Door County is well positioned on a peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. This popular tourist destination in Wisconsin is known for its beautiful parks, including Peninsula State Park in Green Bay and Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay, but is best known for its enviable access to the surrounding waterways. From here, visitors can explore by boat to discover the area's natural beauty and fascinating history.
We've rounded up six of the best boat tours and rentals to help you pick the right boat tour for a Door County vacation home stay.
Sunset Live Music Tour
The harbor and Sister Bay Marina bask in the glow of another spectacular Door County Sunset over Green Bay, Door County, Wisconsin
- Website: doorcountyboats.com/boat/sunset-live-music-cruise
- Price: $42 for adults, $39 for seniors, $5 for kids 12 and under
- Availability: Nightly Monday to Saturday with a varying start time depending on sunset time.
Door County Boats’ sunset live music cruise is an excellent tranquil and relaxing boat tour option. The sunset cruise begins between 4 pm and 7 pm, depending on sunset time, and the route also varies depending on the time of the year. Whenever you choose to participate, your tour will cruise through the still waters of Green Bay for unbeatable views of Door County’s famed sunsets.
The addition of live music creates a serene atmosphere while you enjoy the gentle breeze and the area’s breathtaking natural beauty. If you’d like to toast to the sunset during the scenic cruise, you can bring alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks onboard (but no glass bottles are permitted).
The Norra Dorr catamaran on which the tour takes place was constructed in 2017 to offer Sister Bay scenic boat tours and provides space for up to 149 passengers. The upper deck is ideal for panoramic views while soaking up the last of the sun as it sets, and the lower deck is fully enclosed for guaranteed comfort on bad-weather days. The Norra Dorr is also fully accessible, making it suitable for passengers using wheelchairs.
Adventure Rafting to Death’s Door
Photo by shutterstock.com/Mark Baldwin
- Website: doorcountyadventurerafting.com/deaths-door-tours
- Price: $50 for adults, $31 for children aged 3-12, children under 3 not permitted
- Availability: Every afternoon.
If you’re looking for an adventure, Door County Adventure Rafting has got you covered. Their tours take place on adventure rafts, the fastest tour boats in the area. This means you can see more on the tour than on others of a similar length, and the small size of the boats allows exploration of otherwise inaccessible areas.
The Death’s Door Tour is one of the company’s most popular because it takes in the fascinating shipwrecks of the Grapeshot and Fleetwing while experienced guides tell tales about the area's history. The tour also takes visitors through Death’s Door Passage to the photogenic lighthouses on Plum Island and Pilot Island, Door Bluff Headlands County Park, and the old coast guard station on Plum Island.
Door County Adventure Rafting has two high-speed tour boats ideal for small groups of up to 12 people. The Death’s Door boat tour departs from the Ellison Bay Boat Ramp every afternoon, and availability can be checked on the company website.
Explore Peninsular Park Caves
Photo by shutterstock.com/Nejdet Duzen
- Website: doorcountybywater.com/fishcreekscenicboattours
- Price: $39 for adults, $36 for seniors, $ for children
- Availability: Tours depart at 1 pm daily.
For an adventure along the entirety of Peninsula State Park’s seven-mile coastline, Fish Creek Scenic Boat Tours is our top pick.
During this 90-minute boat ride, passengers learn about the park’s extensive human and natural history. As you cruise along the waterways, you’ll have the opportunity to see the spectacular 145-year-old Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. You’ll also hear stories about the village of Ephraim and Englemar, the millionaire’s estate on Horseshoe Island.
Your boat will get up close and personal with the impressive Eagle Cave, which rises 40 feet above the shoreline, and you’ll learn about French explorers and the early inhabitants of Nicolet Bay. There are also plenty of opportunities for spotting wildlife, including whitetail deer and Bald Eagles.
Sail Away In Door County
- Website: saildoorcounty.com/rates-schedule
- Price: From $49 for adults or $39 for children aged 5-9
- Availability: Multiple sails throughout the summer and fall.
Door County is lucky to benefit from consistent winds, making it the perfect spot for a scenic day of sailing. Sail Door County has various options for excursions so that you can choose from an exhilarating morning adventure, a relaxing afternoon exploration, or a stunning sunset cruise.
Sail Door County has two boats: the six-passenger Passage North, which offers luxury to small groups, or the Edith M. Becker, which offers a 19th-century inspired sailing adventure to up to 22 passengers. Private charters are available on both vessels.
A captain and full crew are included in the price of all excursions, so no sailing knowledge is necessary to come aboard. Tours are family-friendly, and food and drink are allowed, so don’t forget to pack up a picnic. Both boats are pet-friendly, and dogs sail for free so that you can bring along your furry friends.
Kayaks and Cliff Diving
- Website: doorcountykayaktours.com/kayak-tours
- Price: $145 per person
- Availability: June through September.
This four-hour kayaking tour is perfect for visitors looking for an adventurous way to explore the local waterways. The tour kicks off at Schaur Park before heading to Cave Point and on to view Whitefish Bay Dunes State Park.
The tour then heads to Cave Point County Park, where a light, locally sourced picnic is provided that allows you to try Door County’s culinary delights. Refreshments include cheese, crackers, dried fruit, and pickles.
When the water is warm and calm enough, it’s possible to try cliff jumping into the ‘Devil’s Bathtub’ — if you dare! This tour is open to kayakers of all experience levels, but if you’d prefer something a little more laid back, try the relaxing eco-estuary tour.
Rent Your Own Boat
Photo by shutterstock.com/NejdetDuzen
- Website: doorcountyboatrentals.com
- Price: Depends on the boat and the rental duration.
- Availability: Inquire on the company website.
If you prefer independent expeditions, Door County has plenty of boat rental outfits. One of the best-rated is Door County Boat Rentals.
Boats on offer include:
- A pontoon for up to 12 people
- Speed boats for up to six people
- Fishing boats for up to four people
- Jet skis for up to two people
- Waterski and tubing charter
- Kayaks for up to two people
- Hobie Cat Sailboat for up to six people
Prices vary depending on the preferred boat type, and the duration of the rentals is flexible in most cases.
Explore the Best of Door County by Boat
Door County is renowned for its lakefront location, and no trip is complete without an adventure on the glistening turquoise blue waters. Several reputable boating companies provide a great range of boating tours, so there’s an excursion for everyone when staying at a Moonsail vacation home. Bon voyage and happy sailing!