6 Reasons Why Door County is a Must-Visit Winter Destination

Cave Point County Park is just one of the impressive winter landscapes to visit in Door County.
Cave Point County Park is just one of the impressive winter landscapes to visit in Door County. Door County Visitor Bureau
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One of the most popular vacation spots in the Midwest, Door County, Wisconsin, is often cited for its great summer activities. Indeed, there’s a reason it’s known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.” While summers are certainly breezy and beautiful, it also happens to be a hub for winter activity. Not only is there no shortage of things to do in this veritable winter wonderland, you won’t find crowds this time of year.

Door County covers most of the Door Peninsula jutting out 75-miles from Green Bay to Lake Michigan, featuring 298 miles of shoreline. Home to five state parks and countless county parks, any outdoors enthusiast will fall in love with Door County. We rounded up some of the best activities to hit up on your next trip.

1. Fat Biking

Newport State Park has a 2-mile loop dedicated to fat-tire biking.
Newport State Park has a 2-mile loop dedicated to fat-tire biking. John Nienhuis

Like everywhere else in the Upper Midwest, fat-tire biking has quickly gained in popularity in Door County. One of the best ways to experience the area’s natural landscapes, there are a number of places to ride. Newport State Park northeast of Ellison Bay is the state’s only formally designated wilderness park and features 11 miles of Lake Michigan Shoreline and 30 miles of hiking trails, along with a 2-mile designated fat-biking loop. With all state parks open for fat biking (as long as you stay off the cross-country ski trails), Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek is another great place to hit up atop your beefy two-wheeled steed. Check out the nearby Nor Door Sport and Cyclery for fat bike rentals.

2. Cross-Country Skiing

Door County has plenty of groomed trails for cross-country skiers.
Door County has plenty of groomed trails for cross-country skiers. Door County Visitor Bureau

While there are a lot of great places to ski in Door County, it’s hard to beat Peninsula State Park’s 22 total miles of groomed ski trails when the conditions are right. A hilly 6 miles of trails groomed for skate skiing makes for an especially great workout. The park also has a warming house near Lot 5 if you need to take a breather and escape from the cold. Pay a visit to Bay Shore Outfitter’s Sister Bay location for ski rentals.

3. Snowshoeing

Ridges Sanctuary offers guided snowshoe hikes in the winter.
Ridges Sanctuary offers guided snowshoe hikes in the winter. Door County Visitor Bureau

Whitefish Dunes State Park is one of the premiere snowshoeing locations in the county. The park’s 2.5-mile Black Trail will take you through a mixed hardwood forest and over dolomitic limestone bedrock. If you’d like a little guidance, consider signing up for a guided snowshoe hike at the Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor.

4. Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling in Peninsula State Park in Door County.
Snowmobiling in Peninsula State Park in Door County. John Nienhuis

With 250 miles of trails to explore in Door County, you can cover a lot of ground by snowmobile. Peninsula State Park features some of the best trails the county has to offer, taking you on a scenic tour of area rivers, streams, lakes, and woods. Snowmobile trail conditions can be found here and rentals are available at a variety of locations including at Zettel Sales, Rental and Service in Baileys Harbor.

5. Ice Fishing

Dale Stroschein from Wacky Walleye Guide Service holds an ice fishing catch.
Dale Stroschein from Wacky Walleye Guide Service holds an ice fishing catch. Bill Linder-Linder Media

If you’re not sure where to start, it’s worth hitting up the experts at one of the local guiding services, such as Reel Action Ice Fishing Guide Service or Wacky Walleye Guide Service . From inland lakes to fishing on the bay of Green Bay, they can help you get that big catch. Be sure to snag yourself a fishing license before you go.

6. Après-Ski

There are a number of great places to hit up for an après-ski drink. Door County Brewing Company , located in Baileys Harbor, creates eco-conscience beers inspired by the area’s natural landscapes. Bring your own food into their taproom and settle in for a few brewskis and some live music. Door County Distillery in Sturgeon Bay is another must-visit spot to grab a drink. Sourcing from local groundwater, their spirits offer a hint of limestone and mineral notes from the Door Peninsula. If it’s wine you’re into, check out the Door Peninsula Winery in Carlsville where they are open year-round for tastings and tours.

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