Family Road Trip! Our Favorite Things To Do in Door County with Kids

Things to do in door county with kids
Anderson's Dock, Ephraim, Door County

Just north of Green Bay, Door County Wisconsin is a family vacation favorite and is also close enough for a fun day trip. Door County is such a fun place to go to feel like you are really getting away whether you’re there for a day, weekend, or a full week!

Tips for your Family’s Visit

  • List, Itinerary, and Map it Out. It takes about an hour to travel from Sturgeon Bay to the top of the peninsula. Use our ultimate list of things to do as a guide. List out what you want to do most and then map it out. We use Google Maps or download a Door County map here. Maps are also available at the Visitor’s Bureau. Find things that are nearby to maximize your time and minimize your driving.
  • Research. Check for high water and COVID-19 updates. Is the beach you’re visiting free from water-dwelling nasties? We have not included this information because it changes often. 
  • Plan for the Weather. It might be unthinkable in Appleton that day to throw on a sweatshirt, but it is often windier and cooler thanks to the lake. Especially, if you plan to be there in the evening.
  • Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen and Water bottles! So many of the fun things to do in Door County are outdoor activities. Make your day as comfortable as possible with a little prep.
  • Start Your Morning with Coffee. One of our favorite parts about heading out on a road trip in the morning is grabbing a special coffee and treat.  
  • Carry Out. Look for restaurants that offer carryout. Order and pay ahead of time to skip long lines. Find a picnic table at a nearby park with a waterfront view.
  • Picnic. 
  • Pick up a Bottle of Door County Wine or Cider for Winding Down at the Campground or Motel.
  • Plan a Weekday or Off-Season Visit. If you’re not a fan of crowds, avoid peak times during summer and color changes during fall. Aim for a mid-week visit or try the spring or later fall. Here are some of our favorite fall things to do in the area.
  • Schedule Downtime. It is tempting to schedule every minute of a short trip, but magic is often found in unscheduled moments. Remember to make time for those also.
  • Schedule a Return Visit. There is so much to do and you won’t be able to fit it all into a couple of days. 
  • Take in a Sunrise or Sunset on the Water. Use this guide to plan when and where.
  • Pick Up Some Local Goodies to Enjoy on the Way Home or to Put Away for Another Day. There is no shortage of tasty treats to bring back with you. Cheese, cherries, apples, wine, chocolate, fudge…we’re sure you’ll find something. 
  • Document Your Family Vacation. Be present, but give your future self a present by both taking photos and getting in the photos! If you’re posting a perfect snap to Instagram, don’t forget to tag us, we love to see your adventures.

Door County is full of unique, fun things to do and we couldn’t have possibly fit everything here. We included our favorites from our family trips and recommendations from friends.

The Door County Visitors Bureau, Destination Door County, has a wealth of information. You can stop in on the way into town for maps, brochures, and guides.

We have rounded up personal and reader recommendations of the best kid-friendly options in Door County. Did we miss your recommendation? We would love to hear about it. Leave a comment below.

Door County Creamery
Door County Creamery, Sister Bay, Door County

Sample Door County Itinerary

Day 1: Hello Door County!

  • Stop at Wequiock Falls on the way
  • Explore in Sturgeon Bay and stretch your legs
  • The Farm or Plum Loco
  • Dinner
  • Unwind

Day 2: Explore

  • Coffee is a must, followed by morning hiking
  • Farmers Market or Market Store for local goodies
  • Picnic Lunch
  • Afternoon Beach
  • Dinner
  • Mini Golf, Movie, Ice Cream
  • Sunset

Day 3: Repeat and Mix up Day 2

  • Have a delicious breakfast. Visit a restaurant with outdoor seating or pack a picnic with items from home or a local bakery and enjoy a rare breakfast outside.
  • Explore a state park or landscape a different way – biking, kayaking, trolley
  • Shopping in Fish Creek

Day 4: Head Home: Goodbye Door County!

