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Category: Parks

Door County is the only county in Wisconsin with five state parks, plus one state trail. No visit to the peninsula is complete without exploring these pristine open spaces that are home to historic landmarks, rare flora and fauna, hiking trails, and much more.

Peninsula State Park

The crown jewel of the Wisconsin State Park system, Peninsula State Park offers more than 3,700 acres for exploration.

Bike or hike on the Sunset Bike Trail, or challenge yourself on more than 12 miles of off-road biking trails weaving through the woods. Rent kayaks and peddle boats at Nicolet Beach Concessions at famous Nicolet Bay beach, where you can also get snacks, burgers, supplies, and ice cream.

The park is also home to the beautiful Peninsula State Park Golf Course, award-winning Northern Sky Theatre and historic Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. The 75-foot Eagle Tower was closed in May 2015 for structural concerns, but is expected to reopen in 2018. More>>

Potawatomi State Park

Home of the eastern trailhead of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, 75-foot observation tower and views of Green Bay from the escarpment, overlook of the park’s old ski hill, several picnic areas and playgrounds, more than 2 miles of shoreline, canoe, kayak, paddleboat and bicycle rentals, boat launch and fish cleaning station, nature center and park store. More>>

Newport State Park

Newport State Park is Wisconsin’s only formally designated wilderness park, with miles of sand beach, secluded hike-in camping on the lakeshore, quiet hiking and biking trails, and great skiing in winter. More>>

Rock Island State Park

If you want a quiet beach, Rock Island is your place. The sand beach on the north side of the island was recently lauded in Minnesota Monthly magazine as one of the last “remains of old Door County.” More>>

Whitefish Dunes State Park

It was the rare botanicals, unique beauty and the largest and most significant dunescape on Lake Michigan’s western shore that led noted landscape architect Jens Jensen to recommend Whitefish Dunes as a state park site in 1937. More>>

Ahnapee State Trail

We are quick to praise Door County’s five state parks as the crown jewels of the county, but we often forget about the Ahnapee State Trail. The county-operated trail runs 48 miles between Sturgeon Bay and Algoma and its history as a railroad predates the founding of the parks system. More>>

  • Historic Listing Sought for Potawatomi Tower

    Can the structure be repaired in place without breaking accessibility laws? Yes, no and maybe, depending upon who answers. The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation (SBHSF) had been plugging away at efforts to save the 75-foot Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower, only to learn earlier this year that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) […]

  • Beach of the Week: Sand Bay Town Park

    Tucked away on the lake side of Liberty Grove in Sand Bay Town Park, Sand Bay Beach is both a versatile and relatively low-traffic beach. Depending on the day, it could be a great place to participate in an energetic beach scene or take a summer beach read and relax.  A large, grassy area contains […]

  • Max Capacity at Peninsula State Park

    During the three years that Jennifer Birkholz has been park superintendent at Peninsula State Park, she’s never had to issue a capacity closure. That changed July 4, when motorists were parking on the grass and in the picnic areas.  “At that point, we have to turn people away,” Birkholz said. The closure to motorists – […]

  • No Concerts, Movies in Waterfront Park through August

    The Sister Bay Parks Committee, in agreement with the Sister Bay Advancement Association, decided not to hold festivals or events on village property during July. This policy has now been extended through August, so concerts and movies at Sister Bay’s Waterfront Park and the Door County Festival of Fine Arts have been canceled. Concert and […]

  • Len Villano

    DNR Closes Rock Island State Park for the Season

    There won’t be any grand adventures to Rock Island State Park this season: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced June 29 that the park would be closed for the season. Mike Bergum, East Central District superintendent, said several factors contributed to the closure. “We’ve closed it for all of our staff, in part because […]

  • Construction, Nature by Appointment at Crossroads

    In 2018, the Leadership Door County class approached Crossroads at Big Creek about creating a kayak launch/landing/wildlife-viewing platform at The Cove Preserve. As popular as it is, it’s difficult to access. Thanks to several foundations and individual donors, Crossroads is starting construction on a pull-through, curved driveway between 20th Place and Utah Street that will […]

  • Let’s Pack a Picnic!

