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Trip Highlights: Good scenery, undeveloped and relatively quiet shoreline.
Trip Rating: Beginner. 4 miles: Newport Beach to Duck Bay, round-trip.
Intermediate: 8-mile trip from Europe Bay to Varney Point and back.
Advanced: Continue on to Washington, Rock Islands (see Rte. 48).
Trip Duration: Part day to multiday.
Navigation Aids: USGS: Spider Island and Washington Island SW at 1:24,000
Cautions: Exposed shoreline, some sections of rocky cliffs with no landing and possible reflection waves, poison ivy in the woods.
Trip Planning: If you are planning on doing a day trip, you only need to pick a nice day to paddle. If you want to camp at the park, make sure to reserve a site as soon as possible. The park is booked through Labor Day and on fall weekends, too. Ask the park staff for a copy of the list of campsites, which has a brief description of the type of shoreline at each site (cobble, sand, rock) to help you choose. Most of the sites at the southern end of the park (5-13) are located on shoreline consisting of a 2-4-foot-high rock shelf and are not easily accessible to kayakers. Sites 1-4 and 16 have sand or gravel beaches at or near the campsites, and sites 14 and 15 are located on the inland Europe Lake.
Launch Site: There are three parking lots in the park, and parking for each campsite is assigned to a certain lot. Ask the park staff which lot you should park in. Unfortunately, the two lots on Newport Bay are some distance (300-400 yards) from the water. Europe Bay offers the easiest launch site for paddlers, and it should be used by those doing a day trip. To get to Newport State Park, take County Road NP from Highway 42 (the turnoff is located just north of Ellison Bay). To go to the main park entrance (you will need to do this to purchase a day-use permit if you don't have one), continue on NP, which ends at the park gate 2.5 miles from Highway 42. To get to the Europe Bay Beach, take NP from the park gate 0.3 miles west, then turn north onto Timberline Road. Continue 1.1 miles north, then turn east onto Europe Bay Road. Stay on the road for another 1.1 miles to the beach parking lot (the park map, available at the gate or park office, will show these roads and parking lots, so pick one up when you get your permit).
Camping: If no campsites are available in the park, try one of the private RV/tent campgrounds in Door County. Call the Door County Chamber of Commerce for a list.
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