★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Lake Michigan: Cave Point County Park

Touring Cave Point County Park in Door County:
Cave Point County Park is a great diversion for hikers and excellent for paddlers who happen to be in the Door County area. A there-and-back paddle offers some fun Lake Michigan paddling and the highlight are the rock cuts and caves that line the shore of the park.

Cave Point County ParkRating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Trip Report Date: August 17, 2012

Skill Level: Expert
Class Difficulty: Great Lakes Paddling

Put-In + Take-Out:
Whitefish Dunes State Park, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
GPS: 44.9266, -87.18341

Time: n/a
Total Time: n/a
Miles Paddled: 1.75


While spending some time in Door County we explored the beautiful Cave Point County Park on foot. It’s a must-visit destination if you’re near the lake-side of Door County (or really just in Door County since everything is quite close). Having seen it from above, I had to visit it from the water. I planned on putting in at Schauer Road until meeting up with a guy from Door County Kayak Tours based out of Juddville who told me to save my energy for the trip back. The wind was blowing from the Northwest and he suggested I put in at Whitefish Dunes State Park because the trip would be less exhausting. It was a great suggestion as I had limited time and wanted to check out the caves. I’m so glad I did.

Putting-in at Whitefish Dunes affords you the comfort of a sandy entrance versus Schauer Road which is quite rocky and might have taken some work to get out to higher waters. Viewing this natural gem from the water is a beautiful experience. The rolling of the lake beneath you is a lot of fun and the crashing of the waves into the rocks of Cave Point is mesmerizing. You can even tuck your boat into the caves to see them first hand if the wind is behaving. It’s definitely a worthwhile visit, whether by foot or by kayak.

What we liked:
Lake Michigan can be really pretty on days like today. There’s just something about the color of the water that’s mesmerizing. I’ve enjoyed hiking above the caves numerous times but to see them from this vantage point was really cool. I just wished I could’ve gotten closer.

What we didn’t like:
It was a bit too choppy to get near the caves.

If we did this trip again:
I’d love to paddle the whole coast from Schauer Road boat landing to Whitefish Dunes (or vice versa) on a calm day for a Point A to Point B trip with a bike shuttle between.

Related Information:
Camp: Newport State Park
Camp: Peninsula State Park

Miles Paddled/Driftless Kayaker Video:

Miles Paddled Video:

Photo Gallery:

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  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Was thinking of going to cave point myself…how many caves did you see? Did you do the whole stretch?

    If you like this type of paddle, I highly recommend Meyer's Beach (Apostle Islands) and that is a very scenic and popular kayak location.

    An even more extreme option would be Painted Rocks National Lakeshore (UP), which doesn't have the number of caves that Myers Beach area has, but has much larger and more speculator bluffs (also very popular with kayakers).

  • Reply
    Miles Paddled
    August 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    There is about a dozen I believe. Depending on the height of the water, some are more accessible than others. They're not real deep caves by any means but definitely a cool little paddle.

    I followed the shore north up to where it flattens out and you can walk out onto the rocks. It didn't appear there was a whole lot more north of that when we were hiking it a day earlier.

    I've actually heard of both those places. Everybody it seems says I have to check out the Apostle Islands. If and when I make it up that way, I definitely will! Thanks a lot for the comment!

  • Reply
    July 13, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    If you can, try to spot the shipwreck off the Dunes park.

  • Reply
    Timothy Bauer
    September 9, 2023 at 8:55 pm

    Paddled this delightful little trip today with an east wind at 10 mph — enough bouncy waves to make things interested and keep you on your toes, but not enough to capsize or require a spray skirt. Also, the wind was safe enough to get close to the rocks and so-called caves — carefully!

    A few considerations…

    a) Paddle this in the morning, ideally so that the sun shines on the east-facing rocks. Come afternoon, the sun is south or west — either in your eyes for half of this trip or “behind” the shore.

    b) Schauer Road is, in retrospect, a stupid place to launch a boat. Why? Two reasons: (1) there’s a $7 fee, whereas the state park is free (as long as you have a vehicle sticker); and (2) from Schauer to the northern boundary of the county park is almost a full mile of paddling past the backyards of fancy houses. Geologically, it’s interesting to see the dolomite formations “begin” along the shore, but you can do this also by launching from the beach at Whitefish and the southern boundary of the county park. As for the fee, for all I know it’s applied only to motorboats. But no distinction is made on the signage at the boat launch, and I didn’t feel like finding out the more expensive way and forking over a fine.

    c) Despite the park’s name, there are no true caves along the water here. Think grotto or punched-in recess. Cool? Absolutely. Worth checking out? You bet. But these are not like what one finds on Lake Superior, sorry. The shoreline has a great hiking trail, however, and allows access to the rocks otherwise unavailable by water.

    Also, that shipwreck is some 4-5 miles offshore, fyi.

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