Retirement Around the World: Door County, Wisconsin
Published on September 27, 2016
Welcome to Door County, Wisconsin!
Picture this: you are about to retire from the professional world where you have lived in suburbia or a large city for most of your life. If you’ve always loved the idea of simple living and the countryside but could never get enough time away from your busy life in order to truly experience it, well – now you can!
Midwesterners of all ages have been traveling to Door County, Wisconsin to enjoy a little taste of the great outdoors. Sticking out into the Great Lakes, the “thumb” of Wisconsin’s mitten-shaped state is dotted by colorful woodlands and cozy lake towns, featuring an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy. Even though Door County is considered a regional gem, it is definitely regarded as a relaxing and reasonably-priced location to retire.
From the picturesque lighthouses that dot the shorelines to amazing fall foliage, Door County could be just the “door” to step through into your new life as a retiree.
There are a few ways that you can get to Door County. If you live within the upper Midwest, driving would be your best option. There are various interstates and highways that carve through the rolling hills and outline the Great Lakes.
If you choose to fly to Door County, two of the most convenient airports are Green Bay’s Straubel Airport (55 minutes away) or Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport (2.5 hours away). Door County is in a very remote area of Wisconsin so it may take some time before you arrive, but the wonderful location makes it worth the drive time.
Cost of Living
Door County attracts people from all different income brackets. According to Sperling’s, the average home purchase price is approximately $187,000 which is close to the national average. To rent property with two or more bedrooms, you should expect to pay between $560 and $920 per month – well below the national average.
For healthcare, there are plenty of medical facilities that you can access within Door County and the surrounding region. One main hospital includes Door County Medical Center, located in Sturgeon Bay. This hospital is a part of the Ministry Health Care network, which has other Door County locations in Algoma, Brussels, and Fish Creek.
Additionally, there are a few living expenses worth noting that can be advantageous to you. First, gasoline prices are hovering around the national average, as you can see from this report from Sturgeon Bay (the county’s hub). The area is served by Wisconsin Public Service for home utilities. Your expected electric bills are calculated with a base cost of approximately $21 per month. The sales tax in Wisconsin is also approximately 5%, which is lower than many other neighboring states.
Activities in Door County
There is something in Door County for everyone to do all year long. Outdoor activities are abundant; fishing, boating, hiking, camping, even apple picking! The Peninsula’s quaint towns offer plenty of shopping for local crafts and gifts. Boat cruises are available for you to spot breathtaking lighthouses while traveling up the majestic lake shorelines. Door County also offers performing arts for people of all ages by the company at the Northern Sky Theater, featuring three different seasonal performance locations in Fish Creek.
Destinations in Door County
Sturgeon Bay – One of the larger towns in the Door County region, Sturgeon Bay has a bevy of quality offerings for potential retirees. There is an abundance of parks, two city beaches, opportunities for recreational engagement, and a YMCA.
Baileys Harbor – Smaller in size, Baileys Harbor is a nature lover’s paradise. Abundant wildlife can be seen as you hike through acres of forests. Cycling is made easy here with uncrowded roads. Besides watersports in summer, the colder seasons are also a great time to be in Baileys Harbor – pick apples and take in the beautiful fall foliage, or travel through snow-covered fields in the winter.
Egg Harbor – Even though this Door County gem is considered to be a “resort town”, it still has a lot to offer for a few hundred permanent residents who call it home. A potpourri of activities is available here for locals and visitors: trails, watersports, art displays, and beautiful Wisconsin landscapes (as always) are present. Additionally, you can find a variety of restaurants and stores for all discerning tastes and preferences.
Local Eats and Drinks
There is a great variety of dining options in Door County, all at very modest prices. Enjoy freshly caught seafood from the surrounding lakes. Fall weather will also bring fresh apple or cherry pies and cider. Taste local Wisconsin favorites such as cheese curds, bratwursts, and giant pretzels. Some of the highest rated local establishments include:
- Chop, Sister Bay – This is one of the top restaurants in the county for “surf and turf” located within the shopping district of Sister Bay.
- The Fireside Restaurant, Ellison Bay – From classic cocktails to colorful comfort foods, this restaurant puts a spicy twist on all its dishes. Enjoy a wide range of local favorites and southern staples.
- White Gull Inn, Fish Creek – This award-winning eatery is home of the “Best Breakfast” by Good Morning America. Additionally, enjoy old-fashioned fish boils at this year-round spot.
Fall weather brings fresh apple pies and cider. As the home of the Miller Brewing Company, Wisconsin is famous for having thousands of bars from its bustling cities to quiet country towns. You will never have a problem finding a place to have a drink or two year round!
Additionally, Door County has a handful of wineries that you can visit at your leisure. Below are a few you may want to check out:
- Red Oak Vineyard, Sturgeon Bay – come taste Red Oak’s award-winning wines in the heart of the county. Enjoy a menu of traditional red and white wines, along with regional cherry-based wines.
- Harbor Ridge Winery, Egg Harbor – a newcomer to the Door County wine community, this establishment offers trendy wines in a jovial setting.
- Simon Creek Vineyard and Winery, Jacksonport – This is the largest and most advanced winery in the region, offering tours and tastings free of charge. The tour covers every touchpoint of producing wine, from collecting grapes to packaging the finish products.
Make Door County Your Next Home!
The people of Wisconsin are some of the friendliest and most welcoming that you will meet. They will be more than happy to show you around and make you feel right at home. So come to Door County and retire in this fantastic wooded wonderland surrounded by the Great Lakes! Consult our website to find out how an IRA can benefit your future finances when you are ready to retire. Hopefully you will decide to call Door County a future home!