State Parks in Door County, Wisconsin:
Potawatomi, Whitefish Dunes, Peninsula, Newport, & Rock Island
Being only 70 miles long and 18 miles wide, the Door County Peninsula is essentially just a long sliver of land jutting out from the rest of the state into Lake Michigan. Now you may be thinking to yourself, “That’s not very big!”, but don’t let the size fool you! As we like to say up here, “It’s not about the size of the Peninsula, it’s what you do with it!” The truth is, you could spend an entire summer in Door County and still not have enough time to do everything.
See if you can find the five State Parks on this map! Hint: they’re all on the water.
But if you’re feeling up to the challenge, a great way to start is by visiting a few of the State Parks located here. Door County is incredibly unique because it is home to FIVE State Parks: Potowatomi State Park, Whitefish Dunes State Park, Peninsula State Park, Newport State Park, and Rock Island State Park. Let’s make our way up the Peninsula as we take a closer look at each of the Parks and everything they offer.
Potawatomi State Park — Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
3740 Park Dr, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Potawatomi State Park was founded in 1928, making this year its 91st year in operation! The park is named in honor of the tribe that inhabited the shores and islands of Green Bay when Europeans first settled the area. The tribe called themselves Bo-De-Wad-Me which means “keeper of the fire.” Eventually, the spelling and pronunciation were changed to Potawatomi. It spans approximately 1,200 acres along the shoreline of western Sturgeon Bay making it a great spot for camping, hiking, bicycling, canoeing, fishing, and of course— kayaking. The Park is open year-round to guests from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (via WI DNR)
Whitefish Dunes State Park — Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
3275 Clark Lake Rd, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Whitefish Dunes State Park is an 863-acre wonderland located along the western shore of Lake Michigan neighboring the famous Cave Point County Park. Home to forest, wetlands, and the largest sand dune this side of the Lake, “Old Baldy”, this park provides endless opportunities for you to enjoy the scenic side of Door County. It is open year-round from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. for hiking, swimming, educational programs, and more. Interested in an incredible kayak tour? Door County Adventure Center is the ONLY tour group with direct access to Whitefish Dunes! Visit our website to learn more or book your adventure today. (via WI DNR)
Peninsula State Park — Fish Creek, Wisconsin
9462 Shore Rd, Fish Creek, WI 54212
Known as Wisconsin’s “most complete park”, Peninsula State Park is your one-stop-shop for outdoor recreational activities. With 468 campsites, a summer theater, an 18-hole golf course, 8 miles of premiere shoreline on Green Bay, bike trails, and the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, it’s easy to see how it earned the title! Similarly, it’s also the third biggest State Park in Wisconsin. Interested in making the trip up? The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (via WI DNR)
Newport State Park — Ellison Bay, Wisconsin
475 County Rd NP, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
When it comes to pure, serene wilderness Newport State Park is the go-to park in Door County. Spanning across approximately 2,373 acres of land and 11 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline it’s an easy place to lose yourself in the beauty of the outdoors. The land on the northern side of the Mink River features backpack-in camping sites and unbelievable star gazing. In fact, Newport State Park was recently designated as Wisconsin’s first International Dark Skies Park, meaning it has very low amounts of light pollution. The Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. If you’re interested in learning more about Newport and the Mink River, check out our exclusive Door County Adventure Center Mink River Eco Kayak Tour! (via WI DNR & our script)
Rock Island State Park — Washington Island, WI
1924 Indian Point Road, Washington Island, WI 54246
Rock Island State Park. Located on the very tip of the Door Peninsula and definitely worth the trip! Arguably the most pristine place in Door County, Rock Island is vehicle free making it an experience unlike any other. The island is 912 acres and hosts a beach of 2000 feet. Oh, and another thing, it’s also home to the oldest lighthouse in the state of Wisconsin— The Pottawatomie Lighthouse, which was first commissioned in 1836! If you’ve never been to Rock Island State Park, we highly recommend it. The Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., but keep in mind that the Ferry is only open from Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day. (via WI DNR)