Budget Travel Tips
By Danielle Papineau
Tip #1: Take advantage of many of the FREE activities in Door County.
Door County offers some of the best free activities in Wisconsin. For history buffs, the Door County Historical Museum is a must visit. Open from May to October, this free museum features exhibits on early settlers, farmers and tourism. For families with children, the wildlife exhibit and opportunity to sit on a 1912 fire truck are sure to please.
For those looking for outdoor adventure, make the trip to Washington Island to climb the 186 steps to the top of Mountain Park tower. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the day soaking up rays without dipping into your budget.
If you have a green thumb, the sights at The Garden Door beckon. This free garden is maintained by volunteers and features a fairy garden, pond with koi fish, butterfly garden and wind/sound tunnel. Children will also find a play area on-site, making this stop fun for the whole family.
Tip #2: Don’t rent a hotel room, CAMP!
Camping can often be cheaper than renting a hotel room, especially if you'll be visiting Door County for more than two days. For as little as $10 a night, stay at the Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek to experience all that the Door County outdoors have to offer.
Camping at this state park not only gives you a place to call home but also offers free biking and hiking trails, volleyball and tennis courts, playgrounds, beaches for swimming, boating, canoeing, kayaking and bird watching. The park also boasts lighthouse tours and the renowned Northern Sky Theater.
Tip #3: Get a TASTE of Door County along the Wine Trail.
The Door County Wine Trail is a budget-friendly adult adventure that weaves through the Door County area. Many of the stops on the trail offer free (or minimal fee) wine tastings to suit every palate. Most wineries along the trail also offer tours of their establishments for a small fee (a few are also free!).
Tip# 4: Getaway during the OFF-SEASON or during the week.
It is true what they say—the off-season can be a peaceful time to travel. From late October through spring, look for discounts on hotels and at restaurants in Door County as the peak season comes to a close. Just make sure to check into the operating hours of your favorite establishments ahead of time, as they often close earlier (or completely) during these seasons.
If the off-season won’t work with your schedule, visiting during the week can be a great way to beat the crowds. Take a day or two away from the office to visit on a Tuesday or Wednesday when crowd levels tend to be lower.
Tip # 5: Make EATING an experience.
For those on a tight budget, every penny counts. Turn eating into an experience by visiting some local favorites with a little flair. Al Johnson’s in Sister Bay is an authentic Swedish restaurant with a twist. Before you dig in, check out the goats feeding on the sod roof above the restaurant. Then take a taste of their authentic Swedish pancakes, which will only set you back $7.25.
Another great place to visit is Wilson’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor in Ephraim. This whimsical restaurant features traditional ice cream treats and a great view of Eagle Harbor. Stop by for a hamburger ($4.85) and single dish of ice cream ($3.50) for a great low budget lunch or dinner.
For more information on Door County and all it has to offer visit: http://www.travelwisconsin.com/article/things-to-do/discover-door-county-wisconsin.