I don’t know what I expected when I first visited the Door County peninsula in Wisconsin, but I never expected to fall in love with this gorgeous part of our country. Yet I did. This photo, taken early one July morning approaching Cana Island in Baileys Harbor, shows the exquisite natural beauty of Door County.

Cana Island is home to the Cana Island Lighthouse, which first came into use in 1869, protecting sailors from the rocky shores of Lake Michigan. Today, you can visit the island, explore the keeper’s quarters and even walk up into the tower. It is a visit well worth the time and the extra effort to make it up all those stairs inside the tower.

From the mainland, there is a rock causeway that leads over to Cana Island. Due to the current levels of Lake Michigan, you can simply walk across the causeway, with this beautiful scene welcoming you. You will need to park on the mainland and walk in, so do wear comfortable shoes and be aware that the walk could get a bit muddy if it rains. It is an easy and short hike, leading to the lighthouse and the beach beyond. (Note: As of summer 2018, the water is often higher, so there is a tractor with a wagon available to take visitors across to Cana Island if you prefer not to walk. Do note that if you choose to walk, you should have footwear that you can use in the water to protect your feet.)

Cana Island-Door County

Cana Island in Baileys Harbor, Door County, WI. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

It is best to arrive early morning, not just for these spectacular views as the fog burns off and the sun peaks through, but to beat the crowds on busy summer days. Visit the lighthouse, then save some time to walk down on the beach. The Cana Island Lighthouse is open May through October, daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $12 for adults to visit the island, tour the keeper’s quarters and to go up into the lighthouse. For more details, visit the website for the Door County Maritime Museum, which operates the lighthouse, at http://www.dcmm.org/cana-island-lighthouse/.

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