The Spectacular Local Wildlife in Door County Wisconsin

The Spectacular Local Wildlife in Door County Wisconsin

Most people might picture the beautiful forests, abundant plant life and acres of untouched wooded land when they think about Door County. Beyond the all-year-round greenery, though, this location is also home to a variety of local wildlife, including birds, mammals, fish and invertebrates. The abundance of wildlife and nature conservancy makes Door County a cherished spot for nature lovers.


Pack your binoculars and bird books —  Door County is a birder's paradise with over 300 species that can be seen and heard in the area. There are different places to observe birds, including the forest, grassland, brush, wetland and shoreline areas.  

Bird species you might see include bald eagles, ospreys, waterfowl, cranes, pelicans, woodpeckers, chickadees and swans.

Best Places to View Birds

Here are a few of the places where you can go bird watching: 

  • Open Door Bird Sanctuary. This is a perfect opportunity to observe birds of prey in their natural habitat.
  • Kangaroo Lake Nature Preserve. The lake is large and shallow, surrounded by rocky outcrops, lowland forests and marshes — the perfect location for birding and hiking.
  • Mink River Estuary. The Mink River and Lake Michigan combine to form a beautiful estuary — a birder's paradise. 
  • North Bay-Mud Lake Preserve. Spot birds in the quiet setting, where wetlands, springs and wooded areas feed into Lake Michigan.


Door County is home to some spectacular forests and natural conservation. Enjoy local forest wildlife like badgers, white-tail deer, gray and red squirrels, chipmunks and red and gray foxes. The peninsula area does have black bears and gray wolves, but these predators are rarely seen.

Best Places to Spot Mammals

Some of the best places to see mammals include:

  • Nature preserves. Door County has a longstanding tradition of preserving nature. View local mammals in the numerous preserves surrounding the area.
  • State parks. The peninsula is home to five vast state parks teeming with a variety of mammals.
  • Hiking trails. There are various trails at the preserves and state parks to enjoy nature on foot.
  • Campgrounds. Just by quietly sitting at your campsite, you can find a range of small mammals going about their days.


One of the most well-known areas in Wisconsin is Lake Michigan. If you find fish fascinating, catch-and-release fishing at this lake is a must. You can expect to reel in sturgeon, trout, chinook salmon, bass, walleye, northern pike and whitefish.

Door County also has other water-dwelling creatures that visitors love, including interesting amphibians, reptiles and mollusks.

Best Catch-And-Release Spots

You can glimpse some fish in the lake's shallow waters or see them up close through catch-and-release fishing at the marinas. Some will require you to take a boat trip on the lake or at Green Bay.


Not all visitors may be excited about the local invertebrates in Door County, but for those who are — you are in for a treat. Places like Whitefish Dunes State Park have an abundance of wildlife without backbones — known as invertebrates.

Some of the exciting species you can encounter in the area include:

  • Butterflies. See them fluttering around on warmer days.
  • Dragonflies. Watch their transparent wings flap near the wetlands.
  • Ant lions. Find telltale signs of them with their spiral sand traps.

Trees and Plants

Door County is also known for its blooming flowers, shrubs, forests and greenery. The different environments in the area mean there's a diversity of plant life — the dunes are home to unique and hardy plants that can withstand the area's harsh conditions. Then there is the rocky shoreline that also hosts numerous plants.

Some of the rare plants visitors can enjoy observing during hikes include the dune goldenrod, dwarf lake iris, sand reed-grass and dune thistle.

Mushrooms and Other Fungi 

The Door County nature conservancies have hundreds of multicolored mushroom and fungi varieties. Traverse Whitefish Dunes State Park and see the different shapes, shades and sizes — a unique way to enjoy the local wilderness of the area.

See Local Wildlife in Door County, Wisconsin

Door County KOA Holiday is the ideal place to relax and enjoy 58 picturesque acres of wooded land. Stay in a cabin or tent or bring along your RV and use it as a base to explore the spectacular wildlife in Door County, Wisconsin.

Start planning your nature escape and book your stay today.

Share This: