One day on Washington Island, Wisconsin

One day on Washington Island, Wisconsin

There’s nothing like a day journey to an island to really feel such as you’re getting away from all of it, so on our Lake Michigan street journey, I used to be decided to see if we may spend someday on Washington Island, Wisconsin.

The northernmost level of Door County (excluding uninhabited Rock Island state park), it’s a brief drive from Sister Bay and Ephraim, with ferries taking you throughout the bay to the little island, house to simply 710 folks (and never a single cease gentle).

And when you don’t have particular points of interest to tick off a listing, it’s very straightforward to spend no less than half a day on Washington Island, WI, if no more – right here’s what we preferred.

The best way to get to Washington Island

It’s straightforward to get to Washington island, solely a brief drive from Ephraim and Sister Bay to the ferry from North Level, with some beautiful views through the 30-minute journey (they do pack the automobiles in tight, so hop out quick if it’s busy!) – the channel is called Dying’s Door (giving Door County its identify) however on a sunny Could day, it was heavenly!

Or you may get the passenger ferry from Gills Rock, with bikes and golf buggies to rent on the island in case you’re not taking your automobile. The Island Clipper doesn’t run year-round although, with solely 4 ferries per day from early June to October (in addition to Memorial Day weekend).

There’s often no less than one automobile ferry per hour through the 12 months, extra in summer season, though do keep in mind it is likely to be cancelled in dangerous climate – test the complete schedule right here. Permit some flexibility as effectively – with two ferries working, they often go once they’re able to go.

The ferries aren’t large, so it’s price getting there prematurely to verify of a spot, particularly in peak season.

You’ll pay in your car and all of the inhabitants, or it’s attainable to go over as a foot passenger (and likewise to take a motorbike).

Alongside the best way to North Level, you’ll drive the realm’s well-known curvy street (additionally know because the Jens Jensen Winding Street) which snakes left and proper in addition to up and down

What to do on Washington Island, WI

Schoolhouse Seashore

Don’t miss Schoolhouse Seashore, well-known for its easy rounded stones – certainly one of just a few seashores on the earth that has this phenomenon. You’ll discover all the pieces from greater smoothed rocks, to egg formed ones which slot in your hand.

I got here throughout one round flat stone which was oddly satisfying to carry. There are fines for taking the rocks away and many indicators reminding you that they’re already house and to not take away although, so don’t be tempted to go away with a memento.

They’re nice for skimming, constructing cairns or simply lobbing into the extremely clear turquoise water, which the seashore can also be well-known for – it’s a cliche to say it’s like glass nevertheless it actually is astonishingly clear!

My daughter throws one of the stones from the beach into the clear turquoise waters of the bay at Schoolhouse Beach on Washington Island - one of the stops on my Lake Michigan road trip with kids

You’ll be able to picnic right here too, or just simply benefit from the surroundings. With the tree-lined bay curving round, and that stunning blue water, it’s a really fairly place to calm down within the solar.

If you happen to’re in search of sand, head to Sand Dunes Park on the southern shore or close by Gislason Public Seashore, which is reverse Crimson Barn Park playground

Lavender Farm

There may be one lavender farms on the island – Aromatic Isle Lavender Farm and you may spot the flowers in bloom usually between the beginning of July and early August.

View of purple lavender flowers in bloom in a field - visiting a lavender farm is one of the summer highlights of a day on Washington Island with kids

The most important single-site lavender farm within the Midwest, you may wander the paths between round 30,000 lavender vegetation (for a small charge) and decide your individual, in addition to discovering extra in regards to the aromatic plant, its harvest and makes use of.

Whether or not the lavender is in season or not, you can too browse among the merchandise accessible within the store too.

When you’re visiting, hold an eye fixed out for the Washington Island Stavkirke close by – the stave church is modelled after a twelfth century constructing in Norway and appears prefer it’s out of a fairytale (though it’s nonetheless a working church)

The quirky Washington Island stave church with some lavender seen in the foreground on a sunny day in Washington Island with kids

The Butterfly Home

Study all in regards to the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and its astonishing annual migrations on the Butterfly Home, open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

You’ll be able to watch the caterpillars develop and stroll beneath 100-year-old maple timber because the butterflies flit across the gardens.

Cherry prepare excursions

It’s not arduous to discover Washington Island solo, however in case you like the thought of another person guiding you round, the Washington Island Cherry Prepare Excursions has no less than three stops and guided commentary as you go.

The little carriages are positively enjoyable for teenagers to journey in, though because the tour lasts as much as two hours (and you may’t hop on and off on the stops), it’s in all probability not the best choice with little ones.

Bright red truck and carriages of the Cherry Train tour on Washington Island, with the ferry and bright blue sky in the background - save one day of a week road trip around Lake Michigan with kids to visit the island

All the time enjoyable to look out for the intense pink land prepare as you undergo. The tour runs twice a day on dates from Memorial Day weekend via to mid October (every day from mid June to mid October), with youngsters aged 5 and beneath going free. At the moment $24 for adults, $10 for kids aged 6-11.

Go strolling/biking

Washington Island is likely to be small, however if you wish to stroll round it, it should take you all day (and also you’ll be strolling on the roads a lot of the time). If you happen to fancy hiring bikes/e-bikes, it’s so much simpler to see extra of the island.

There are some strolling trails to strive as effectively. One of many best choices with youngsters is to take a wander alongside the quick Heritage Mountain climbing Path within the woods, which could be very child-friendly.

Beginning close to the Welcome Centre near the harbour, the entire hike takes round 10-Quarter-hour, relying how lengthy you need to take having fun with the meadow views and flowers.

There’s additionally a 1.5-mile Little Lake path, or head to one of many Nature Preserves, together with a one-mile loop stroll on the Domer-Neff Nature Protect.

Waterfront chairs by Jackson Harbor soup restaurant - one of the places to eat during a day on Washington Island with kids

Go to a museum

There are a string of little museums on the island if you wish to study extra in regards to the space’s previous (or are in search of someplace to shelter if it’s a wet day on Washington Island with youngsters!)

The Jackson Harbor Maritime Museum covers the island’s historical past of fishing, the function of the coast guard and the ferry, in addition to ice harvesting.

Or Jacobsens Museum has numerous pure and historic displays in regards to the island’s previous, in addition to close by uninhabited Rock Island.

The Washington Island Farm Museum incorporates a furnished log cabin to get a style of how inhabitants would have lived, in addition to numerous farm equipment and blacksmith instruments.

Whereas it’s not a museum, hold an eye fixed out for the island’s outdated Submit Workplace too, which first opened again in 1921.

The place to eat on Washington Island, WI

There are a string of beautiful locations to strive in case you’re grabbing one thing to eat or drink, and really child-friendly too.

If you happen to’re in search of burgers and ice cream, head over to Albatross Drive In, whereas throughout the island Jackson Harbor Soup has nice views over the water and (as its identify suggests) nice soup in addition to sandwiches.

Exterior of Jackson Harbor soup restaurant - one of the places to eat during a day on Washington Island with kids

Again close to the ferry dock, there’s additionally Island Pizza (with seafood, subs and salads additionally on the menu). Or for espresso and baked items (in addition to some very tempting equipment), strive Crimson Cup.

Try my 7-day itinerary for a Lake Michigan street journey with youngsters, together with Door County, in addition to elsewhere in Wisconsin and Chicago

Pictures copyright MummyTravels