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Door County Vacation

East Moline...
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Door County Vacation

Me and my husband will be spending 3 nights, 4 days in Door County. We are trying to do it as least expensive as possible. Any suggestions on things to do and places to eat that won't break the bank? Our first 2 nights will be at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay and our last night will be at Village View Inn in Sister Bay. Thanks!

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1. Re: Door County Vacation

Most places of interest for the first-time tourist are in the area around Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, Sister Bay, and Bailey's Harbor. I would cancel the Sturgeon Bay reservation and spend all 3 nights further north. That being said, you'll pay more for meals up north.

Visit and walk around the three villages listed above.

Rent bikes at Nor-Door for an hour or 2 and ride around Peninsula State Park.

The Door County parks are free-Cave Point, Murphy, Door Bluff Headlands, and Ellison Bluff are very nice.

You can get picnic supplies at Econo Foods or Pick and Save in Sturgeon Bay, Main St Market in Egg Harbor, and Piggly Wiggly in Sister Bay.

At least last year, Sweetwater's in Fish Creek had a Tuesday and Wednesday night special of $3.75 for a burger or hot dog and fries.

The Second Story restaurant in Ephraim is good for for moderately-priced meals, and they have a good early AM breakfast special. Sonny's in FIsh Creek is good for regular pizza, salads and apps.

The Mobil station south of Sister Bay has a carryout pizza and sub shop.

Birminghams in Sturgeon Bay, the Cabin in Sturgeon Bay, and the Hitching Post near Valmy are taverns with less-expensive meals. Others include Husby's in Sister Bay and the Bayside in Fish Creek.

Check out the web sites for the Sister Bay Bowl and the Cornerstone in Bailey's Harbor. See if those are in your price range.

Chicago, IL
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2. Re: Door County Vacation

Door County is a great place to vacation, and it doesn't have to break the bank. When you arrive, I suggest purchasing a copy of the local paper, the Door County Advocate, and picking up freebie papers available at local businesses (the Resorter Reporter, Vacation Guide, and especially the Peninsula Pulse) or visitors centers -- the visitors center in Sturgeon Bay has a lot of good, free information. The newspapers have listings of activities, many of which are free -- open mike nights at local bars, nature programs at state parks, festivals -- or inexpensive (farm breakfasts, concert fundraisers, book sales, etc.).

One of my favorite things to do in Door County is to simply walk around through the towns, window-shop and sightsee. Fish Creek and Sister Bay are especially well suited for this. I like to stop at a coffee shop and get a cup of tea, maybe a cookie (or sandwich, if it's lunch time), and go sit at the local park and gaze out at the bay or people-watch. It's so peaceful and relaxing.

A favorite hiking spot of mine is the Ridges Sanctuary in Bailey's Harbor. I believe they ask a small donation for hiking the trails, but it's on the honor system, and the trails here are much less crowded than the state parks (which charge admission and will ticket you if you don't have a sticker on your windshield).

Another tip: get a "Fun Map" of Door County and try to see if you can get from one place to another without driving on Route 42 or 57, or minimizing your time on them as much as possible. This will take you through the back roads of the county, away from much of the tourist traffic, and you'll get to see meadow, farm and wooded scenery that is missed by those who never get off the main roads.

In terms of entertainment, if you want to see a show, the American Folklore Theatre is less expensive than the Peninsula Players. There is an old-fashioned drive-in movie theater on Route 42 in between Ephraim and Fish Creek, which I believe is reasonably priced. You can get (for free) a library card at any of the area branches of the Door County Library and check out books and movies at no cost.

It doesn't cost much to bowl at the Sister Bay Bowl (although I'm not a fan of the food there), and the cheapest place for mini golf is probably the Red Putter or Johnson's.

I'm going to sound like a total moocher with this, but .... several of the "farm market" and bakery type places you see on Route 57 and 42 put out a lot of free samples. If you're not turned off by dipping pretzels or Wheat Thins into an open jar of mustard or salsa that's sitting out on a table where anyone can try it, you can almost make a meal of the free crackers, chips, jams, dips and fruit samples at places like Seaquist's, Wood Orchard, Koepsel's and others. Oh, and wine tasting is free at Simon Creek, but they charge at Stone's Throw.

