The "thumb" of Wisconsin, Door County is a 75-mile long peninsula jutting out into Lake Michigan. Discovered by the French explorer Jean Nicolet in 1634, the Door Peninsula has more miles of shoreline, more state parks and more lighthouses than any other county in the United States.
With its limestone bluffs, sand beaches and rural farms, Door County is a natural haven from the stress of daily life. The waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan give the peninsula more than 250 miles of shoreline, ensuring that you are never more than a few minutes from a relaxing water view.
The coastlines of Door County are dotted with more than 40 islands, many of which provide boaters safe and scenic anchorage. Ten lighthouses still guard the harbors and islands of the county. One of them, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, built in 1868 in Peninsula State Park, is open to the public.
Winter is the peninsula's "Quiet Season", when the cedars and bluffs wear a mantle of white. The only "crowds" one is likely to encounter are deer. Guests spend their days exploring the miles of cross-country ski trails in Peninsula State Park, ice skating, snow shoeing or taking a sleigh ride from the front door of the White Gull. Evenings are spent before crackling fireplaces in guest rooms, the dining room or the White Gull lobby.
The first sign of spring is the annual tapping of the sugar maple trees in early March, when days are sunny and warm, and temperatures fall below freezing at night. April is most popular with sport fishermen, who descend on each harbor as the ice goes out. May is a month of greening and rejuvenation, peaking with the bursting of wildflower blossoms and the blooming of the cherry and apple orchards.
Summer in Door County has always been and will continue to be the busiest season on the Peninsula, and for good reason. With its miles of shoreline, five state parks, harbors, beaches and quiet back roads, Door County is a delightful place to spend outside, whether hiking, biking, golfing, boating or just picnicking and relaxing by the water. Summer is also when most of the performing and visual arts are at their peak, and hardly an evening passes without numerous choices for evening entertainment.
Originally, most of the businesses in Door County were only open between Memorial Day and Labor Day. For a long time, Door County autumns were a well kept secret. However, in recent years, people from all over the midwest have begun making annual trips to the peninsula in September and October to witness what one writer described as the "caviar of fall color." And there is plenty more to enjoy in autumn, from the bountiful apple harvest to the popular fall festivals held in many of the villages.