Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin is full of variety and beauty. When you visit in your RV, you'll find many impressive bluffs, coastal wetlands, mysterious forests, and pretty meadows.
The park is known for its bluffs, which reach 150 feet into the air, allowing for some impressive views from the top. The meadows in the area used to belong to family farms, but have been abandoned for over 50 years. In fact, until recently, people have inhabited the areas of the park for thousands of years. The land for Peninsula State Park was bought in 1909 for only $20 an acre but wasn't officially established as a state park by Wisconsin until 1910.
Today, many people come to the park simply for the beautiful sights. There are many spots to watch sunsets, including impressive overlooks. You can even visit historical burial sites and the Memorial Pole where the last chief of the Potawatomi Nation lies. Not to mention all of the activities here in the park as well. When you bring your RV to Peninsula State Park, just a few things you can enjoy, include hiking, biking, swimming, boating, golfing, and even live comedy shows in the summer. Summers are the best time to visit, as the temperatures reach up into the 70s, the highest of the year.
Getting to the park is easy. Head north on Highway 42 and you’ll end up at the park. If you go too far, you'll just arrive at the end of the peninsula that gives the park its name. Once inside the park, there are no driving restrictions that you’ll need to worry about, even if you’ve brought a fairly large RV to travel in.
There are lots of parking lots located all within the park. RVs are allowed at most day-use parking lots, but they ask that you don’t park them at the beach parking lots. There is overflow parking available if parking becomes limited as the park gets more crowded. If you're planning on camping at the park, the easiest option is to set up your RV at a campsite and head out on foot or take your car through the park.
Welckers Point Campground has 81 sites to choose from, but there are no electric hookups available. The sites are very family geared though, so if you’re coming on a family vacation and don’t mind going without hookups, this campground can be a great option. There is one shower building that also has flush toilets, and there are two other flush toilet buildings in the campground. At the campsite, there is a shelter that can be reserved and can be used for group events. The shelter has a fireplace, as well as fluorescent lighting for evening activities.
Weborg campground is the smallest in the park but maybe the best campground for RV campers. There are 12 sites located here, and each one has electric hookups. For those looking for a bit of comfort, the campground has a hot water shower and flush toilet, all of which are accessible. Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy a concrete fishing pier which is a short walk from the area. There is a shelter available for you to reserve, and it has 30-amp electrical outlets as well as lights and a fireplace.
This campground is the largest with the most sites to choose from. There are 188 total sites, and 97 of these have electricity including 20-, 30-, and 50-amp hookups. There are also two ADA-accessible sites. This is the only campground here that has camping options available in the winter as well. In the winter, you’ll still have electricity, water, and vault toilets. In the summer, you can use the boat launch here that’s for canoes and kayaks, and you’ll have access to showers and flush toilets.
North Nicolet Bay Campground does allow for RV camping, but does not have any electric hookups. What you will find here though is water, showers, and flush toilets nearby. There is also a boat launch right at the campground, so it’s the perfect place to stay if you’ve brought your boat with you and want easy access to the water. There are 44 total campsites, which is a bit smaller than some of the other campgrounds. But you’ll have access to the beach area and the boat launch. RV size restrictions vary from site to site.
The South Nicolet Bay Campground has 143 sites, and 54 of these have 20-, 30-, and 50-amp hookups for your campervan or RV. Ten sites cannot be reserved before arriving. At South Nicolet, there are two hot showers, as well as flush toilets, and it is a short distance from a public boat launching area.
Nicolet Bay has the only sand swimming beach in the park and is perfect for cooling off on a hot day. Be aware that there isn't a lifeguard on duty, so be careful at all times. Alongside the sun and sand, you can find two volleyball courts and various playground equipment for children to enjoy. If you didn't bring a bike or a boat, you could rent one from Nicolet Beach for the essentials, and there is also a camp store located at South Nicolet Bay Campground.
