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Door County, Wisconsin
Map of Wisconsin highlighting Door County
Location in the state of Wisconsin
Map of the U.S. highlighting Wisconsin
Wisconsin's location in the U.S.
Seat Sturgeon Bay
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

2,370 sq mi (6,138 km²)
482.72 sq mi (1,250 km²)
1,887 sq mi (4,888 km²),
 - (2000)
 - Density

57.92/sq mi (22/km²)
Founded 1851
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Door County courthouse

Door County is a county in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of 2000, the population was 27,961. Its county seat is Sturgeon Bay. Door County is a popular vacation and tourist destination, especially for residents of eastern Wisconsin, Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and northern Illinois.

The county is named after the strait between the Door Peninsula and Washington Island. The dangerous passage, which is now scattered with shipwrecks, was known to early French explorers and local Native Americans. Because of the natural hazards of the strait, they gave it the French appellation Porte des Morts Passage, which in English means the "Door to the Way to Death," or simply, "Death's Door."



The county has a total area of 6,138 square kilometres (2,370 sq mi). 1,250 square kilometres (480 sq mi) of it is land and 4,888 square kilometres (1,887 sq mi) of it (79.63%) is water. The county also has more than 300 miles (480 km) of shoreline, more than almost any other in the country. This is one of the reasons that locals and tourists alike refer to the area as the Cape Cod of the Midwest. The county covers the majority of the Door Peninsula. With the completion of the Sturgeon Bay Shipping Canal in 1881, the northern half of the peninsula, in actuality, became an island. Limestone outcroppings, part of the Niagara Escarpment, are visible on both shores of the peninsula, but are larger and more prominent on the Green Bay side. Progressions of dunes have created much of the rest of the shoreline, especially on the easterly side. Flora along the shore provides clear evidence of plant succession. The middle of the peninsula is mostly flat or rolling cultivated land. Soils overlaying the dolomite bedrock are very thin in the northern half of the county; 39% of the County is mapped as having less than three feet to bedrock. Beyond the northern tip of the peninsula, the partially submerged ridge forms a number of islands that stretch to the Garden Peninsula in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The largest of these islands is Washington Island. Most of these islands form the Town of Washington.


Major highways

Adjacent County

National protected areas


The Door County peninsula has been inhabited for about 11,000 years. Artifacts from an ancient village site at Nicolet Bay Beach have been dated to about 400 BC. This site was occupied by various cultures until about 1300 AD.

The 1700s and 1800s saw the immigration and settlement of pioneers, mariners, fishermen and farmers. Economic sustenance came from lumbering and tourism.

During the 1800s, various groups of Native Americans occupied the area that would become Door County and its islands. Beginning in mid-century, these Indians, mostly Potawatomi, were removed from the peninsula by the federal government under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Later in the 19th century there was a fairly large-scale immigration of Belgian Walloons, who populated a small region in the county.

A Civilian Conservation Corps camp was established at Peninsula State Park during the Great Depression. In the summer of 1945, Fish Creek was the site of a German POW camp, under an affiliation with a base camp at Fort Sheridan, Illinois.[1] The prisoners engaged in construction projects, cut wood, and picked cherries in Peninsula State Park and the surrounding area. Eagle Bluff Lighthouse was constructed in Peninsula State Park in 1868 on orders from President Andrew Johnson, at a cost of $12,000. It was restored by the Door County Historical Society in 1964, and opened to the public.


2000 Census Age Pyramid for Door County.
Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 2,948
1870 4,919 66.9%
1880 11,645 136.7%
1890 15,082 29.5%
1900 17,583 16.6%
1910 18,711 6.4%
1920 19,073 1.9%
1930 18,182 −4.7%
1940 19,095 5.0%
1950 20,870 9.3%
1960 20,685 −0.9%
1970 20,106 −2.8%
1980 25,029 24.5%
1990 25,690 2.6%
2000 27,961 8.8%
1900-1990 1860–1890

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 27,961 people, 11,828 households, and 7,995 families residing in the county. The population density was 58 people per square mile (22/km²). There were 19,587 housing units at an average density of 41 per square mile (16/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.84% White, 0.19% Black or African American, 0.65% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. 0.95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 39.4% were of German and 10.3% Belgian ancestry according to Census 2000. A small pocket of Walloon speakers is the only Walloon-language region outside of Wallonia and its immediate neighborhood.

There were 11,828 households out of which 26.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.10% were married couples living together, 6.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.40% were non-families. 28.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.10% under the age of 18, 6.10% from 18 to 24, 25.40% from 25 to 44, 27.70% from 45 to 64, and 18.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 97.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.50 males.