  • Stop at Renards Cheese on the way out for ride home snacks

READ MORE: 25 Picturesque Scenic Drives to Enjoy From Your Car Window

The Farm Door County
The Farm, Sturgeon Bay, Door County

Things to Do with Kids in Door County

Farms & Animals

  • The Farm, 4285 WI-57, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
    • Described as a living museum of rural America, The Farm has been a family favorite since 1965. Families enjoy a completely immersive experience with farm animals, history, and culture. Bottle feed baby goats, lambs, and piglets. Stroll around the grounds for a nice nature walk.
  • Plum Loco, 4413 Plum Bottom Rd, Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
    • Imaginative Play Area, and petting farm.
  • Door County Sled Dogs, 10355 Water St S, Ephraim
    • The Door County Sled Dogs are a recreation sled dog team made up of all rescued Huskies. Learn more about dog sledding, rescues and training with this nonprofit organization.
Plum Loco, Egg Harbor
Plum Loco, Egg Harbor, Door County

Where to Find Art Things to Do with Kids

  • Anderson’s Dock, 3083 Anderson Ln, Ephraim, Wisconsin
    • A fun photo opp at this graffiti dock. Bring paint (or a sharpie) and leave your mark. Enjoy a remarkable sunset here as well!
    • For ultimate portability and artistic freedom, try paint markers!
  • Hands-on Art Studio, 3655 Peninsula Players Rd, Fish Creek, Wisconsin
    • Projects are offered daily with no reservations needed in ceramics, canvas, and wood-ware painting, spin art, mosaics, fused glass, and metal sculpture.
plum loco farm door county
Plum Loco, Egg Harbor, Door County

Where to Find Farms, Markets & Orchards that are Kid Friendly

  • Wood Orchard Market, 8112 WI-42, Egg Harbor, WI 54209
    • Kids can enjoy a corn maze, pedal car track, and playground.
  • Seaquist Orchards Farm Market, 11482 Hwy 42, Sister Bay, WI 54234
    • Kids can enjoy a rope maze, pedal car track, sandbox, corn hole game, and playground. The best FREE fun around! They offer a variety of cherry products, fudge, FREE samples, and so much more in their store.

READ MORE: Our 10 favorite family-friendly fall things to do in Door County.

Seaquist Orchards
Kids Playground at Seaquist Orchards Farm Market, Sister Bay, Door County

Where to Find Mini Golf & Adventure Things to Do

Washington Island, Door County
Schoolhouse Beach, Washington Island, Door County

Other Unique Experiences in Door County

  • Washington Island Ferry
    • 35 square mile island, accessible by ferry
    • Tickets are sold on a first-come-first-served basis. Find the schedule. Summer hours are generally from 7:30 am – 7 pm, about every 30 minutes.
    • If you were thinking about biking, keep in mind that the terrain is hilly and may be difficult for kids.
    • School House Beach is 6.5 miles from the main ferry dock. It is one of only a handful of of smooth limestone beaches in the world!
    • washingtonisland.com/places-to-visit
  • Lavender Fields, 1309 Range Line Rd, Washington
  • Fish Boil at Pelletier’s Restaurant, 4199 Main Street Founders Square, Fish Creek
    • Simple and delicious, fish boils are a quintessential Door County meal. Each restaurant has their own take on the classic, but you’ll generally find fresh Lake Michigan whitefish and a cherry pie dessert.
    • https://www.doorcounty.com/experience/fish-boils/
  • Cana Island Lighthouse, 8800 E Cana Island Rd, Baileys Harbor
    • First erected in 1869, the Cana Island Lighthouse remains the most iconic of Door County’s lighthouses today. You can reach the island via hayride and tour the old lighthouse, light keeper’s living quarters, and climb the stairs for a spectacular view of Lake Michigan for $10/person May through October. Note: the lighthouse is undergoing its final phase of a multi-million dollar restoration in summer of 2022 and some parts of the tour, such as the lighthouse tower, are not open during the renovation.
  • Door County Adventure Rafting, Fish Creek
  • Door County Adventure Center, 4150 Maple St, Fish Creek
  • Door County Kayak Tours, 6329 WI-57, Jacksonport
    • Cave Point Paddle and Pedal on a 4 wheel canopy covered bike
  • Door County Trolley, 8030 WI-42 Egg Harbor
    • Family Tour
  • Skyway Drive-In Theatre, 3475 WI-42, Fish Creek
    • 1950’s vibe
  • Door County Maritime Museum, 20 N Madison Ave, Sturgeon Bay
Peninsula State Park
Peninsula State Park. Fish Creek, Door County

Beaches in Door County to Explore with Kids

These beaches are also perfect for catching the sunrise or sunset. We noted the West Side (the Bay) for sunsets and East Side for sunrises. Most beaches are located on the Bay Side. The water is generally warmer on this side.

