With 300 miles of fresh-water shoreline, 19 charming small towns, 11 historic lighthouses, five state parks, and luxurious bed and breakfasts, Door County is a popular Midwest getaway. Located on Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan, Door County is about a three hour drive from Milwaukee and about four to five hours from Chicago. When I visited, I found eight unique and local Door County culinary experiences.
The peninsula is known for its beautiful fall foliage, cherry and apple orchards, and its Lake Michigan shoreline — making it a longtime favorite escape for Chicagoans. It’s a destination where you can kayak into caves along Lake Michigan or simply enjoy the relaxed lake life vibes.
Whether visiting for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, you’ll see Door County is also a culinary destination. Full of places to eat and drink like the local foodies do, I enjoyed eight delicious Door County culinary experiences that I highly recommend to anyone planning a visit.
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1. Eat Cherry Doughnuts From Wood Orchard
To start your day the Door County way, get tasty cherry doughnuts and absolutely delectable cherry strudel from the bakery at Wood Orchard. The Egg Harbor bakery also sells apple doughnuts, pies, and breads. In the fall, you’ll also find caramel apples.
Wood Orchard Market is located at 8112 State Highway 12 in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin.
2. Taste Cherry Wines At Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery
At Lautenbach’s in Fish Creek, you have several options for culinary experiences. Want wine? You can tour the winery or do a complimentary wine tasting. Want fruit? Pick your own cherries (July-August) or apples (September-October). And at any time of year you can shop the market for specialty foods, baked goods, and all your cherry souvenirs. Be sure to purchase some cherry juice!
Lautenbach’s Orchard Country is located at 9197 State Highway 42 in Fish Creek, Wisconsin.
3. Get Lunch And Gelato At Door County Creamery
Located in Sister Bay, Door County Creamery is the perfect locale to dine outside and watch the passersby. Be sure to pop around the side of the building to where goats play in their little pen! So stinkin’ cute.
Whether you nosh on cheese and meats or eat one of the delicious sandwiches, you won’t be disappointed. I opted for the Chevre Torte made with Door County Creamery’s fresh chevre, basil pesto, olive tapenade, tomato confit, and arugula. I paired it with Door County Brewing Company’s Pastoral, a Belgian farmhouse ale. The market has a great selection of craft beer by the single bottle and 30 wines under $20.
And, don’t forget dessert! Door County Creamery has goat’s-milk gelato in about a dozen flavors. The roasted almond fig gelato is quite lovely.
Door County Creamery is located at 10653 N. Bay Shore Drive in Sister Bay, Wisconsin.
4. Share A Pizza At Wild Tomato
Wild Tomato is a family-friendly restaurant specializing in wood-fired pizzas with locations in Fish Creek, Sister Bay, and Egg Harbor. The Fish Creek location has a fantastic patio with red-umbrella-covered tables, and it’s conveniently located across the street from the beautiful Peninsula State Park. I highly recommend the veggie pizza loaded up with red and green peppers, onions, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, and Wisconsin goat cheese and mozzarella. Yum!
Wild Tomato has three locations: 4023 State Highway 42 in Fish Creek, 10677 N. Bay Shore Drive in Sister Bay, and 4633 Market Street in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin.
5. Drink Vino At Stone’s Throw Winery
At Stone’s Throw Winery, you can sip wines made locally from California grapes in a beautiful outdoor setting while playing bocce ball. I suggest tasting the Wine Maker Select Series and taking a look at the unique label art on the bottles. Tours, including barrel tasting tours, are available by reservation, and you can check here for more about the tours and tasting room hours. Also on the premises is Vino! Vino!, a contemporary wine bar serving 300 Italian and Californian wines and stuzzichini, Italian small plates.
Stone’s Throw Winery is located at 3382 County Road E in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin.
6. Dine At Wickman House
Sitting on sprawling green grounds with Adirondack chairs and twinkling lights, Wickman House was once a family home, a 1920s lodge, and a bed and breakfast. Now, this beautiful three-story white house is now home to a farm-to-table restaurant and craft cocktail bar with seasoned NYC bartenders mixing tantalizing libations. Wait until you see the Tiki glasses in which the Mai Tais are served! As for the food, the dishes feature many locally-sourced ingredients and are artfully prepared. The grain bowl I had was fantastic. It was filled with toasted farro, wild rice, soy-marinated soft-boiled egg, bok choy, marinated kale, ramp kimchee, crushed peanuts, and shitaki mushrooms in a miso lemon vinaigrette.
Wickman House is located at 11976 Mink River Road in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin.
7. Sample Island Orchard Cider
If you like crisp, Champagne-like, French-style hard cider, the Island Orchard Cider tasting should be on your Door County itinerary. The cidery grows its apples on a Washington Island farm just across from mainland Door County, but the tasting room is located in Ellison Bay. I particularly enjoyed the pear cider, which I found crisp and refreshing. Also, be sure to ask for a sample of the cherry vanilla soda. It’s absolutely delightful — and alcohol-free for the under 21 crowd!
Island Orchard Cider’s Door County Cider House is located at 12040 Garrett Bay Road in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin.
8. Savor A Sundae At Door County Ice Cream Factory
Lastly, you can’t leave Door County without an ice cream sundae. Though you have many options for frozen treats, a visit to Door County Ice Cream Factory is necessary. The Sister Bay ice cream parlor actually makes all of its own ice cream — in 45 flavors! Usually 29 flavors are available on any given day. Some are very uniquely Midwest — such as Blue Moon, of course. And, some are so very Door County-themed — Cherry Cheesecake, Deaths’ Door Chocolate, and Door County Cherry.
