Trying to figure out where to stay in Door County, WI can be overwhelming if you haven’t visited before. With over 300 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan, there are a lot of great choices.
A few years ago we had invited my in-laws to our new cabin (The Point on Clark Lake). It was their first time to the peninsula and we were excited to show them why we love Door County so much. My sister-in-law asked something that made it clear she thought “Door County” was a city and I realized, not everyone is as familiar with the area and what makes this place that’s compiled of such unique towns and picturesque villages so I thought I’d put together a post that breaks down the options you have because each area has its own special vibe. I hope this helps you decide where to stay in Door County, WI as you plan your next trip!
Where to stay in Door County, WI
First things first, let’s explain the makeup of the county.
From southern Door County (Sturgeon Bay) to northern Door County (Washington Island) it’ll take you about an hour’s drive (and a ferry) to see the peninsula from the bridge (what I consider the beginning of Door County) to the tip of the thumb. There are two main highways you can take, and I recommend exploring each of them – one on your way in and one on your way out. This is called the Door County Coastal Byway and is a 66-mile route that loops around the entire peninsula starting along Highway 57 starting in Sturgeon Bay up to the tip of the thumb in Northport and back down Highway 42 that will take you to your starting point in Sturgeon Bay.
The “quiet side” of Door County
There is the “quiet” side (eastern side of the peninsula) and the “bay” side (western side of the peninsula). On the quiet side you’ll find towns like Jacksonport, Bailey’s Harbor, and attractions like Cave Point, Whitefish Dunes, Newport State Park, the Ridges Sanctuary and the main inland lakes: Clark Lake and Kangaroo Lake. Hwy 57 will take you along this route and it’s truly a beautiful scenic ride. This is the less touristy side of the county and it’s where we like to stay for the up north getaway from it all feeling while still being just 15-30 minutes from the hustle and bustle of all the towns on the bay side.
The “bay side” of Door County
To see the “bay side” of Door County which is the western side of the peninsula on the shores of Green Bay, take Hwy 42 up the coast and you’ll see towns like Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, and Sister Bay. This is where many of the shops, restaurants and tourist attractions are and is the more busy side of the peninsula. In my opinon this is the best place to visit and plan day trips and head there for dinner, but it’s much more picturesque and tranquil on the quiet side.
Check out the best cabins to rent in Door County here and let me know where you prefer to stay: the quiet side or the bay side!