READ MORE: Where to Swim in Lakes and Beaches in Northeast Wisconsin

Inland Lake

West Side of the Peninsula – Bay Side (off Highway 42)

  • Sister Bay Beach, 2362 Mill Rd, Sister Bay
  • Peninsula State Park, 9462 Shore Rd, Fish Creek
    • Great family beach inside the park!
  • Sand Bay Town Park, Liberty Grove
  • Egg Harbor Village Beach, Egg Harbor
  • Ephraim Beach, Ephraim
  • Sister Bay Beach, 2362 Mill Rd, Sister Bay
  • Newport State Park, 475 County Rd NP, Ellison Bay
    • A beautiful, quite sandy beach that doubles as a perfect spot for nighttime star gazing at this Dark Sky park.
  • Whitefish Dunes State Park, 3275 Clark Lake Rd, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
    • Enjoy miles of beautiful, sandy Lake Michigan beach. Be aware that swimming is not advised in areas with rip current action. Check in with the park office on your way in.
  • Haines Park Beach, 3773 Town Park Rd, Sturgeon Bay
  • Jacksonport Lakeside Park
    • On Tuesdays, there is a farmer’s market that runs in the morning through the early afternoon
    • Island Fever is a short walk across the road. It is a family-friendly restaurant that offers coloring books and booster seats for the younger members of their evening crowd.

East Side of the Door County Peninsula (off Highway 57)

Water is generally cooler on this side of the peninsula.

  • Bailey’s Harbor Ridges County Park, 2301 Ridges Rd, Baileys Harbor
    • Beach is suffering from high waters 
  • Anclam Beach Park
    • Playground, grills, bathrooms, and amazing panoramic views of the harbor. Walk to the end of the pier to look back over the downtown district. It is located on the south end of town on Hwy 57.

Washington Island

  • Schoolhouse Beach Park, 1824 Washington Harbor Rd, Washington
    • The beach here is very unique! Leave your sandcastle tools at home, this is one of five smooth lime-stone-covered beaches in the world.
Cave Point County Park, Sturgeon Bay
Cave Point County Park, Sturgeon Bay, Door County

Where to Hike in Door County with Kids

  • Cave Point County Park, 5360 Schauer Rd, Sturgeon Bay
    • Underwater caves, hiking trails & limestone cliffs along scenic Lake Michigan
    • sharp, high, cliffs – difficult with little kids
    • FREE- you can even walk the beach to access Whitefish Dunes State Park for FREE from here
  • Ridges Sanctuary Family Discovery Trail
    • The Cook-Albert Fuller Nature Center, exhibits, and Nature Store

Wisconsin State Parks

State Park Admission Required: Annual Pass (Vehicle with WI license plates): $28
Daily Pass (Vehicle with WI license plates $8)

  • Whitefish Dunes State Park, 3275 Clark Lake Rd, Sturgeon Bay
    • Some of the largest dunes on Lake Michigan. You’ll want to visit Cave Point County Park, nestled right within the State Park, for a peek at some amazing sea caves that attract visitors from far beyond WIsconsin!
  • Peninsula State Park & Nicolet Beach, 9890 Shore Road, Ephraim
    • Not Licked Yet is right outside of the entrance and a perfect treat after a hike at Peninsula! They offer amazing custard creations, an outdoor patio experience along the creek, and a fun playground for littles to burn off some steam. WIsconsin’s most ‘complete’ State Park, Peninsula State Park truly offers recreation for every walk of life!
  • Newport State Park, 475 County Rd NP, Ellison Bay
    • Come check out Wisconsin’s only Dark Sky Park for some amazing astronomical viewing! Wilderness hiking, a quiet sandy beach, and the kids activities in the park office are all also worth the visit. 
  • Potawatomi State Park, 3740 Park Dr, Sturgeon Bay
    • At the gateway of Door County, this is a great park to set up camp and use as your ‘home based’ for day trips into the busier peninsula.
  • Rock Island State Park, 1924 Indian Point Rd, Washington 
    • Accessible via the ferry from the Door County peninsula and then Washington Island. This Island State Park does not permit vehicle traffic for a true rustic experience.

