We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

First time- what to do?

Chicago, Il USA
7 posts
1 review
Save Topic
First time- what to do?

Hello All!

I was hoping you could help me, my husband and I are thinking about taking a trip up the East coast of Wisconsin sometime late September and we'd love to get some local insight into great places to go, activities to do, and food to eat. We're thinking of heading up to Door County by way of stop worthy towns up the East coast.

It will just be the two of us, mid-30's, we enjoy biking, antiquing, artisan cheese, vintage jazz, sailing, boutique hotels or bed and breakfasts...

Thanks in advance for your help!!

Edited: 10:32 pm, August 20, 2012
cincinnati, ohio
Level Contributor
2,345 posts
224 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: First time- what to do?

One stop shopping: www.doorcounty.com will give you what you're seeking.


Chicago Suburbs
Level Contributor
3,859 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: First time- what to do?

Biking-rent bikes at Nor-Door in Fish Creek and bike the Sunset Loop and back roads in Peninsula State Park. Consider cycling from Fish Creek to Egg Harbor via Cottage Road and White Cliff Road; Nor-Door's web site has maps. Antiques-there are some shops just south of Egg Harbor on WI-42. Koepel's farm market north of Bailey's Harbor on WI-57 has a nice antique section. Artisan Cheese-Schoolhouse Artisan Cheese in Egg Harbor and Ellison Bay is outstanding and sells cheese boards for meals or snacks. It's not artisan, but stop at Renard's Cheese on the way up or home-there is one off WI-57 south of Sturgeon Bay and one on County S north of Algoma. Stay around Peninsula State Park-Ephraim, Fish Creek, Sister Bay, Egg Harbor or Baileys Harbor. Look at the doorcounty.com link above and let us know about lodging that looks interesting, and we can offer specific suggetions. Door County is more a motel than hotel place-look into the Main Street Motel in Fish Creek and Village Green in Ephraim. If you bring your own bikes, stay near the Fish Creek entrance to Peninsula State Park, so you can ride right into the park. Restaurant suggestions depend on your tastes-let us know what you are looking for. For other activities, visit the villages listed above, and hike the Eagle Trail and climb the Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park.

Destination Expert
for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
Level Contributor
6,136 posts
117 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: First time- what to do?

Peninsula State Park

Cana Island Lighthouse

Cave Point Cty. Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park

Level Contributor
5,204 posts
146 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: First time- what to do?

You may want to spend a little time at towns or cities along the way. However, the jewel of this trip for you will be Door County. How many days are you allocating?

Milwaukee could be a several day stay, but if you want quick stops consider Port Washington, Sheboygan, Manitowoc. All three have boating or sailing connections. Figure out if you need to spend a night or two on the way to Door County. Also, get those reservations for Door County ASAP. Weekends get booked up very quickly and may have minimum night stays. September may be less busy than October, when the leaves are more likely to be turning, but it is a very popular destination.

South Dakota
Level Contributor
4,552 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: First time- what to do?

My favorite experience in Door County was riding the ferry to Washington Island and exploring the island. Pack a picnic lunch. Also do a fish boil at the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek.

Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
187 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: First time- what to do?

I'll probably get yelled at for saying this, and I want you all to know that I love Wisconsin, but I don't think most of the towns along Lake Michigan, from the IL/WI border to Door County, are that interesting. Milwaukee has its own merits, and I think it's a nice city to visit, but I don't consider it a quaint, vacation-y place to stop, or something to include on the way to Door County. Sheboyan is OK, and the people are very friendly, but if it weren't on Lake Michigan, there would be little to distinguish it from any other small Midwestern town/city. I've heard Algoma (on Lake Michigan just south of Door County) has improved, but I haven't stopped there recently. I've never found Two Rivers or Manitowoc all that exciting or stop-worthy, either.

Coming from IL, we just take 43 north to Green Bay and then take 57 north to Door County. It's not the scenic route, but it's definitely the fastest; the new highway shaves at least a half hour off what used to be a five-hour drive. Door County has a lot more to offer, in my opinion, than any of the towns along the way, so we drive past the other towns in a hurry to get there.

2 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: First time- what to do?

We love going a bit past the Fish Creek area to get away from the more touristy feel. Ephraim, Sister Bay, Ellison Bay are all nice and Gills Rock "rocks". Great bike rides in the Gills Rock area and the feel of a quaint little fishing village abound. We love Sister Bay Bowl for a great Wisconsin Supper Club feel and the fish boil at the Old Post Office in Ephraim is the best around. Would also agree on the suggestion to ferry over to Washington Island. Take the island clipper ferry from Gills Rock and your bikes go for free

Jackson, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
555 posts
176 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: First time- what to do?

Agreed that Door County will be the highlight, but I think that you could spend a day on the way up stopping at Cedarburg/ port Washington. Cedarburg has shops,antiques a winery and just outside the downtown Wisconsin's only covered bridge. It is just west of the highway. The next exit to the north is Port Washington ,on Lake Michigan. If the weather is nice it is a great stop to walk out the breakwater to the art deco lighthouse. Weekends in the fall the 1860 lighthouse up on the hill is open for climbing and a tour. Along the lake front there are plaques about the fishing history and shipwrecks of the shore. Only a couple shops in town. The Ozaukee interurban bike trail runs all the way from Cedarburg to the Port Wahington and beyond. We love biking this stretch. You would be best bringing your own bikes, but there is a bike shop in Cedarburg that offers bike rentals. The Washington house Inn and the Stagecoach inn are 2 B&B s in town

If you're bringing your bikes another great trail is the combination of the Mariners Trail in Manitowoc (that is right on Lake Michigan.) And then going north from Two Rivers to Rawley Point into the Point Beach state Park. This portion of the trail is wooded.

Racine could be a short stop for an hour or 2 on your way. Sample the Kringle . See about a tour of Johnson wax headquarters designed by FrankLloyd Wright .

Level Contributor
5,204 posts
146 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: First time- what to do?

Maenad, no offense taken. I live in those general areas you're mentioning and you're correct! They're fine towns and/or small cities but don't offer what Door County does as far as that special feeling. It depends on what the traveler is looking for.

Sometimes we like to just check out areas along the way to our main destination or want to break up the trip. Then we'd pick one or two of those places for a quick stop for food or to see a main sight. One of our favorite restaurants on the way to DC is Cafe T'lazo in Algoma. If we hadn't taken a turn along the lake, we'd never have found it the first time. I wouldn't stop in T'Rivers or Manty, maybe Sheboygan, I like Cedarburg well enough, and it may be worth a quick stop.

Our drive to DC depends on the mood we're in. Sometimes it's straight up I43, then up 57 without any stops. Other times we take the scenic back roads (literally, there are designated routes in the area that are Rustic Roads http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/scenic/maps.htm) that we meander along.

10. Re: First time- what to do?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 5:15 am, August 27, 2013