Wondering how you’ll spend time during your vacation to Northport in Door County, Wisconsin? Here are the best things to do in and around Northport!
Watch the Ferries
Northport is where the Washington Island Ferry pull in to the Door Peninsula. The Washington Island Ferry runs extremely regularly during the summer, and still runs in the winter, though with a less frequent schedule.
As the picture above shows, it can often be quite foggy in Northport. Because of this, the first thing you will notice about the Washington Island Ferry is its powerful horn blast, warning those on the dock of its approach.
Slowly, a hulking vessel will emerge from the fog, safe from its passage across one of the United State’s most treacherous voyages: Death’s Door.
It is an impressive and romantic experience to watch the ferry come in.
Visit Washington Island
Better yet, take the Washington Island Ferry across Death’s Door to visit Washington Island, one of the Great Lakes’ few year-long inhabited islands.
Drive the Curvy Road
Just to get to Northport, you have to travel over Door County’s famous “Curvy Road.” Wisconsin State Highway 42 proceeds through 15 curves in this vicinity. The road was designed to encourage drivers to participate and take in the natural surroundings. Interestingly enough, the road itself has become a focal point of attention, attracting many photographers.
Ellison Bay Beach
Few things say “vacation” more than going to the beach. Head south from Northport just a few miles to the Ellison Bay Beach!
It is 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
Sand Bay Town Park Beach
Another beach in the vicinity of Northport is at Sand Bay Town Park. 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
These are only two of Door County’s many beaches. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Amazing Door County Beaches in order to find the right beach for your visit to Fish Creek.
Visit a Restaurant
Here are a couple of restaurants near Northport.
The Shoreline is the last stop before Washington Island in Gills rock, near Ellison Bay. The peninsula’s restaurant scene goes out with a bang here, with a restaurant that boasts a view as alluring as its food.
Water views are surprisingly rare at Door County restaurants, but The Shoreline has a great one. This alone is worth dining at The Shoreline.
However, the food is quite good as well. With an emphasis on Great Lakes whitefish, walleye, and perch, the food reflects The Shoreline’s locale. It is well-prepared, and enticingly presented.
The Hügel Haus calls itself Door County’s “wurst bar,” as a self-deprecating nod to the German fare they offer.
Attached to the Hillside Inn, Hügel Haus is unassuming on the outside but has a unique interior. It’s worth coming in to see it!
Patrons enjoy the German food and also the ample beer selection.
Powerboating or Sailboating
Boating is a popular activity around Northport. There are several public boat ramps in Gills Rock in the vicinity of Northport.
Newport State Park
Newport State Park is Hello Door County’s favorite of the Wisconsin State Parks in Door county, and it is right in the vicinity of Northport. Newport offers more of a wilderness experience than the other state parks. People will not crowd you here, but the stars crowd the night sky. Gorgeous hikes, stunning shoreline, and pack-in camping round out the experience at Newport State Park.
Our post on Everything You Need to Know About Door County State Parks has lots of information about Peninsula State Park and the other state parks in Door County.
Ellison Bluff County Park / State Natural Area
This 174-acre park with 7,000 feet of shoreline sits 100 feet above Lake Michigan. Outstanding views are available from the hiking trails. Amenities include a picnic area and restrooms. This County Park has also been named a State Natural Area.
Ellison Bluff County Park is one of the many examples of Door County’s excellent parks and preserves, even beyond the 5 state parks. Our article on all of Door County’s parks and preserves is your guide to these portals to natural beauty.
Door Bluff Headlands County Park
This 252-acre park, with 600 feet of shoreline, is Door County’s largest county park. However, it is also the least developed. No facilities exist here except for an access road and undeveloped hiking trails. Because of the lack of development, naturalists will love to explore this park.
Door Bluff Headlands County Park is one of the many examples of Door County’s excellent parks and preserves, even beyond the 5 state parks. Our article on all of Door County’s parks and preserves is your guide to these portals to natural beauty.
Address: 12900 Door Bluff Park Rd, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
View a Lighthouse
Door County has 11 lighthouses. While Northport doesn’t have a lighthouse, several are accessible in a daytrip.
Once you are to Northport, it makes sense to try to see the Pottawatomie Lighthouse on Rock Island. It will take you a drive to the tip of the Door Peninsula, a ferry passage across “Death’s Door,” another drive across Washington Island, and one further ferry passage across the Rock Island passage just to get to the island. Once there, you will have about a mile-long hike uphill to get to the lighthouse.
Despite the effort it takes to get there, you will be rewarded with experiencing something that few others have. A beautiful setting, an inspiring lighthouse, and a sense of accomplishment awaits you at the Pottawatomie Lighthouse.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Door County Lighthouses for details on how to visit this and other lighthouses in the area.
Watch a Sunset
Northport is a wonderful place to catch a sunset. Porte de Morts Park, is a great place near Northport to watch one.
Porte de Mors Park offers a great view of Death’s door with a fun staircase down to the shore. The website for the Town of Liberty Grove says that you can “enjoy a break from reality” at this park. We’re not exactly sure what this means or if it is desirable. But, the adventurous will find out by visiting.
Address: 12832 Kenosha Drive, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
Isle View Park
On the shore of Lake Michigan, this small park is well-liked as a quiet place away from the crowds. Views of Plum and Pilot Islands are available here on clear days.
Address: Isle View Rd, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
Check out our post on Door County’s parks and preserves to find out more about all the places in Door County to experience this place’s natural beauty.
Several public and private campgrounds lie around Northport. Check out our ultimate guide to camping in Door County to learn more about camping opportunities around Sister Bay.
Door County is known as “Cherryland USA.” Take part in this All-American activity, usually sometime from mid-June through early August.
Check out our ultimate guide to Door County cherry picking to learn more!
Northport is a great place to go fishing. This area is especially good for smallmouth bass fishing. Fishermen also frequently land perch, pike, walleye, and salmon.
Peninsula State Park, about 20 miles south of Northport, has one of the most scenic golf courses in the state of Wisconsin. Tee times for this golf course are highly sought after.
The clubhouse has a restaurant and pro shop.
Catch a Free Concert
The village of Sister Bay, just a few miles south of Northport, hosts weekly concerts at the stage at Waterfront Park, held at 6:00 PM on Wednesdays from mid-June through mid-August.
Uncle Tom’s Candy Shop
Uncle Tom’s specializes in making homemade, high-quality candy. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, but the journey to get there will only add to the fun of a visit.
Bea’s Ho-made Products
Offering canned goods like jams, jellies, pickles as well as other down-home goods, Bea’s Ho-made Products is a classic Door County stop. For the food and also for the obligatory picture by the sign.