Washington Island

Beaches, Parks, and Attractions

Enjoy beaches with sand or smooth rocks with crystal clear water, Limestone Bluffs, Pastoral rural scenery, Parks, Wildlife, Museums, Art, Northern Lights, Scandinavian Architecture, Icelandic Horses, Mountain Park Lookout Tower, Rock Island Boat House, and more…

Schoolhouse Beachschoolhousebeach1

A geological marvel, this smooth limestone beach provides excellent swimming for advanced swimmers in a marked area with a diving raft. If you aren’t a fan of sand in your shoes this is a must see. The crystal clear waters of Lake Michigan are best visited with a north wind to bring in the warmer surface waters of this deep harbor. The water deepens fairly quickly and diving, rafting or snorkeling is great. This town park presents a favorite area for picnics and grills amidst a beautiful wooded setting. (Caution: please don’t take the rocks as this resource has suffered from the past removal of loads of stone and the maturation of trees in the parking and picnic area.)

Rock Island State Parkrock-island

A 900-acre state park which boasts the most beautiful beach of Door County on its southern shore.  Rock Island is the location of the earliest settlement of the Township of Washington. It is also the site of the oldest lighthouse in Wisconsin waters. Nice hiking trails, beautiful beach, rustic camping. Historical buildings open to the public. No vehicles permitted. Access at Jackson Harbor via the passenger ferry Karfi.  Boat dockage available subject to water conditions.

airportOur Airport

Washington Island has a 2 grass runways, that allow for planes to land on the Island. It is a well maintained public strip that is mowed and plowed by the Town of Washington. Tie down fees are minimal and the EAA chapter has a Courtesy Van for use. A picnic area is provided for public use at the entrance to the airport. There are tables and other facilities available for you while you watch airplanes take off and land.

Percy Johnson County Park

Watch the sun rise or enjoy a picnic lunch and a swim. This lovely sand beach has exceptional views of Hog Island and eastern vistas. Ample picnic tables and grills are available. The gentle slope of this beach is very nice for bringing small children for wading.

Jackson Harbor Ridges

The Ridges, a State of Wisconsin Scientific Area, is an outstanding example of beach, dune, boreal and shore meadow communities. Information about the Ridges and its program is posted on the bulletin board at the gate. The protected shallow harbor offers wonderful warm swims throughout the summer. The nature trail is open daily for nature study, photography, and peaceful walking.

red barnRed Barn Park/Gislason Public Beach

This family park and beach area is designated alcohol and drug free. Located on a 13-acre tract at the south end of the island, it includes playground, picnic area with grills and benches along the waterside and a small rustic theater, which holds family style performances during the summer.

Sand Dunes Park

Walking a short distance on a sandy trail you’ll find a sand beach located on the south side of the Island. Southern winds bring in Warm Lake Michigan surface water to this beach.  The water quality is dependent year to year on lake levels.  When the water is low this beach is less attractive for swimming.  The gentle slope and fine sand make this a favorite of families with small children. The large expanse provides sun-seekers a quiet respite to soak up the rays. No campfires. Picnic lunches permitted.

Maritime MuseumJackson Harbor Maritime Museum

The museum is located in two former fishing sheds located in Jackson Harbor where fishermen continue in the commercial fishing trade. View artifacts, photographs and videos on local maritime history including commercial fishing, Coast Guard and area shipwrecks.

Special programs available during the open season…  Open Daily 10:00-4:00
Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend.

W.I. Farm Museumdsc01041

Jackson Harbor Rd.
Washington Island, WI  54246

Opening in June. A non-profit Wisconsin Corporation. Founded for the public enjoyment and education about farm life on the Island. We have weekly activities for children!

Jacobsen MuseumJacobsen museum

Little Lake Road
Washington Island, WI 54246

See an outstanding collection of natural and historical artifacts of the region. Also, a small log cabin, once owned by Jens Jacobsen prior to 1930, has been restored with authentic furniture and a mannequin of Jens which adds realism to the cabin. The museum is open on Memorial Day weekend and then daily 10:00-4:00 until its closing Columbus Day.

mountain parkMountain Park Lookout Tower

Climb the steps up Washington Island’s “Mountain” and then ascend the tower on the top that gives you the views of the Northern and Eastern Shore of Washington Island also Rock and St. Martins Islands.

Art and Nature CenterArt and Nature Center

Since 1965, the ANC has flourished as a not-for-profit organization for Islanders and visitors, promoting the creative arts, providing a sales outlet for Island artists and craftsmen, and directing nature study programs with special emphasis on youth education.  Its only sources of funds are contributions, memberships, book store sales and art commissions.

The building housing the ANC dates  back to 1904 and was originally used as a schoolhouse, one of four schools on the Island.  Upon consolidation of the schools, the building became the high school  and was used as such until 1964.  The ANC was then founded in 1965 for the preservation and promotion of creative arts and natural history of Washington Island.

Map of Island Attractions

View Washington Island Attractions in a larger map