Door County’s Peninsula State Park: Camping, Hiking and Sightseeing in the Great State of Wisconsin

Peninsula State Park, the third largest state park in Wisconsin, provides some of the best sightseeing in Door County. Visitors will find the park situated in Fish Creek, an unincorporated community of Door County, along the Bay of Green Bay. The 3776 acre state park became established in 1908, offering something for everyone, year round. Hiking, biking, camping, golfing, and swimming are just some of the activities visitors can enjoy during the spring, summer, and fall months. If visiting in the winter months, you can enjoy snowmobiling, sledding, cross country skiing, and even snowshoeing. A trail pass is required for those who are biking, in-line skating, and cross country skiing on designated trails. All motor vehicles that enter the state park will require an admission sticker. You may purchase an annual sticker, which is valid for all Wisconsin state parks and forests for the year, or a daily sticker, which is valid only for the day when purchased. Tickets are available at the park entrance, or may be purchased online in advance.

Don’t forget your camera when visiting Peninsula State Park. You will have many opportunities to capture some of the most beautiful scenery along Lake Michigan’s Green Bay shorelines. An excellent picture taking spot is located atop the 75 foot tall Eagle tower, perched on a 180 foot limestone bluff. You’ll be able to view the Green Bay Islands as well as the Michigan shoreline on a day with good visibility. The wind blows quite strong at this location, so remember to hold on while taking photos. Sunsets at Peninsula State Park are breathtaking, offering another wonderful photo opportunity.

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Hiking is a very popular activity at the park, offering hikers ten different trails, each varying in difficulty. There is approximately 20 miles worth of hiking trails combined. It is important to pick up a trail guide from the park entrance, as this will help you determine which type of trail is appropriate for you. There are trail map signs posted along the trails to help guide you in the right direction. Some of my personal favorite trails include the Eagle Trail, the Skyline Trail, and the Sentinel Trail.

The Eagle Trail is a bit challenging, taking you along the water’s edge beside the very high bluffs of Door County. The trail can be a bit rocky, as well as a bit steep at times. Allow at least a couple hours if venturing along this trail. The Sentinel Trail is a nice and easy hike in comparison to the Eagle Trail. Here you will experience rolling terrain along a two mile loop, and maybe even catch a glimpse of some deer while you are there. This hike can be done in around an hour. I take my time along this route, just so that I can take in all of nature’s beauty, so the time is greatly increased for me. The Skyline Trail is one of the most popular, taking you to Sven’s Bluff. During this three mile hike you’ll be amongst the trees nestled in the hardwood forests and experience the park’s rolling meadows.

A visit to the park proves to be both recreational and educational. There is plenty of wildlife to be seen at Peninsula State Park, including deer, over 120 types of birds, fox, coyotes, and bats. Throughout the year the park offers a variety of educational activities for individuals of all ages. Be sure to check the park events calendar for any activities or special events you may be interested in. The American Folklore Theatre located inside the park showcases both musicians and actors, providing an ideal setting underneath the stars at night. Another interesting point of interest is the Eagle Bluff lighthouse, one of ten lighthouses located in Door County. Tours are available, offering a look into the history of this fully functional landmark.

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There are plenty of available sites for those who would like to camp at the state park. I do highly recommend you get reservations ahead of time though. There are only 25 sites which do not require reservations. The park offers four campgrounds, with almost 470 family sites, about one fourth of them non electric. Keep in mind that with the state’s effort to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer, no firewood from outside of the state can be brought in to the state park. All firewood must be purchased at either one of the park’s wood yards, or from nearby businesses.

If you enjoy boating, there are a couple of launch sites located in the park. I suggest taking a short journey out to Horseshoe Island, the only island which the park maintains. Horseshoe Island is one mile north of Nicolet Bay, accessible by boat only, and will give you the opportunity to explore a rustic path which takes you around the island. No camping or overnight stays are allowed.

Peninsula State Park also caters to golf enthusiasts, offering an 18-hole golf course which operates from around May through mid October. There are a few challenging holes to help keep things interesting. There are pull carts and power carts available to rent.

With all the activities available, there is plenty for one to do while visiting the park. Visit for a day, or spend a full weekend, either way you will remember your stay at the park. I have been visiting the park every fall season for many years, and am happy to say each year is a new and exciting experience.