View of Lake Michigan

Recently, I spent a week in Wisconsin at a lake house on Lake Michigan. When I am in need of some healing, my heart seems to call me back to the cleansing waters of the Great Lakes. I spent my summers on Lake Michigan growing up and being back by the water listening to the waves roll in and out comforts me.

Door County is located on a peninsula between Green Bay, Wisconsin and Lake Michigan. I’m used to being on the east side of the lake (the Michigan side) when I am in Boyne City, Petoskey or Traverse City so this was a new area for me. Door County looks very similar to northern Michigan boasting tons of trees, beautiful lakes and cute small towns. It is known for its concentration of light houses and state parks (two things I love!). Typically people visit between May and October as the weather is warm and the cherry and apple trees are producing fruit. I found that visiting in March still has its benefits.

Door County is outlined in red on one of the peninsulas on the west side of Lake Michigan.

In the off season, you’ll see small towns that rely on tourism for business close a lot of their restaurants and shops. While there were quite a few restaurants and shops closed in Door County in March, there were a lot less crowds and the quietness allowed for the sounds of nature to shine through. There are still a few water activities you can do in March if you’re prepared and there are plenty of activities you can do on land to fill your time and body with fresh air which I will discuss in this post!

Taken before our cold plunge in Lake Michigan. Water temps 36.5F.

Lake Michigan Water Activities in March

  • Try surfing: Believe it or not, you can surf on many of the Great Lakes in the winter. The waves get big enough to make it possible. While I was in Door County there were 2 windy, overcast days with a mix of snow and rain. I saw a few surfers that took advantage of the weather and caught some waves! You do need a wet suit as Lake Michigan water temperatures this time of year are 36.5F (2.5C) which is chilly to say the least. This is an enjoyed winter activity for those who are willing to brave the water!
  • Take a cold plunge: I’m not a surfer but I did want to get in the water so each morning after my workout I would take a short dip in Lake Michigan. I’ve been practicing cold exposure for about 6 months so I was able to sit in the cold temperatures of Lake Michigan but please note that temperatures <40F are not recommended for cold exposure beginners. Cold exposure therapy has what seems like a million benefits so if you’re interested in this, Lake Michigan in the winter is a perfect place to practice!

Door County Land Activities in March

  • Go for a hike/walk: I did a lot of this! There are quite a few trails around Door County as there are 5 state parks. I mainly frequented walking along the rocky shoreline of Lake Michigan to the Cana Island Light House (image above). When you visit in the off season many times you will have these hiking areas to yourself!
  • Check out restaurants & shopping: The towns we explored in Door County included Fish Creek, Baileys Harbor and Sister Bay. There were some yummy restaurants still open this time of year so I was able to eat my fair share of seafood. Every place we tried was amazing, especially Harbor Fish Market & Grille and Chives in Baileys Harbor. Sister Bay had a great downtown and shopping area and my favorite store was Sister Golden which sells beautiful prints of scenes made from natural elements.
  • Go sightseeing: When driving around Door County you will pass a lot of cherry and apple orchards, cheese shops, and farms among the rolling hills. There are 11 lighthouses in Door County so you could spend a whole day visiting them and learning the interesting history of Door County.
  • Take a yoga class: We did hot yoga in Sister Bay at Ironwood Yoga. They offer drop in classes which are easy to sign up for online. We went on a particularly rainy morning and it was a perfectly relaxing way to start the day.
  • Read, take a bath & watch the sunset: This one is self explanatory! Read, relax and enjoy the sounds of Lake Michigan.

You can find solace near Lake Michigan all year round and though there is more to do in the summer, visiting Door County in the winter is beautiful too! I think it may be impossible to frown when you’re sitting by a Great Lake 🙂 Enjoy!

Until the next tale… Happy trails.


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