Door County With Kids: The Best Things to Do in Door County, Wisconsin

Jacksonport Farmers Market. Photo by Mike Tittel, courtesy of Destination Door County.
Jacksonport Farmers Market. Photo by Mike Tittel, courtesy of Destination Door County.
5/24/24 - By Lauren LaRoche

Door County, Wisconsin has five state parks, 300 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, 19 county parks, and 14 charming towns and villages. If that's not enough reason to plan a summer getaway here, how about dozens of festivals, a thriving arts scene, countless restaurants, and so many outdoor activities you'll have to decide what to do first? 

The idyllic peninsula is a five-hour drive from Chicago—and worth every mile. This guide has everything from what to do, what to see, and where to eat to help you make the most of your family trip to Door County, Wisconsin.

Looking for other vacation spots near Chicago? Check out this guide to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, these fantastic weekend getaways, and this Midwest travel guide for more ideas. 


Why Door County, Wisconsin Is Worth Checking Out 

Family-Friendly Activities and Attractions in Door County

hiking is one of the best things to do in door county wisconsin 
Peninsula State Park hiking. Photo by John Nienhuis

Peninsula State Park

One of Wisconsin’s largest and most popular state parks, Peninsula State Park offers plenty of family-friendly activities. Enjoy hiking and biking on the extensive trail system, swimming at Nicolet Bay Beach, or climbing the Eagle Tower for breathtaking views. There are 460 campsites, an 18-hole golf course, a summer theater, a nature center with bird and fish displays, a reading corner, fossils, and more. Don’t miss the family-friendly nature programs offered throughout the summer.

Washington Island

Take the ferry from the tip of Door County to Washington Island for a day of exploration. Visit Schoolhouse Beach, known for its smooth limestone rocks, and let the kids splash in the clear waters, or visit Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm to admire over 20,000 lavender plants.

The island also features a Farm Museum, where children can learn about rural life and see vintage farm equipment. On Wednesdays in July, visitors can enjoy free crafts and wagon rides, and watch rag rug weaving demonstrations from 1-3pm. 

going to The Farm is one of the most fun things to do in door county wisconsin 
Little girl holding a baby chick at The Farm. photo by John Nienhuis

The Farm

Located near Sturgeon Bay, The Farm is an interactive agricultural experience where kids can feed baby animals, watch chicks hatch daily, help milk goats, meet Texas Longhorn cattle, horses, rabbits, and even kittens, learn about farm life, and explore nature trails. It’s a delightful way for children to connect with animals and understand where their food comes from.

Cave Point County Park

Famous for its stunning limestone cliffs and underwater caves, Cave Point County Park offers spectacular views and a chance for adventurous kids to explore. Enjoy a picnic, or kayak along the coast to see the caves up close, or hike the half-mile trail through the forest that connects to trails in Whitefish Dunes State Park

Door County Maritime Museum

Situated in Sturgeon Bay, this museum offers fascinating exhibits on the maritime history of the Great Lakes. Interactive displays and a model ship collection will keep the kids engaged, while the whole family can learn about shipbuilding and lighthouse history. You can even take a tour of a restored tugboat!

Paddleboarding at Clark Lake Beach. photo by Mike Tittel 

The Beaches

There are a lot of amazing beaches in Door County, but there are some in particular that are great for families. Nicolet Bay Beach has restaurants, a camp store, a snack bar, bike rentals, and a playground for kids. Ridges Beach in Baileys Harbor has shallow waters perfect for little ones, and it's a quick stroll to the sandy stretch from the downtown area filled with restaurants.

Sand Bay Beach has a wooden boardwalk and a grassy area with a playground, and it's one of the best places for stargazing in Door County, Wisconsin. Whitefish Dunes State Park has a mile-long sandy stretch of beach considered one of the best in Wisconsin, and Egg Harbor Beach is in a protected harbor with easy access to Egg Harbor Village, restrooms, paved pathways, and a playground. 

admiring the views on the top of a lighthouse is one of the best things to do in Door county wisconsin 
Enjoy the view at Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. Photo by Mike Tittel 

Must-See Sights in Door County, Wisconsin

Lighthouse Tour

Door County is home to 11 picturesque lighthouses. Take a guided tour to visit Cana Island Lighthouse, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, and others. Climbing to the top of these historic structures provides stunning views and a sense of adventure for young explorers.

