Family Getaways: Great Lakes Beach Towns

Places to Go

Newport State Park. Watch the sun rise over Lake Michigan, handle fossils at the interpretive center, and hike on 28 miles of trails in this 2,300-acre-plus wilderness area. Ellison Bay, dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/newport/

The Ridges Sanctuary. Study dragonflies, try geocaching, and help tag Monarch butterflies at Wisconsin's first land trust. Baileys Harbor, ridgessanctuary.org

Peninsula State Park. Experience this 3,776-acre state park by foot, bike, or boat, see a show at the outdoor American Folklore Theater, and play all day at Nicolet Bay Beach. Fish Creek, dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/peninsula/

Waterfront Park. Rent kayaks to explore this new park along 2,000 feet of shoreline. Sister Bay, sisterbaywi.gov/Parks.htm

Things to Do

The Farm. At this rural museum, kids can hold kittens, feed pigs, and milk a goat. Sturgeon Bay, thefarmindoorcounty.com

Washington Island Ferry. Cross Death's Door via a half-hour ride to Washington Island for kayaking, cycling, and a Cherry Train Tour on an open-air tram. Northport Pier, wisferry.com

Door County Maritime Museum. Don pirate garb, explore a pirate ship, and view pirate paintings at the waterfront museum's newest exhibit. Sturgeon Bay, dcmm.org

Third Avenue Playhouse (TAP). Plays, concerts, and student workshops are on tap all year round. Sturgeon Bay, thirdavenueplayhouse.com

Where to Eat

Fred & Fuzzy's Waterfront Bar & Grill. Enjoy juicy burgers and awesome views at outdoor tables along Green Bay. Sister Bay, fredandfuzzys.com

Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard and Restaurant. Pose for goofy photos while enjoying this famed treat. Fish Creek, notlickedyet.com

The Village Café. Try a cherry jack wrap (smoked turkey with dried cherries and Monterey jack cheese) at this art-filled eatery. Egg Harbor, villagecafe-doorcounty.com

Renard's Cheese Store and Deli. Don't miss the cherry-cheddar cheese and flavored cheese curds (peanut-size bites made from milk solids) at the family-owned shop, flanked by a statue of a smiling mouse atop a cheddar wheel. Sturgeon Bay, renardscheese.com

Yum Yum Tree. Our favorite place for homemade ice cream, fudge, and caramels. Baileys Harbor, 920-839-2993

Schopf's Hilltop Dairy. Tour the milking parlor, pose by colossal Cookie the cow, and try Cookie Crunch ice cream (vanilla mixed with Butterfinger and Snickers bars). Sturgeon Bay, dairyview.com

Culver's. Driving to Door County from Milwaukee or Chicago? Take a break at this franchise famous for ButterBurgers (beef patties on a toasted, buttered bun) and a mind-blowing assortment of frozen custard (including Turtle Cheesecake and Chocolate Oreo Volcano). Many locations, culvers.com

Where to Stay

Cottage rentals. Try Door County Cottages (doorcountycottages.com), Door County Property Management (rentdoorcounty.com), and Vacation Rentals by Owner (vrbo.com).

Glidden Lodge Beach Resort. About two miles south of Whitefish Dunes State Park, the lodge offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom condos, an indoor pool, and a sandy beach. Sturgeon Bay, gliddenlodge.com

Gordon Lodge. Reserve a large lodge room or one-bedroom suite at this 130-acre retreat with a private sandy beach. Use of kayaks, paddleboats, bikes, and fishing poles included. Baileys Harbor, gordonlodge.com

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