Hope I'm not too late - this post prompted me to register finally! I've been going up to Door County annually for the last 40 years. Here are just a few thoughts/ideas to consider for anyone making the trip:
- If you're driving up from Chicagoland or the south during the day, exit I-43 in Manitowoc and take highway 42 up to 57 in Sturgeon Bay. Its a scenic drive along the lake and through some cool small towns. Most routes will take you all the way to Green Bay on I-43 and then hook up to 57 - but its not scenic.
- Check a Door County calendar if you haven't and see if anything special is going on. Festivals, etc. are always going on through mid-October and are usually worth checking out.
- The Lake Michigan side is always much quieter & less congested than the Green Bay side. Probably not an issue now with kids back to school - but worth considering during busy times.
- Tour the interior county roads while up there by car/bike. Great farm scenery and some hidden gems. Some great photo opportunities.
- Peninsula State park is great for hiking or biking. NorDoor cyclery is right across the park entrance in Fish Creek and an excellent spot to rent bikes.. you can cruise the park & nearby Fish Creek.
- Visit the Cana island lighthouse off county Q north of Bailey's Harbor. They've done a terrific job restoring this over the last couple years. Some neat history of Lake Michigan commerce and the role of the lighthouse.
- I have a soft spot for 'The Farm' - a petting zoo/operating dairy farm on 57 a few miles north of Sturgeon Bay. Great for kids or a wife who loves animals
- Try Kurtz Corral for a horse ride - its somewhere off County I just west of 57.
- Can't go wrong with mini golf or gokarts! Quite a few options between Ephraim and Sister Bay.
- If the weather stinks - go bowling at the Sister Bay bowl (also see under food)
- I like the basic door county classic supper spots, so the Sister Bay Bowl is at the top of the list. Hasn't changed much at all since I can remember. Go for the fried lake perch!
- For a more traditional supper club experience, give the Greenwood a try. Just outside of Fish Creek at intersection of County F & A.
- Got to go to Wilson's for the ice cream & experience. Good spot for a quick lunch or after dinner for ice cream only. Or grab some ice cream & watch the sunset over the harbor/peninsula state park.
- Al Johnson's is ok for breakfast as long as there is no wait - but it is popular...
- Fish boils are more of a spectacle than a great meal usually.... can be hit or miss in my experience.
Spot for a Beer/Catch some football:
- Husby's in Sister Bay - right in town.
- AC Tap - on 57 between Sister Bay and Bailey's Harbor. Great local spot with good beer & bar food.
Do explore around the peninsula - everyone has their favorites. I would check out Northcote Clock & Stein (& cottages) off county E by Kangaroo lake. Truly unique - imported German Cuckoo clocks everywhere!
- Check out the Blacksmith Inn in Bailey's Harbor. An excellent bead & breakfast type spot for couples only.
Could go on & on! Have a great trip -