Gorgeous blue-green water. Sand between your toes. The sound of waves crashing into the shore. Minutes turn into hours with no agenda other than relaxation. It’s no wonder the beach calls to us so strongly, and Door County beaches are among some of the best in the United States. Going to the beach is one of the most popular things to do in Door County, and in most cases, it is completely free. This post will tell you everything you need to know about Door County beaches.
Map of Door County Beaches
What To Think About When Planning a Visit to a Beach in Door County
What are the air and water temperatures?
While visiting Door County beaches is a year-round activity, the air and water temperature will affect what kind of activities you participate in. Believe it or not, but the dead of winter is an amazing time to visit beaches in Door County to witness the various ice formations that arise, including Green Bay’s famous ice shoves. Kayaking at Door County beaches is an activity that people participate in from Spring to Fall.
However, swimming, standup paddleboarding, and sunbathing are activities that require higher air and water temperatures. Sunbathing is generally possible from mid-May through mid-September, when the air temperatures are likely to be in the 70s or above. While a few brave souls swim in Door County waters even in the middle of the winter, most will not want to do much swimming until mid-June in Green Bay or mid-July in Lake Michigan.
Where is the beach located?
Beaches on the Green Bay side of Door County will typically have warmer water temperatures than beaches on the Lake Michigan side over the summer months. However, the beaches on the Lake Michigan side become very appealing on the hottest days of the year. Generally, the beaches on the Lake Michigan side can have larger waves. This might be appealing to some, but these waves can sometimes be dangerous, especially for small children. Beaches on Lake Michigan also often are larger and more visually striking – there’s something about seeing the water out to the horizon that fills the soul.
Some beaches in Door County are less accessible because of where they are located. The swimming beach on Rock Island, for example, is known as one of the loveliest beaches, but it is not easy to get to.
What does it cost?
Most Door County beaches don’t cost anything to visit, but a few do. Nicolet Beach, for example, typically costs money to access because it is in a state park.
What kind of services are available?
Some Door County beaches have many services available, including rentals, snack bars, flush toilets, nearby businesses, and more. Some beaches, however, are much more limited in what they offer and may not even have latrines available.
Dog-friendly Door County Beaches
If you want to take your dog with you to cool off, Whitefish Dunes State Park has a pet swimming area. Be ready to walk as it is about a mile down a trail to the dog beach.
Door County typically has clean water at its beaches. However, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources monitors water quality at beaches across the state and maintains an advisory map. Review this map before a beach visit to ensure good water quality at the beach you would like to visit.
24 Best Door County Beaches
Nicolet Beach in Peninsula State Park
Nicolet Beach is located inside Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek. It is a sandy beach with a nearby store offering boat and bicycle rentals and concessions. Because Nicolet beach is in a protected bay off of Green Bay, the water temperatures are typically warmer here than at other Door County beaches. While it normally costs money to get into a Wisconsin state park, there are ways to get into a state park for free.
Address: 9462 Shore Rd, Fish Creek, WI 54212
Otumba Park Beach
Otumba Park Beach is a great place to spend a day right in the heart of Sturgeon Bay. Located on Sturgeon Bay’s west side waterfront, this 3-acre park gives good views of Sturgeon Bay’s downtown and shipyards.
Otumba Park Beach is a highly accessible beach given its location inside Sturgeon Bay, the paved walkway that leads up to it, and the Mobi-Mat which allows easy access to the water for wheelchairs and walkers. The park facilities also include a picnic shelter, restrooms, grills, tennis courts, a playground, and a basketball court
The three-acre park features a sandy beach connected to the park by a paved walkway that connects to Sawyer Park at the foot of the Oregon-Maple Street bridge. The beach faces north/northeast on the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal, so it provides views of the opposite shoreline and Green Bay. Watch ships and boats go by, and take a dip before playing at the playground or on the basketball and tennis courts.
This three (3) acre park is located on West Juniper and North Joliet Avenue on the west side of Sturgeon Bay. Facilities include a picnic shelter building with restrooms, playground equipment, a beach area that includes a Mobi-Mat to allow wheelchairs and walkers easy accessibility to the water, two (2) lighted tennis courts, one (1) lighted basketball court, grills, a parking area and walkway connecting to the waterfront.