Door County Fairgrounds
Cherry tree
Fish Boil platter

Although Door County has a year-round population of about 28,000, it experiences a tourist explosion each summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as the Lake Michigan cold gives way to a brief but comfortable summer. Many businesses are specifically targeted to visitors, and close during the "off season". Throughout the summer, the population of Door County can reach as high as 250,000. The majority of tourists and summer residents come from the metropolitan areas of Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison, and the Twin Cities.[3] The area is known as "the Cape Cod of the Midwest".[3]

Door County is home to five of Wisconsin's state parks: Newport State Park, northeast of Ellison Bay; Peninsula State Park, along more than six miles (10 km) of the Green Bay shoreline; Potawatomi State Park, along Sturgeon Bay; Rock Island State Park, off the tip of the Door Peninsula; and Whitefish Dunes State Park, along Lake Michigan. These five parks are known as "five jewels in the crown". They offer visitors recreational opportunities that include hiking, camping, swimming, fishing, and snowmobiling.

Door County has 12 lighthouses. Most were built during the 1800s and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places: Baileys Harbor Range Lights, Cana Island Lighthouse, Chambers Island Lighthouse, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Pilot Island Lighthouse, Plum Island Range Lights, Pottawatomie Lighthouse, and Sturgeon Bay Canal Lighthouse. The other lighthouses in the county are: Baileys Harbor Lighthouse, Boyer Bluff Light, Sherwood Point Lighthouse, and the Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Light.

Fish boils, offered at many Door County restaurants, are a popular meal for tourists. Potatoes, onions and whitefish from the local waters are cooked in a large kettle over a wood fire. At the end of the cooking, the cook throws fuel oil or kerosene on the fire. This "flame up" causes the water to boil over. The fish and vegetables are served with melted butter. This meal is traditionally followed by cherry pie, a traditional dessert in the area.

Door County prides itself on its cherry orchards, and a history of cherry growing that dates back to the 1800s. Soil and weather conditions - warm days and cool nights - influenced by Lake Michigan and Green Bay have created an ideal environment for growing these delicious fruits. Today with around 2,200 acres (8.9 km2) of cherry orchards and another 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of apple orchards, Door County is filled with blossoms in the spring and is richly decorated with the fruits in the late summer and fall. Montmorency cherries are usually picked from mid-July to early- to mid-August. Early varieties of apples, such as Paula Reds, are harvested as early as late August. Golden Delicious are harvested through mid-October.[4] Cherry and apple stands can be found along many of Door County's country roads when in season. Door County has five wineries and one microbrewery.[5]


City, villages, and towns

Door County, Wisconsin from the 1895 U.S. Atlas

Unincorporated communities


External links

Coordinates: 45°01′N 87°01′W / 45.02°N 87.01°W / 45.02; -87.01

Redirecting to Door County, Wisconsin

Redirecting to Door County, Wisconsin

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Door County (Wisconsin) article)

From Wikitravel

Door County [1] is a scenic peninsula in the state of Wisconsin on a peninsula in Lake Michigan.

  • Ephraim. A small dry village on the lake.
  • Southern Door.
  • Sturgeon Bay.
  • Carlsville.
  • Jacksonport.
  • Baileys Harbor
  • Egg Harbor
  • Fish Creek
  • Sister Bay
  • Ellison Bay
  • Washington Island
  • Kangaroo Lake

Located almost in the center of the peninsula, between the two shores, close to Baileys Harbor.


Referred to by many, as the Cape Cod of the Midwest; Door County is situated on a peninsula on Lake Michigan and is a very popular destination for vacations. The peninsula offers a unique mix of leisure, recreation, and natural beauty. The culture has a rich history of the arts, with more than 80 cultural establishments within the county, including galleries, museums, and theatres. Many offer courses to enjoy while vacationing there. For the nature lovers, Door County offers five state parks, over 300 miles of shoreline, and more than a dozen conservation areas. The ten lighthouses on the peninsula are popular attractions to history and nautical buffs.

Tourist Information

Door County's visitor information centers offer maps, brochures and other information for tourists.

  • Door County Visitor Bureau, 1015 Green Bay Rd · PO Box 406 · Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235-0406 - The Visitor Center Lobby is open 24 Hours a day, 7 Days a week. The Visitor Center is staffed weekdays from 8:30 to 5:00 and week-ends from 10:00 to 4:00. Winter office hours: M-F 8:30 to 4:30 - PH 1-800-52-RELAX [2].
  • Green Bay International Airport, GRB.
    • Allegiant Air
    • American Eagle
    • Delta Connection
    • Northwest Airlines
    • Midwest Express
    • United Express
  • Cherryland Airport, SUE.
  • Washington Island Landing Strip, 2P2.
  • Gibraltar Airport (Landing Strip), 3D2, Ephraim.

