Peninsula State Park, WI

August 21, Monday

For having grown up here, there’s a ridiculous amount of Wisconsin I’ve never seen. Case in point: Door County.

Door County is the ‘thumb’ of Wisconsin that juts out into Lake Michigan. It’s touristy in a small town way with a lot of vineyards and stores selling premium jams and cheese out in the country, and many of the towns have artsy downtown areas with a lot of shops and restaurants. I’m not big into either of those scenes, but there are also some nice parks along the water with a lot of natural areas, and I am all about that.

Some time ago I’d made a reservation to stay at Peninsula State Park, which is near Fish Creek, WI on the north side of the thumb, today I drive out, a 3.5 hour trip from my parent’s place in central Wisconsin.

On the way, I catch the eclipse. I stop at a Culver’s in Waupaca for the big event and have lunch, by the time I finish eating it’s starting. Here we’re in the 75% coverage zone and it doesn’t get very dark, it’s a lot like looking at the world through sunglasses. I take a video for posterity, and then a picture. The picture doesn’t look like much until you realize the sunspots are crescent shaped, that’s pretty cool.

Look at the spots below the sun

Past Green Bay, I turn Bertha’s nose onto 57/42 and continue northeast up the thumb. Before long, I’m at the park.

If you’re going to stay four nights or more in Wisconsin state parks, it makes sense to buy the $38 annual sticker that covers admittance, otherwise it’s $11 per day (WI residents pay less for both). For Peninsula and other top-tier parks(which have shower houses, dump and water stations, etc), it’s $25 a night for non-electric sites and $35 a night for electric (again, that’s non-local pricing)

I get a little lost trying to find my site.

Peninsula is actually quite large and has several campgrounds (and a golf course) within its boundaries. I’m in site 492 at Tenninson Bay campground, I miss the first turnoff and only by luck manage to find my way to it without back-tracking.

My site, 492

Most sites at Peninsula are full shade, it’s a pretty heavily forested area. But I opted for a non-electric site when I discovered on the reservation website that a few spots were listed as partial shade. Site 492 is technically open on side with brush instead of trees, but sadly it’s the north side of the site so I still don’t get much sun – no solar for me, ah well. 495 across the way is more open to the south and would be a better solar spot (generator use is restricted to people with health conditions).

The more sunny site 495

Otherwise, it’s a fine spot, and huge. I could easily fit three Cas and Berthas in here. A walk through this non-electric loop shows that most sites are quite spacious with good separation as one expects from a state park. My site is very level as is this whole section. None of the sites at Tennison Bay have a view of lake Michigan, but it’s close enough that you can hear the waves lapping against the shore at night and the ringing of bells on the water. There is a path down to a kayak/canoe launch area in the campground.

A more typical wooded site

All along Shore Road are little pull-offs with benches overlooking the lake. In the evening I dip my toes in the water and have some fun with my poi.

August 23, Wednesday

Yesterday was a relax around camp kind of day. Today is a hiking kind of day. Peninsula has several hiking trails, many of which can also be used by bikes. I opt for the Skyline trail, which has a parking lot along Shore Road.

Like most areas of the park it’s quite wooded. Fortunately the mosquitoes have gotten much better as August has progressed and today they’re hardly noticeable. Other critters spotted on the trail include red squirrels (they’re all over) and a couple bunnies.

Quite a few people are in the park today, I believe it’s the last week for family vacations before most kids go back to school. The campground is about half full (which is still over 250 spots) and there are a lot of day visitors too. I pass several people during the hike and offer a smile and wave.

Sven’s Bluff is the highlight of this hike. It’s actually reachable by car too, but I enjoy taking the walk there and back. True to its name, the overlook is far above Lake Michigan, offering a good view of Chambers Island in the distance.

After the hike I drive farther down Shore Road just to see the sights. This little rentable shelter along the shore is pretty neat looking.

