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The Best Things To Do In Door County With Kids

The Best Things To Do In Door County With Kids

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Door County, which is located on the thumb-shaped peninsula of Wisconsin is often described as “the Cape Cod of the Midwest.”

When visiting Door County Wisconsin, expect to enjoy scenic views, quaint villages, beautiful homes, barns and farms as well.

Aiden and I visited Wisconsin earlier this year, and had a great time in Wisconsin Dells, however this was our first time visiting Door County.

Door County Map

In order to really understand where Door County is located, it is important to look at the map of Door County as well.

Door County Wisconsin is compromised of several small cities; Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay, Fish Creek, Egg Harbor, Baileys Harbor, Washington Island, Ephraim, Ellison Bay and Jacksonport.

Each of these cities are about a five minute to up to forty-five drive from each other. Do keep this in mind when planning a trip to Door County with kids.

door county wisconsin map
Photo courtesy of All About Wisconsin

How To Get To Door County

There are several ways to get to Door County; such as flying or even just taking a road trip from a nearby state like Chicago.

If you plan to fly to Door County, the closest airport at forty five minutes away is Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport (GBE).

You also have the option of flying into Milwauke International Airport (MKE) which is about two and a half hours away from Door County.

milwauke international airport black family travel

We flew into Milwaukee, rented a car and drove to Door County. However, I highly recommend flying into Green Bay reduce the amount of time spent on the road.

I didn’t take Aiden’s travel car seat this time because I didn’t want to lug too much stuff around, so I rented the car and car seat well.

PS: Make sure to call ahead of time to ensure that they have the right size of car seat for your child.

Aiden rides in a five point harnessed car seat at home, however all they had was a high back booster. I’m glad that they ended up finding one because initially they offered me a backless booster which I didn’t feel comfortable with.

Planning a trip and wondering how to get affordable flights? Then click the links below to read exactly how I am able to get flight deals, save on flights and more.

If you happen to book your flight into Milwaukee like we did, then make sure to stop at Smoke Shacke for some really yummy BBQ before you drive down to Door County.

Where To Stay In Door County

We stayed at Newport Resort which is located in Egg Harbor. We didn’t spend much time at the resort because we were gone for most of the day.

The resort has a playground, as well as an indoor and outdoor pool. You can watch Aiden’s room tour below.

Door County Resorts

When planning a trip to Door County, it is important to note that there are many Door County resorts for you to choose from.

Door County is big, and picking the right Door County resort to stay in will minimize the amount of time that you will spend driving from one city to the next.

Below are a few family-friendly Door County resorts to consider for your trip.

Things To Do In Door County With Kids

There are so many things to do in Door County, with or without kids. Initially when I realized we would be spending four days in Door County I thought that it was too much time.

When I started planning our itinerary and mapping everything out, I realized that four days was absolutely not enough for everything that I wanted us to do.

It was Aiden’s idea to wear all blue, and of course, I obliged !!

The Farm

The farm was one of Aiden’s favorite things to do. This farm has plenty of animals to feed such as goats, cows and more. The best part of visiting The Farm was bottle feeding the goats.

Each entry into The Farm gets a ticket for a bottle of milk. If you want to feed the goats and cows, etc you can also purchase corn for .25 per bag.

Door County Maritime Museum

If you have kid who like boats and/or ships, then visiting the Door County Maritime Museum is a must do. We even got a guided tour of the Tug Boat which was fun.

Learning about boats and ships

The Ridges Sanctuary

This is the perfect place for kids who love the outdoors. It was one of my favorite things to do in Door County.

The outside garden is set up for kids to play and get their hands dirty, and then when you go inside there are tables with a different craft at each table for the kids to do.

The kids favorite part, the Family Discovery Hiking Trail! The kids each grabbed a backpack packed with fun supplies such as insect catcher, binoculars, and more.

The trail also had a bookshelf full of books for kids to read! This trail is designed for families and the kids were very engaged.

PS: Be prepared for this hike with long pants and bug spray. The mosquitoes and insects got us pretty good. We were definitely not prepared. Regardless of that the kids didn’t want to cut the hike short.

Waterfront Park Sister Bay

This waterfront park has a beach and a several play structures for kids, so consider that one of the best things to do in Door County with kids.

You can join your kids or sit down on one of the benches while they enjoy the beach and playground.

When you get hungry, there are plenty of restaurants that are walking distance to choose from.

