The Top 10 Things to Do in Door County, Wisconsin

Updated on February 26, 2019
ercramer36 profile image

My family and I love to travel and explore new places. We have been blessed to travel across the United States.

Sunset view over the bay of Green Bay near Ephraim in Door County, Wisconsin
Sunset view over the bay of Green Bay near Ephraim in Door County, Wisconsin | Source

Door County is an incredible place to visit. It has 300 miles of shoreline, 19 communities, 11 lighthouses, orchards, kayaking, hiking, and more to explore. Visitors can watch sunrises over Lake Michigan and sunsets over the bay of Green Bay without leaving the county. Here is a look at the top ten things to do in Door County, Wisconsin.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Shops along Third Avenue in Downtown Sturgeon Bay, WisconsinDowntown Sturgeon Bay, WisconsinSturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead Light in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.Sturgeon Bay Steel Bridge in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.Steel Bridge in Sturgeon Bay, WisconsinSturgeon Bay Ship Canal Light in Sturgeon Bay, WisconsinSturgeon Bay Ship Canal Light in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Shops along Third Avenue in Downtown Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Shops along Third Avenue in Downtown Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin | Source
Downtown Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Downtown Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin | Source
Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead Light in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead Light in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. | Source
Sturgeon Bay Steel Bridge in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Sturgeon Bay Steel Bridge in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. | Source
Steel Bridge in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Steel Bridge in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin | Source
Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Light in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Light in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin | Source
Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Light in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Light in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin | Source

1. Visit Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay is the "Shipbuilding Capital" of the Great Lakes. It is also the largest city in Door County and is full of things to do. It is home to incredible bass fishing, cool shops, tasty restaurants, boating, and more. The first time my wife and I visited there, we took a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown. It was great. Here is a look at two of the best things to do there.

Door County Maritime Museum

The Door County Maritime Museum offers a look at Sturgeon Bay's maritime history. It is on the waterfront between the two bridges. Exhibits include The Water Defines Us: DCMM@50, Baumgartner Gallery, Tug John Purves, Shipwrecks of Door County, and more. The museum also offers a cool class on how to build wooden boats. It is well worth a visit.

Ride the Fireboat

Take a ride on the "Fred A. Busse" fireboat. It was built in 1937 and served the Chicago Fire Department for many years. The cruises are family friendly and include games, prizes, and a chance to shoot a fire hose. The morning, afternoon, and sunset cruises all last an hour and a half. My wife and I took an afternoon cruise through the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal out to Lake Michigan. It was amazing.

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Fall colors at Peninsula State Park in Door County, WisconsinFall colors at Peninsula State Park in Door County, WisconsinFall colors at Peninsula State Park in Door County, WisconsinPeninsula State Park in Door County, WisconsinPeninsula State Park in Door County, WisconsinPier at Peninsula State Park in Door County, WisconsinEagle Bluff Lighthouse at Peninsula State Park in Door County, WisconsinEagle Bluff Lighthouse at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Fall colors at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Fall colors at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Fall colors at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Fall colors at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Fall colors at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Fall colors at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Pier at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Pier at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source

2. Explore Peninsula State Park

Peninsula State Park is an incredible place. It is 3,776-acres of forests, meadows, rocky bluffs, and wetlands located between Fish Creek and Ephraim. The park has almost seven miles of shoreline and offers opportunities for hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, biking, golfing, and skiing. It is also the most popular camping destination in the State of Wisconsin.

My wife and I rented a paddle boat at Nicolet Beach and spent an hour or so enjoying the beautiful scenery. We also visited the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse which is in the park. I highly recommend visiting Peninsula State Park.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Kayaking at Cave Point Park in Door County, WisconsinCave Point County Park in Door County, WisconsinCave Point County Park in Door County, WisconsinCave Point County Park in Door County, WisconsinWaves crashing against the shore at Cave Point County Park in Door County, WisconsinCave Point County Park in Door County, WisconsinCave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Kayaking at Cave Point Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Kayaking at Cave Point Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Waves crashing against the shore at Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Waves crashing against the shore at Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source

3. Visit Cave Point County Park

Cave Point County Park in Door County is a hidden gem. It is near Whitefish Dunes State Park in Whitefish Bay. It is known for its limestone cliffs that have been carved by waves and for its underwater caves. The cliffs are incredibly beautiful when the wind blows across Lake Michigan from the east causing the waves to crash against them. The park offers fishing, kayaking, plenty of opportunities to take pictures, and more. It is well worth a visit.

