Travel the Door Peninsula and you’ll be treated to a scenic drive any time of the year, but fall is a particularly fabulous time to zoom past the colorful orchards, forests, and shorelines that make Door County famous. You’ll likely see peak colors of the area’s oak, maple and northern hardwood trees in October. Follow along on these fall drives (including a few charming pit stops) for sights of the area’s brilliant color!
Sister Bay to Northport, via Hwy 42
Highway 42 heading north is part of the Door County Coastal Byway, and the stretch between Sister Bay and Northport gives you some of the best fall color views. Your drive will start off along the bay, and then cut inland to end on the famous Jens Jensen Winding Road.
Between Sister Bay and Ellison Bay, you’ll pass a landmark worth visiting: Seaquist Orchards Farm Market. Seaquist’s multi-generational family business is one of the oldest and most beloved farm markets in the county. In the fall, you can try their freshly-picked honey crisp apples and take home delicious apple cider doughnuts.
After Seaquists, take a mini detour off 42 to see Ellison Bay Bluff County Park. The deep fall color combined with views of Green Bay is truly idyllic.
Back on 42, you’ll drive through Ellison Bay and Gills Rock toward Northport. The last few miles of the drive to Northport is a photographer’s dream destination, with curving highway framed by a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and yellows.
Egg Harbor to Ephraim, via Hwy 42
The section of the Door County Coastal Byway from Egg Harbor to Ephraim should not be missed. The route hugs the bay, and you’ll have the option of driving through one of Wisconsin’s favorite natural destinations, Peninsula State Park, during its most picturesque season.
Fall is time to appreciate trees, and you can see the biggest one in Door County outside Villagios authentic Italian restaurant in Juddville. Try Villagios’ butternut squash ravioli in browned butter as a savory autumn treat.
Edgewood Orchard Galleries is another fall wonder worth a stop off Highway 42. See impressive paintings, glassware and jewelry inside a refurbished stone barn, and then explore the outdoor sculpture garden for a fairytale walk in the woods.
Between Fish Creek and Bailey’s Harbor it’s worth the detour off Highway 42 to see the Niagara Escarpment adorned with colorful birch, pine, maple and oak trees.
Sister Bay to Bailey’s Harbor to Kangaroo Lake, via Hwy 57 and County Roads Q & E
This southbound route showcases forested Lake Michigan shoreline, with detours off the Highway 57 section of the Door County Coastal Byway scenic drive.
Taking a left on County Road Q from Highway 57 brings you closer to boreal forests and wetlands, with an opportunity to see the Cana Island Lighthouse. Climbing to the top of the lighthouse rewards you with a unique Lake Michigan vista, with access available through October.
For a less adventurous, but equally beautiful detour, stop by the Ridges Sanctuary in Bailey’s Harbor back on Highway 57. Door County Brewing Company’s new location on Highway 57 also makes for another excellent stop along the route.
Driving south on 57, take a right on County Road E to cross Kangaroo Lake and see surprisingly colorful lowland marsh. Then take a left on Logerquist Road for final stretch of gorgeous fall foliage.