Address: 212 W Locust Ct, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Waterfront Park / Sister Bay Beach
The Sister Bay Beach, located at Waterfront Park, is a popular beach right in the heart of Sister Bay, with lots of restaurants and activities around. Many people enjoy diving off of the pier. If you stay in Sister Bay, you will be able to walk to the beach, and when you need a break from the beach, walk to one of the many businesses in this popular Door County village.
Address: 2362 Mill Rd, Sister Bay, WI 54234
Egg Harbor Beach
The Egg Harbor Beach is located a short walk from downtown. Known for its calm waters, kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals are available.
Whitefish Dunes Beach
A mile long, White Fish Dunes Beach at Whitefish Dune State park is one of the most striking and impressive sand beaches in Door County. Whitefish Dunes State Park protects a unique and fragile topography and ecosystem in Door County. This is a favorite place to swim on hot days, and dog-lovers will enjoy this park as it has a designated pet swimming area.
The beach is not what it used to be in recent years given historically high water levels, but as of 2022, the beach has been coming back. Given its location on Lake Michigan, many may not want to swim except during the hottest days of the year. This beach is also subject to powerful wave action and rip tides, so please exercise caution.
At the northern end of the beach, listen to the sound that your feet make in the sand. The beach at Whitefish Dunes State Park has “squeaky” or “singing” sand, a rare phenomenon found on only a few beaches in the world.
Restrooms and a picnic area are available.
Address: 3275 Clark Lake Road, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Fish Creek Public Beach
This sand beach in the heart of one of Door County’s most popular tourist destinations has a swimming area, viewing dock, bathhouse with bathrooms and changing rooms, water bottle fill-up station, and a foot-washing station.
Address: 9462 Hwy 42, Fish Creek
Sand Bay Town Park Beach
The locals are going to kill us for telling you about this one. Sand Bay Town Park of the Town of Liberty Grove is a hidden gem of Door County. On the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula, the waters here are especially inviting for a swim on the hottest days of the year. This has a sand beach, swings, picnic area with grills, restrooms, and a non-motorized boat launch for those who would like to ply Lake Michigan’s waters by kayak.
Address: 11154 N Sand Bay Lane, Sister Bay, WI 54234
Hotz Memorial Town Park Beach
Along the shallow and sandy Europe Bay of Lake Michigan, Hotz Memorial Town Park has a small sand beach as well as grills, a nonmotorized boat launch, picnic tables, and restrooms. you won’t find many crowds here, but you will find a lovely place to spend a morning or afternoon. This park also allows free access to hiking in Newport State Park.
Address: 349 Europe Bay Road, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
Rock Island State Park
Known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Door County if not in the Great Lakes, the swimming area at Rock Island State Park is a rare and elusive gem of beach. It will take you two ferries and a journey across Washington Island to get there, but you will be rewarded by an experience that few can boast of. Once you’re on Rock Island, make sure to tour the historic boathouse and take a hike up to Wisconsin’s oldest lighthouse.
Baileys Harbor Ridges County Park Beach
Baileys Harbor Ridges County Park is named after sand ridges formed by the Lake Michigan shoreline in previous centuries. This is a renowned place for birdwatching and surveying unique flora.
The beach at Baileys Harbor Ridges County Park is sandy and comparatively shallow, making it a favorite for families with young children. But, these features also make it an ideal place for kiteboarding, and if you’re lucky, you will be able to watch kiteboarders perfecting their art in the Lake Michigan waves.
Facilities available include parking, picnic tables, and restrooms.
Address: 2301 Ridges Rd, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202
Frank E. Murphy Park Beach
The Frank E. Murphy Park on Green Bay in Egg Harbor has a three hundred foot sand swim beach. In addition to the beach, the park also has a dock and boat launch. Facilities include a playground, volleyball court, picnic area, pavilion, parking and restrooms.
Address: 7119 Bay Shore Dr, Egg Harbor, WI 54209
Lakeside Park Beach
Lakeside Park in Jacksonport has 158 feet of sandy beach. Facilities include two covered picnic shelters, restrooms, charcoal grills and a boat ramp. This is the location of Jacksonport’s annual polar plunge.
