Home /  Baileys Harbor, WI
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By DCT Staff / Thursday, May 9, 2013 01:59 pm
Baileys Harbor, WI
Baileys Harbor 1_Len Villano
The drive north into and through Baileys Harbor is a magical drive in any season. In the spring, the sun shines brightly over newly budding trees. The summer sun barely makes it through the dense foliage relieving the heat that is felt elsewhere in the county. Fall leaves change color in October, exploding in firey reds, oranges and yellows. In the winter, the trees hunker down under the blanketing weight of snow daring you to be as silent and peaceful as they are. Rounding the bend, Baileys Harbor emerges unassumingly from a scenic view of the harbor with its sparkling blue water, sandy beaches and historic landmarks. Baileys Harbor is a great place to play, learn, and explore.

Baileys Harbor is small and peaceful with many preserved historical and natural sites to explore. There are a handful of great shops lining the main street, with everything from outdoor gear, beach toys and books, to home décor and furniture. There are several public parks where you can play and picnic, sunbathe and swim. On the south end of town, just as you've rounded that last curve, is the newly renovated Anclam Park on Lake Michigan. Ridges Road County Park is a family favorite with its wide sandy beaches and warm waters. Kendall Park, next to the Visitor Center and Library, has a great playground, free live music every Friday evening in July and August, and free Wi-Fi access.

The water is one of the very best reasons to visit Baileys Harbor. The Town Marina is a full-service marina, with fish licensing, transient and seasonal slips, and is a great place to get started. Lake Michigan and the rivers and streams that empty into it support around 150 species of fish. For the seasoned fishermen and novices alike, there's the Brown Trout Tournament in April. Don’t have a boat, or don't know where to fish? Several Charter Fishing services are available for private or group charters. A favorite fishing alternative for many locals and visitors is the Kangaroo Lake Causeway where you can sit back and fish from shore.

We are a family-centered town with many unique, natural & educational activities available to keep everyone in the family active and enjoying the outdoors. You can rent kayaks, hike the trails, spend a day fishing, and there's always something new to learn. As a community, we focus on preserving our traditions, history and the nature all around. It's really a home-town kind of place, but as it's centered on the shores of Lake Michigan, it's only about a 15 minute drive to most of the county's other communities.

Some great places to check out while in town are our many and varied educational options. The Ridges Sanctuary is a 1,600 acre pristine natural area harboring 475 plant species. Your whole family can enjoy miles of rustic trails and bridges, naturalist-led tours, geo-caching, educational programs, and hikes in all seasons, nature crafts and great kids programs. Just northeast of the Ridges is a 743 acre preserve called Toft Point boasting virgin forests, rocky shorelines, wildflower beds and acres to explore. Bjorklunden, Lawrence University's northern campus, offers seasonal classes on arts & nature just south of Baileys Harbor.

On your way into town you may have noticed signs proclaiming “Bird City Wisconsin.” That's because Baileys Harbor is one of only two towns in the county with the Bird City designation. Over 90 species of birds have been recorded as potentially breeding here, and this year the town will participate in International Migratory Bird Day to be celebrated in conjunction with the Ridges Sanctuary's annual Door County Festival of Nature, a three-day event with birding trips, wildflower hikes, family friendly workshops and other activities.

Another great way to spend time in Baileys Harbor is to learn about the lighthouses. The Baileys Harbor Range Lights residence building is now the Ridges Sanctuary offices and even though a modern light is now the official navigational aid, sometimes the lights in the historic towers are still lit. Likely the best known lighthouse in the whole county is the Cana Island Lighthouse. When you see this iconic building, you'll know why it’s one of the most visited and illustrated lighthouses in the Great Lakes. Spend the day exploring the island and climbing the tower all the way to the top. It's 97 steps up a spiral staircase, but the sweeping view of Lake Michigan from the outside deck is absolutely worth it. Though you can't visit the Birdcage Lighthouse because it is located on private property, you can see it from the water and several locations on the shore. Its light was extinguished for the last time in 1869, but it is one of only three lighthouses in the US that still has the unique lantern that gave it its name.

Celebrations! Each May we have Spring Fling which includes a parade for the Door County Scottie Rally and Taste of Baileys Harbor Soup Fundraiser. This year, The Ridges Ride for Nature and 2nd Annual Door County Beer Festival will be jointly held on June 15th! 4th of July in Baileys Harbor is a one of a kind celebration with lots of vendors, live music, and the best 4th of July Parade in the county. In September we have Autumn Fest which includes a car & motorcycle show, and arts and crafts and food. And no matter what time of year you visit Baileys Harbor you can count on great eats at our restaurants and pubs, most of which are open year-round. There's waterfront dining, live music to see while you eat, late night meals at hometown pubs and a great a variety of cuisines from seafood to good old-fashioned bar burgers, to grilled sandwiches and homemade soups. Baileys Harbor may surprise you, it's a great place to be with family, and we're all family here!



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