If you would prefer to leave the RV behind for this trip, there are plenty of group camping options available at Lakeshore, Orchard, and Meadow. These sites are ideal for anyone looking for more primitive camping options. Electricity isn't available and all amenities like hot water and showers, are located around half-mile away at South Nicolet Bay Campground. If you have a camper or motorhome, you will have to let it in the parking lot and can use it for daytime operation. However, sleeping in the carpark overnight is forbidden. There are even a few shelters available in the area to enjoy throughout the day or in the evening.
Biking can be a great way to get some exercise and see the park at the same time. You can take the Sunset Bike Route for 10 miles of beautiful forest scenery and also see Sven’s Bluff, a popular attraction. If you’re looking for something a little rugged, there are 12 miles of off-road trails you can try. Just be sure to get a trail pass before you head out and be prepared - these paths can be a bit more difficult.
In the summer, when the weather is warmest, swimming is one of the best ways to cool off and relax. At Peninsula State Park, there is an area set up just for swimming. At Nicolet Beach, there is plenty of room for sunbathing as well as sand for the whole family to enjoy. There is also a snack bar for you to purchase the summer essentials like ice cream. Just be aware that there is no lifeguard on duty, so you’ll be swimming at your own risk. Also, pets are not allowed on the beach, but they are permitted at the Pines picnic area, which is next to the parking lot.
At Peninsula State Park, you'll find eight miles of shoreline to gain access to the water of Lake Michigan. If you're looking to take your boat out, there is a boat launch located at Nicolet Bay. If you've brought your kayak or canoe, the best place to head out is at Tennison Bay, where the water is a little more shallow. You can also rent a canoe or kayak if you don't bring your own.
For anyone looking for something slightly different from their stay at the park, the Northern Sky Theater is a must-visit. From mind-June to late August, the Northern Sky Theater puts on a comedy show here at the park. Go and see what it’s all about, and enjoy a fun night filled with acting and singing. The best part is that these shows are specifically geared towards the whole family, so it’s something that everyone can enjoy.
There are 20 miles of hiking trails at Peninsula State Park. With easy, moderate, and difficult trails, there's a great experience available for all. The Eagle Trail and White Cedar Nature Trail are two of the most popular. The Eagle Trail will give you a close-up of the Niagara Escarpment, and the White Cedar Nature Trail will bring you near the nature center.
Exploring the scenic trails on skis is one of the top choices among winter visitors to the park. There are 16 miles of ski trails in the park, and they are for skiers only. This means you won't have to worry about sharing the track with hikers or snowshoers. The trails are well kept and double-tracked for more leisurely skiing. Whether you're new to skiing or an expert, you'll be able to find a trail that works for you, the routes range in difficulty level and are color-coded to help you identify the correct level for you.
If you’re visiting in the winter but still want to go hiking, try snowshoeing. There are six miles of trails set up for snowshoeing, and they offer a glimpse into some of the most peaceful areas of the park. These trails are not groomed, which may mean it could be challenging, but it will let you experience some of the more remote regions on offer. Luckily, you won’t be sharing these trails with skiers or snowmobilers, as the snowshoeing trails are specially marked.
The steep hills situated in the park made it an ideal spot for sledding and tubing. One of the most popular places among winter visitors is at the number 17 fairway at the park golf course. The spot is perfect for people of all ages and experience; however, the hill is pretty, so take precautions, and adults must watch their children at all times. As a safety precaution, Toboggans are not allowed.
Winter is a fantastic time for anglers at Peninsula State Park. With a bit of luck, you can look forward to catching some trout, perch, and walleye from beneath the ice. As per Wisconsin law, you will need a fishing license before starting to fish. Ice conditions can change quickly, so make sure to be careful when heading out onto the ice and fish at your own risk. Before heading out, check weather conditions and make sure the ice is thick enough.
If you’re feeling adventurous, Peninsula State Park has 17 miles of scenic trails for you to enjoy on a snowmobile. Snowmobiling is a great way to explore the expansive beauty of the park in the winter. However, you must keep to the marked trails and make sure you have a snowmobile pass before setting out. The maximum speed limit in the park is 25 miles per hour, and you’ll need to have your vehicle registration on display. Typically trails are closed on a county-wide basis, but this can differ in extreme weather, so make sure to read up before you head out.