Travel Green in Door County

Wisconsin’s Door County is one of those places that conjures up images of pristine natural beauty. You picture 250 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, five state parks, and seemingly endless opportunities for hiking, biking, boating and more. It’s easy to see why Door County is one of Wisconsin’s top destinations to “travel green.”

Fittingly, Door County’s visitors overwhelming embrace the concept of sustainable tourism, consciously seeking to minimize the footprint they leave behind. In turn, a number of Door County businesses now show they share those concerns by obtaining certification from Travel Green Wisconsin, a voluntary, innovative program from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism that recognizes tourism-related businesses committed to reducing their environmental impact through operational and other improvements.

When travelers need a rest after green-action-packed days – which can now even include kayaking, thanks to the Travel Green Wisconsin-certified Door County Kayak -- they have ample options for resting their heads.

Furthest up the peninsula are three properties in Bailey’s Harbor. The Blacksmith Inn, which was built in 1905 by August Zahn in remembrance of his home and blacksmith shop in Germany, features 15 guest rooms, each with a fireplace, a whirlpool, private balcony and a view of Lake Michigan. Guests here receive a homemade continental breakfast and can help themselves to the inn’s “bottomless” jar of homemade cherry oatmeal cookies.

Across the street is The Orchard House, which operates under the same ownership. Guests here can either rent individual rooms or the entire house, which is located on an acre of apple orchard. This Door County bed and breakfast boasts beach access, views of the harbor, wide porches replete with porch swings, cast-iron fireplaces, original maple floors and vintage furnishings.

Just outside of Bailey’s Harbor (and near the Ridges Nature Sanctuary) is the Journey’s End Motel and Cabins. Nestled on three rolling acres, all three quaint cabins feature a bedroom with a queen bed on the first floor and an upstairs loft with double beds along with plenty of amenities, including grills, picnic tables and a fire pit for family cook-outs. Pets are always welcome – with a simple, prior phone call to make arrangements.

On the Green Bay side of the Door peninsula, green travelers have various options for Door County lodging. They can stay at the Lodgings at Pioneer Lane, in the heart of historic Ephraim. All the rooms offer a private whirlpool bath, sleep-timer controlled fireplace and a patio balcony with a view of the water, plus they’re individually decorated to capture the feel of a northwoods cabin – an ideal green vacation.

Further south, the aptly named Quiet Cottage Bed and Breakfast offers travelers a one-suite log cottage with English gardens and private Lake Michigan beach on Sturgeon Bay. This property is all about R&R and pampering, from the fresh flowers and chocolates awaiting guests’ arrival, to the handmade quilts, fresh-air linens and in-house massage therapist. There’s even a full, home-cooked breakfast, which includes fresh fruit juice, oatmeal and a breakfast entrée of the day – not to mention nightly bonfires.

Also in Sturgeon Bay’s historic downtown district is the Black Walnut Guest House. Built in 1899, the house includes four guest rooms, each decorated with antiques and unique craftsmanship. Guests can choose from several activity packages including the “Romantic Weeknight Escape,” which features a horse-drawn carriage ride for couples; and the “Winter Wonderland Tour,” with a sleigh ride as well as tours and tastings at Door County's award winning wineries.

Wherever you choose to stay, you will enjoy a green vacation in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin.

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