Cana Island Lighthouse

This lighthouse offers amazing views of the lake and is so much fun. Once you get there and park, you can walk across the shallow water to Cana Island, or wait for a tractor ride.

Your kids will love the tractor ride! It was on the highlights of visiting Cana Island.

In order to get to the top of Cana Lighthouse, you have to climb 96 stairs, so make sure you pack the right shoes. The steps are narrow, and you are not allowed to carry children up the stairs so make sure your young kids are up to the challenge.

Aiden (6.5 years old) and Kennedy (3.5 years old) made it to the top of the lighthouse with no issues at all.

After visiting Cana Lighthouse, the kids and I enjoyed burning energy by running around on the grass. I wish we had packed a picnic lunch as the weather was beautiful. Plan to spend a few hours here.

The face you make when you realize that your Mom can’t catch up with you

Cana Lighthouse is also very picturesque. I found so many amazing spots to snap beautiful photos. It’s perfect for a photoshoot too.

Door Artisan Cheese

A visit to Door County isn’t complete without tasting cheese. Door Artisan Cheese offers cheese tasting, a view on the behind the scenes of cheese making, as well as a tour of the cave where cheese is aged.

Wine tasting is also offered at Door Artisan Cheese. If you aren’t up to visiting every single winery on your list, then trying the different wines here is your best option.

Sister Bay Sunset Cruise

One of my favorite things to do in Door County was watch the sunset. The sunsets in Door County are absolutely beautiful, so I was so excited to go in this sunset cruise.

We really enjoyed the sunset cruise. Aiden’s favorite part was taking over as captain!! He loved every bit of it.

Wood Orchard Market

This market is known for the yummiest apple cider donuts and apple cider smoothie. They also have a playground for kids and trikes that they can ride.

We stopped by Wood Orchard Market at least once everyday that we were in Door County. Make sure to stop by early in the day for fresh donuts right out of the fryer.

Washington Island

We took a day trip to Washington Island and spent a whole day there. We were having so much fun that we almost missed the ferry back.

To get to Washington Island, you have to take the car ferry across. It is a big island and isn’t very walk-able, so I highly suggest that you take your car or bike to the island so that you can get around.

  • Fragrant Isle

Visiting the Lavender Farm at Fragrant Isle on Washington Island was one of our very first stops as soon as we got off the car ferry. Absolutely beautiful, is an understatement.

And then we let the kids take over with the cameras !!!

Aiden took all these beautiful photos of me!!
  • Schoolhouse Beach

Schoolhouse Beach is one of the five beaches in the world with perfectly rounded limestone’s. There is no sand at all! The water was very cold but the kids didn’t care, they loved splashing and swimming.

Make sure to pack water shoes as the rocks may hurt your feet if you’re barefoot. Also pack some water toys or floats to keep the kids entertained.

Other Things To Do On Washington Island

  • Mountain Park Lookout Tower consists of 186 steps with a beautiful view at the very top.
  • The Washing Island Stavkirke or Stave Church in English was constructed in 1150 and is open daily for visits and meditation.

Other Things To Do In Door County

There are so many kid friendly things to do in Door County. This list below are some of the things that we wanted to do but ran out of time.

Door County Beaches

Door County had plenty of beaches, each one of them offering something different. You can checkout this list of beaches in Door County for a full description of what to expect at each beach.

  • Nicolet Beach
  • Egg Harbor Beach
  • Whitefish Dunes State Park
  • Fish Creek Beach
  • Sand Bay Town Park, Liberty Grove
  • Rock Island State Park
  • Ridges Beach, Baileys Harbor
  • Frank Murphy Park, Egg Harbor
  • Lakeside Park, Jacksonport
  • Sturgeon Bay Canal

Indoor Things To Do In Door County

  • Cherry Lanes Arcade Bar
  • Hands On Art Studio
  • Rafting Tour
  • Popelka Trenchard Glass
  • Peninsula School of Art
  • Door County Trolley Tours

Outdoor Things To Do In Door County

  • Lakeshore Adventures Zip Line Tours
  • Open Door Bird Sanctuary
  • Stoneboat Farm Exotics
  • Whitefish Dunes State Park
  • Cave Point County Park
  • Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf
  • Segway the Door Tours
  • Door County Wine Trail
  • Newport State Park
  • Rafting Tour
  • Cherry Train Tours, LLC.
  • Skyway Drive-In
  • Plum Loco Animal Farm
  • Peninsula State Park
  • Lautenbach’s Orchard Country
  • Cherry Picking – Did you know that one point, Door County produced more cherries than anyplace else in the world. You definitely don’t want to miss out on cherry picking.

