According to a reliable source, Door County boasts 53 public beaches. Now, I’m not going to visit every one, and then turn around and write about them. But, since Saturday was a sweltering day, I’ll give you some beach lounging flavor-having enjoyed two Door County beaches that day. It may seem redundant, yet, I’m blogging about both. Although they were within ten miles of each other, these sandy havens could not have been more different-save for their fine cream colored sands. Join me for a few minutes…
Our first choice was somewhat secluded. Basically, it was set down a narrow Rustic Road. The short drive began at Bailey’s Harbor, and coursed through forested green. In no time, we found our chosen spot, in what is known as Ridges County Park, and discovered a small paved lot yielding to a fairly decent swath of sand.
When we hopped from our car, the consistent roar of the waves lulled through the comfortable air. In most of the region, being early Saturday afternoon, temps were in the nineties. Here, with a casual breeze sauntering from Lake Michigan, the air currents cooled the park- it felt like low to mid 70’s.
If you were to ask me how large the beach was, I couldn’t accurately put it in footage terms. But I’d say that there were about thirty to forty people lounged on the sand, and enough space for privacy. Yet, if there were many more beach goers, it might’ve been uncomfortable.
The park doesn’t feature a ton of amenities. Basically, the beach and lake are the star attractions, as the beach is surrounded by a forested terrain. However, there are a few weathered picnic tables on the sands. And of course, there is also a quality public restroom in the corner of the parking lot.
Here, as I had mentioned the comfortable temps, most people simply relaxed on the beach. Yet, I, and few other daring souls, did brave the icy lake. And it was icy. It wasn’t until my third go-round that I fully submerged my body into the clear waters. I should mention that the water is shallow, allowing one to venture a good distance into the lake. And a sandy base allows the trek to be enjoyable.
As for the setting, seeing how I’ve only briefly touched on it, it’s awesomely serene. The beach is set on a small horseshoe shaped inlet. The beach sits very near that body of water’s apex. Along the horseshoe’s right side, at a substantial distance, the languid town of Bailey’s Harbor is in full view. The other side sports a few beach houses, a forested stretch and Cana Island. Cana Island, which is only a 3.7 mile car ride away, holds an 1869 lighthouse. Tours are available. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make out the tower from our vantage.
After our fun in the sun was over, we enjoyed Bailey’s Harbor for a moment. I actually saw people wearing sweatshirts in town. That would not be the case, as we drove nine miles northwest, in Ephraim. Ephraim highlights charm with its historic appeal, but it also sported temps in the low nineties.
It was a drastic temperature change, I don’t know the exact readings, but Eprhraim seemed a twenty degree difference from Bailey’s Harbor.
And set along the Highway, at the edge of the town’s southern entrance, a small sandy strip plays home to the Ephraim’s public beach. Here, the setting is much different than Ridges County Park.
First off, although both beaches are nestled in small inlets, the water in Ephraim is calmer. And usually, being that the inlet is part of the bay, the waters are warmer. Yet, the bay was refreshingly cool, and many people, in contrast to the first beach we visited, were wading on the sandy base of the clear, shallow water.
Secondly, the setting is more lively. Ephraim, although relaxed, is very vibrant. Boats of all nature cruise this inlet, and there is the buzz of slow moving vehicles on the highway. You can feel the town’s positive energy. There is also plenty of green surrounding you, considering Peninsula State Park is in full view. The beach was also slightly more crowded, though about the same size….Ephraim’s is possibly smaller??
As for the amenities, there’s public restrooms and a shower nozzle near the edge of the beach. I like the nozzle because it can wash away the sands on your feet. It saves me from a tedious shop-vac task upon returning home.
When we’re done braving the bay, and indulging in ice cream at Wilson’s, we head south towards the home base. With the bliss of Door County in our rear view mirrors, and small blotches of red on my skin, (damn the uneven application of sun block!) we feel relaxed and ready for another work week.
Like I said, there are tons of beaches in Door County. I could probably list five other quality spots right off the top of my head. But these two, being today’s choices, were definitely sufficient options. And what I think I demonstrated here, being that I’ve selected two entirely different settings, is that the peninsula can accommodate a diverse set of visitors. Here’s to many other fun in the sun excursions this summer!