And there’s also a lighthouse too. Eagle Bluff Lighthouse was built in 1868 to help vessels coming in and out of Green Bay navigate the narrow Strawberry Channel. Three different keepers watched over it from 1868 until 1926. Tours are available during the summer, but I’ve arrived too late in the day. It’s still nice to see from the outside though.

Compared to my last two adventures in BC and Isle Royale, this has been a pretty laid back trip. But those can be very nice too and I’ve enjoyed my down time here at Peninsula State Park. Overall I give this place a thumbs up – the location is nice and when you include the nearby towns there’s plenty to do no matter how you like to spend your free time.

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  1. Donna on August 28, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Love those tall trees!

    • Becky on August 29, 2017 at 9:08 am

      Yes Donna the forests out that way are gorgeous.

  2. Jodee Gravel on August 26, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    A very unique eclipse pic – love the spots!

    The park looks wonderful. Such a cute little lighthouse 🙂

    Love the hair!
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Three Years of Planning Comes Down to 70 Seconds of IncredibleMy Profile

    • Becky on August 29, 2017 at 9:08 am

      Thanks Jodee!

  3. Dawn in MI on August 26, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    My husband and I traveled up ‘the Thumb” in 2014. Beautiful. Though, since we live in Michigan, we don’t really think the Wisconsin thumb looks a whole lot like a thumb…but we’ll let you call it that if you must. ANYWAY…didn’t know about the campground..the sites look great. Might be worth me and Katie-girl to travel around that way someday. We also stopped at the lighthouse and we too were too late for a tour. Ah well, it IS a pretty lighthouse!

    Glad you enjoyed your ‘down time!’

    • Becky on August 29, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Haha, yes I can see why Michiganers wouldn’t think it as very thumb like. 😉 Whatever you want to call it, it is a neat area and I hope you get to spend some time there some day.

  4. Mr Wheat on August 26, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Your post reminded me of enjoyed my visit to Door County where we did a similar relaxing hike that ended with a view of the water. Went to the maritime museum which was fun. Agree with others there are some nice eateries too.

    • Becky on August 29, 2017 at 9:04 am

      It’s a lovely place to visit, for sure.

  5. Lynne (WinnieViews) on August 26, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    So many fond memories of Door County. Besides the touristy stuff (stopping at Wilson’s in Ephraim for lunch, or doing one of the fish boil dinners), the most spectacular little stretch of coast I liked was Cave Point County Park on the southern Lake Michigan side of the peninsula. Awesome cool rocky limestone shore with crystal clear waters!

    • Becky on August 29, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Yes, the caves were recommended to me too, I’ll definitely have to check them out on a future visit.

  6. joni on August 26, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Beautiful photos. I hope to visit this park someday. Thanks for sharing it with me.

    • Becky on August 29, 2017 at 9:00 am

      You’re welcome!

  7. Ingrid on August 26, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I grew up in northern IL and used to vacation regularly in WI and MN but my first time visiting Door County was two years ago. Even though it was touristy, I really enjoyed the visit and all the lush vegetation. Great place to chill.
    Ingrid recently posted..Blueberry Oatmeal SquaresMy Profile

    • Becky on August 29, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Yes Ingrid, I could have sat along the shore of the lake all day.

  8. Kim on August 26, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Your shorter haircut is cute!

    • Becky on August 29, 2017 at 8:58 am


  9. CHERYL KLINE on August 26, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Having grown up in Rockford Illinois I have fond memories of vacations in Wisconsin. Now that I am FT I look forward to a return.

    • Becky on August 29, 2017 at 8:58 am

      For sure Cheryl! This is the stuff memories are made of.

  10. Todd on August 25, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    We loved the park when there last summer. Like you say, the sites are quite private & decent sized. Beautiful scenery & nice small town food & drink to enjoy nearby. Great bike paths, as well.

    • Becky on August 29, 2017 at 8:57 am

      There’s a lot to love about it Todd. 🙂

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