Peninsula State Park

Link to Wisconsin DNR’s Peninsula State Park Page

undefinedThings to do
undefinedNoise level
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Yes, tons!
undefinedCell Service
ZERO…none, why?

One of Wisconsin’s busiest, most popular state parks, Peninsula State Park carves out over 3,000 acres of Door County real estate conserving land and lake frontage for generations to come. Smack dab in between Fish Creek and Ephraim is a beautiful park, home to the only golf course in the Wisconsin State Park system and also to the Northern Sky Theater. There’s more than enough to do here, boating, swimming, hiking, biking, theater, golfing, shopping, restaurants, drive-in movies. The list goes on and on.

We have been to Peninsula State Park more than any other in the state. First was long before we were married, camping with my then future in-laws. Aww…young love.

The second time we went was with my sister and her best friend and their husbands. This was the original party camping. With so many things to do and places to go, camping at any state park in Door County gives you access to all Door County has to offer. This was to be a wine and biking weekend. It was great. Food, winery hopping, spending time with friends, making memories.

The third time we invited my mom, my cousin, my mom’s best friend, my sister and all of their husbands. It was fun, and my mom’s first time to Door County. I couldn’t believe that! She grew up in Milwaukee! Well, we had grand plans, fish boils, shopping, a trip to Washington Island to visit Lavender Isle, my mom loves lavender.

We had a great time except for the weather we had NO IDEA was coming. One downside to Peninsula is there is ZERO CELL RECEPTION. They want you to unplug, unwind. One reason I like having reception is so I can check the weather. There was NASTY weather coming, but did we know that? No. We drove up to the ferry in Northport only to be told that the trips were on hold due to the incoming weather. What incoming weather? It was sunny out, some clouds were rolling in, but nothing ominous looking.

My mother is terrified of water, doesn’t mind swimming or being on a boat, but if there’s any risk involved, she’s out. My cousin also felt something weirdly wrong, so we high tailed it back to the campsite. We get back, and the clouds started getting darker. We had varying cell services, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, but no service. Checked the radio, they aren’t saying anything. There were tornado warnings!!! WARNINGS! That means either 1) there has been a radar detected tornado, or 2) someone has actually spotted a funnel cloud. We were told the name of the town, but couldn’t load a map so we had no idea where it was! No park ranger came through, nothing. Turns out, it was on the other side of Green Bay, but still it would have been nice to know that!

On top of that, text messages are basically useless. Leave camp to go pick up ice, but you have to ask a question. It won’t go through. Take a bike ride but you’re mom doesn’t know where you are? You can’t tell her where you are. Can’t even call her! This experience was not fun, and I just have to say, if Peninsula would just allow cell reception, none of the stress and fear we had that weekend would have happened. Wisconsin DNR, Peninsula State Park, Friends of Peninsula State Park, it’s 2020, please, please add a cell tower or something. It’s for safety more than anything.

Honestly, I want to go back to Peninsula. It’s beautiful, there’s so much to do and so many places to go, I just don’t think I can until cell service is allowed. And I say allowed because there’s cell service the second you get out of the park. Weird, right?

If no cell service doesn’t bother you, trust me, this place is amazing. There is tons to do and see. Drive through the park, bike through it. Go hiking, or swimming. Honestly, the possibilities are endless.

I also have to make a plugs for my favorite Door County spots.

1. Wild Tomato – On our second trip to Door County my sister’s friend said that the woman who made her wedding cake opened a restaurant in Door County really close to Peninsula. We were all at that wedding, except for Kyle (we hadn’t met yet)and we all knew all about the Cake Lady, so we knew that this restaurant would be good. And it totally was. I HIGHLY recommend it, even if there’s a wait.

2. Door County Coffee – Is there really any better smell than freshly ground coffee? Door County Coffee is really good and comes in so many flavors. It’s now retailed all over the state, but you can actually get whole beans, grind your own, pre-ground, or K-cup varieties in store. They also have a full cafe and serve food as well. There’s even a drive through!

3. Door 44 Winery – A subsidiary of Parallel 44 Winery, this is the Door County location for the award winning winery. My sisters and I tasted Parallel 44’s Frozen Tundra wine a few years ago, and loved it, it didn’t surprise us when it won best wine that year. They have grown and I highly recommend a tasting.

4. Door Peninsula Winery – This is a popular location, right on the road in and out of Door County. The wines are good and worth a taste.

5. Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market – This place has some of my favorite Door County wines and also has a very nice tasting room.


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