A travel-worthy destination any time of year is what you’ll discover upon arriving in Door County. Summer may be the peak of tourist season, but nature enthusiasts, history buffs and culinary connoisseurs never tire of exploring the peninsula’s array of attractions. So plan to immerse yourself in the local culture and spectacular scenery this winter in Door County at the following five sites.
This nature preserve was the first one ever established in Wisconsin—a less surprising fact once one learns that Door County is the most biologically diverse area in the state. Operated as a nonprofit, The Ridges Sanctuary now maintains 1,600 acres of land that includes boreal forest, an orchid restoration project and lighthouses.
North Pierhead (pictured) may be the most Instagrammed lighthouse in the region. And upon first glance, you’ll see why. The ruby red structure pops against the open skies, plus the stunning waters of Lake Michigan flowing in, then out again, of Sturgeon Bay make it a spectacular sight during the Door County winter season. Photo credit: John Nienhuis/Destination Door County
One museum; three locations. Spending a couple of hours at any of the Door County Maritime Museum sites is like walking through a living time capsule. View interactive exhibits that showcase fascinating accounts of Indigenous life on the peninsula; the impact of being a world-renowned hub for naval engineering; and the numerous shipwrecks, as well as the hundreds of lives lost, in “Death’s Door.”
Stroll through a free outdoor market bustling with holiday cheer this winter in Door County. Dozens of local artists and independent business owners are vendors during this annual European-themed pop-up which takes place over three weekends beginning Nov. 25. Food and drinks traditionally consumed abroad like Glühwein, kielbasa and flan are also available for purchase at Christkindlmarkt.
A fave among year-round residents, the hiking trails throughout this area are one of the “off the beaten path” gems that often go unnoticed by those only in Door County for a few days. But if landscape photography is your jam, the expansive views of the Green Bay shore can be captured from an aerial perspective while advancing along the Niagara Escarpment.