A Trip Up to Washington Island, Wisconsin

If you follow me on Instagram (which you should @roguewavedesigns), you know I love taking trips up to Door County. As a family we go up in winter and a few times in summer; not every time do we make it up to Washington Island, but we try. The Island is one of my favorite places to go. I can sit down and read a book, take a walk through the woods with my camera, take the kids swimming and just relax and unwind.

There are so many beautiful spots on the Island, but here are some of my favorite photos I’ve taken this summer that, I think, highlight some of its beauty.

Getting There:

Clouds over Deaths Door crossing
Channel Markers between Detroit Island and Washington Island, WI
Rudder on display at Washington Island Ferry Line Offices

Yes, the island is really an island. There are no hidden bridges (I’ve been asked that!) so you do need to take a ferry across. We usually take the ferry out of Northport, but their is a passenger and bike ferry out of Gills Rock that runs all summer. (Links for more info are at the bottom of the post.)


The Beaches:

Sand Dunes Beach on the south side of Washington Island, WI
All natural rock beach on Washington Island, WI
One of the most beautiful beaches!
Washington Harbor, aka School House Beach, Washington Island, WI

There are two great beaches here.  Sand Dunes Beach has soft sand and is a great place to take small kids. Sand castles and walks on the beach are great. The water here is shallow, so the kids can enjoy it and the temperature is a little warmer too.

School House Beach is located at Washington Harbor. This has no sand, so feet beware! The beach is all naturally polished rock, its pretty cool and should not be missed… even if you are not going to go swimming. If you are going to brave the waters, just know that it will be chilly! Even on the hottest August day, the waters are brisk. The harbor is quite deep!

Things To Do:

Karfi that connects people from Washington Island to Rock Island
Park your bikes and get ready to board the Karfi to Rock Island!
Jackson Harbor, Washington Island, WI
The Valiant on display at the Fishing Museum on Washington Island at Jackson Harbor
One of the many roads you can enjoy on Washington Island
Boardwalk at Jackson Harbor
Morning walks with no cars!
Finding simplicity while camping
Enjoying soup at Jackson Harbor looking out at Rock Island State Park
Looking north from the Mountain Tower
Nature walk through the cedars on Washington Island, Wisconsin


Fishing at Detroit Harbor, Washington Island, WI
Children feeding the animals at the Farm Museum

When people ask me, ‘what is there to do?’, I usually tell them ‘Lots!’. However, I do have to add the disclaimer that it depends on what you are looking to do. If you are hoping to hit cute little shops and eat your way through the day, then you will be disappointed. Their is shopping and restaurants, but not that many. If you are planning on kayaking, biking, hiking, getting lost in the woods, etc., you will LOVE this place!

Random Thoughts:

A couple last remarks to enjoy your visit: Town is 3 miles from the ferry, this is not Mackinac Island where everything is right at the docks; Everybody waves to one another… so wave back!; The rocks at School House Beach are not made at a factory, please don’t take them.

Leaving Washington Island on the ferry
Entering the channel in Detroit Harbor

For more info, feel free to contact me with your questions, I’ll do my best to answer them. Otherwise here are a few websites worth checking out:


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