Egg Harbor in Door County is situated about halfway up the peninsula, just past Carlsville and on the way to Fish Creek and Sister Bay. It is one of the first villages full of Door County’s charm and beauty, coming a long way from its founding in the mid-1800s. Once thought to be a “drive-by” town, Egg Harbor is teeming with new restaurants to try, attractions to see, shops to browse, and local events and festivals to visit! This is your guide to everything you need to know about Egg Harbor before you stay.
History of Egg Harbor
How did Egg Harbor come to be? Well, there are a couple of stories, and some are just as unusual as its name! There isn’t one true origin for Egg Harbor, but the most popular story was found in Door County Advocate in 1862. The story begins with some fur traders leaving Green Bay for Mackinac Island’s trading post. They decided to stop at the then-unnamed harbor for the night, and the fleet of boats began a race to see who could reach the shore first. During the race, men began throwing eggs at each other as a form of friendly competition, and the egg battle continued even after they reached land! They threw eggs at each other until all the eggs were gone, and thus christened the place “Egg Harbor.”
Egg Harbor was established in 1861, the tenth organized town of Door County. Jacob and Levi Thorp were the first settlers, beginning with lumbering operations that quickly expanded to dairy farming and growing fruit orchards. The town grew slowly, with French Canadian families arriving around 1865. In 1904, a Swiss man named John Bertschinger bought a large house that he remodeled into an inn. He sold it in 1912 to try his hand at dairy farming and lumbering himself, and Murphy Moore, the new owner of the inn, transformed the building into a popular dining establishment. That dining establishment is known today as Shipwrecked. John Bertschinger returned to the hospitality business with his brother Paul, and together they built and opened the Alpine Resort in 1922 and added the golf course in 1926. To this day, the Alpine is still owned by the Bertschinger family, and it is one of the oldest resorts in the area!
Early residents of Egg Harbor all owned and maintained small businesses, and the town experienced a boom in economic growth and building in the 1950s and 60s. There were schools, restaurants, gas stations, drug and grocery stores, and even a car dealership! But the residents became more seasonal, and businesses adjusted to be “summer-only.” Traditions quickly took root in the community, and today we still celebrate many festivals and events that took place in prior decades, like Pumpkin Patch, Holly Days, Independence Day, and summer concerts!
Staying in Egg Harbor
Now that you know more about Egg Harbor’s origins, where should you stay to be close to all the action? Egg Harbor has a variety of hotels, resorts, and inns for couples, families, or single travelers to choose from, so you’re sure to find a place that’s just right for you!
For couples, the Ashbrooke Hotel is known as the “destination for two.” As an adults-only resort, each of their suites comes with a lush queen- or king-size bed and luxurious amenities, such as a built-in wet bar, two-person whirlpool, and gas-burning fireplace. Other amenities include a complimentary continental breakfast in the lobby, an indoor pool, and a fitness facility. The Ashbrooke is just a few minutes away from downtown, close to restaurants, shops, and attractions, while being far enough away for a romantic getaway with your partner. The convenient location paired with the romantic atmosphere and plentiful amenities make the Ashbrooke Hotel an ideal destination for couples looking for some time to themselves.
If you’re coming up to Door County with your family, then there’s no better place to stay than the Landmark Resort! The family-friendly resort provides a variety of amenities to entertain children young and old alike, such as an indoor pool and three heated outdoor pools; tennis, pickleball, basketball, and shuffleboard courts; a playground; and board games and DVDs. There is plenty for the parents to enjoy, too—you can relax in a hot tub or steam room located in each lodging building, walk on the nature trails around the wooded property, or visit the fitness center. At the end of the day, settle in a suite with one, two, or three bedrooms, and every suite features an outdoor balcony or patio, a comfortably furnished living room, and a kitchen with a refrigerator, a stove or stovetop, a microwave, and cooking supplies. The Landmark Resort is the perfect place to call home and start new family traditions in Door County.
If you’d prefer to spend more time in the great outdoors, then the Frontier Wilderness Campground is the best option for you! Just a couple miles outside of town and nestled in the woods, you can stay toasty around the fire pit at night and cool down in the summer in the air-conditioned adult center, swimming in the pool, or grabbing an ice cream cone from the campground store. For families, there is a 9-hole mini golf course right at the campground, and they even allow pets! They host fun events at their campsite like a chili cook-off, pig roast, and Halloween party. When it comes to lodging, you can bring your own tent or camper or rent out one of their cozy log cabins. You don’t have to worry about “roughing it” either, as Frontier provides clean bathrooms and showers and on-site laundry facilities. Whether you are an experienced camper or just starting out, Frontier Wilderness Campground is a great place to stop!