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Stavkirke Church at Washington Island in Door County, WisconsinOld church on Washington Island, Door CountyA beautiful drive in Washington Island during fall colors - Door County, WisconsinLighthouse on Washington Island, Door County, Wisconsin.Lavender on Washington Island, Door County, WisconsinJackson Harbor, Washington Island, WIGift shop in Gills Rock, Wisconsin near the Washington Island Ferry
Stavkirke Church at Washington Island in Door County, Wisconsin
Stavkirke Church at Washington Island in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Old church on Washington Island, Door County
Old church on Washington Island, Door County | Source
A beautiful drive in Washington Island during fall colors - Door County, Wisconsin
A beautiful drive in Washington Island during fall colors - Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Lighthouse on Washington Island, Door County, Wisconsin.
Lighthouse on Washington Island, Door County, Wisconsin. | Source
Lavender on Washington Island, Door County, Wisconsin
Lavender on Washington Island, Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Jackson Harbor, Washington Island, WI
Jackson Harbor, Washington Island, WI | Source
Gift shop in Gills Rock, Wisconsin near the Washington Island Ferry
Gift shop in Gills Rock, Wisconsin near the Washington Island Ferry | Source

4. Take a Ferry Ride to Washington Island

Washington Island is a five-mile ferry ride across Death's Door where the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan meet. The island is full of things to do. Schoolhouse Beach is a beautiful stone beach and a must-see. Another must is to climb the Mountain Park tower for amazing views of the island and surrounding waters. Visitors can also hop on a ferry to Rock Island which has a sandy beach, hiking trails, camping, and it is home to the oldest lighthouse in Wisconsin. Washington Island also has opportunities to tour lavender fields, shop, and eat.

Yikes!

Door County was known by Native Americans and early French explorers as "Death's Door" because of the dangerous strait between the Door Peninsula and Washington Island where many ships met their doom.

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Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, WisconsinWinter morning at Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, WisconsinView of Lake Michigan from the top of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, WisconsinView of Lake Michigan from the top of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, WisconsinView of Lake Michigan from the top of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, WisconsinInside of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, WisconsinLooking up at the lens of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin
Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin
Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Winter morning at Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin
Winter morning at Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
View of Lake Michigan from the top of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin
View of Lake Michigan from the top of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
View of Lake Michigan from the top of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin
View of Lake Michigan from the top of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
View of Lake Michigan from the top of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin
View of Lake Michigan from the top of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Inside of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin
Inside of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Looking up at the lens of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin
Looking up at the lens of Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin | Source

5. Visit the Cana Island Lighthouse

The Cana Island Lighthouse is the most visited and photographed lighthouse in Door County. It is celebrating its 150th year in 2019. It is on an island in Lake Michigan between Baileys Harbor and North Bay that is connected to the mainland by a football field length natural causeway that is sometimes covered by Lake Michigan. Visitors can ride the complimentary tractor and haywagon onto the island.

The Cana Island Lighthouse looks like a classic lighthouse with a beautiful white tower attached to a keeper's house. For an incredible view of Lake Michigan and the Door County Peninsula, climb the 97 stairs to the top and walk out to the outside deck. The Cana Island Lighthouse should be a priority to see when visiting Door County.

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Sunset as seen from Ellison Bay in Door County, WisconsinEllison Bay Viewpoint in Ellison Bay - Door County, WisconsinEllison Bay County Park in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door CountyEllison Bay - Door County, WisconsinFoggy view from Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door CountyView from Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door CountyForest of large flowered Trillium in the Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door CountyLarge flowered Trillium in the Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Sunset as seen from Ellison Bay in Door County, Wisconsin
Sunset as seen from Ellison Bay in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Ellison Bay Viewpoint in Ellison Bay - Door County, Wisconsin
Ellison Bay Viewpoint in Ellison Bay - Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Ellison Bay County Park in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Ellison Bay County Park in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Ellison Bay - Door County, Wisconsin
Ellison Bay - Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Foggy view from Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Foggy view from Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
View from Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
View from Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Forest of large flowered Trillium in the Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Forest of large flowered Trillium in the Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Large flowered Trillium in the Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Large flowered Trillium in the Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source

6. Explore Ellison Bay

Ellison Bay is an artsy town on the northern tip of Door County. It is home to unique art galleries and shops that show off the culture of everyone who calls Ellison Bay home. The Viking Grill is a great place to go for a fish boil and a piece of Door County Cherry Pie. Here is a look at two more great things to do there.