Check the newspapers for listings of daily specials (including early bird specials) at area restaurants -- if you don't mind eating dinner early, you might be able to get a meal for $15 or less at some of the "supper club" type restaurants like Greenwood, Donny's Glidden Lodge (which I HIGHLY recommend if you can swing it!), English Inn and so on.

Some of my favorite inexpensive or reasonably priced places to eat are:

-JJ's, north end of Sister Bay

-Good Eggs, Ephraim

-Base Camp coffee house (on 42, north of downtown Sister Bay)

-The Village Cafe, Egg Harbor (there is a daily soup/sandwich combo that's a good deal)

-Blue Horse coffee shop, Fish Creek

-Casey's BBQ, Egg Harbor

-Glas coffee house, Sturgeon Bay

-Sonny's pizza in Sturgeon Bay has an all-you-can eat buffet on the weekends, I believe

-Door County Ice Cream Factory (north of Sister Bay)

Have fun!

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3. Re: Door County Vacation

The Resorter Reporter and Vacation Guide merged a couple of years ago. The merged publication is now called Your Key to the Door Weekly. It's available online as well as printed.

Please do not walk the trails at Ridges if you don't want to make the suggested donation.

East Moline...
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4. Re: Door County Vacation

I really appreciate all of the suggestions!This was kind of a last minute trip and everything I have read on Door County sounds like fun, just a little bit of information overload. We do enjoy going on walks, just relaxing and wandering around enjoying some sights - especially since this will be a kid-free vacation! Thank you so much to the people that took the time to respond! You have definately made this a little less stressful.

Fish Creek...
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5. Re: Door County Vacation

For breakfast, some restaurants have early bird specials good before 9:00. The ones I am aware of are Pen Pub, Pelletiers, Summertime ($3.95), Julie's, and the Bistro.

East Moline...
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6. Re: Door County Vacation

Great, thanks! I believe that both of the hotels we are staying at offer a breakfast, but my guess is that those places probably offer a decently priced lunch. My thoughts are, spend a little more money on the fun things (we are doing a cave kayaking tour) and spend less on food and lodging. I think renting bikes sounds like fun. I would like to know, not only what is inexpensive, but what is worth spending money on and what we could skip. All of the suggestions so far have been great and I have already started looking into them. I also love a good farmer's market. Does anyone know where the best/biggest is on a Saturday morining? Thanks for the great suggestions, please keep them coming!

And don't worry, we are the type of people that if we go to Ridges, we will most certainly pay the donation fee.

Chicago Suburbs
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7. Re: Door County Vacation

If you are taking a kayak tour, you will certainly not "do it as least expensive as possible." Spring for a park entrance sticker and hike in Peninsula, Newport and Whitefish Dunes State Parks. On weekends, you can get a cheap brat for lunch outside of Econo Foods in Sturgeon Bay, or by the food store in Valmy. The state and county parks have plenty of grills for your own cookout. John Henry's on County E east of Egg Harbor sells an inexpensive burger.

WI
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for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
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8. Re: Door County Vacation

I agree with Good Eggs as a suggestion. The free parks as mentioned can keep you plenty busy as well as the public beaches. Whitefish Dunes and Cave Point we thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of. Don't miss the singing sand at the dog park end of the beach (Whitefish Dunes). Door County Confectionery next to Good Eggs has some cheap sweet treats to pick up and it's fun to look around. Geocaching (as mentioned also in the link below) is a fun option, especially in such a pretty area as Door County. doorcounty.com/what-to-do/free-things-to-do

www.geocaching.com

Pack your meals/picnic style ahead of time.

Splurge and enjoy a treat/dessert at Wilson's Ice Cream Parlor in Ephraim.

www.doorcounty.com/plan-your-trip/brochures

http://www.goodeggsdoorcounty.com/

http://www.doorcountyconfectionery.com/

http://www.wilsonsicecream.com/main.htm

http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/peninsula/ for a day it's usually $5 (parking sticker)

Chicago Suburbs
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9. Re: Door County Vacation

Check the Peninsula State Park Nature Center. They sometimes offer inexpensive kayak tours to Eagle Bluff.

…wi.gov/topic/…naturecenter.html

Also, you can rent kayaks waterfront, for less than a tour, at Sister Bay, Egg Harbor, Ephraim, and Peninsula State Park (Nicolet Beach) beaches.

10. Re: Door County Vacation

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