Attractions in Egg Harbor
Now that you’ve found a place to stay, what is there to do? Egg Harbor offers a plethora of activities with something for everyone to enjoy, young and old alike!
Golfing is a popular pastime in Door County, and some of the best golf courses are found in Egg Harbor. For instance, Horseshoe Bay Golf Club is located on some of the most scenic grounds, and the club is home to a championship golf course and three delicious family-friendly restaurants. This club is the finest of Door County’s family-oriented golf clubs, and its historical significance to Egg Harbor and its commitment to wildlife preservation also make it one of the most unique.
The Orchards at Egg Harbor is also a championship golf course located near orchards, rolling meadows, and a lake. The clubhouse is comfortable and casual, a perfect place for golfers to relax, socialize, and dine at the full-service bar and grill. If you’re new to golf, stop by their pro shop to stock up on merchandise like tees, clubs, and shoes.
For families, Egg Harbor Fun Park is a go-to spot for all things fun! You can play a round of mini golf, race in go karts, score runs in a batting cage, or play games in the arcade! You don’t need to leave the park to find something to eat—they offer all of the amusement park favorites, like made-to-order pizza, burgers, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, munchie baskets, and a wide assortment of drinks and ice cream flavors. This is a great place for young ones and the young at heart to play!
For beachgoers, Egg Harbor Beach has an easygoing atmosphere with white sand, a dock, and crystal-clear blue water to wade in. The beach features an expanded playground, a small boat launch, changing rooms, walking paths, and kayak rentals. The beach’s appeal doesn’t fade as the sun goes down—it has the perfect vantage point to watch the sun lower on the horizon and paint the sky gorgeous colors. Lots of work has been put into the beach to make it a comfortable and fun place to visit, and you can feel the love just as warmly as the sand between your toes!
Restaurants in Egg Harbor
Trying different restaurants is a big part of visiting Door County, as each offers their own take on traditional dishes or creates something brand-new with locally grown ingredients. Egg Harbor has quickly risen to be one of the most prominent foodie locations in Door County, with a variety of restaurants so delicious that you’ll want to come back for seconds.
For breakfast, there is no better place than Big Easy. This little restaurant is a slice of New Orleans right on the peninsula, with mouthwatering beignets fried fresh to order and flavorful Louisiana dishes. The Little Piggy features fried eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, pepper jack cheese, and chipotle aioli on a fresh baked bagel, and the Louisiana Skillet has Cajun herb roasted potato, andouille sausage, pepperonata, bacon, cheddar, and scrambled eggs. The coffee options are simple but classic, and they have a rotating menu of flavored smoothies and shakes. Big Easy is the best way to start your day in Door County!
Mezzanine is another popular place in Egg Harbor, particularly for lunch or dinner. This new restaurant was opened by a Washington Islander, and lavender and whitefish can be found throughout the menu. The house-smoked whitefish is delectably delicious, whether found in a dip, formed in cakes, or spread over sunflower seeded toast. Sip on a drink or two on the rooftop bar that overlooks the marina, with cocktails that burst with incredible Door County flavors like lavender, cherry juice, maple syrup, and locally distilled bourbon and brandy.
Casey’s BBQ & Smokehouse also offers incredible views of the bay, but on ground level. Their BBQ is unlike anything found on the peninsula—their founder, a Door County native, wanted to put a Door County twist on southern-style BBQ by using cherry wood in a smoker to give their meats a mild smoked flavor. Now they serve mouthwatering cherry wood-smoked chicken, ribs, and brisket, alongside their fish fry, sandwiches, and burgers. The atmosphere is a lot of fun, too—you can sing along to karaoke on Saturday nights or bring the kids along to see the life-size metal pigs out front!
Another great family-friendly option for food is One Barrel Brewing Co. Despite being a brewery, they have the most fun and accommodating options for kids, with retro video games, board games, and a duck machine for them to play. One Barrel’s beer garden is tons of fun for adults too, with massive flat-screen TVs to watch sports, long tables for large parties, and cozy fire pits to sit beside in the cooler months. For food, One Barrel partnered with Pizza Bros, one of the best pizzerias in Door County, that serves wood-fired pizza with savory and even sweet toppings. Their beer menu is constantly changing, so you can try something new every time you visit!
For the best place to watch the sun set, Carrington offers the premier location with its expansive outdoor terrace. The view is unrivaled, with the sun and water framed by overhanging leafy trees, and the food is just as good! The menu is one of the most unique in Door County, with dishes that you won’t find anywhere else, such as their award-winning cherry ribs, the Landmark Smorgasbord charcuterie board, and the Loco Moco, a Wisconsin take on a Hawaii special. Make sure to stay for dessert afterwards, because who could resist the Niagara Sundae, topped with chocolate sauce, caramel, M&M’s, gummi bears, marshmallows, and Door County cherries?! The cocktail menu is a favorite among visitors and locals alike as well, with mainstays like the New Fashioned (a Door County twist on the Wisconsin old fashioned) and newcomers like the Sail Away and Chocolate Martini.
