OMG fits this place quite nicely. Put Peninsula State Park and Door County on a must see list and make sure you got a few days to explore. I was so sad when our camping trip ended and we were there for almost a week with a 5 month old!! You know that real sad feeling as if you lost someone. I just get so connected to some places it feels like tearing my heart to pieces when leaving it. I’ll admit it happens almost every camping trip only time it hasn’t the bugs literally almost carried us away.
Door County itself is probably by far the most recognized county in Wisconsin and with obvious good reasons. Known for the scenic beauty, outdoor recreation, fish boils, cherries, shopping and that most famous restaurant with the goats on the roof. Yea you read that right! Door County is a very popular vacation destination. We ventured over there for our first “touristy” type of adventure in July of 2016 to see what all the hype was about. We usually pick a place far from people that has great hiking and fishing but with being a new small little family we were itching for our first real family vacation!!
Peninsula State Park is where we set up base camp for ourselves and could not have been happier with that decision. This park was just down right gorgeous, very well kept and not as busy as you would imagine for being one the most popular state parks in Wisconsin. I do need to point out though that we were there during the week Monday night thru Friday. Yea most of the campgrounds were filled up but this place is so vast and spread out not a chance of feeling like a tourist.
Peninsula State Park is located near Fish Creek in the Door County Peninsula. Are you seeing were they got the name? 😉 Part of what makes this park and the Door County area so unique is the Niagara Escarpment. The Niagara Escarpment is the magnificent work of mother nature and glaciers. Its a geological foundation that runs through Wisconsin’s Door County Peninsula, up thru the UP of Michigan all the way over to Niagara Falls. Those glaciers helped form the Great Lakes and make for some outstanding geological features which make the hiking of this state park so interesting.
Check out this website for more info on the Niagara Escarpment
Camping – Over 450 campsites in 5 different campgrounds!! Even with that many sites Reservations are still highly encouraged. Remember to use Reserve America to reserve a spot for any state park. Jason and I stayed at the South Nicolet Bay Campground. North and South Nicolet Bay campgrounds are the closest to the beach and camp store.
All campgrounds have shower houses and at least one flush restroom along with electric and non electric sites. Group Campsites are non electric and for Tents Only. Example of our campsite below quite large with plenty of room for multiple tents or enough room for an RV with room to spare.
Now on to what really makes this park shine. When it comes to amenities and recreation opportunities this place is considered the complete package.
A big crowd draw is the Northern Sky Theater!! A professional group of actors and musicians that put on comedic musicals geared for the whole family. You do have to purchase tickets for the shows, if you are camping at Peninsula State Park they do offer a discount. We did not attend any shows personally ourselves so I can not say how much of a discount they offer. All the shows are put on at the campground Amphitheater centrally located in the park.
Golfing is another unique park feature. They offer a 18 hole golf course and a six hole learning shot course. Test your skills with a 69 yard drive straight down a 50 foot cliff, that should spice the game up a bit.
Do you like sunsets, scenic drives filled with overlooks, or lighthouses? Yup I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned this park being a complete recreation package, literally something for everyone.
Over 8 gorgeous miles of the Green Bay shoreline are within the park boundaries along with others.
Best spots to catch the Sunset can be found at the Tennison Boat Launch and Welcker’s Point. Eagle Tower use to be one of them but that was shut down the summer we were visiting. They are working on restoring it but not set in stone date for reopening it.
There are 2 different scenic road drives within the park, Skyline Road and Shore Road. Skyline Road follows along the highest terrain showcasing local islands and the majestic Bays all around. Shore Road follows the coast line giving you access to the beach, Sven’s Bluff an several other popular overlooks.
For you Lighthouse lovers you can take a tour of the 1868 Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. The Door County Historical Society provides tours from mid May through mid October. There is a fee for the tour unsure of price as the lighthouse was closed when we were up there.
Couple other historical points of interest are the Historic Burial Sites and the Memorial Pole in which the last chief of the Potawatomi Nation is buried located on the golf course and only accessible during non play hours.
Boating, Canoeing and Kayaking are very popular here reasons being the fantastic views, awesome fishing and Horseshoe Island. Lots of Sailboats find there way here also. Overnight, offshore anchoring is permitted at Horseshoe Island and in Nicolet Bay outside of swimming and boat launch area.
Horseshoe Island is a 38 acre island and the only island part of the park and is 1 mile from Nicolet Bay. Obviously only accessible by boat. Camping and fires are prohibited but there is a 1 mile trail you can hike around the island.
The rest of the recreational activities are your normal park happenings like Swimming, there are no lifeguards on duty.
Biking – You have your choice of 10 mile Sunset Bike Route or the rough 12 mile off road trail. State Trail Pass is required for bikers 16 and older.
Fishing – Weborg pier is the spot for smallmouth and rock bass. Fisherman 16 and older need a fishing license and please remember a Wisconsin Great Lakes Trout stamp is required for trout fishing. People wishing to fish but don’t have their own equipment can acquire some free of charge at the park office.
Last but not least my favorite recreational activity, Hiking!! Peninsula State Park offers 20 miles of true beauty hiking. We took the Minnehaha Trail a .7 mile hike from our campground following along the lakeshore to connect with the Eagle Trail.
If your looking to view the Niagara Escarpment I mentioned above the trail you want is Eagle Trail, a difficult 2 mile loop but extremely worth. Just watch your footing and prepare for thigh burner of hill and you got this. I hope your prepared for some pictures I have so many and hate decisions.
Those were the only 2 trails we made time for as we went into town to explore a few days and drive around to other parts of Door County that is for another blog as this one is already pretty long.
All in all people Peninsula State Park has to be on the must list. It truly is the complete package and perfect for families with kids of all ages, young and old couples. Just perfect for everyone really. No matter what you love about the outdoors I’m sure they can provide it.
For you winter lovers they have activities including Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling, Tubing, and Ice Fishing.
This was our first camping trip with the Kelty backpack. I’m going to go ahead and say Phoenix was a big fan of being up high and adventuring through the woods.
Thank you for all of your interest!! There will be a couple more blogs to follow about our Door County and Washington Island experiences.
Also for the love of all things good start planning your summer camping/vacations!!