Door County Coastal National Scenic Byway
Visitors to Wisconsin have long marveled at the beauty of the Door County peninsula surrounded by Lake Michigan and Green Bay on either side. One of the best ways to see this area is on the Door County Coastal National Scenic Byway, nearly 70 miles long, weaving through scenic nature and vibrant coastal communities. The route, perfect for cars, motorcycles and road bikes, begins near the city of Sturgeon Bay and stretches north on State Highway 57 to the very tip of the peninsula before heading back south via State Highway 42.
Let’s embark on a journey along the byway, pausing to take in some of the highlights. As you and your family make your way through this scenic road, here are some unique and unexpected experiences you won’t want to miss.
Visit a Farmers Market in Jacksonport
The byway begins at the junction of Highways 57 and 42, north of Sturgeon Bay. To explore the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula, take Highway 57, which winds through lush farmland and brings you to the charming town of Jacksonport.
Admire Baileys Harbor Lighthouses
Continuing on Highway 57 for 10 minutes, you’ll arrive in the town of Baileys Harbor, home to three picturesque Door County lighthouses.
One of the lighthouses, Baileys Harbor Range Lights, dates back to 1869, and visitors are welcome to tour the grounds outside the tower. Meanwhile, Old Baileys Harbor Lighthouse sits on a small island off Baileys Harbor and is notable for its birdcage-style lantern room. The lighthouse is not open for tours, but visitors can take in the sight of the structure from several locations in Baileys Harbor. There’s also the scenic Cana Island Lighthouse, which has a tower open to visitors.
Enjoy Gorgeous Views of Sister Bay
Drive north for 12 more minutes and arrive at the charming town of Sister Bay, located on the shores of a stunning harbor. Sister Bay is directly at the intersection of Highways 42 and 57 and is known for its beautiful beach and marina, fantastic restaurants, shops and family events.
Depending on the season, you can attend a fall festival, visit a Christmas market, or take a boat tour to enjoy glorious views of the bay.
Sister Bay is also a fantastic place to spend the night. Enjoy the laid-back elegance of the Country House Resort, stay in the cozy Scandinavian Lodge, or book a room with your special someone at a bed-and-breakfast.
Explore Peninsula State Park
From Sister Bay, drive south on Highway 42 for 20 minutes to Fish Creek, the gateway to Peninsula State Park. This Wisconsin park spreads over 3,000 acres and features eight miles of stunning Green Bay shoreline. Watch sailboats glide across the water, explore towering bluffs and beaches and walk the quiet trails that extend deep into the park. Here, you’ll also find the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, which offers incredible views from the top of the tower, and has a museum.
Catch a Glorious Beach Sunset in Egg Harbor
Just 12 miles from Fish Creek is the small town of Egg Harbor, situated along the Niagara Escarpment and Green Bay.
Take a Door County Winery Tour
On your way back to Sturgeon Bay, visit Door 44 Winery, which has six acres of vineyards, state-of-the-art facilities and is open throughout the year. Here, you can sample local wines, tour the vineyards, and relax on the outdoor patio. After your winery tour, enjoy dinner at one of many Sturgeon Bay restaurants and share your favorite road trip memories with your family and friends over a hearty meal.
There’s no better way to enjoy the peninsula than by traversing the Door County Coastal Byway. After incredible adventures along the byway, you’ll find yourself smiling at memories of your trip for years to come.
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