Shopping in Egg Harbor
No Door County trip is complete without some window (or actual) shopping. While Fish Creek is known as the shopping capital in Door County, Egg Harbor has its own array of shops, gift stores, and boutiques that are worth checking out!
Main Street Shops are some of the most popular shops to visit, considering 19 small businesses are housed in one building! On both floors throughout the building, you can visit clothing stores, specialty shops, fun boutiques, and everything in between! When you first enter the building, stop at Buttercups Coffee for a quick bite and a hot cup of coffee, before taking a peek at Country Lady of Door County just across the hallway. Door County Kids & Baby Boutique offers the cutest selection of kids and baby toys and clothes, and young ones can grab a treat from Door County Vintage Candy Co. For vibrant and exquisite art created by local and regional artists, check out Howell Creek Trading and Studio One Art Glass. And these are only a few of the stores found in Main Street Shops!
Door County Nature Works was once voted One of the Best Stores in Door County, and it’s no mystery why! This home décor store was founded in a small barn, and its charm extends to its casual and beautiful outdoor and indoor furniture, comfortable furnishings, and colorful art. They have categories of products to fit your taste, like Game Day, Autumn Favorites, and, of course, Door County. Bring the atmosphere and environment of Door County back home with you when you visit Nature Works!
Art is an integral part of Door County’s culture, with over 100 galleries calling the county home. Woodwalk Gallery is a favorite spot for both artists and art lovers, offering a unique mix of evocative art in a historical barn from the late 1800s. Over 75 artists showcase their art in this gallery, with painting, metalwork, wood, glass, and jewelry capturing the minds and hearts of many. Off The Wheel Pottery is the home of a singular potter, Renee Schwaller, but she also carries the pottery, glass, sculpture, paintings, and garden art of over 25 regional and national artists. Like Woodwalk Gallery, Off The Wheel Pottery is in a historic timber-framed barn turned studio, and it beautifully captures the simplistic charm of farm life.
Events in Egg Harbor
Unlike the past residents of Egg Harbor, who steadily became more seasonal and changed their businesses to “summer-only,” the current population of Egg Harbor hosts celebrations and festivals all year round, no matter the season or weather outside!
In January, the New Year’s Day Parade is one of the most well-attended parades in Door County, with both locals and visitors from outside the county crowding the streets and sidewalks. The parade runs through the Village of Egg Harbor, and there is an open invitation for anyone to join the parade! Everyone is encouraged to dress up, decorate a bike or car, and celebrate the new year from one end of town to the other!
In the summer, the fun is just ramping up! Music is tied to Egg Harbor’s identity, and the Peg Egan Sunset Concert Series and Concerts in the Park are a good time to dance and sing along on those long summer nights. Both concert series are free to attend, and carry-in picnics and beverages are allowed. Stake your spot with a blanket or lawn chair and listen to the music as the sun sets and the stars spread over the night sky.
In July, the Independence Day Celebration is one of the biggest parades in Door County! The fireworks show, which usually takes place on July 3, is consistently voted as the best of Door County, and you can stake your spot on the beach for the best view of the show and enjoy live music and food as the sparks fly. On Fourth of July itself, the Independence Day Parade, also voted the best of Door County, makes its way through town, and nearly every business and resident participate! It’s tough to find a spot to stand, let alone sit, on the sidewalks as floats, trucks, golf carts, and horseback riders march down the street, waving flags and tossing candy. Just like the New Year’s Day Parade, all are welcome to join!
Fall in Door County is known for its gorgeous changing leaves and exciting fall festivities, and Egg Harbor joins in on the fun with Pumpkin Patch, the first fall festival of the season! This weekend is packed with family-friendly activities, like face painting, carnival rides, and kids’ games, but it’s fun for older family members too, with live music, a bucket raffle, and fall-themed food and drinks. Pumpkin Patch is the most exciting way to kick off the fall season, and the rest of Door County’s fall festivals follow in its wake!
Finally, at the end of the year, just before the snow begins falling and Christmas music plays on the radio, Egg Harbor puts on Holly Days. While still in November, this event preps parents for the upcoming holiday season with children’s activities, horse-drawn wagon rides, caroling, cookie decorating, and a visit from Santa!
Egg Harbor is a fun, exciting, and charming town to visit any time of year in Door County. Now that you are equipped with everything you need to know about Egg Harbor, it’s time to start planning your next visit!