Fish Creek Scenic Boat Tours

Experience Door County from the water with a scenic boat tour. Fish Creek Scenic Boat Tours offers four different cruises—the West Islands, the Peninsula Park Caves, the Millionaire's Row, and the Sunset Cruise—which give visitors a chance to see the shoreline, islands, and lighthouses from a unique perspective.

As you cruise the waters, look for wildlife, including eagles and deer. There are even special fireworks cruises throughout the summer season. 

Door County Trolley Tours

Kids will love to hop on a trolley for a fun and informative tour of Door County. Themed tours include ghost tours, lighthouse tours, the popular 1.5-hour narrated scenic tour, and family rides that are shorter than regular tours and give kids the chance to play "I Spy," and ring the trolley bell!  

little boys watching the trains at PC Junction, a restaurant in door county wisconsin 
PC Junction is a train-themed restaurant in Bailey’s Harbor. Photo by John Nienhuis

Kid-Friendly Eats in Door County, Wisconsin

Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik

A must-visit in Sister Bay, Al Johnson’s is famous for its grass-covered roof with grazing goats. The Swedish pancakes with lingonberries are a hit with kids and adults alike, and for lunch, kids can try Swedish meatballs or fish and chips! 

Don’t forget to visit the Butik for Scandinavian gifts like Norwegian goat cheese, Swedish glassware, or clogs from Troentorp. You can also pick up fun kids' items like the Pippi Longstocking book series and activity books. 

Wilson’s Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlor

Wilson’s, located in Ephraim, has been serving delicious food and ice cream since 1906. Enjoy classic American fare like burgers and fries, followed by a scoop (or two) of their homemade ice cream offered in flavors like Big Muddy, Cookie Monster, Rainbow Sherbert, Caramel Collision, and many more. There's a jukebox that plays classics and an old-fashioned soda fountain that kids will love. 

Door County Creamery

In Sister Bay, Door County Creamery offers a delightful taste of local flavor with its goat cheese and gelato. Kids can even take a farm tour to meet the goats and see where the cheese is made. The menu includes unique offerings like hot honey and chevre sandwiches, corned beef and barley soup, and kid's pizza rolls, and has outdoor seating perfect for enjoying the summer sun. 

PC Junction

This train-themed restaurant in Bailey’s Harbor is a huge hit with kids. Your food is delivered via a model train, adding an extra element of fun to the meal. The menu features a variety of family-friendly options, including burgers, sandwiches, and pizza.

Wild Tomato has some of the best pizza in Door County Wisconsin 
Eating dinner at Wild Tomato Pizza. Photo by John Nienhuis

Wild Tomato Wood-Fired Pizza and Grille

With locations in Fish Creek and Sister Bay, Wild Tomato is a favorite for its delicious wood-fired pizzas. The pizzas are made with fresh, local ingredients and are a hit with kids and parents. Don’t miss the famous cheese curds as a starter. There is a great outdoor space for kids to play and walk around. 

Things to Know Before You Go

Seasonal Activities:

Door County offers different experiences depending on the season. In the summer, enjoy water sports and outdoor festivals. Fall brings stunning foliage and harvest activities, while winter offers ice fishing and snowshoeing.

Pack for Adventure: Bring comfortable shoes for hiking, swimsuits for beach days, and layers to accommodate changing weather.

Plan Ahead: Some attractions and restaurants are seasonal or have limited hours, so check ahead and make reservations where possible.

Door County is a treasure trove of family fun, from outdoor adventures to tasty treats. Pack your bags, gather the kids, and get ready for an unforgettable family getaway!

Kid-Friendly Hotels in Door County

Westwood Shores Waterfront Resort - Great outdoor pool right on the lake, indoor pool for bad weather days, suites with kitchens, great lake views

Bay Breeze Resort - Outdoor pool, beach on the lakefront, suites with kitchens

Edgewater Resort - Great outdoor pool right on the lake, indoor pool for bad weather days, suites with kitchens, great lake views

Landmark Resort - Great outdoor pool right on the lake, indoor pool for bad weather days, suites with kitchens, great lake views

Bridgeport Waterfront Resort - Great outdoor pool right on the lake, suites with kitchens, great lake views

All photos in this post are courtesy of the travel & tourism site Destination Door County.

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