Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rock Island State Park, WI : Getting There

Today, I am going to share with you one of my favorite places in Wisconsin.  I love it here so much that I have gone 3 times already.  My fourth trip will be when my nephews get a little older to appreciate the beauty of Rock Island State Park in Wisconsin. The island is located off of the tip of the Door County Peninsula.  You can visit this island as a day trip for a hike, but I highly recommend staying a few days in the campground portion.  The only thing to be aware of is all the sites are walk-in sites, where you have to carry your gear to the site.  More on that soon..

With me recapping the three times I have been there, I will be breaking the blog posts into segments.  Today we shall focus on getting there.  Because as you read on getting there is half of the fun.

First and foremost for all trips, make sure that you have an experienced copilot who is up for an adventure. Mine would be Bullet  aka my backcountry dog.

Since you will be traveling up the Door County Peninsula, you will come to a point of whether you would like to take highway 42 or 57.  We always take 57.  It seems to be the quieter side of the peninsula plus there is a restaurant that we have a tradition of stopping at.
Another must stop on the way up is one of the geological markers.  It is set off on a little wayside.
Yep, you are seeing that correctly according to this I was halfway to the north pole.  Just a little further and maybe I could have had dinner with Santa Claus.
Another spot to check out along the way up is Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant. in Sister Bay.

The major draw to this restaurant are the goats that live on the roof. 

Make sure to take time to pull over or find a place to park to check them out.  I will assume that the food is good also since each time we drive past it is busy.   We never have stopped since we eat before we make it this far.   
Prior to making it to the tip of the Door County mainland do not be surprised if you run across a snake in the road.

No worries though this snake doesn't mind if you drive all over him.
Once you reach the tip of the peninsula, it is time for the car ferry that will take you over to Washington Island.   You can also take bicycles or just ride the ferry over as an individual.
The ferry ride lasts a long enough period where you can get out stretch your legs and enjoy the view for awhile.  More Information on the ferry click here: Washington Ferry
 Once you arrive at Washington Island, next is driving across the island to the "entrance" for the park.

Yes, you are reading that sign correctly..it says "Rock Island Ferry".  It takes two ferry rides to get to this glorious state park.  It is well worth it.
And of course our obligatory pre-ferry pictures.
 My first time to Rock Island with my son and Bullet
The second time with my son, steppie and Bullet.   The third time we somehow missed out on a picture. 
Once you arrive at the ferry launch, you will need to park your car and unload your stuff.  This ferry takes people and gear only.  The cars remain behind in the parking lot and a park sticker is required.
The guys who run the ferry are absolutely awesome. They do a great job of loading your gear and making sure you get across safely.   Remember to tip your ferry captain.   They also allow pets to make the trip over on the ferry.  Which is a very good thing since I wouldn't want my Bullet to get jealous.
Or Chuck, even though he would much rather be on the couch.

And on occasion, you may find a stowaway penguin.
This long day of travel is well worth it though when you set your sights on the beauty of the island.
Stop back on Thursday for insights on what it is like on the island....and living on island aka ferry times.

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