Newport State Park

Newport State Park is quiet, secluded, and a great place for camping. It offers miles of hiking, off-road biking, and cross-country skiing trails. In 2017, the park received International Dark Sky status making it a great place to go stargazing.

Ellison Bluff State Natural Area

Ellison Bluff State Natural Area offers amazing bluff top views. There is a wooden observation deck that allows visitors incredible views of the limestone cliffs and water. The park also has several nice wooded trails. It is a must-see when visiting Ellison Bay.

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Sailboat at sunset in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door CountySunset at Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door CountyLighthouse at the Sister Bay Boat Launch in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door CountySister Bay Marina in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door CountySister Bay Marina in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door CountySister Bay, Wisconsin - Door CountyAl Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door CountyRoof Goats on top of Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Sailboat at sunset in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Sailboat at sunset in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Sunset at Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Sunset at Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Lighthouse at the Sister Bay Boat Launch in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Lighthouse at the Sister Bay Boat Launch in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Sister Bay Marina in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Sister Bay Marina in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Sister Bay Marina in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Sister Bay Marina in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Roof Goats on top of Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County
Roof Goats on top of Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County | Source

7. Dine in Sister Bay

Sister Bay is the place to dine in northern Door County. It has something for every budget and taste. Here is a closer look at the best places to eat in Sister Bay.

Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant

Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant is the most famous restaurant in Sister Bay because of the goats grazing on its sod roof. It has an authentic Swedish menu with pancakes with lingonberries, Swedish meatballs, sandwiches, and more. It is open year-round.

Wild Tomato Woodfired Pizza & Grille

Wild Tomato Woodfired Pizza & Grille is the only wood-fired pizza place in Door County. Pizza is their specialty, but they also offer sandwiches and salads. In the summer months, they have indoor and outdoor seating available. Open year-round.

Lure

Lure offers locally sourced fish, prime meats, and has something for everyone. It has indoor seating as well as outdoor seating in their garden patio. Open year-round.

Boathouse on the Bay

Boathouse on the Bay is at the marina and offers the best views in Sister Bay. It offers seafood as well as classic American food. It is a great place to eat and watch the sunset.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, WisconsinWhitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, WisconsinWhitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, WisconsinWinter Sunrise over Lake Michigan at Whitefish Dunes State Park, Wisconsin - Door CountyWinter ice structures near Lake Michigan in Whitefish Dunes State Park, Wisconsin - Door CountyWinter ice on shore rocks at Whitefish Dunes State Park, Wisconsin - Door CountyStaircase to the top of the Dune at cDunes at cBeach @ https://flic.kr/p/znXnVm
Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, Wisconsin
Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Winter Sunrise over Lake Michigan at Whitefish Dunes State Park, Wisconsin - Door County
Winter Sunrise over Lake Michigan at Whitefish Dunes State Park, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Winter ice structures near Lake Michigan in Whitefish Dunes State Park, Wisconsin - Door County
Winter ice structures near Lake Michigan in Whitefish Dunes State Park, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Winter ice on shore rocks at Whitefish Dunes State Park, Wisconsin - Door County
Winter ice on shore rocks at Whitefish Dunes State Park, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Staircase to the top of the Dune at c
Staircase to the top of the Dune at c | Source
Dunes at c
Dunes at c | Source
Beach @ https://flic.kr/p/znXnVm
Beach @ https://flic.kr/p/znXnVm | Source