Get around

Car is probably the only real practical way of getting around, but biking is great in the state parks and on Wasington Island

  • Peninsula State Park The state's third largest state park, Peninsula, like Door County, is itself on a small peninsula jutting into Green Bay. It offers much, including numerous campgrounds, an observation tower, beaches, steep bluffs, an ampitheater, and a golf course. The observation tower has knockout park views. Main entrance is through Fish Creek
  • Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

Also located in Peninsula State Park. One of Door County's many lighthouses.


Door County offers campers a choice of 5 state parks.

  • Rock Island State Park
  • Newport State Park
  • Potawatomi State Park
  • Whitefish Dunes
  • Ahnapee State Trail


Washington Island is a must-do adventure! Get on the ferry at Northport Pier at the tip of the Door County Peninsula--It's $10 per person, and $24 for a car roundtrip. I recommend not taking a car, but once on the island, walk just a short distance to Annie's Rentals and rent mopeds (get there early before they sell out). They're $90/day, and well worth the splurge--best splurge we've made on vacation ever! Very easy to drive, even for someone who's never drove a motorcycle--if you can ride a bike, you can drive these. Spend the whole day driving around the island--very romantic and fun adventure!


Kayak Door County. Seeing Cave Point with a kayak is a real adventure! Visit Door County Kayak Tours (920)868-1400 at The Outpost 4770 Rainbow Ridge Ct. Egg Harbor, WI 54209 to go on a Tour of Caves, Lighthouses, and Shipwrecks.


Stiletto Sailing


The Outpost has a great small venue atmosphere in a Log Building with all different kinds of music. Fred and Fuzzy's in Sister Bay on Tuesday nights hosts "The Nicks"Nick Steingart Project...Don't miss it, great dancing with the sunset.

  • Al Johnson's Restaurant, Sister Bay, Wisconsin, [3]. A Swedish restaurant and a connected gift shop. Tempting are the Swedish pancakes served with lingonberries, waffles piled high with strawberries and whipped cream, Swedish meatballs and Swedish fruit soup. As an added attraction, the restaurant is housed in a building with a Scandinavian-style sod roof. Goats are on the roof from mid morning to late afernoon every day, "cutting the grass" and provide great photo opportuniites. moderate.  edit
  • Wilson's Diner

A Door County tradition for over a century. A 50's style restaurant and soda fountain.

  • Shipwrecked Brewpub

Door County's only microbrewery. It also had a restaurant and inn.

  • Door County Confectionary

Another Door County Favorite. Sample some fudge, or purchase from a variety of candies. Several locations, but the original is located in Ephraim.

  • Drink Coffee, Sister Bay, [4]. 7AM. Coffee shop and cafe with homemade bakery and awesome cookies! Organic coffee and teas and wi-fi. It's definitely a place to catch up with the world while vacationing or watch it drift by sitting outside with a book.  edit
  • Alpine Resort, Scenic Route G, Egg Harbor Tel: (920) 868-3000, [5]. Open since 1921, this resort is on the shoreline and boasts its own golf course. Both an inn and private cottages are available.
  • Beachfront Inn at Bailey's Harbor, Hwy 57 P.O. Box 398, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202, Tel. 1.866.251.0750, [6]. Offers great rooms with views on Lake Michigan. Amenities include heated indoor pool, cable, high speed wireless internet. Pet friendly.
  • High Point Inn, 10386 Water Street, Tel: (920) 854-9773, Fax: (920) 854-9738, [7]. High Point Inn offers 1, 2 and 3 bedroom resort suites at discount prices.
  • Nordic Lodge, 2721 Hwy 42, Sister Bay, Tel: (866) 854-5432, Fax: (920) 854-5974, [8]. Nordic Lodge has 33 rooms and one deluxe suite, all non-smoking. Amenities include free wireless internet, complimentary breakfast, indoor pool/whirlpool.
  • Westwood Shores Waterfront Resort, 4303 Bayshore Dr, tel: (800) 440-4057, fax: (920) 746-9890, [9]. Beautiful lodging in Sturgeon Bay.

Stay safe

Bike off of the Highway on the inner roads of the peninsula.

  • The city of Green Bay has numerous sightseeing options, like the National Railway Museum and Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame
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