Door County Ice Cream Factory is located at 11051 State Highway 42 in Sister Bay, Wisconsin.
Before you go to Door County, map your route to foodie paradise.
Final Thoughts On Door County Culinary Experiences
As you may have noticed, apples and cherries grow in orchards around the peninsula. Therefore, markets — such as Wood Orchard Market and Lautenbach’s Orchard Country — sell pastries, jams, other food and beverages made from these locally grown fruits. Cherry wines, apple hard ciders, cherry strudels, and cherry-flavored ice cream are merely a few examples I tasted during my weekend in Door County.
Of course, when in America’s Dairyland, it’s always a goal of mine to eat local cheese and ice cream. Trust me, you can certainly do that in Door County! At Wickman House, I enjoyed an appetizer of fried Wisconsin cheese curds. I also stumbled across multiple frozen custard and ice cream shops, including Door County Ice Cream Factory and Door County Creamery. I have learned packing a cooler is essential for any travel I do through Wisconsin, and in Door County, I’d fill that cooler with Door County Creamery chévre.
Where To Stay In Door County
Door County offers a variety of lodging, including cozy cottage rentals, charming bed and breakfasts, family-friendly hotels, and some of the best campgrounds in Wisconsin.
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Which of these Door County culinary experiences do you hope to enjoy during your next visit?
I’m very disappointed that you did not mention The White Gull Inn in Fish Creek. Their cherry-stuffed French toast has won national awards. Their candlelight dinners and legendary fish boils can’t be missed either.
I am ready for an adventure here. I may not want to come home…cheese, pizza, wine, cheeries, apples and ice cream! You have covered all my major food groups. Your pics are wonderful.
Cherry donuts is something they should have here in Michigan! Sounds like an idea whose time has come anyway 🙂
Mmmm…those are some tasty looking pictures, Erin! Definitely need to explore more of Wisconisin. And we’ll bring an appetite. 🙂
Bringing an appetite is a must in the Midwest!
If the pizza is as good as it looks in your picture, I am sold. It looks delicious! #WeekendWanderlust
The pizza was fantastic. I highly recommend Wild Tomato for lunch or a casual dinner while in Door County.
I didn’t realize Door County made wine! This might be worth a visit!
Really good wine, too!
OK so I’m going to give a disclaimer here – I am English and I need to visit Wisconsin because Colin from Love Actually came here and I’m a massive fan of the movie! There, I have said it now! However I swear you have written this post for me – it has everything I love! Cocktails, cider, doughnuts, massive equisite sandwiches and ice cream, I mean seriously? This is awesome! I have pinned this for when I visit so thank you very much! (btw, when is the best time of year to visit?)
Haha, absolutely no judgment from me because: 1. I love “Love Actually” 2. I’ve totally wanted to do things or visit places just because I saw it in a movie or on TV. 3. You really should go to Wisconsin. That is if you like cheese, of course. The best times to visit Door County? Well, it is most popular in summer, which is July-August. If you want summer weather and activities but fewer vacationers, try early June before kids are out of school here. That’s when I went, and it was lovely. Or, go in September/October for the fall colors.
Buddy The Traveling Monkey
Whoa, pizza, wine, and ice cream? Yes please! I’d go to Door County for the food alone!
Right! That’s what I’m saying. But, the shoreline is pretty, too. 😉
Hmmmm…I wonder if Door County would be interested in hosting me directly after WITS17 since they are pretty close. I would gladly sink my teeth into their awesome cuisine, starting with that cherry donut! 😉 Nice post, as always great pics.
Look into it, Melody! I loved Door County. The only hosted experience I had there was kayaking, and April may be too early in the season for it. Even if you don’t get hosted, it’s worth the three-hour drive from Milwaukee to stay a night or two and explore.
Crystal (The Imperfect Mom)
I need to plan a trip there. The food looks amazing. The B&B looks excellent.
You totally should, Crystal. Like Michigan’s Traverse City area, it’s great for family vacations, but Door County also offers a lot for a romantic weekend getaway or girls’ trip. And, yeah, the Wickman House is fantastic. It’s just a restaurant now, but I imagine it would be a beautiful event space. I couldn’t help but imagine a wedding on the property during my visit!
Cheries are my favorite fruit, so Door County is clearly an area that I need to visit. My first stop will be Wood Orchard for a cherry donut (yum!). Your photos are absolutely lovely – everything looks so delicious.
Cherries are the bomb. One of my favorite fruits, for sure. So, to find so much cherry-related foods and drinks in Door County was amazing. That cherry doughnut was fantastic. The cherry strudel was really good, too. I think you two would love the food and drink to be had there!
Paula - Gone with the Wine
Very interesting. I had google where this area is because I had never heard of it, even though I have spend some time in Wisconsin. Now I know where to go next time. Awesome pictures!
Paula, I originally had a paragraph describing where Door County is, but I cut it while editing. I’m glad you pointed out that you had to Google where Door County is because that reminded me that I was going to make a Google Map for this post! I’ve edited the post to explain where DC is located because I’m sure you are not the only reader with that question. And I’ve added the map! Glad you checked out the blog and were intrigued by Door County!
You have such awesome experiences! That donut looks amazing along with the pizza, ice cream and…..
Lol, Rachel. I did find some amazing food in Door County!
Those all sound amazing. The cherry wine in particular I think would be great, I’ve had cherry wine before and it usually is.
Yes, Lautenbach’s has some award-winning cherry wines. Very delicious indeed! I also had some great cherry wine recently up north in Michigan. Similar climate between Door County and Leelanau Peninsula, so cherry wines and cherry everything else are easy to find in both destinations. Great for us cherry wine lovers in the Midwest!