The days may be shorter and the temperatures may be lower, but the beauty of Door County is still unmeasurable and Mother Nature sure does sparkle with all this snow we’ve gotten. If you haven’t had the chance to enjoy Door County during the winter yet, we have some suggestions for free outdoor winter activities you need to include when you plan your stay with us at Bay Shore Inn. Oh, and when you stay with us for two or more nights during our winter Quiet Time, you get a third weekday free.
Winter Fleet Arrives in Sturgeon Bay
We are located on Sturgeon Bay in the city of Sturgeon Bay, and one of our favorite neighbors is Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. Fincantieri is a shipbuilding company, and they receive ships that range from 500 feet to more than 1,000 feet long during the winter months for winterizing, repairs, and upgrades. These elusive ships are hard to catch up close, but when the winter fleet is coming in, spectators get a special show…you just have to know when they’ll be heading through the canal. Destination Sturgeon Bay has a list of the ships expected to make their way through the canal this winter, along with links to tracking their progress around the Great Lakes. Even if there aren’t any ships making their way through the canal during your visit, you can head to Sunset Park to catch a glimpse of the massive ships in the shipyard.
Ice Formations at Cave Point County Park
Just 20 minutes northeast of Bay Shore Inn is Cave Point County Park. Now, everyone talks about the beautiful cliffs and views at Cave Point County Park in the summer, but not as many people talk about what happens there in the winter. And that’s a shame! The constant waves crashing against the cliffs and caves create icicles and massive ice formations on every surface that look like sculptures.
We suggest taking a hike or grabbing a pair of snowshoes to take in the true beauty of the park in winter.
Free Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing at Crossroads
Crossroads at Big Creek is just on the other side of Sturgeon Bay and offers up several opportunities to enjoy the winter weather. Whether you want to ski, snowshoe, or kicksled, their trails are open and have a great snow base. And don’t miss out on their weekend events, which include free winter sports equipment rental to Door County residents and visitors. The Ski-for-Free program is offered at Crossroads as long as there’s enough snow. Volunteers will help you find the correct size of skis, boots, poles, and snowshoes. You could even try out a kicksled on the snowy trails.
Free Winter Hiking at State Parks
If you haven’t hiked Door County in the winter, you’re missing out on a completely different experience. Make sure you have the right clothing and gear to stay warm and dry, and double check that your destination is open for the winter or has the right winter conditions for visitors.
Two of our favorites that are open in the winter and located right here in Sturgeon Bay are Potawatomi State Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park. These parks do require a state park vehicle pass, but those can be used all year at all Wisconsin state parks. Potawatomi has four groomed cross-country ski trails that total just over eight miles. The rest of the park is open to hikers and snowshoers as long as they stay off the groomed ski trails. There are also eight miles of snowmobile trails that go throughout the park. And if you brought your tip-ups and bait, Potawatomi’s boat landing is a great spot to get out on the ice for a day of fishing. Whitefish Dunes State Park has three trails groomed for cross-country skiing, and one trail open for snowshoeing.
Experiencing Sturgeon Bay in the winter needs to be on everyone’s travel to-do list, especially if you’ve explored Sturgeon Bay in the summer. You need to see what it all looks like covered in sparkly snow with all the water frozen over. And if the ice is safe, you can walk out on the water and see your favorite spots from a different perspective. It may be a little colder, but with the right gear and a Bay Shore Inn suite to cozy up in at the end of the night, you’ll love it here in the winter – Trust us!