At some point in our lifetime, we all should create memories with loved ones in the ethereal landscape of Door County. In an area where vibrant social activity mingles with natural splendor, fun is available in an array of options for people of all ability levels. Whether you consider yourself an aficionado of leisure, an energetic wayfarer, or somewhere in the middle of the adventure spectrum, there is a place for you in Door County.
Good food is tethered to fond memories, and Door County is plentiful in unique dining experiences. Since you'll need nourishment to fuel your accessible adventures, these restaurants have you covered on all levels.
For a hearty brunch bursting with freshness and a bright vibe of breezy comfort, try Grasse’s Grill in Sister Bay. Wander a few doors down to the delightful Door County Creamery and indulge in a silken dish of sweet goat’s milk gelato available in extraordinary flavors such as Roasted Almond & Fig, or peruse their stellar selection of artisanal cheeses and deli items to pack in a picnic basket. If you find yourself in the mood to lounge at a Euro-style hangout offering dishes made from locally sourced ingredients and a thoughtful wine and beer menu, Clover & Zot is the place to check out.
Door County is famous for its delicious cherries, so a visit to Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market is a great addition to your trip. Enjoy a wine tasting, browse the farm’s food and gift market, and head out along the paths to surround yourself with the orchard’s cherry trees. Time your visit to see the cherry blossoms — usually lasting for a couple weeks starting around mid-May.
For more Door County Cherry deliciousness, try the famous Cherry Stuffed French Toast at the White Gull Inn’s award-winning restaurant. They also do fish boils for dinner — an iconic Door County tradition — on select days of the week.
At times, the most accessible dining options are not within the crowds of brick-and-mortar restaurants, but out in the open air. Try the beer and savory barbecue dishes at Door County Brewing Company’s beer garden in Baileys Harbor. Settle into a scenic table at Harbor Fish Market & Grille’s garden seating for a captivating vista of lakeside radiance and a refined selection of fresh seafood and steak dishes.
The enjoyment of a getaway often hinges on the ambiance of lodging. Blacksmith Inn on the Shore is a quaint bed & breakfast on the quiet side of the Door. Located in the heart of Baileys Harbor, Room #8 of this charming accommodation offers a handicap-accessible design for travelers with mobility challenges. As the peaceful lapping of Lake Michigan waves falls gently on your ears, staying in this room will surely instill a sense of rejuvenation within you. Venture one block down the street to explore the Ridges Sanctuary, an immensely accessible natural area featuring graceful wildflower blooms along the Hidden Brook Boardwalk.
Or, stay at the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek. Suite #7, the inn’s grounds and their award-winning restaurant are all wheelchair accessible.
Other spectacular accessible lodging options include the ADA cabin at Potawatomi State Park and The Stone Harbor Resort’s ADA room located on the first floor, both situated in Sturgeon Bay.
First stop: the Door County Maritime Museum, where you can immerse yourself in the rich history of Door County’s waterfront. And the museum’s new Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower provides an unforgettable lighthouse experience that accommodates to everyone’s abilities. Multiple floors of interactive exhibits, subtitled videos and hands-on experiences lead up to the tenth-floor observation deck.
Also nestled in Door County are four wondrous state parks, all located within close proximity to one another. Navigate many picturesque trails with ease at Peninsula State Park — wander the Sunset Trail where bountiful sightings of distinctive birds flutter within the tree canopy. Be sure to visit the top of Eagle Tower within the park. The tower’s accessible canopy walk winds 850 feet through beech forest to the top of the tower. From up there, the Bay of Green Bay views are spectacular. Get a different view of the park from the water — Sister Bay Scenic Boat Tours offers tours with stunning Peninsula State Views, and they’re wheelchair accessible.
Newport State Park boasts a the 1.2-mile wheelchair-friendly Fern Trail with interpretive stations that include visual, auditory and tactile displays. They describe elements of the various ecosystems along the trail: the microhabitat that supports the growth of Ostrich Ferns, the geologic history of the park forests, the importance of dark skies, the importance of snags and the natural decomposition of trees, and facts about birds that reside in the park. Check out a Discovery Pen from the park’s visitor center that provides audio descriptions when touched to the interpretive signs that were specifically recorded for people with visual impairments.
The site has also been designated as one of the nation’s Dark Sky parks due to its low levels of light pollution in a wilderness setting. Extend your visit into the twilight hours for a captivating episode of stargazing under a blanket of the cosmos.
Explore the Brachiopod Trail at Whitefish Dunes State Park for an interpretive journey alongside fossils of a forgotten time, and watch your surrounding landscape evolve from a stark white oasis of jagged shoreline to a wooded haven abuzz with forest life.
Catching a magical sunset is a relaxing activity that is accessible to all and connects us to the outdoors in a fun, meaningful way. In Sister Bay, Waterfront Park is an easily reachable area near accessible parking with level terrain; choose a seat to unwind and soak up nature’s enchanting evening event. If you’re hungry (or thirsty), stop at the nearby Stabbur Outdoor Beer Garden, part of Al Johnson’s famous Goats-on-the-Roof Swedish Restaurant, and enjoy a fried Perch or Walleye Pike basket with a cold brew to top off your terrific trip.
Explore more of Wisconsin's accessible natural areas at these four trails not to miss, and find more fun in Door County here!