WHAT TO DO
First of all, relax…you’re on an island, away from it all, one of the few places where you can really slow down, take it easy and smell the roses. When you’re ready to engage with small town life, here are a few of the activities on Washington Island:
BEACHES & PARKS
PERCY JOHNSON COUNTY PARK
Enjoy this lovely beach area with a view of Hog Island while enjoying a picnic in the only Door County Park on the Island. Ample picnic tables and grills are available.
JACKSON HARBOR RIDGES
The Ridges, a State of Wisconsin Scientific Area, is an outstanding example of beach, dune, boreal and shore meadow communities. Information about the Ridges and its program is posted on the bulletin board at the gate. The nature trail is open daily for nature study, photography and walking.
After looking for herons at Little Lake and visiting the Jacobsen Museum, stop by the nearby Peoples Park to have your lunch on one of the picnic tables while admiring the scenic overlook of Green Bay.
RED BARN PARK/GISLASON PUBLIC BEACH
Alcohol-free park includes playground, picnic area, grills, trails, benches on the beach. The Red Barn offers summer events: Thurs. 7:00 pm – Family Storytime; Fri. – Live Entertainment! Local & visiting artists perform original music and theatrical events.
SAND DUNES PARK
No campfires. Picnic lunches permitted.
Schoolhouse Beach is one of five beaches in the world like it and is a part of the Niagara Escarpment. A protected harbor area and the Island’s original shipping port. Excellent swimming in a marked area with a diving raft. A favorite area for picnics. Picnic tables and grills amidst a breathtaking setting. Don’t care to swim? Great area for photos, too!
Sunday afternoons during the summer, the Islanders play mainland teams in the Door County Baseball League. The Little League, sponsored by the Lions Club, play teams from the County on Friday evenings.
Over 100 miles of paved roads provide scenic biking pleasure on the Island. Bike rentals are available at the Ferry Dock and Downtown.
Washington Island is a major birding flyway. All levels of birders are welcome to enjoy the incredible variety of species in their natural habitats. Opportunities to learn more about birding or other wildlife on the Island is available through the Art and Nature Center.
This gracious gift to the Island community features a 32′ x 60′ indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, well-equipped exercise room, locker rooms, a meeting/game room and two outdoor tennis courts. The facility provides a year around exercise and relaxation center. A wide range of classes and programs are offered throughout the year ranging from health & fitness to the arts. Open to the public, annual pass and daily user fees. (920) 847-2226 or visit www.moslingreccenter.org
BOATING, KAYAKING & FISHING
Protected harbors offer water enthusiasts choices of marinas and docking facilities. Public boat ramps at Town Dock at Jackson Harbor & Welcome Center at Detroit Harbor. Private docks at Kap’s and Shipyard Island marinas. Licenses, bait and fish tales available at Island Outpost, Mann’s Mercantile & Kap’s Marina. Kayaks at Bread & Water. See directory for more info. Annual Kayak Race & Symposium held third week in June see Event Calendar.
DEER RUN GOLF COURSE & RESORT
- Main & Michigan Rd – Challenging 9 hole regulation course offers demanding greens, elevated tees and doglegs; 18 hole Adventure Island mini golf. Gas & pull carts, rental clubs, pro shop. Clubhouse with cold refreshments; on site motel. No tee times required/free ferry shuttle for golfers. MC, V, DV accepted. 920.847.2017 or www.deerrunwi.com or our e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HERITAGE NATURE TRAIL
A .7 mile woodland walk beginning near the Welcome Center. Brochures are available for a self-guided tour of plant life.
PLACES TO VISIT
ART & NATURE CENTER
Located in an old schoolhouse. The Art Gallery features the work of local artists. The Nature Center is family-friendly with hands-on exhibits. A Naturalist leads hikes and classes. Open June to October. (920) 847-2025 or (920) 847-2657
JACKSON HARBOR MARITIME MUSEUM
A former fishing village continues to expand into refurbished buildings with artifacts from the commercial fishing past, photographs and videos on local maritime history. Coast Guard, Ferryline and area shipwreck displays are also featured. Open daily, 10 am-4pm, Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day.
This museum is located on the south shore of Little Lake, in a vertical log building. See an outstanding collection of natural and historical artifacts of the region. Also, a small log cabin, once owned by Jens Jacobsen after 1930, has been restored with authentic furniture and a mannequin of Jens which adds realism to the cabin. Museum open 10am-4pm daily, Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day.
HISTORIC ISLAND DAIRY
Built in 1916, the Historic Island Dairy was the heart of the Island’s dairy industry for over 50 years. The entry lobby features a history exhibit, a timeline of key events in the Island’s past and a 45-minute narrated video of historic Island photographs. The first floor contains an art gallery featuring Island artists. The Dairy is surrounded by fields planted with 5,000 lavender plants, transforming it into one of the largest lavender farms in Wisconsin. The Lavender Shop of Fragrant Isle opened in May 2013. Historic Island Dairy is open from 10am – 6pm, Memorial Day to Labor Day; call for spring and fall hours. 920-737-1531, www.historicislanddairy.com.
SIEVERS SCHOOL OF FIBER ARTS
Sievers School of Fiber Arts on Jackson Harbor Road has received national recognition for the week-long and weekend classes it offers for adults, May through October. Dormitory facilities are also available for students. The staff consists of professional teachers/fiber artists, offering a large variety of classes to an annual student enrollment of 500-plus. Original fiber art works are sold along with quality knitting and weaving yarns, fiber art books and supplies. www.sieversschool.com
Main Road – Year round home for the performing arts, business conferences, lectures and cinema, TPAC is a state-of-the-art facility. A 501(c)(3) charitable group, TPAC is supported by memberships, program partnerships, ticket sales and generous donations from patrons like you. For program schedule, membership, rental or volunteer inquiries, call 920.847.3355 or visit www.truebloodpac.com
WASHINGTON ISLAND FARM MUSEUM
Jackson Harbor Rd – Open Daily Mid May to Columbus Day. Volunteers lovingly restored 9 buildings including exterior and interior displays; new timber frame barn. Farm and field machinery, tools and blacksmith shop. Authentically furnished log cabin shows home life. Farmer’s Market Thurs. 12 – 5 pm in summer; Family Craft Days on Wed 10 am-12 in July. Picnic areas; donations appreciated.
MOUNTAIN PARK & LOOKOUT TOWER
Climb 186 steps to the top of the Island and enjoy majestic views of the land and water! Great photo opportunities year-round. Picnic tables available for your enjoyment at street level.
VEBLEN STUDY CABIN
From 1896 to 1926, the world-famous economist Thorstein Veblen spent his summers on Washington Island. In 1916, he built a study cabin and a home for his wife and two step-daughters. The study cabin has been moved and is being restored on the shore of Little Lake. The Washington Island Heritage Conservancy is responsible for this and other Heritage promotions on the island. Learn more at www.islandheritageconservancy.com
Driving the quiet country roads of Washington Island…slowly, observing…is a must. This is a place that takes you back to how people everywhere once lived…calmly, with open eyes and a wave to their neighbors.
ROCK ISLAND STATE PARK
Drive to Jackson Harbor, buy a ferry ticket, get on the Karfi, take a 20-minute ferry ride, explore an even smaller island (900 acres), Wisconsin’s only state park that’s an island! No cars, no bikes, no stress…just beautiful trails, a white sand beach, and visit the first commissioned lighthouse in these waters, Potawatomi. Lighthouse keepers provide guided tours of this maritime treasure from May to October. For questions, contact the Rock Island State Park Office at 920.847.2235.