Details

  • DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2021)
  • Intrinsic QualitiesNatural
  • LocationWI
  • Length66 miles
Byway Visitor Information
Door County Coastal Byway
Statewide Byway Partners
Wisconsin Byways Map
Travel Wisconsin
Door County Coastal Byway
Door County Coastal Byway Photo

Overview

45 miles east of Green Bay, Wisconsin the Door County Coastal Byway a 66 mile loop traverses the Niagara Escarpment from the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan to the towering bluffs of Green Bay. Discover our quaint villages with dining and lodging options to fit any visitor's need. Explore our numerous parks and public lands and the associated recreational opportunities. We welcome the traveling public whether it's a scenic drive, a day trip or a week spent exploring all we have to offer. No matter your age, or the season of the year - there's something here for everyone.

Local Byway Partners

Story of the Byway

For the Door County Peninsula in northeastern Wisconsin, a combination of geology, two major bodies of water, and geography create an ecosystem that is globally, nationally, and regionally recognized for its diversity and many rare and endangered species of plants and animals. These natural features provide travelers a wide array of active recreational options, from fishing and water-based activities to hiking and landlubber activities. Activities for all are available year around – just ask a generational resident – referred to as "locals."

For those wishing a slower pace, there are leisurely drives, relaxing in a park enjoying the water views, or touring many historic structures. Travelers experience and explore the byway loop via Wisconsin Highways, WIS 42 and WIS 57, a formally designated Wisconsin Scenic Byway route. Visitors can access and enjoy the more than 25 state and local nature preserves plus the three state parks, ten county and numerous local parks that are found along the byway. Charming coastal communities offer a wide array of visitor amenities all along the byway. The 400 -million-year-old Niagara Escarpment Bluffs become visible upon entering the Village of Egg Harbor. The Niagara Escarpment is an international geologic formation – a 1,000 mile-long cliff beginning near Niagara Falls NY, then traveling through Canada, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin. The Escarpment and surrounding waters contribute to our unique terrain, climate and ecology.

A must see is the 60' tall observation tower in Peninsula State Park which is ADA accessible with a 850' ramp and unobstructed wheelchair accessible overlooks as it winds through the tree canopy to the top, or take the 95 steps to the top! Spectacular views of Green Bay waters and islands reward your efforts!

Fall colors are spectacular throughout the entire byway. Ephraim, is popular with visitors who want to recreate by admiring the water views of Eagle Harbor and the stellar views of the 250' Niagara Escarpment bluffs. Sister Bay features over one-fourth mile of waterfront access, including a boardwalk with universal access, park, beach, and numerous water activities, boat tours, shopping and dining. Three natural features of national or state importance have highway access points between Ephraim and Sister Bay: the Mink River Estuary, the largest pristine freshwater estuary in the U.S., the WisDNR Boreal Forests, and the Three Springs Nature Preserve. The Grandview Overlook and Park. Newport Beach State Park is the only International Dark Sky designated area in Wisconsin and the only wilderness park in the state. At the tip of the peninsula at either Gills Rock or Northport cross Death's Door via ferry to Washington Island. The curvy part of WIS 42 always surprises and enchants visitors and is popular with recreational drivers

Driving Directions

The Door County Coastal Byway forms a nearly continuous 66-mile elliptical loop on Wisconsin Highways 42 and 57 beginning at the intersection of these two highways just north of the Sturgeon Bay city limits in the Town of Sevastopol. The byway travels northerly on WIS 42 for 40 miles on the Green Bay side of the peninsula until its terminus at the Northport Ferry Dock . Traveling back south on WIS 42 through Sister Bay on your way up the "Sister Bay Hill" you take a left turn onto WIS 57 and head southerly down the Lake Michigan eastern side of the peninsula for 27 miles to Sturgeon Bay.

Points of Interest

  • Peninsula State Park

    Kayak past Eagle Bluff 430 million year old limestone bluffs

  • Village of Sister Bay Public Access

    1/4 mile long beach/shorefront/marina

  • Mink River Natural Area

    most pristine freshwater estuary in the United States

  • Door Bluff Headlands Park & Garrett Bay Park

    site of the 1888 Fleetwing shipwreck & scuba diving

  • Ridges National Natural Landmark

    Sanctuary & Nature Center

  • Toft's Point National Natural Landmark & Trail System

    Wave-cut dolomite cliffs, native plants.

  • Cave Point County Park

    View ancient caves created by wave action on the cliffs of Lake Michigan

  • Whitefish Dunes State Park

    "Old Baldy" the tallest dune on Lake Michigans' west shore

  • Village of Egg Harbor Public Marina & Park

    Overlooking the waters of Green Bay

  • Town of Sevastopol Interpretive Experience Hub

    1st of 11 on route-each one different

  • Peninsula State Park & Observation Tower - Ephraim WI

    Third largest Wisconsin State Park with 8 miles of Green Bay shoreline

  • Ellison Bluff Park - Ellison Bay WI

    Densely wooded two-tierd rock terrace.

  • The Grand View Park

    South entrance to Ellison Bay

  • Port des Morts Town Park on Kenosha Rd

    Staircase from bluff top to water & view of Death's Door Passage

Itinerary

  • Discover Door County

    Start off in the town of Sevastopol at the Byway Experience Hub at the Grandma Tommy’s Country Store. Stretching across the peninsula from Lake Michigan to Green Bay, Sevastopol has some of the best farmland in Door County. The area is home to the county’s first orchards and largest cherry growers. The town also boasts natural areas such as Whitefish Dunes State Park, with the tallest sand dunes in Wisconsin.

    Drive north to Jacksonport, where you will soon be surrounded by lakes and beaches. This historic lumbering, farming, and fishing town began as a port connecting the region to Great Lakes markets. Today it is a peaceful place for residents living along Lake Michigan who celebrate their heritage with festivals, weekly farmer’s markets, and an outdoor Historical Society Museum. Continue to Baileys Harbor for a haven of nature sanctuaries. Explore the
    parks and history of the first Door County seat. Look for orchids at the Ridges Sanctuary or walk through the big trees to Toft Point. View Lake Michigan from high atop the Cana Island Lighthouse.

    After a stop for lunch, continue to Liberty Grove, the top of the loop. Stand on a bluff at the northernmost point of the peninsula and gaze across the dangerous strait named Death’s Door. Visit quaint fishing villages like Gills Rock and tour the Door County Maritime Museum. Newport State Park, Wisconsin’s only wilderness park, is located here on the shores of Lake Michigan.

    Continue south along the byway to Sister Bay, the hub of the peninsula. Named for the Sister Islands that guard its harbor entrance, Sister Bay has the largest public waterfront in northern Door County. Artisans and volunteer interpreters bring history to life at the Corner of the Past and Old Anderson House Museum. Soon, you will reach Ephraim and Gibraltar. Nestled along the Eagle Harbor bluffs, this picturesque village offers one of the most accessible shorelines of any Door County community. The blend of Moravian and Norwegian heritage is reflected in its architecture. The village is a refuge and favorite subject for artists. A popular stop for tourists since the steamship days, Fish Creek preserves its history through the Welcker’s Resort Historic District and Historic Noble House. A short detour off the byway will lead you on a beautiful drive through Peninsula State Park, Wisconsin’s second oldest park

    Your last stop before completing your loop will be the village of Egg Harbor. Blessed with good farmland and a deep water port, this community is rich in history and natural beauty. The Cupola House, the Kewaunee House, and the Alpine Inn are a few of the historic buildings still open to the public. Watch the sunset from Harbor View Park.

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