10 reasons to summer in Door County, Wisconsin [the Cape Cod of the midwest]

visit door county WI

Door County, Wisconsin, located in the northern part of Wisconsin is a completely under the radar vacation destination. While some refer to it as the Cape Cod of the Midwest, it is clearly a spot only  locals in the surrounding states know about. Here are 10 reasons you should put Door County on your summer vacation list. Oh, you love cherries, right?

Note: This trip was complimentary.

door county white gull inn

Charming inns like the White Gull feature local specialties like cherry french toast and Fishboil dinners.

1. Beat the Heat in Door County, WI

If you live in the south, you know that summers mean increased heat and humidity. Door County offers an escape from the unbearable heat. Even, dare I say, cool in the evenings, requiring a light jacket. Besides beaches, there are plenty of fun outdoor activities to keep you entertained.

2. Cherry French Toast at the White Gull Inn in Door County

Cherry French Toast from the White Gull Inn Cherry French Toast from the White Gull Inn
Voted best breakfast in America by Good Morning America, their Cherry French Toast doesn’t disappoint. Made with fresh, Wisconsin cream cheese, you’ll want to have some bacon or sausage to balance out the sweetness. The beautiful space is also a real Inn, so you can stay here as well.

Door County Fish boil dinner

Fish boils! Save this fun event for your last evening in Door County

3. Fish boil Dinners are a staple in Door County

Fish boil dinners began a long time ago as a way to feed hungry lumberjacks and fisherman. Fish boil dinners are popular at many of the inns and restaurants around Door County. Each fish boil is made with freshly caught Whitefish from Lake Michigan. Make sure to make reservations, as these weekly summer cookouts often sell out. Rather than a traditional dinner, guests gather around the outside of the restaurants and watch the meal unfold as the meal is cooked in a giant pot outside.

4. Orchard County Winery

No visit to Door County would be complete without a visit to Orchard County Winery. The winery uses 3.5 million cherries annually. Who knew cherries could produce such delightful wines? If you like Rose wine, the wines produced at Orchard County Winery are a delicious alternative. Did you know? They had German POWs work on the farms here.

5. Renard’s Cheese Shop (is it even a real trip to Wisconsin if you don’t have cheese?)

renards cheese door county WI

No visit to Door County is complete without a trip to Renard’s Cheese shop,

This is a third generation family cheese shop.There are less than 60 master cheesemakers in the US and Chris Renard, owner of Renard’s Cheese shop is one of them. Their signature cheese, a white cheddar cherry is a unique and delightful flavor. Oh and did we mention cheese curds are highly addictive and available at almost every meal you’ll have in Door County?

6. Seaquist Orchards (aka cherry heaven in Door County, WI)

door county is cherry county

Door County is cherry county in the summer, especially at Seaquist Farms

Take a tour of Seaquist Orchards. How do they pluck all those cherries? Instead of cherry picking, they use a machine that shakes the cherries off the trees using an upside down umbrellas like feature – 12 trees per minute. But there’s more. Seaquist Orchards has a bakery on site too. Besides the tempting dips, spreads, jams and jellies, the cherry pies are something to behold. They produce 1200 pies per week with 3 lbs of cherries in each pie!

7. Island Orchard Ciders

Tip: The proper way to drink cider is from a ceramic container. Island Orchard Ciders is relatively new in comparison to the other restaurants and wineries in the area, only having opened in 2011. The small tasting room is open for tours and sampling of cider, made with both apples and cherries. They aim to show that cider is much more than a weak alternative to beer. Cider pairs well with seafood, pork and spicy asian foods. In the fall, combined it with a bit of maple syrup for a terrific fall drink. Hops used in the ciders are grown locally.

8. Beautiful Vistas wherever you turn in Door County


Breathtaking vistas await in Door County, WI

There are many unspoiled vistas in Door County. Whether you want to climb to the top of the observation tower and look out on some of the islands, take in the beautiful view from Rowley’s, or simply wander around the various towns.

9. No chain retailers in Door County, Wi

Nowadays it is rather difficult to go anywhere in the United States without seeing a chain store, restaurant or hotel name. Sick of supporting the big chains and want to support the little guys? Me too. In Door County, you won’t find a single chain at all. Hotels and restaurants are independently owned by most families for generations. Even if an establishment is sold, it usually ends up being sold to a local.

door county segway tour

The best way to see Door County, WI is via segway.

10. Segway tours are the best way to see everything in Door County

See number 8. The many beautiful vistas can be easily seen during a Segway tour. If you’ve never ridden a Segway before, it’s a breeze. Once you get your mind wrapped around the fact that you lean forward to go and lean back to stop. Take a Segway tour for a couple hours. It is a great way to spend a beautiful afternoon and the see the county.

Get ready to loosen your belt as you imbibe and indulge in all the cherry gastroventures and more in Door County, Wisconsin.

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!