Expect multiple-night minimums during peak season (and year-round if your stay includes a Saturday night). Unless specified otherwise, all listed accommodations are open year-round.
A few of the cheapest motels may offer high-season rates in the $65–85 range for a single in summer; these dip much lower (as low as $45) in nonpeak times. However, most places cost much more than that.
Among the best budget choices —and yours truly’s home away from home for more than a decade—is the Holiday Music Motel (30 N. 1st Ave., 920/743-5571, www.holidaymusicmotel.com , $75). In 2007 a group of musicians—local and national, including Jackson Browne, I kid you not—came here to write songs for a benefit for the Michigan Street Bridge. Long story short, they loved the experience and the place was for sale, so what the heck, they bought it and rejuvenated it into a budget boutique kinda joint. You likely won’t need the recording studio (don’t worry—it’s quiet), but your room has a fridge and new appointments. This is truly one of the best budget choices in Door County, odd history notwithstanding.
Then again, folks come here for cottage life, no? All the higher-end resorts have isolated cottages high on creature comforts. On the economical end, Lake Lane Breezes (5647 Lake Ln., 920/743-3463, www.lakelanecottages.com , $80 per day, $420 per week) sleeps 2–4 people. A very family-friendly operation, it’s even got a tree house outside for the kids, and pets are welcome. It’s southeast of town via Highway U (Clay Banks Road).
At the Reynolds House B&B (111 S. 7th Ave., 920/746-9771, www.reynoldshousebandb.com , $100–165), the ersatz anachronism of spinning parasols is eschewed here—it actually feels like a century ago in this antique-adorer’s paradise. It emphasizes small but gorgeous rooms, superb service, and, was voted as having the best breakfast in the Midwest by no less than the knowledgeable readers of Midwest Living magazine.
A century-old commercial building (and erstwhile soda fountain), the Inn at Cedar Crossing (corner of 3rd Ave. and Louisiana St., 920/743-4200, www.innatcedarcrossing.com , $115–195) would best be described as Victorian country; the owner’s flair and passion for folk art decoration is expressed in the rooms (room 6 is particularly warm and spacious). The inn also has a fabulous dining room.
You’re not likely to find more welcoming proprietors than those at the splendid Black Walnut Guest House (454 N. 7th Ave., 877/255-9568, www.blackwalnut-gh.com , $145–160). The inn’s four relaxing rooms are entirely different from one another—hmm, do you want the one with the spiral staircase to the hot tub in a tower, or the one with the double-sided fireplace?—but all are delightfully well-conceived. This guest house is very highly recommended.
North of Sturgeon Bay five miles via Highway 57, Whitefish Bay Farm B&B (3831 Clark Lake Rd./Highway WD, 920/743-1560, www.whitefishbayfarm.com , $125), a 1908 American farmhouse, has four sunny rooms. Instead of quotidian day jobs, the transplanted Milwaukeeans now raise Corriedale sheep. The farm covers 75 acres of meadow and orchard and with all that wool, the owners, accomplished weavers, give spinning and weaving demonstrations in their barn-cum-art gallery.
The restored farmhouse Chanticleer (4072 Hwy. HH N/Cherry Lane Rd., 920/746-0334, www.chanticleerguesthouse.com , $170–280) sits on a 30-acre orchard with gardens and sheep—yep, sheep. Find multilevel suites with 15-foot vaulted ceilings and private terraces, lofted suites with bisque pine ceilings and rafters, and a head-shaking array of amenities in each. Notable extras include a solarium, sauna, hiking trails, and a heated pool. I never met a person who didn’t adore this place.
The Bay Shore Inn (4205 Bay Shore Dr., 920/743-4551, www.bayshoreinn.net , $199–310) has long been known as one of the most family-friendly resorts in the United States; it has three dozen luxurious kitchenette suites overlooking the bay, with a private beach. Just follow Highway B north out of town.
Not far away, quite a few folks have dropped a line to rave about Westwood Shores Waterfront Resort (4303 Bay Shore Dr., 800/440-4057, www.westwoodshores.net , $200-plus), with one- and two-bedroom suites with full kitchens, all of which have commanding views of the bay. The suites have absolutely everything you could wish for, and staff friendliness is as noticeable as the views.
The 1930s Glidden Lodge (4676 Glidden Dr., 920/746-3900 or 888/281-1127, www.gliddenlodge.com , $235–390) was the epitome of hedonistic delight at the time—a massive, fieldstone main building offering stunning lake views. On the “quiet side of the peninsula,” it’s got a prime peninsular location. It’s all suites, which all offer breathtaking lake views and magnificent sunrises. Follow WI 57 north to Highway T and turn right to Glidden Drive.