Door County can be amazing during the winter months 

Porte Des Morts isFrench for “Death’s Door” and also where Door County, WI receives its name.

The name of the 70-mile long peninsula with 300 miles of shoreline was given by French explorers who traveled through the waters of Lake Michigan and Green Bay. Between the 18th and early 20th centuries, many shipwrecks have been found. 

Though historically correct, the county is far from the description of “death’s door.” Now, Door County is known for being one of the top cherry-producing areas, harvesting between 8 and 15 million pounds of cherries annually. Sister Bay hosts a “cherry drop” party to ring in the new year Dec. 31.

Other attractions include five state parks, 53 public swimming beaches, historic lighthouses, local wineries — and it has also been selected by USA Today’s Best 10 for the best destination for fall foliage, just to name a few.

Winter activities don’t fall short during the cold months.

Nature fun

For those who don’t fear the cold, the county offers great areas for snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice skating and ice fishing on the frozen waters of Green Bay.

Its five skate parks — Peninsula State Park, Newport State Park, Whitefish Dunes State Park and Potawatomi State Park — offer trails for skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Visitors can check out Crossroads at Big Creek for skiing or Ridges Sanctuary for snowshoeing with a naturalist (along with more winter events). Snowmobilers can shred the 250 miles worth of groomed trails.

Jen Rogers, PR and communications manager of Door County Visitor Bureau, recommends visiting Cave Point County Park.

“Cave Point County Park is absolutely breathtaking in the winter. Ice forms along the cliffs and creates beautiful ice sculptures from the sprays of Lake Michigan,” Rogers said. 

She suggests getting up early to visit the park at sunrise for “out-of-this-world” photos.

Rogers also suggests watching the winter fleet come into Sturgeon Bay. 

“Onlookers can watch 1,000-foot freighters come into the canal for winter layup on the Great Lakes,” Rogers said. “Schedules for when the freighters are coming in can be found on the Door County Maritime Museum Facebook page.”

The park opens half an hour before sunrise until 11 p.m. 

Cave Point

5360 Schauer Rd.

Jacksonport , Wis., 54235

Ridges Sanctuary

8166 WI-57

Baileys Harbor, Wis., 54202

Winter Festival 

Rogers also enjoys the community Christmas events in the winter months, which bring the community together.

But, an event that visitors look forward to is the Fish Creek Winter Festival in Fish Creek, WI, which takes place Jan. 31-Feb. 2 and will celebrate its 33rd year in 2020. 

“The annual event is filled with wacky games, live music, chili cookoff, Fruit Loop Run and the fun Stumpf Fiddle contest,” Rogers said. 

The Fruit Loop Run has runners (or walkers) participate in a half-mile competition in silly costumes.

The festival, which overlooks Green Bay in a heated tent, also includes a cherry pit spitting contest, fireworks, sleigh rides and sledding.

Go to visitfishcreek.com/events/winter-festival for more information.

Plan a trip

Check out doorcounty.com for more events and schedule itineraries curated by Door County Visitor Bureau. It includes more winter activities (and don’t forget the other seasons), extended stay recommendations, winery tours or an over-the-weekend trip with suggestions to favorite local shops, restaurants and outdoor adventures. 

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