Molly and I took a quick anniversary trip over Labor Day weekend to visit some friends and family in Door County, WI, and to explore Washington Island (just off the coast). We visited on the peninsula for most of what turned out to be a pretty gloomy Saturday, then hopped on the last ferry departing for the island. Since it wasn’t as much an epic adventure as it was just a weekend away to Wisconsin, I’m not sure it warrants a whole narrative; so here are the short and sweet details of the trip:
Washington Island lies 7 miles northeast of Door County, WI and is accessible by ferry. The cost is a little steep at around $50 round trip for one vehicle and two adults (more if you have more people or vehicles). However, the ride is pretty and patrons can walk to the upper deck of the ship to take in the views of the Lake Michigan, Door County, and neighboring islands. On our way to the island, the seas were extremely rough, making for a very entertaining voyage.
We booked a reservation at Washington Island Campground only a few weeks before Labor Day, so I was quite surprised to even get a spot. Oddly enough, we found MANY empty campsites upon arrival. The forecast had not been spectacular, but I still expected more people. The rates were very reasonable compared to mainland campgrounds at only $25 per night, and the campground was well appointed with swimming pond replete with giant inflatable slide, bathrooms with showers, and relatively private campsites.
We toured the campground and found #19 to be the most private and set back nicely into the woods. The best part was the salamanders I found nearby!
Bikes are an absolute MUST for anyone visiting the island. They provide a fun, cheap way to get around and you may discover some areas that you would normally just whiz by in a car. It is a small island at only 6 miles long and 5 miles wide, so all its attractions can be easily reached in a single day of riding. A few of our favorite spots were Schoolhouse Beach, Peoples Park for sunsets, and the Albatross for a great burger. If we had another day or two to explore the area, we both decided that it would have been fun to check out Sand Dunes Park for a picnic or Rock Island State Park (another quick ferry ride from Washington Island) for some hiking or backpacking.
The Door County leaves were just starting to change and fall was definitely in the air, but Washington Island was a very enjoyable close to summer. Molly and I have already talked about returning to Rock Island State Park next year for our baby’s first backpacking trip; plus, it will be a great excuse to grab another burger at the Albatross.