We had a wonderful time Door County, Wisconsin (the “Cape Cod of the Midwest”) with family last week and I’m sharing the highlights!
I instagrammed (mostly in stories) some peeks of our trip and had so many requests for our recommendations and what we did. I love that you asked so I decided to put together a quick post to reference. I’ll use this as a reference for myself too because I need to write everything down these days! We visited once before and I wished I had saved a list of what we did. Luckily, we figured most places out and also realized July is the perfect time to visit Door County.
In case you are not familiar, Door County is made up of a bunch of small lake towns. They are close together which makes it easy to experience a bit of all of them in a short trip. It’s also a relatively quick drive from the Chicago suburbs (about 4-5 hours depending).
I tried to break down our favorite things to do based on location to make it easier to navigate for your trip. They’ll include shopping, restaurants and activities that we really enjoyed.
I’m kicking myself for not bringing my good camera this trip since their were so many picturesque scenes to capture this season! My iPhone doesn’t do them justice.
Sister Golden (Home Decor shop): This adorable shop was founded by the sweetest mother-daughter team and has been featured on HGTV, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens. They carry so many cute, one of a kind items for your home so definitely make a stop!
Sunset Beach Park: A great spot for photos and to watch the sunsets. A very short walk from the White Gull Inn which I highly recommend going to.
White Gull Inn (Restaurant): This is a MUST do for breakfast. I’ve been twice and both times were seriously my favorite breakfasts ever. I had the breakfast sandwich and an egg dish last time. Also, bites of the cherry french toast (amazing). See below on where they get their cherries!
Depending on what time you go, you may have a bit of a wait. Take advantage of the coffee bar outside and pastries while you wait. They also serve cherry mimosas which I feel like you have to have try…when in Door County!
White Gull Inn (and the gorgeous flowers in full bloom in July)
Just a peek at the home goods at Sister Golden in Fish Creek!
Maxwell’s House (Home Decor shop): They have a ton of amazing pieces here. I snapped so many pictures of items that I loooved and may go back and purchase. From sofas, lighting, to artwork. You can shop their inventory online too. They also have some fun items that would make great souvenirs. This is another MUST stop in Door County!
Pipka’s (Home Decor shop): This shop looks like a cottage out of a storybook. It’s darling. I was lured in by the many signs to try their almond cake and I’m so glad stopped because they it was delicious. They also the cutest items from home decor, baking, gift ideas and more. A must stop shop for sure!
Fred & Fuzzy’s (Restaurant): Their Cherry Chicken Wrap is my favorite. We went here on our first trip (almost 4 years ago) and I couldn’t wait to visit again. Watch out of the seagulls though; they are fearless! I got up from the table for one second and half wrap was gone. There’s a tiny beach here too so the kids played a little while waiting for food.
Al Johnsons (Restaurant): We went here on our first trip too for breakfast and loved it. They’re known for the goats on the roof which is definitely a site to see. They also opened a beer garden next door called Stabbur that looked like a great place to stop! On my list for next time.
Seaquist Orchards (Farm Market): I mentioned above how delicious the breakfast is at White Gull Inn and was determined to try to recreate something from their menu. That may be impossible but at least I know where they get their cherries from! Seaquist Orchards is a huge farm market and I highly recommed picking up some “Cherries Jubilee” to bring home. Add it to pancakes, desserts, french toast, etc.
Cherry Picking: I can’t remember the name of the place we picked cherries at but it was down the street from Seaquist Orchards. Who knew a four year would loooove cherry picking so much?? Seriously, this was all she talked about!!! We couldn’t get her to leave and now I need to come up with more recipes for cherries. Any favorites?
Bearded Heart Coffee: great coffee and delicious scones. We only drove through Bailey’s Harbor this trip but stopped here twice!
This is the northern most part of Door County and it was such a cute adventure! We took a ferry ride (about 30mins) with the car. You can also take a tour of the island via their Cherry Train.
Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm: One of the most beautiful sites to see! All the purple lavender was stunning in person and in full bloom during July. The girls ran through the fields chasing butterflies and my heart literally was melting.
Lavender scone (I could live on these!)
There’s actually 2 lavender farms on Washington Island. The one we visited (and loved) was Fragrant Isle Farm. We drove by the other, Lavender Island, which was down the street. It’s a little smaller.
We ate at Jackson Soup and Sandwich which was recommended for a casual lunch on the water. The veggie wrap was great.
There’s also a beach called Schoolhouse Beach on the island which has soft stones instead of sand. We had planned our visit last minute here so didn’t know about it until after. Next time though I definitely want to stop here.
Scaturos (Restaurant): This is a family owned place with friendly staff and great breakfast food (I should know because we picked food up here three times!). The best thing we bought was an entire quiche. Brought it back to our condo and everyone just warmed theirs up when they were ready to eat. If you are staying anywhere in Door County and looking for an easy and delicious breakfast, I highly recommend a stop here.
Chicago Fireboat Tour: The full tour was 90 mins but the staff let us sneak on for a quick visit. The kids loved it and came out with a few treasures from their treasure chest. PS. if you are a firefighter, bring in your badge and you’ll get a free drink!
Sonny’s (Restaurant): Great place to watch the sunset or have drinks on their patio.
Sunset from Sonny’s
We stayed in Sturgeon Bay which is the southern most town of Door County. We booked our trip last minute and were lucky to find a two bedroom condo with a beautiful view at the Bridgeport Resort.
Sturgeon Bay didn’t seem as busy as the other towns but the location worked well for us since we planned on driving to most places anyway (plus the kids got to nap for the longer drives up north). Bridgeport Resort had an indoor and outdoor pool and was about half a block from a small beach and park.
Our room also had a view of the water so even if we were “home” we enjoyed sunsets literally from our bed.
My mom and Harper on the beach ~ staying cool 🙂
Harper was such a happy trooper on our trip!
Our family right outside our condo (all a little sleepy!)
Two more quick notes ~
There’s a restaurant just south of Door County called Skaliwags that comes highly recommended. I wish we would have known about this place before our trip because from what I’ve heard and see online, it looks great!
Also, we were traveling with young kids but when they get older, all 7 of these places are on my to-do list.
Thanks for reading and I would love to hear what your favorites are in Door County. The sunsets, breakfasts and swimming all topped out list and we can’t wait to go back!