    Read more about cherry season here.
Photo Courtesy of Door County Trolley

Door County Winery

If you’re a wine lover like me, then you will enjoy your time in Door County trying out all the wines. A lot of the Door County Wineries are kid friendly, with a play area to keep kids busy while you taste some wines.

  • Door 44 Winery
  • Door County Wine Trail
  • Door Peninsula Winery
  • Harbor Ridge Winery
  • Stone’s Throw Winery
  • Island Orchard Cider
  • Red Oak Winery
  • Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery
  • Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery

Where To Eat In Door County

One of my favorite things about the places to eat in Door County is the fact that each place has some sort of play area for kids. This instantly reminded me of our trip to New Zealand which is one of my favorite countries.

Having play areas for kids at restaurants makes life so much easier for parents and I wish most places had one! If you’re a parent then you get it.

  • Wood Orchard Market – This market has the best fresh made apple cider donuts and apple cider smoothie. They also have cherry salsa and cherry everything!

There is also a play area right outside of Wood Orchard Market which the kids really loved. We stopped by this market every single day.

Aiden snapped this photo of Monet & I as we watched them play
  • Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant – this restaurant is known for having goats hanging out on the roof. Unfortunately we didn’t see any while we were there.

The wait time at Al Johnson’s can be pretty long in the mornings. When we got there, they told us it was an hour wait!! At least they have toys to keep the kids busy while waiting.

Playing outside while waiting for our table at Al Johnson’s
  • P C Junction – Your food is delivered on a train. This restaurant is a hit for kids.

The outside play area for kids. You can also eat outside if you want, while your kids play.

  • Door County Coffee – the food here was so fresh! And they have a wide selection of coffee to choose from. My husband loves coffee, so Aiden bought some for him.
  • Albatross Drive-in and Tiki Bar – this is a drive-in restaurant located on Washington Island. You need to take the ferry across to get there. They have really yummy shakes, and a fun play area for kids.
There is a rocking chair in addition to the sand play area.
  • Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard – this is one of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. No joke! They also serve burgers and other this.

This restaurant also has fun play area and you can even feed the ducks too.

  • Boathouse On The Bay – this restaurant definitely is my favorite out of all the restaurants we visited in Door County. It is right on the bay and perfect for a sunset dinner.
  • Wild Tomato Pizza – they have all types of pizza combinations, and the kids get dough to play with at the table. This restaurant is about a minute walk from Sister Bay Beach and playground.
  • Casey’s BBQ and Smokehouse – We enjoyed the food here. I recommend going after 5pm because they have more options on the menu.
  • Fred & Fuzzy’s On The Water – Beautiful restaurant right on the water, however I didn’t really like the meal I ordered.

They do have a play area and sand toys for kids to play with, so we spent most of our time watching the kids play. Aiden was able to get some school work done too. That’s one of the things I love about homeschooling, making anywhere your classroom.

  • Jamaican Door Cookout – this cookout takes place every Friday from 6 to 8pm. I like Jamaican food so I was excited to try it out. They also sell jerk sauce if you want to take some home.
  • Rowley’s Bay Restaurant and Fish Boil

    If you’re looking for a Fish Boil, then here’s the place to be. We got there late and realized that the fish boil was served buffet style so we opted out. If you don’t mind buffet, then you’ll enjoy it.

A few other recommendations that I had on my list but didn’t get a chance to visit are:

  • Door County Ice Cream Factory
  • Wilson’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor
  • Scaturo’s Baking Company and Café
  • Cedar Crossing
  • Sweetie Pies

Overall Thoughts On Door County

We really enjoyed our time in Door County, and I wish we had more days to do all the things we wanted to do.

My good friend Monet from The Traveling Child, her daughter Kennedy as well as Aiden and I spent three and half days together exploring Door County. PS: I can’t wait till we go on more trips together!!

[Click here to read Monet’s post on Door County]

The cutest Cheese Heads !!!! – Milwaukee International Airport

This trip was sponsored by Travel Wisconsin and Door County Visitors Bureau; however, all opinions are mine.

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