    Picnics are having a moment. Now is a great time to take your mealtime out of doors because it’s easier than ever to get takeout – thanks to the increased availability and ease of ordering – and Door County has seemingly endless options for places where you can perch to chow down. Plus, keeping your distance […]

  • Graham Park Project Begins in Sturgeon Bay

    Destination Sturgeon Bay (DSB) has announced the start of the Graham Park Project on June 15, 10 am. This small, socially-distanced groundbreaking is the beginning of a big project for Sturgeon Bay, funded solely through the generosity of donors and community members. “This project is perhaps more important now than it even was when we […]

  • Parks Slowly Reopening in Kewaunee County

    The Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Department (KewauneeCo.org) is slowly reopening its parks, and some have new amenities. Riverview ATV Park – designed for off-road recreational vehicles such as ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes – is officially open until mid-November. New at the park, visitors will be required to purchase a trail pass for each vehicle being […]

  • Free Fun Weekend June 6-7

    The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (dnr.wi.gov) is hosting the eighth annual Wisconsin Free Fun Weekend on June 6-7, when park-admission fees, fishing licenses and trail-pass requirements will be waived to encourage Wisconsinites to enjoy Wisconsin’s outdoors. Participants are encouraged to join the Wisconsin State Parks’ OutWiGo initiative by tagging their Free Fun Weekend photos […]

  • Hiking the Yellow Trail in Whitefish Dunes State Park

    Whitefish Dunes State Park is known primarily for its sandy beaches and stunning lakeside views. The park was established in 1967, and in 1982, 230 acres of its total 867 acres were designated as a state natural area. On the lakeside, the dunes are open, sandy and home to common milkweed, beach wormwood, beach pea […]

  • Hiking the Bay Shore Blufflands Nature Preserve

    If you’re looking for a hike to take you from Little House on the Prairie into magical fairy woods in fewer than three miles, the Bay Shore Blufflands Nature Preserve is the perfect place to start.  The 2.5-mile loop through this Door County Land Trust property begins in level fields of windswept grass. Open fields […]

  • Farmers’ Markets Reformatted

    Door County is home to a variety of wonderful farmers’ markets, with one held somewhere nearly every day of the week. I’m happy to report that these markets will continue this season, albeit with new restrictions and regulations meant to help keep all participants safe and healthy.  The primary change is that the markets will […]

  • Hiking at Cave Point County Park

    Photos by Maddy Schierl Although Cave Point County Park’s half-mile trail is short, it’s dense with spectacular views. It traces limestone and dolomite ledges that line the Lake Michigan shoreline, and it dips into forests of birch, maple and beech before linking up with trails in the adjacent Whitefish Dunes State Park.  The cliffs are […]

  • Getting Out: Newport State Park

    Most visitors to Door County are well aware of Peninsula State Park, but relatively few make the trek north to Newport, the state’s only designated Wilderness Park. For a beautiful, easy hike, head to Europe Bay for a trek on the Hotz Trail.  Difficulty: Easy, with some small hills to climb Distance: The Hotz Trail […]

  • Wild Things: Anglers, Birders, Hunters Enjoying Mental-Health Break

    Hundreds of anglers will be spread out along Door County’s bayside shorelines this weekend to get after smallmouth bass.  Even though a rule change allows catch-and-release fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth bass prior to the opener in most areas, opening day (May 2) is still special. Boat launches are open, including in state parks. […]

  • Bruemmer Park Zoo Closed; Rest Remains Open

    The Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Department has temporarily closed the lower portion of Bruemmer Park Zoo to the public effective March 23 to help lessen the spread of COVID-19. “We’ve noticed more people visiting the animals at the zoo since the closures of other public places have been ordered, and now, unfortunately, we need […]

  • Changes to State Park Operations

    Gov. Evers’ Safer at Home order recognizes outdoor activity as an essential activity. Under this order, we must do all that we can to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. People should stay as close to home as possible and avoid travel outside of their community. Distance is key while visiting state parks and […]

  • Preserves Open at Crossroads

    Although the Collins Learning Center at Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay is closed, all three of its preserves are still open to the public. Visitors of all ages should practice social distancing while exploring. No programs will be held at Crossroads until further notice, but staff members will post updates, maps and activities […]