Wisconsin is Midwest Ski Country in winter, but come summer Door County is one of the Great Lakes top destinations. Looking at a Wisconsin map it's the long pointy thumb sticking out in Lake Michigan. Surrounded by lake waters it makes a cool, lush environment to beat the stagnant summer heat inland. It's often been called the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.”
Part of the Niagara Escarpment, it's 75 miles long, averages about 15 miles across and offers over 300 miles of shoreline to explore with a blend of diverse activities and numerous quaint villages tucked into bays along the coastline. The charm of the peninsula begins above Sturgeon Bay, which you cross about halfway up.
Much of the Door is rural with agriculture featuring orchards, vineyards and farms in the highlands between the Lake Michigan side and the Green Bay side. You can hike to lighthouses scattered around the peninsula, through state and county parks, and hike and bike along cliffs that rise over 200 feet above the water The county roads make a wonderful area for road biking between small villages. Kayak among numerous off-shore islands and underneath the cliffs.
In addition to the many outdoor activities there are numerous art galleries, painters and stores offering a unique blend of culture, and an outdoor amphitheater, Northern Sky Theater, that's been putting on plays for over 50 years. One of the best ways to get a feel for the lay of the land is to board the Door County Trolley for a narrated tour.
Whitefish Dunes State Park, on the Lake Michigan side, attracts more annual visitors than any other day-use park in the Badger State. It offers three miles of sandy shoreline, windswept dunes and the state's largest sand dune. Peninsula State Park, on the Green Bay side, offers a dramatic landscape. Limestone bluffs rise a couple-hundred feet above the park's cobblestone shoreline. Nicolet Bay's secluded beach is considered one of the 10 best around the Great Lakes, according to Midwest Living. The Sunset Trail, a graveled biking path, runs past the beach and underneath rocky bluffs as it circles the park. Another 14 miles of woodland trails are available for mountain biking. The Ridges Sanctuary, in existence since 1937, preserves ancient dune swells, which is home to dozens of rare wildflowers and a boreal forest. Located in Bailey's Harbor the 1,600-acre preserve with over five miles of hiking trails and boardwalks is considered one of the most biological diverse areas around the Great Lakes.
For kayak tours check out Door County Adventure Center in Rowley's Bay on Lake Michigan for a blissful tour of the Mink River. While you're there check out Grandma's Swedish Bakery next door for delectable treats.. Also check out the geological wonders of the rugged, rocky Lake Michigan shoreline with a guided tour of Cave Point Country Park with Door County Kayak Tours.
A tour of the Open Door Bird Sanctuary that provides a home for un-releasable or injured birds of prey offers unusual up close encounters with a variety of birds and narrative by founder Rob Hult and his passion for the birds.
For dinners offering wonderful local dishes, seafood and lake fish check out the rooftop dining at the Mezzanine in Egg Harbor with eye-catching sunset vistas over Green Bay, and the gourmet dinners served at the Harbor Fish Market & Grille in Bailey's Harbor. For a couple of great lunch spots you can't beat Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay. Outstanding Swedish food and the attraction of live goats munching daily on the grass thatched roof. Also you can't beat the old fashioned Wilson's Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor that's been attracting visitors for nearly 70 years.
A quiet place in the middle of the country for lodging and easy access to all of the above mentioned locations is Gustave's Getaway: Henson Haus. It's an updated stone house with four bedrooms and lots or room for families or multiple friends. Quiet and very nice. Dogs are included.
Michigan's Kent County is considering purchasing the 272-acre Cannonsburg Ski Area, located just north of Grand Rapids, for a county outdoor recreation area, according to a recent report by MLIVE News.
How would you like to ski, and ride over 20 of the Midwest's top ski areas this winter, every day of the season for just $525?
Montana's Red Lodge Mountain, popular with snowsports enthusiasts on the western side of the Heartland, has announced they are beginning an improvement plan to upgrade the ski area's lift service to the lower mountain and improve the learning area terrain.
It's that time of year when the 2022/23 season passes are going on sale, and at the lowest price point before they start going up in a month or two. If you are a season pass holder now is the time to think about renewing, and if not maybe you want to consider your best option for next winter.
Three ski resorts—Lutsen Mountains, Ski Brule and Boyne Mountain—plan on being open over Easter Weekend and weekends through the month. Mount Bohemia, which SnoCountry just posted last week, is also staying open weekends through April.
It might not be a record-breaking year for snowfall in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, but some areas of the Keweenaw Peninsula, home to Mount Bohemia, have received more than 300 inches of snow already this season. Officially the resort has recorded over 280” this season, and it will continue to snow through April.
Founding families of Minnesota’s Giants Ridge, located in the Gopher State's snowy Iron Range, recently celebrated it's original founding as a local ski hill this past March.
It's been a good winter at Whitefish Mountain Resort. February visitations were up over previous years, which were also good.
Montana's Blacktail Mountain is joining the Powder Alliance reciprocal lift pass program for next winter's 2022/23 season, which allows for three free days of skiing and riding at 17 winter destinations spanning three countries on two different continents.
The Big Sky 14th annual Big Grass Concert takes place, March 31-April 3, and includes some of the top blue grass acts in the country; Travelin’ McCoury's, Keller Williams, Drew Emmit Band, Bill Monroe and Blue Grass Boys, Love Canon, Jon Strickley Trio and more.
Heartland skiers and riders on the west side of the Great Lakes have a good choice for spring break with Lutsen Mountains, which has received around 10 feet of snow so far this winter and slope conditions are in excellent shape.
One of the Badger State's oldest ski areas, Trollhaugen, continues to make improvements. It was the fourth ski area to open in Wisconsin in 1950. Only Granite Peak, 1937, Wilmot Mountain in 1938, and Mont Du LacMo, 1948 came before it. Located just across the Wisconsin/Minnesota border the storied ski area has long been a favorite for Twin Cities skiers and riders, which is about 50 minutes northeast of downtown.
Michigan skier Kyle Kelly and snowboarding friend Brad Dykstra set a new world record for visiting the most ski areas in a 24-hour period this past weekend.
Upper Michigan's Ski Brule is hosting a celebration for the hometown hero and Olympic gold medalist Nick Baumgartner, who claims the ski area as his home hill having grown up in Iron Mountain. The celebration will take place Sunday, March 11 from 5-10 p.m. He will be riding the slopes from noon to 3 p.m., and lift ticket holders are invited to join him. A great chance to get some pictures and video skiing or riding with an Olympic medalist.
Wisconsin's Granite Peak, one of the oldest ski areas in the nation, is celebrating families and Mardi Gras the weekend of March 4-6 with its final family festival of the ski season. Having opened for skiing in the winter of 1937, it turned 85 this season.
Midwestern Indy Pass holders on the far west side of the Heartland don't have a lot of choices for using the pass on road trips. In other parts of the Midwest, it's fairly easy to combine ski areas for a road trip hitting two or three areas on a trip.
A unique opportunity for Midwest Indy Pass holders is to take advantage of a couple of days skiing at Terry Peak, the Midwest's tallest ski area, and add some gaming fun at the many casinos in nearby Deadwood.
With the Winter Olympics taking place in February skiing and snowboarding are at the forefront, but have you ever thought about what it would be like to try a luge run? It always looks pretty exciting during the competition when they can reach speeds of up to 90 mph during a run.