Let’s Travel! Our First Family Trip to Door County and Reasons Why We Want to Go Back

Last month we took a short roadtrip from Chicago to Door County and had the best time exploring and discovering this peninsula located in northeast Wisconsin. In fact, I’m wondering why we haven’t visted Door County sooner since its only about a 4 hour drive from Chicago and is the perfect getaway from the city. It truly did feel like we were in another world – a very charming and scenic world filled with a rich maritime history.

I’m excited to share a recap our long weekend in Door County since it was such fun, unique experience for the whole family. We tried to fit in as many activites and sightseeing in during our three days in Door County but realized that we need to go back! There is so much more to explore and places to eat that we are already planning our return (more on that later).

Where We Stayed – The Landmark Resort

Our home base while in Door County was the Landmark Resort in Egg Harbor. Our room had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and a small kitchen. It was perfect for the five of us. In addition to the spacious room, the resort has an indoor pool and a small outdoor playground. It was a dream place for Luke. Another bonus, the Landmark Resort in Door County has beautiful views of the area.

What We Experienced

Door County is very family friendly. The twins are at an age where they are so full of energy and get excited to see and do new things. I thought Door County had so many great activities and attractions for kids, both toddlers and big kids (like Luke) to enjoy.

Door County Maritime Museum (Sturgeon Bay) – Our first stop in Door County was the Door County Maritime Museum located in Sturgeon Bay, which the first town in Door County. The boys loved seeing the model boats and ships and there were even interactive things for them to do. Make sure to check out the observation deck while you’re there.  You get to see a great view of Door County from there.

The Farm (Sturgeon Bay)– The Farm was the last stop in Door County before heading home and the boys absolutely loved it! It’s another Door County must since you get to feed the animals and even get to hold and bottle the baby goats and piglets. My boys also loved sitting on the tractor and watching the horse.

Apple Picking at Lautenbach’s Orchard Country (Fish Creek), – We were in Door County when apples were in season. Since apple picking is one of our favorite fall activities, we figured it was the perfect activity family activity to do. We went apple picking at which had so many apples for us to pick and choose from. They also have a winery so pick up a bottle of wine when you’re in the shop!  

The Ridges Sanctuary (Baileys Harbor)– Wisconsin’s oldest land trust. We enjoyed the outdoors with a nature walk at the Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor and toured the iconic Baileys Harbor Range Lights. I think I enjoyed the lighthouses more than the boys because of their historical significance and their architectural beauty. This place is a must!

Mini Golf at Pirate’s Cove (Sister Bay) – No family trip is complete without a round of min-golf. Because the weather was so nice, we took advantage of all the outdoor activities in Door County and mini golf is always a hit or “hole in one” with our family. Maybe the boys will grow up to be professional golfers?

Where We Ate

There are so many restaurants we wanted to dine at while we were in Door County. We didn’t get to all the restaurants on our list but I’m sharing with you the places we ate at while there.

Dinner at the Carrington Pub & Grill (Egg Harbor) – After a full day of traveling, it was very convenient and nice to know that the Landmark Resort had a great restaurant – The Carrington Pub & Grill. I recommend eating outside if you go. The views are gorgeous!

Brunch at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant (Sister Bay) – Al Johnson’s is such a popular place in Door County that we had to check it out. Not only is the Swedish brunch good but the goats were so fun and interesting to see.

Coffee at Skip Stone Roasters (Sister Bay) – While we waited for our table at Al Johnson’s, we walked over to Skip Stone Roasters for some coffee. It’s such a cute coffee shop with really good coffee. It was a great start to our first full day in Door County.

Wine Break at Stone’s Throw Winery (Baileys Harbor) – After an afternoon of exploring, Charlie and I thought the parents deserved some wine and relaxation. We stopped by Stone’s Throw Winery and had a charcuterie plate with our wine while the boys ran around and nibbled on the charcuterie as well. I highly recommend ordering the smoked duck breast. It was so good!

Lunch at PC Junction (Baileys Harbor) – Our boys loved trains so PJ Junction was a must. How perfect can it be? Pizza delivered by train?  

Dinner at the Whistling Swan (Fish Creek) – Not only is the Whistling Swan a beautiful restaurant inside Door County’s oldest operating in, it’s also kid-friendly and had amazing food. And it’s located in Fish Creek, my favorite little town in Door County (I’ll get to that later).

The Instagrammable Places

I’m an avid Instagram user and creator. So I’m always looking for places that our photogenic and different to share with my community at @secondcitymom.  Everyone has a different view of what is “Instagrammable” but I truly believe these spots and locations make Door County so Instagrammable and unique to me.

The Lighthouses – There are 11 lighthouses in Door County and while we didn’t get to see all of them, the Baileys Harbor Range Lights are like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. I can take pictures of them all day.

The Boynton Chapel (Baileys Harbor) – The Boynton Chapel is a small wooden chapel built in the late 12th century Norwegian stave church style. Look for the hand-painted details and fine carved wood finishes when you are there. It’s a popular site for weddings and perfect for an Instagram snap or two. 

Fish Creek – I was blown away with the charm of Fish Creek that I took too many pictures. From the storefronts to the area in Founder’s Square. I even shared a whole Instagram post about it!

What We Plan to Do on Our Next Visit

We did so much during our three days in Door County but I don’t think we were done exploring the peninsula  

  • Take the ferry to Washington Island (visit in the summer to see the lavenders).
  • Visit Peninsula State Park.
  • Go antique shopping.
  • Eat at the Wild Tomato and Wickman House.
  • Visit in the summertime to take advantage of the beaches and bays.
  • Return in the fall for the foliage.
  • Spend more time in Ephraim and Sister Bay.

Tips on Planning Your Vist

Something I learned about Door County is filled some very charming and cute small towns but it’s quite a big peninsula where driving from one town to the next can take up to 30 minutes. To make good use of our time, I planned our activities around Door County to look like a U-shape to avoid criss-crossing around peninsula.  I used Google Maps to pin each location, which helped to see where everything was located in proximity to each other.

Restaurants do fill up quickly, especially during the busy seasons. I highly recommend calling and making reservations.  

There is really something for everyone in Door County. Since it was our first time there, we wanted to experience and see as much as we can. I love that the area feels locally-owned, meaning no big name stores and shops are there. So the money we spent there goes back to the local community.

Disclosure: The post is sponsored by Travel Wisconsin.

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