Door County, Wisconsin is an exceptional place for a vacation and one most people haven’t even heard of. Located on a peninsula surrounded by Lake Michigan on three sides, Door County is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and equally those seeking a quiet getaway.
Given that Door County is located in the northern threshold of Wisconsin, the time of the year you decide to visit will have a huge impact on the weather and your packing list. Not only will the amount of layers you need to wear change but so too will the activities you can enjoy.
For most people, a trip to Door County is synonymous with a lake trip, a hiking trip, a family-friendly trip, and/or a relaxing trip. With so many things to do in such a small area, you’ll really be able to make this vacation fit to the type you’re most looking forward to. If you pack correctly, you can even make your getaway include a little bit of everything.
With that in mind, let’s jump right into the seasonal packing lists you need for your lake trip.
Year-Round Packing List for Door County
Before I highlight the specific items you’ll want on a seasonal basis, there are a few things you’ll always want to have in your suitcase when you visit Door County.
These items include:
- Hiking Boots
- Athletic clothing
- Toiletries (i.e. toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner)
- Laptop (only if necessary, otherwise use this time to unplug!)
- Kindle or book
- Reusable water bottle
Winter Packing List for Door County
Winter is the most unique time to visit Door County. With significantly less visitors in the area in winter, you’ll feel as though the entire peninsula is yours alone. Planning your lake trip from December to February means you’ll almost certainly be greeted by a winter wonderland outside of the door of yourvacation rental home.
This is the best time of the year to play in the snow, get cozy around a fire, and enjoy all thebest dining and drinking spots throughout the area. Going snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and ice skating are particular local favorites. If you have your own gear, add it to your packing list, but if you don’t, you’ll be able to rent what you need once in town.
Here’s what you’ll want to pack for your lake trip to Door County in the winter:
- Extra pants
- Winter Coat
- Board games or cards (for indoor fun)
- Winter Hat
- Wool Socks
Spring Packing List for Door County
If you thought you were in for a secluded getaway in winter, you’re in for an even bigger treat come spring. By visiting Door County in the spring, you’ll not only get to watch everything bounce back to life after a long, chilly winter, but you’ll also get to enjoy the outdoors nearly all to yourself.
While the weather is typically in that back and forth mode of is it cold or is it warm, if you make the space in your suitcase for a little bit of everything, you’ll be ready to enjoy it all. Spring weather lasts from March until May, although the summer season isn’t typically in full swing until July.
One of the best things to do in spring is to take a stroll through the cherry blossoms. Although not typically known as a cherry blossom destination, we certainly have our fair share of beautiful blossoms on the peninsula. Although it’s not yet warm enough to take full advantage of Lake Michigan, it’s a great season to enjoy a beach walk down our endless coastline.
Here’s what you’ll want to pack for your lake trip to Door County in the spring:
- Extra pants
- Tennis shoes
- Long sleeve t-shirts
- Winter coat (if arriving in March)
Summer Packing List for Door County
Summer means it’s finally time for you to be able to take advantage of Lake Michigan and everything a great lake vacation has to offer. The temperature in the summer is far warmer than other seasons but still isn’t balmy hot like it is in other parts of the U.S. That means, you really can spend all day outside in the sun without the worry of overheating. Just remember to stay hydrated and use sunscreen!
With so many great outdoor activities to take advantage of, you might have trouble squeezing everything into your travel itinerary. If you’re short on time, at least spend a full day at the lake. You and your family will love your lake day, whether you choose to simply play in the sand, go kayaking or paddleboarding, or swim all day long in the cool waters of Lake Michigan. Just know, this is peak tourist season in Door County, so you won’t be the only ones enjoying a lakeside getaway.
No need to pack beach towels, save yourself the room in your suitcase and use the ones provided by your vacation rental home instead.
Here’s what you’ll want to pack for your lake trip to Door County in the summer:
- Dresses or skirts
- Lightweight tops
- Flip flops
- Sun protection
- Bug spray
Fall Packing List for Door County
Commonly considered the best time to visit Door County, a trip here in fall will be well worth it. Although most likely too cold to enjoy a swim in the lake, its still a great time to enjoy the beaches, explore the localhiking trails, and take part in the wide variety of fall festivals happening around the peninsula. Most people especially enjoy taking a road trip through the area to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage.
If you’re intent on getting your lake trip in regardless of the weather, you’ll probably enjoy fishing in the fall. Add your fishing pole to your packing checklist or rent one once in town and take advantage of the quieter beaches to catch your next meal. Much like visiting in the spring, your lake trip packing list will vary greatly since the weather tends to fluctuate quite a bit in the fall.
In the fall, you’ll be greeted by cooler temperatures, especially in the evenings. It’s a sunny season here, so during the day you’ll stay relatively warm in the sunlight but do come prepared for the drop in temperature once the sun goes down.
Here’s what you’ll want to pack for your lake trip to Door County in the fall:
- Dresses or skirt
- Bathing suit (if you arrive in early fall)
- Flip flops (if you arrive in early fall)
- Winter coat (if you arrive in late fall)
- Scarf (if you arrive in late fall)
- Gloves (if you arrive in late fall)
Get Ready for Your Door County Lake Trip
With these travel tips, you’re ready to pack for an incredible trip to Lake Michigan. Your certain to fall in love with Door County regardless of the season you decide to visit us in. Better yet, take a trip in the heart of each of the four seasons to really get to know this area and the diversity the weather brings.