By Dan Rose
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
Door County might be one of Wisconsin’s most popular summer vacation spots. Between boat rides on the lake and the vast number of beaches and parks, it practically embodies the joy of summer. But when the snow starts falling and the temps drop, is Door County still a worthy destination for your next getaway? The answer is a resounding, snow-covered YES. Below you’ll find a series of activities to jumpstart your Door County winter vacation.
Festivals, Food and Drink
During this annual festival, Sturgeon Bay transforms into a walking winter art gallery as artists carve magnificent sculptures of snow and ice. Pick up a map of all the art locations from the Sturgeon Bay Visitor’s Center and explore the town. Great food and beverage takes center stage in the evening at the Stone Harbor Resort’s Fire and Ice Dinner and Dance. Tickets for this event sell out quickly so be sure to purchase ahead of time.
Great trips are often defined by great food had along the way. To that end, you’d be hard pressed to find better pasta in all of Door County than the fresh, hand-rolled fare that The Waterfront specializes in. They also feature a seasonal menu that changes nightly and a view that is breathtaking even in winter.
Few winter festivals offer an experience as delicious as the Winter Wine and Cherry Fest at Lautenbach’s Orchard Country. You can enjoy complimentary wine and farm market food tastings then hop in a horse-drawn sleigh to appreciate the natural beauty of the area. Just don’t miss out on the mulled wine; it’s some of the best in Wisconsin.
There are several excellent spas in Door County, but The Spa at Sacred Grounds offers a unique wellness experience that nourishes your mind and body. Start off with one of their specialty treatments like the Detoxify and Rebalance Body Treatment and then reflect with a small-group yoga class or private meditation session.
The recipe for true winter rejuvenation requires two essential ingredients: a fireplace and a warm, whirlpool tub. Every room at The Blacksmith features both, along with a private balcony and stunning harbor view. When you add in the continental breakfast, cherry oatmeal cookies and complimentary sleds and snowshoes, it’s easy to see why a stay at The Blacksmith Inn on the Shore makes for the perfect winter hideaway.
Cross Country Skiing
If you enjoy cross country skiing, then be sure to visit both Peninsula State Park and Newport State Park during your winter getaway. Both locations feature extensive miles of groomed cross country ski trails and each has a warming shelter. Plus, there isn’t anything quite like the feeling of skiing next to a lake as the stillness of a Wisconsin winter surrounds you.
Winter Horseback Riding at Kurtz Corral
Kurtz Corral is a wonderful year-round stable that offers horseback riding for riders of all levels. Horseback riding may seem like an odd winter activity, but as long as you dress warmly it is a truly unique way to experience the winter wilderness. If you’re looking to add some romance to your trip, then be sure to check out their candlelit night rides (call ahead for availability).
Naturalist-Guided Snowshoe Hikes – The Ridges
A quick drive up to Bailey’s Harbor will lead you to one of the best snowshoeing spots in all of Door County. The Ridges offer naturalist-guided snowshoe hikes every Friday and Saturday from January through the end of March. The hikes are around 90 minutes with relaxed difficulty that makes this a perfect activity for the whole family. Plus, you can rent snowshoes on site!
Hike at Cave Point
Cave Point County Park might be more breathtaking in the wintertime. When temperatures are cold enough, you’ll see incredible ice formations on the cliffs and austere but beautiful views of Lake Michigan.
The fun is endless no matter where in Door County you visit. See for yourself!