Address: Downtown Jacksonport, WI
Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve Beach
Owned by the Door County Land Trust, the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve has a sandy beach that is good for swimming and for beach combing. You won’t find many people here, and facilities are nonexistent except for a parking lot. However, you will find excellent views of the Ship Canal and Pierhead lighthouses, and walking the breakwater is also fun.
Address: 2499 S Lake Michigan Dr, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Ephraim Public Beach
A small sand beach in the heart of Ephraim. Walkable to several Ephraim hotels. Parking and bathrooms on site.
Address: 9877 WI-42, Ephraim, WI 54211
Sister Bay Pebble Beach
Made of smooth pebbles, this is a good beach to get away from the crowds in the relatively busy Sister Bay area. People enjoy laying out towels and resting on the beach, and some will swim here as well. But, you’ll want some appropriate footwear for swimming and walking the beach. This is not one to go barefoot on.
Schoolhouse Beach, Washington Island
A geological wonder, Schoolhouse Beach is one of only five beaches in the world comprised entirely by limestone pebbles. The stones are worn smooth, but you will probably want some sort of footwear to explore and swim. Public restrooms are available here as is a picnic area with grills.
Address: 1824 Washington Harbor Rd, Washington, WI 54246
Sunset Park Beach
A sand beach on Sturgeon Bay’s East Side, it is part of the larger Sunset Park Complex, a very complete city park with athletic facilities, restrooms, playgrounds, and more.
Address: 747 N 3rd Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Anclam Town Park Beach
This Lake Michigan sand beach in the Town of Baileys Harbor has lots of amenities including a playground and bathrooms.
Address: South Lane, Baileys Harbor, WI
Haines Town Park Beach
In Southern Door County, Haines Beach is extremely popular with the locals. It is a perfect beach for children since it is quite shallow and the waters quite calm. Since it is in a shallow, protected bay off of Green Bay, the water here warms up faster than most beaches in the area. On nice weekends, boats will line up outside of the swim area. Bring some lite beer, rag on the Bears, and you’ll fit right in with the crowd here. Not may amenities here, though: only picnic tables and portapotties.
Address: 3773 Town Park Rd, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Ellison Bay Community Park and Beach
A shallow, sandy beach in a full-service park with a picnic area, grills, gazebo, playground, and restrooms. A non-motorized boat launch is also available.
Address: 11953 Highway 42, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
Clark Lake Beach
A small sand beach on an inland lake in Door County. While this park has few amenities (portapotties are about it), many enjoy the warm, calm waters in comparison to the water of Lake Michigan or Green Bay.
Address: 5241 S Lake Rd, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Portage Park Beach
The site where boaters would portage from Lake Michigan to the bay of Sturgeon Bay before the digging of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, this park has over 40 acres including woods and a sand swimming beach.
Percy Johnson Memorial
This 5-acre park on Washington Island has a 500 foot sand beach, restrooms, and a picnic area with grills. A great place to watch sunrises, it also affords views of Hog Island.
Address: 868 Hemlock Dr, Washington, WI 54246
Sand Dunes Park Beach
On the southwest side of Washington Island, this sand beach has a large dune begging to be climbed.
Door County Wisconsin has lots of awesome beaches for you to encounter the sun, wind, and waves. You don’t need to go to the East or West Coast to hit the beach.
If you want to learn more about other beaches in Wisconsin, check out our post on Wisconsin beach towns.
Door County Beaches FAQ
Yes, Door County has sandy beaches. Popular sandy beaches include Nicolet Beach in Peninsula State Park, Sister Bay Beach, Whitefish Dunes State Park Beach, and Haines Beach.
Yes. With over 24 beaches, Door County likely has a beach that you will enjoy. Popular beaches include Nicolet Beach in Peninsula State Park, Sister Bay Beach, Whitefish Dunes State Park Beach, and Haines Beach.
Yes. Door County has multiple swimming beaches including Nicolet Beach in Peninsula State Park, Sister Bay Beach, Whitefish Dunes State Park Beach, and Haines Beach. Many hotels and resorts have heated swimming pools.