Beached: The Best Spots for Sand Between Your Toes in Northern Door County

Sand Bay Beach in Liberty Grove

With one of the Great Lakes to the east and the fabulous Green Bay to the west, it’s no surprise Door County has dozens of picturesque beaches. With so many to choose from, it can be intimidating to pick your destination for summer relaxation. Depending on your beach style, choose your beach based on how you want to spend the day, afternoon or evening.


A Walk on the Beach

If a secluded stroll is what you’re after, Europe Bay Beach in Newport State Park will suit your purpose. The sand stretches over a mile between Lake Michigan and the park, so the walk feels very private. Forest greets the sand on the land side and the lake view is uninterrupted to the horizon. As Europe Bay is around the corner from the tip of the peninsula, fewer tourists make their way this far north. Foot traffic is limited to a few swimmers, other walkers and the occasional dog owner. The north end of the beach connects to a few of Newport’s campsites, but they are well-spaced, so the area never feels busy. After a walk, avail yourself of the restrooms and picnic area at Ferdinand Hotz Park.

Distance from the Blacksmith Inn: Driveable in 28 minutes (18.5 miles)

Pre-registration required: No

Cost: Free to park at Ferdinand Hotz Park; sticker required to park in Newport State Park, cost varies


People-Watching & Activities

Your day at the beach can be action-packed if you choose. Sister Bay’s Waterfront Park, newly remodeled in 2016, boasts choices for everyone. The park’s sandy beach, amphitheater and picnic areas offer spaces for a variety of activities. To get some morning movement in before you relax on the sand, join one of the Northern Door YMCA’s yoga or Zumba classes in the amphitheater. If you’re up for a possible dunk in the bay, try Bay Shore Outfitters’ Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga class, which takes place on the water. After a morning workout, claim your spot on the beach. The place is popular for tourists and locals alike and is often quite full. The atmosphere is festive and family-friendly, though, and beachgoers easily share the precious sand. Grab a bite to eat at one of the beachside restaurants, Bier Zot or Wild Tomato Pizza. Enjoy watching the world go by, take a dip off the pier or join a pick-up volleyball game. Later on, explore the shoreline on a paddleboard or kayak; Bay Shore Outfitters rents them beachside for $25-35.

Distance from the Blacksmith Inn: Driveable in 12 minutes (8.9 miles)

Pre-registration required: No

Cost: Free to park and attend; class and rental costs vary

Nicolet Beach in Peninsula State Park

Another bustling and beautiful spot is Nicolet Beach in Peninsula State Park. The small beach offers loads of activities. Rentals here include water craft, from canoes to hydro bikes, as well as bicycles to explore the endless trails in the park. After a paddle or pedal, take a dip in the typically-warmer bay water and lounge on the soft sand. The camp store has your amenities for lunch and snacks.

Distance from the Blacksmith Inn: Driveable in 21 minutes (10.1 miles)

Pre-registration required: No

Cost: State Park sticker or day pass required; cost varies


A Secluded Place to Read

Sand Bay Beach in Liberty Grove

What are beaches for, if not to catch up on your summer reading list? Pack some great literature or a scintillating magazine and head to Sand Bay Beach in Liberty Grove, northeast of Sister Bay. Tucked away off of Waters End Road, this town park has a grassy picnic area and small spanse of sand that abut Lake Michigan. Find the warmest water later in the season, but a usually quieter experience throughout the summer, especially on weekdays. Beloved by locals, Sand Bay is a stunning place to spend an evening; even though the sunset isn’t visible on the lake side, Door County’s beautiful dusk light prevails here. Bring some snacks and your favorite boxed wine and get lost in your book until the sun goes down.

Distance from the Blacksmith Inn: Driveable in 20 minutes (14.6 miles)

Pre-registration required: No

Cost: Free

Just minutes from the Blacksmith Inn on foot is one of the gems of Door County’s beaches. The Ridges Park overlooks Baileys Harbor of Lake Michigan, and offers a sandy spot surrounded by the Ridges Sanctuary land and quiet residences. While this beach is frequented by locals and exploring tourists alike, it is seldom jam-packed, and is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

Distance from the Blacksmith Inn: Walkable in 8 minutes (.4 miles)

Pre-registration required: No

Cost: Free

In Door County, life is a beach, and after your day in the sun you’ll want a cozy place to rest. Check the Blacksmith Inn’s availability for your week or weekend in paradise.


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