8. Explore Whitefish Dunes State Park

Whitefish Dunes State Park is on Lake Michigan and has 863-acres of dunes and forest. The dunes are the highest in Wisconsin. It offers swimming, fishing, hiking, and cross-country skiing. Whitefish Dunes State Park is a great place to visit on a hot day.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Moonrise over Lake Michigan in Bailey's Harbor, Wisconsin - Door CountyBailey's Harbor, Wisconsin - Door CountyFoggy Bailey's Harbor Shoreline in Door County, WisconsinBailey's Harbor Yacht Club Resort with Lawnchairs in Bailey's Harbor in Door County, WisconsinSturgeon Around the Bay statue in Bailey's Habor - Door County, WisconsinKite Boarding at Bailey's Harbor in Door County, WisconsinKite Boarding at Bailey's Harbor in Door County, WisconsinBailey's Harbor Lighthouse in Door County, WisconsinBirds Park in Bailey's Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin
Moonrise over Lake Michigan in Bailey's Harbor, Wisconsin - Door County
Moonrise over Lake Michigan in Bailey's Harbor, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Bailey's Harbor, Wisconsin - Door County
Bailey's Harbor, Wisconsin - Door County | Source
Foggy Bailey's Harbor Shoreline in Door County, Wisconsin
Foggy Bailey's Harbor Shoreline in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Bailey's Harbor Yacht Club Resort with Lawnchairs in Bailey's Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin
Bailey's Harbor Yacht Club Resort with Lawnchairs in Bailey's Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Sturgeon Around the Bay statue in Bailey's Habor - Door County, Wisconsin
Sturgeon Around the Bay statue in Bailey's Habor - Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Kite Boarding at Bailey's Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin
Kite Boarding at Bailey's Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Kite Boarding at Bailey's Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin
Kite Boarding at Bailey's Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Bailey's Harbor Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin
Bailey's Harbor Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Birds Park in Bailey's Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin
Birds Park in Bailey's Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin | Source

9. Visit Baileys Harbor

Baileys Harbor is a fun place to visit. It has a lot to offer for outdoor lovers with The Ridges Sanctuary, Toft Point, and Kangaroo Lake. It also has three lighthouses (old Bird Cage Lighthouse, Baileys Harbor Range Lights, and Cana Island Lighthouse), home to great fishing, tranquil beaches, unique shops, a brewery, good food, and more. I highly recommend this area.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sunset in Egg Harbor in Door County, WisconsinEgg Habor at sunset in Door County, WIKayaking at Egg Habor in Door County, WIKayaking at Egg Habor in Door County, WIEgg Habor Marina in Door County, WisconsinEgg Harbor fall colors in Door County, WisconsinEgg Habor in Door County, WI
Sunset in Egg Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin
Sunset in Egg Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Egg Habor at sunset in Door County, WI
Egg Habor at sunset in Door County, WI | Source
Kayaking at Egg Habor in Door County, WI
Kayaking at Egg Habor in Door County, WI | Source
Kayaking at Egg Habor in Door County, WI
Kayaking at Egg Habor in Door County, WI | Source
Egg Habor Marina in Door County, Wisconsin
Egg Habor Marina in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Egg Harbor fall colors in Door County, Wisconsin
Egg Harbor fall colors in Door County, Wisconsin | Source
Egg Habor in Door County, WI
Egg Habor in Door County, WI | Source

10. Visit Egg Harbor

Egg Harbor is a cool place to visit. In fact, it has been ranked as one of the top small towns in the United States. Visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, boating, walking trails, live concerts, unique shops, and restaurants. Harbor View Park offers beautiful views of the water and the marina. Egg Harbor is a great place to visit.

Don't Miss a Chance to Visit Door County

Door County is an incredible place. It has so much to do no matter the season. Everyone in the family can find something to enjoy. I know my wife and I have enjoyed all of the times that we have been there. We cannot wait to go back again.

A
Sturgeon Bay:
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, USA

get directions

B
Peninsula State Park:
Peninsula State Park, 9462 Shore Rd, Fish Creek, WI 54212, USA

get directions

C
Cave Point County Park:
Cave Point County Park, 5360 Schauer Rd, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, USA

get directions

D
Washington Island:
Washington Island, Washington, WI, USA

get directions

E
Cana Island Lighthouse:
8800 E Cana Island Rd, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202, USA

get directions

F
Ellison Bay:
Ellison Bay, WI 54210, USA

get directions

G
Sister Bay:
Sister Bay, WI, USA

get directions

H
Whitefish Dunes State Park:
Whitefish Dunes State Park, 3275 Clarks Lake Rd, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, USA

get directions

I
Baileys Harbor:
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202, USA

get directions

J
Egg Harbor:
Egg Harbor, WI 54209, USA

get directions

© 2019 Eric Cramer

Comments

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    • ercramer36 profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Cramer 

      7 months ago from Chicagoland

      Thanks Liz! I will definitely add that a hub in the future on photography.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      7 months ago from UK

      This hub takes the prize for some stunning photography. It is also packed with useful information. Maybe you could write a hub sharing photographic tips?

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