Door County is a great place to take a fall vacation with its beautiful rustic scenery, wonderful natural areas, shops, art galleries, markets, great restaurants, fish boils, and much more. Something for everyone.
Here are some tips to plan your fall vacation…this list just scratches the surface; I’ll add more items as I think of them:
- The first two weeks in October is the best for autumn colors; usually the 2nd week is the better week. The 3rd week can be very good too; but things are starting to wind down.
- The weather can go either way: you can have very warm summer-like days to very cold, windy and maybe rain; be prepared. I would bring good walking and hiking shoes.
- Weekends can be very busy, weekdays are relatively quiet.
- The big Fall Fest is October 14-16…very busy, especial around Sister Bay area.
- South Door County has some interesting things, but the best DC experience is north of Sturgeon Bay.
- The East-side is known as the quiet side…up Hwy 57. The West-side (up hwy 42) is dotted with small towns: Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Sister Bay, etc…with a lot of shops and restaurants. We usually lodge on the East-side, a personal preference.
- Visit Cave Point County Park to see dramatic cliffs with crashing waves of lake Michigan. Also Whitefish Dunes State Park, near by, a beautiful natural beach area, good hiking scenic views.
- Newport State Park — I love this place…some really great hiking if your are up to it. The natural wild beach at Europe Bay (the end of Europe Bay road) is a great place to take a relaxing walk along the Michigan shoreline…just beautiful.
- The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor. The trails are an easy hike to see some protected wilderness, an enchanting boreal forest. They have a new nature center now. website
- Baileys Harbor Ridges Park — A nice place to take a break, and see the range light.
- Take 42 to the Northport ferry dock — it’s nice ride to get there.
- Take County Rd Q from Ephraim to Baileys Harbor — a nice scenic ride.
- Visit the Cana Island Lighthouse
- Ride through Peninsula State Park, visit the light house.
- Some good markets to visit for local goods, fruits, jams, wine, food, etc.
- For golfing: Maxwelton Braes — simply beautiful in the fall.
- Maxwelton’s Website
- We have never stayed there; but it seems like a really nice place.
- Two good restaurants: Pasta Vino for Italian faire and the Sindpiper for a good breakfast.
- Fish Boils – there are many choices…the White Gull Inn does a very nice more upscaled one, a great place for breakfast as well…it can be very busy!
Check this out: Five Door County Fish Boils Perfect for Fall in Wisconsin
- A few other restaurants to consider:
- Harbor Fish Market & Grille in Baileys Harbor for good seafood, etc. — they do a lobster boil. website
- Chives in Baileys Harbor…an upscale place with interesting food for lunch or diner.
- The English Inn, Fish Creek — a classic Wisconsin supper club, steaks, chops, seafood. website
- Alexanders, Fish Creek — website
- Wickman House in Ellison Bay — website
- Viking Grill in Ellison Bay — website — classic fish boil place, good breakfast