The Coolest Small Towns In America: Egg Harbor

In Budget Travel's fifth-annual celebration of hometown escapes across the USA, we're spotlighting 10 places that somehow pack in more personality than cities triple their size. How? It all comes down to the people.

Harborview Park in Egg Harbor, Wis. (Courtesy Courtesy Wood Sabolt)
Harborview Park in Egg Harbor, Wis. (Courtesy Courtesy Wood Sabolt)

EGG HARBOR, WISCONSIN (pop. 1,194)
A quiet shoreline takes center stage

Surrounded by more than 300 miles of hidden coves and pocket beaches on Lake Michigan, Egg Harbor has for years been a refuge for residents of Milwaukee and Chicago, about five hours south. In the summer, families make the winding drive up through Door County—a rural peninsula dotted with silos and orchard stands that divides Lake Michigan and Green Bay—to swim and build sand castles along Egg Harbor's beaches.

"Our access to the water is incredible," says Sandy Chlubna, 52, a former Michigander who moved here with her husband and opened the six-room Feathered Star B&B (6202 Hwy. 42, featheredstar.com, from $120). "It's so easy to just throw a boat on top of your car and launch it from one of the ramps." If you don't bring your own, Bay Shore Outdoor Store rents canoes, kayaks, and sailboats by the day (2457 S. Bay Shore Dr., kayakdoorcounty.com, one-day rentals from $50). The waterfront Shipwrecked Restaurant is the place to be at sunset for a bottle of Door County's cherry soda (shipwreckedmicrobrew.com, soda $3.50).

But it's not all about the water. A 100-year-old landlocked converted barn, home to the Birch Creek Music Performance Center, serves as the town's cultural hub; after-hours, everyone gathers to hear big-band concerts on summer nights (3821 County E, birchcreek.org, tickets from $29).

Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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