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Door County Travel Guide

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Sunset Park, Door County © James Jordan

Wisconsin's small eastern peninsula bounded by Lake Michigan and Green Bay is one of the Midwest's not-so-secret hideaways. Once visitors experience the quiet beauty of Door County, they will understand why so many families return year after year, generation after generation. The peninsula, along with Washington Island, is graced with hundreds of miles of pristine shoreline, dotted with bustling harbours, hidden coves, sandy beaches and historic lighthouses.

A handful of quaint towns are scattered throughout Door County, each heavy on charm but different enough to cater to visitors' various tastes. Sturgeon Bay is the largest, with a historic downtown district and waters that teem with walleye, northern pike and lake trout. Further north, Egg Harbor is known for its serene beauty, while Fish Creek is the arts hub of the peninsula. The village of Ephraim has a rich heritage, with many historical sites. Next door is Sister Bay, a buzzing spot with a lovely waterfront and excellent restaurants. Finally, a short ferry ride takes visitors to Washington Island, the oldest Icelandic community in the country, with stunning scenery encompassing high bluffs and rocky shores.

Summer is the most popular season for a visit, when sunbathers hit the beaches and sailors, cruisers and kayakers take to the water. In the evening, a traditional Door County fish boil is a mandatory dining experience. Autumn has its own appeal. The fall foliage is breathtaking, and roadside stalls and farmers' markets overflow with harvests from the local orchards and farms. In the winter, ice fishing shanties spring up across the frozen bay, and sleigh rides, roaring fires and Christmas celebrations make this season special as well.

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