days the area swells to about 250,000 with tourists, primarily from Wisconsin, Illinois and Minneapolis coming to see cherry orchards, explore the 10 lighthouses, sip at wineries and enjoy fish boils.
We’ve participated in each of these activities and have traversed the entire county on multiple trips. This list will help you plan a visit to Door County, Wisconsin.
Planning Tips & Resources
- Order the official visitor’s guide or look at it online.
- Decide what activities you’d like to prioritize. There is so much to do that one can feel overwhelmed without advance planning. Under the “Experience & Discover” tabs the Visitor Bureau has provided categories with information-filled links, ranging from arts & culture to orchards & farms to scenic tours. Check each of them out.
- Book lodging early and understand the pet policy.
- Arrange for a guided tour. On our first visit, we hopped on Door County Trolley Tour. It was an outstanding way to see and learn about the island. We noted places we’d explore further on our own. On our second visit we were a bit more adventurous and drove aboard the Washington Island Ferry and spent half of a day exploring this barrier island in our own vehicle.
- Understand each village or town has retail and restaurant establishments, along with natural scenery. Our interests tend to lean heavily to natural settings, but we still explore all of it. Small business prevails in Door County. Support it.
- Don’t be afraid of two-lane highways and county roads. Some of the most magical views are found on these byways. The Wisconsin Barn Quilt maps provide another way to explore the rural areas of the Door County.
- Pack an empty cooler and leave the state with cherished memories and some excellent farm products like Wisconsin cheese curds, cherry products and bottles of locally grown wine.
Linda Leier Thomason is a former CEO who writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Find out more about Linda by clicking the “Meet Linda” tab above. Interested in working together? Complete this form below.
©Copyright. November 2015. Linda Leier Thomason
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