When most people think of outdoor adventures they often think of places out west. Be it the mountains of Colorado, the epic red rocks of southern Utah, or the crystal clear lakes of Montana. However, the Midwest is seriously underrated for family adventure and one of the best places to get outdoors with the kids on the “other side” of the Mississippi is Door County, WI.
Just a few hours drive from Chicago, Door County is a peninsula, nestled between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, featuring over 300 miles of shoreline to swim, kayak, paddelboard, and explore by boat. The interior of the peninsula offers unrivaled hiking with incredible views overlooking the water. And in addition to mainland Door County, there are also smaller, more “rugged,” islands worth exploring. Some are closed to the public and some are only accessible by kayak tours or chartered boat, but others, such as Washington Island and Rock Island State Park, are easily reached by ferry from Ellison Bay Harbor.
Enjoying perfect sandy beaches and playing in the water is, of course, a highlight for any kid visiting Door County.
If sand isn’t your thing, check out School House beach on Washington Island. It is only one of 7 beaches in the world that is made up of completely smoothed limestone rocks.
The ferry ride over to Washington island is pretty amazing too. Make sure to take the latest ride home - that way you catch the sunset!
In addition to the ferry, make sure to get out on the water on a pontoon, kayak, paddleboard, or fishing boat! You can charter a special adventure or simply rent these to explore yourself.
There are more than just water activities though. Make sure to visit Door County Bluff Park - it is home to the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO world heritage site.
The perfectly formed rock walls and roots make for great climbing and exploring.
There may not be mountains in the midwest and around Door County but, after a day full of outdoor adventures, there are epic views morning, noon, and evening.
Whether you live in or are traveling to the midwest, consider adding Door County to your “adventure vacation” list. We hope you enjoy it as much as our family does and we look forward to sharing more Midwest adventures in the future!
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