Schoolhouse Beach on Washington Island

Welcome to Door County, a beautiful peninsula in Wisconsin that is known for its charming towns, scenic views, and unique beaches. Today, I am excited to share with you one of Door County’s most extraordinary natural wonders: Schoolhouse Beach on Washington Island.

As a Door County local, I have had the pleasure of visiting Schoolhouse Beach many times, and each visit leaves me in awe of its natural beauty. In this blog post, I will provide you with a comprehensive guide to Schoolhouse Beach, amenities, beach safety, and cost. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned Door County traveler, I hope that this guide will inspire you to experience the wonder of Schoolhouse Beach for yourself.

Grid with scenes from Schoolhouse Beach on Washington Island, WI.
Modified from “Schoolhouse Beach” by Anne Marie Peterson via Flickr. Used by permission (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Schoolhouse Beach: General Description

Schoolhouse Beach is a truly one-of-a-kind destination on Washington Island. This beautiful beach is named after a one-room schoolhouse that used to sit at the site and is famous for its unique geological features.

Schoolhouse Beach is one of only five beaches in the world that features smooth, limestone pebbles, which have been shaped by thousands of years of geological processes. The beach is also part of the Niagara Escarpment, a geological formation that runs from New York through Wisconsin and into Canada.

One of the most striking features of Schoolhouse Beach is the crystal clear water that surrounds it, which is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities. Visitors can even see the bottom of the lake and watch fish and other aquatic life swim by.

In addition to the stunning scenery, Schoolhouse Beach is also a great place for rock-skipping. The flat and smooth stones make it easy to skip them across the water, which is always a fun activity for visitors of all ages. However, it’s important to remember that taking the stones is against the law, and violators are subject to a fine.

Located on the north side of Washington Island, Schoolhouse Beach is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Door County. Whether you’re looking to relax in the sun, take a refreshing dip in the water, or simply admire the unique landscape, Schoolhouse Beach is sure to be a highlight of your trip.


In addition to its stunning natural beauty, the beach is also equipped with a number of facilities that make it a comfortable and convenient destination for visitors.

One of the most important amenities at Schoolhouse Beach is parking. Visitors can park in a designated lot near the beach, which makes it easy to access the water and enjoy a day in the sun. The lot is spacious and well-maintained, ensuring that there’s always plenty of room for everyone.

If you’re planning to spend the day at Schoolhouse Beach, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a picnic area with grills where you can cook up a tasty meal. The grills are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and there are plenty of tables and benches where you can sit and enjoy your food.

In addition to the picnic area, Schoolhouse Beach also has restrooms that are open to the public. These facilities are clean and well-maintained, which is important for visitors who are spending the day at the beach.

Finally, Schoolhouse Beach also features historical displays that provide insight into the area’s rich cultural and natural history. These displays offer a fascinating glimpse into the past, and are a great way to learn more about the beach and the surrounding area.

Overall, Schoolhouse Beach is a well-equipped destination that offers everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable day in the sun. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, grill up a tasty meal, or learn more about the area’s history, Schoolhouse Beach is sure to delight visitors of all ages.

Beach Safety

I want to make sure that everyone who visits Schoolhouse Beach stays safe while enjoying all that it has to offer. While the beach is a beautiful and inviting destination, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and take appropriate precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that there is no lifeguard at Schoolhouse Beach. This means that visitors should practice the buddy system and never swim alone. It’s always best to swim with a friend or family member, and to keep an eye on each other while in the water.

Another important consideration is sun safety. The sun’s UV rays can be very strong, even on cloudy days, so it’s important to wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and to reapply every two hours. Additionally, wearing a hat and staying in the shade during peak sun hours (10am-4pm) can help reduce your risk of sunburn and heat exhaustion.

Even in the summer months, the water at Schoolhouse Beach can be cold. Visitors should be aware of the potential for hypothermia, which can occur when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, confusion, slurred speech, and loss of coordination.

If someone is showing signs of hypothermia, it’s important to act quickly. Move the person to a warm, dry place, remove any wet clothing, and cover them with blankets or warm clothing. Offer warm liquids, but avoid alcohol or caffeine, which can cause dehydration.

Finally, it’s important to check the Wisconsin DNR’s water quality beach advisory map before visiting Schoolhouse Beach. The map provides up-to-date information on water quality, and can help you make informed decisions about swimming and other water activities.

By following these tips and taking appropriate precautions, visitors to Schoolhouse Beach can enjoy a safe and memorable visit to this unique and beautiful destination.


First, the Town of Washington is asking for small contributions to help defray the cost of maintaining its parks and beaches.

Getting to Washington Island also incurs a cost. The most common way to reach the island is by taking the Washington Island ferry, which requires payment of a fare. The ferry runs year-round, with more frequent departures during the summer months, but visitors should plan ahead and be aware of the schedule and cost of passage.

Additionally, visitors will want to account for other costs, such as food and drink.

By considering these costs ahead of time and budgeting accordingly, visitors can ensure a stress-free and enjoyable visit to Schoolhouse Beach on Washington Island.

General Information

Address: 1824 Washington Harbor Rd, Washington, WI 54246

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Schoolhouse Beach the only attraction on Washington Island?

While Schoolhouse Beach is certainly one of the most unique and popular attractions on Washington Island, there is plenty more to see and do on this beautiful island. Visitors can explore the island’s natural beauty by hiking, biking, or kayaking, or they can visit one of the island’s museums or galleries to learn more about its history and culture.

Can I take the smooth limestone pebbles as a souvenir?

No, it is against the law to take the smooth limestone pebbles from Schoolhouse Beach. Not only is it illegal, but it’s also important to leave these unique geological features in place to preserve the beach’s natural beauty and ecological balance. Visitors who are caught taking stones from the beach may face fines.

Is Schoolhouse Beach safe for swimming?

While Schoolhouse Beach is generally safe for swimming, there are some important safety considerations to keep in mind. There is no lifeguard on duty, so visitors should always practice the buddy system and be aware of their own and their companions’ swimming abilities. Visitors should also be aware of the water temperature, as the crystal clear water can be quite cold and may cause hypothermia in some individuals. It’s also important to check the Wisconsin DNR’s water quality beach advisory map to ensure that the water is safe for swimming.

Summary: Schoolhouse Beach

  • Schoolhouse Beach is a unique beach made of smooth limestone pebbles, with crystal clear water and good stone-skipping opportunities.
  • It is one of only five beaches like this in the world, named after a one-room schoolhouse that used to sit at the site.
  • The beach offers parking, picnic areas with grills, restrooms, and historical displays.
  • Visitors should practice beach safety, including sun protection, hypothermia awareness, and water quality checks.
  • Visitors should also be prepared to pay for ferry transportation and make small contributions to maintain the beach.
  • Washington Island offers many attractions beyond Schoolhouse Beach, and visitors should be aware of local rules and regulations regarding the beach and its unique features.
About the author
Mark Stoneman
Hi! My name is Mark! I have been a resident of Door County for almost ten years now, and I'm glad to help you say "Hello" to Door County. I believe that travel helps to change lives, and because of that, I want to help you improve your life through travel.

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