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7 Reasons Why Baileys Harbor is the Best Town in Door County

7 reasons why Baileys Harbor is the best town in Door County, Wisconsin

Bailey’s Harbor is a fantastic, little town in Door County. The population was close to 1000, according to 2000 census. The town is named after Bailey, a Great Lakes ship captain. His ship was caught in a storm and his crew found shelter here in 1848. Prior to this incident, the town was called Gibraltar. The school in Door County is still named after it. More than half the town is waterfront. Among notable people, Moses Kilgore, Wisconsin state legislator is from here.

Bailey’s Harbor is also the gateway to Lake Michigan. It’s one of the best kept secrets in American tourism. It offers a refreshing brand of Door county experience. It embodies adventure, exploration and nature. You can claim it’s the prettiest town in all of Wisconsin. Most part of the town has open access to the beach. You can enjoy the waters on a narrated cruise for a couple of hours.


  • Gordon Lodge: It’s a waterfront resort that is secluded and off of the beaten path which also provides a private beach. The amenities include outdoor pool, public WiFi and more. They offer free breakfast and excellent dining options. It’s super close to Cana Island Lighthouse.
  • Ridges Inn and Suites: It’s a totally unassuming accommodation with kitchenettes. It is a best kept secret of this little town (pun intended). It’s somewhere you can relax while enjoying free WiFi. The Ridges Sanctuary is located adjacent to this place. It’s a 5 minute walk from the shores of Lake Michigan.


Door County Brewery and musical hall is located in Baileys Harbor. The taproom was opened in 4th of July 2017. The focus is mainly on Belgium beers, but they do most varieties. Evidently, the huge Belgian contingent in Door County helps push their style. You can also get the east coast hoppy style beers. Expect at least a dozen beer varieties when you walk in. Moreover, you will be treated to some light music as well. For just $2 to $4, you can enjoy small tastings. Additionally, the Chives Food Truck is placed in the outdoor beer garden.

Bearded Heart Coffee is the best place for breakfast in town. Amongst toasts, you have the avocado, chevre & pesto, local smoked whitefish, raspberry, chocolate banana and more. The sandwiches and soups are such good appetizers. Like most Door County enterprises, everything is home cooked and locally sourced. There are all varieties of coffees from Espresso to Americano to Latte to Mocha to Cappuccino. Additionally, you are in for some delicious pastries and relaxing environment too. The business year usually starts from March, once winter is over.


Anclam Beach Park lets you enjoy the shores of Lake Michigan. You can get here via Anclam Road, highway 57. The park is now given an onsite playground, bathrooms and grills. Enjoy the beautiful, panoramic view of the harbor. It’s kids-friendly cause of the shallow water levels.

Ridges Park Beach is a great spot for kitesurfing and surfing in general. The sandy beach is just perfect for sunbathers as well as swimmers.

Sights and activities

Cana Island Lighthouse is amongst the most popular lighthouses in Door County. Get comfortable with athletic shoes cause of the rocky route to island. The exquisite lighthouse is worth the rocky hike. The trails get comfortable when you enter the island. Make sure to enjoy the spectacular view during the course. This lighthouse was built in 1869, couple of miles north of Bailey’s Harbor. It’s located on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. It was operated by a lighthouse keeper for 75 years before it was automated by U.S coastguards.

The Door county Maritime Museum manages the museum. It houses plenty of pictures to look at and text to read. Check out the history room and the room for kids’ activities. There will be plenty of photo opportunities near the lighthouse. Hence, don’t forget to bring your camera. Moreover it’s great surf spot, where you would like a little kayaking too. Above all, there is a lot of history and science in this place.

Ridges Sanctuary protects over 1700 acres of biologically diverse landscape. It presents a rich, natural setting of Door Peninsula. This land trust was founded in 1937. The topography here is formed by 30 ridges and sails. It’s formed by changing Lake Michigan water levels of past 1400 years. Eventually, it provides a range of habitat that survives a wide variety of plant species.

Going by history, Albert Fuller’s life’s work inspired Jens Jenson to preserve this paradise. Local conservation pioneers have put in a lot of efforts to preserve it as a nature sanctuary. . Today, the staff and volunteers carry on the work of the founding members. Among the fauna, Ridges is the home of deer, fox, frog, porcupine, raccoon and skunk species

Amazing nature

Mud lake nature preserve encompass 1300 acres of lush wetlands. It’s a great spot to see the wetlands via kayak. In the process, you can enjoy birding and photography. The preserve is the home to rare species of flora and fauna. They are considered rare not just on a regional but national scale itself.

4th of July fireworks and parade

If you reach Bailey’s Harbor on 4th of July, you are in for an unforgettable celebration. There is Crafts and Live Music throughout 3-5th of July. The parade begins by 10 am on 4th. However, get there early, since highway closes by 9 am. Look for us in the parade. Watch the spectacular fireworks show at dusk.


Baileys Harbor is the best spot to learn kiteboarding in Wisconsin. The windy Anclam beach is perfect for the wind driven sport. The town gets it clean wind from South, Southeast and Southwest. Additionally, the harbor fills up the top layer of Lake Michigan, thereby keeping it warm during the day. It makes Bailey’s harbor a kite-boarding safe haven in Wisconsin

  • NEW!
  • Extended Tour
  • Lighthouse Tour
  • Locally Sourced Picnic
From $110

This kayak tour is one of our extended tour experiences, we kayak to the the Cana Island lighthouse, have lunch and tour the lighthouse. Your guide will accompany you on sit-on-top kayaks, provide you with a kayak lesson, enlighten you with maritime history and stories, setup a charcuterie picnic and help facilitate some memorable photos.