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How many days...?

Frankfurt, Germany
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How many days...?

We want to go to Door County for the first time in early October after one week in Chicago. The aim is to see more from the nature of the Great Lakes and to relax (esp. after doing the Chicago marathon). My question is, how many days would you recommend to stay in door County - we have a max of 6 nights, or would you recommend some nights/places between Chicago and DC ?

Thx !

Wisconsin
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1. Re: How many days...?

The drive is definitely doable in just one day, but you may want to break it up and stop along the way. Sheboygan has the Blue Harbor Resort along Lake Michigan and Kohler has wonderful lodging including the American Club. Or (not sure how you feel about the Packers) a night in Green Bay and seeing Lambeau is a good option.

However, six nights wouldn't really be too many nights. That first night is after the long drive, the last night is before you leave, so that leaves four totally unencumbered days. Even one day in the Door is nice but more is better. If you're considering staying a Friday and Saturday night you'll want to book ASAP, weekends fill up fast in the fall. There are lots of options for activities, golf, shopping, hiking, biking, casual or upscale dining, historical sights and live theater. Or just sitting and watching eagles and other wildlife.

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2. Re: How many days...?

If you're going to Door County to see the nature of the Great Lakes, 3 days is good. There's no better place to see the nature of the Great Lakes between Door County and Chicago. If you want to see more of the Great Lakes, consider a drive further north to Pictured Rocks or Apostle Islands. Or, take the ferry from Manitowoc to Michigan and take in Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and Indiana Dunes.

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3. Re: How many days...?

Also consider Porcupine Mountains.

Chicago's North...
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4. Re: How many days...?

this itinerary may not seem too relaxing, but you'll really get to see some of the nature of the Great Lakes....

i'd say, get out EARLY and drive the 4 hours straight to the southern door.... one or 2 nights are enough for a taste----because even more dramatic scenery awaits you along Lake Superior..... we stayed at the sand bay beach resort and loved it.... in door county, check out cave point county park and peninsula state park along with whitefish dunes state park.... i suggest getting out early as you can easily spend a half day in peninsula... there are several other county and state parks worth visiting, but i'm not familiar with them....

after door county, drive to the city of green bay, then drive straight north to pictured rocks national park on Lake Superior---some of the finest Great Lakes scenery this side of the border (i say that, because the canadian side is even better, and even more wild), plus it's much closer than apostle islands or the porkies (tho, if you had more time, they are DEFINITELY worth the visit)..... by early oct, you should be able to see the beginning of the fall colors starting to kick in.... weather permitting, i recommend taking the pictured rocks shoreline cruise.... there are many waterfalls in the area, so be sure to check them out..... 2 nights in munising, MI should be enough to get a feel for the area....

if you choose, you can drive east around the top of Lake Michigan.... along the way, big spring is worth a visit..... again, if you had more time, you could do a side trip up to the SOO and watch the Great Lakes freighters pass thru the locks. and/or you could do an excursion to mackinac island.... cross the mackinac bridge, one of the longest suspension bridges in the world... the view is spectacular!

at this point, you'll only have maybe 2 days left.... i would just drive the scenic route along the lake and take it all in. when you get past traverse city, MI, be sure to spend at least a few hours in sleeping bear dunes national park.... these dunes are among the highest in north america... pierce stocking drive is a great way to see the park, but if you are up to it, i recommend hiking the dunes as well.... the views are, again, spectacular.....

continue south. if the lake michigan carferry is still running, i recommend it.... watching the sunset in the middle of Lake Michigan, with no land in sight is Zen.... but if you're travelling westbound, you'll have to settle for a late morning crossing.... it adds a few $$ to the trip, but if you REALLY wanna get a feel for the vastness of the Great Lakes, this is one of the best ways to do it... plus, you get to relax for a few hours.... if you opt not to take it, then just continue south around the Lake. you can visit a few of the beach towns along the way, but they will probably be pretty much dead at that time of the year...

http://www.ssbadger.com/home.aspx

www.beachtowns.org

http://www.picturedrocks.com/Home.php

/www.uptravel.com/pictured-rocks-national-lakeshore-112/

Wisconsin
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5. Re: How many days...?

Well they definitely have received input on two versions--relaxing while going to Door County or seeing the Great Lakes. We just came back from three days in Door County and at the end of the month are taking 6 days to go to the UP and Traverse City area so this really resonated with me.

We thought about stopping back up in the Door on the way to the UP, Mackinac Island etc, but felt that was taking too much time. If the main idea is relaxing, I think some of the suggestions for MI are a bit much, but there's truth in saying for some people six days in Door County may be too much.

We're staying two days in Munising for Pictured Rocks (glad to hear another endorsement Strange), a night on Mackinac Island, and two days in the Traverse City region. We considered taking the ferry back, but you don't save that much time, then add to that the cost and concerns about the weather so we're driving back. But this time spending one night in St. Ignace and driving along Lake Michigan. When we travel we do try and do as much as possible and plan carefully, but including that much of Michigan may be a bit ambitious, if the goal is to relax. That's the beauty of TA, take the good advice and see what works for you.

Chicago, IL
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6. Re: How many days...?

Just putting in my two cents to say there's nothing that exciting, or deserving of a few days' stay, in between Chicago and Door County. I mean no slight against Sheboygan residents; it's a perfectly nice town; I just wouldn't vacation there, because I don't find it terribly "vacation-y."

Drive directly to Door County from Chicago, is my advice. It will take you 4-5 hours. I can't speak to the U.P. and Lake Superior area suggestions, since I haven't been up there in years, but one can easily spend a week in Door County and not get bored. The fall colors are beautiful, too.

Wisconsin
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7. Re: How many days...?

Maend1, I agree that the best use of time is just get to Door County. I mentioned it in case they're the types who like to meander and see things along the way. We use both versions when we travel--get to where we want to be ASAP or, having breaks or additional nights along the way.

Chicago
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8. Re: How many days...?

I've had many enjoyable week long summer stays in DC. Fall is also a beautiful time to visit, but a week may be a day or two longer than you need. Stops along the way are not necessary, unless you desire a more leisurely drive.

If you really want a taste of the Great Lakes, I'd also include a trip up to Munising, Michigan and perhaps Porcupine Mountains, if the weather is still on the warmer side. In this case, three nights in DC before Munising and the UP would be my suggestion. The area and lake shore around Munising is vastly different from DC with spectcular rock formations and sand dunes.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: How many days...?

Summer is the only time I would consider spending a full week in Door County, since you can spend time boating/swimming/fishing on the lake each day. Any other season? 4 days, max.

Edited: 22 September 2011, 22:00
10. Re: How many days...?

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