Family-Friendly Places to Eat in Door County

Skip the lines at some of the best restaurants in Door County by checking to see if you can order and pay online. Check ahead for options to catch live music with your meal!

  • Wild Tomato Wood-Fired Pizza and Grille, WI-42, Fish Creek
    • A family-owned and operated outdoor seating restaurant with unique wood-fired pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and burgers
  • Not Licked Frozen Custard, 4054 Main St, Fish Creek
    • Lunch, Dinner, and Dessert (the kitchen closes for hot food at 6:30pm)
    • Buy popcorn to feed the ducks.
    • Outdoor seating on a creek. Shaded. Playground.
  • Door County Creamery, 10653 N Bay Shore Dr, Sister Bay
    • Charming cafe offering artisanal cheeses, sandwiches, and gelato plus lunchtime goat farm tours with tastings.
  • PC Junction, 7898 CR-A, Baileys Harbor
    • The family fun restaurant where food is delivered on a train. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • Door County Ice Cream Factory, 11051 WI-42, Sister Bay
    • A Door County Favorite since 1912. The Door County Ice Cream Factory and Sandwich Shoppe serves its own Super Premium Ice Cream which is made on site. Patrons can watch the ice cream being made during production hours.
  • Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik, 10698 N Bay Shore Dr, Sister Bay
    • Stop by to see the goats eating on the roof of this Swedish restaurant. Also, be sure to take a gander at all of the insanely cute and unqiue Nordic-themed gifts inside the Butik!
  • Wilson’s Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlor, 9990 Water St S, Ephraim
    • This soda fountain established in 1906 has a super fun atmosphere and a great menu for kids. There’s also ice cream, delicious house-brewed root beer, and jukeboxes at the tables! This is also just across the street from the Ephraim marina and breathtaking views & sunsets along the shore.
  • Good Eggs, 9820 Brookside Lane, Ephraim
Wild Tomato Wood-Fired Pizza and Grille, Fish Creek, Door County
Al Johnsons Restaurant Door County
Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik, Sister Bay
  • Washington Island Campground, 745 Eastside Rd. Washington Island
  • Frontier Wilderness, 4375 Hillside Rd, Egg Harbor
    • Located in the middle of the peninsula with an indoor pool and easy access to beaches and Door County amenities.
  • Harbour Village Campground & Waterpark, 5840 WI-42, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
    • Door County’s largest water park.
  • Aqualand Campground, 2445 County Q, Sister Bay
  • Timber Trails Campground, N8326 Co Rd M, Algoma
    • The campground is on the Ahnapee State Trail which connects to Sturgeon Bay, about 17 miles away. Enjoy a heated pool or a short walk to The Ahnapee River for great fishing and canoeing. Family activities on the weekends, heated pool, and large play area!

Wisconsin State Park Camping

  • Newport State Park, 475 County Rd NP, Ellison Bay
    • If rustic, hike-in camping is your thing, than look no further! Bonus: If you spend the night, you have an even better shot at spotting celestial bodies at this Dark Sky park.
  • Peninsula State Park, 9462 Shore Rd, Fish Creek
    • A Wisconsin State Park loved by many in the heart of Door County. Beautiful trails overlook the bluffs. Great traditional camping.
  • Potawatomi State Park, 3740 Park Dr, Sturgeon Bay
    • At the gateway of Door County, this is a great park to set up camp and use as your ‘home based’ for day trips into the busier peninsula.
  • Rock Island State Park, 1924 Indian Point Rd, Washington
    • Take the ferry over to Rock Island where vehicles are not permitted. They offer 40 primitive, walk-in tent campsites. You may bring supplies in small carts.
Sister Bay Public Beach
Sister Bay Public Beach, Door County

Did we miss your recommendation? We would love to hear about it. Leave a comment below.

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