Apostle Islands National Lakeshore / Bayfield, WI
This was another major planned stop on our adventure. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore had been on our list to visit for a very long, long time. We stayed at the Apostle Island Area Campground near Bayfield, WI, for five nights to explore the peninsula. The campground was enjoyable and very close to the beautiful and quaint harbor town of Bayfield with lots of little shops, restaurants, and lodging. The Apostle Islands is place where just about every outdoor activity involves a boat, kayak, or canoe! If you do not have some sort of watercraft attached to your vehicle, you are oddly out of place. If you don’t have a boat, there are plenty of places to rent one. Oh, yea, and lots of places to get your fill of Lake Superior Trout and Lake Superior Whitefish-yum!
Bayfield was an awesome place to use as our central location. Just a few minutes drive to the downtown with parking lots available so that you can stroll the streets while eating ice cream and quite a few nice places to eat–all the meals we had there were very good. Bayfield has a good size marina for personal boats, cruise tours, and a busy ferry service to Madeline Island. We took two cruise tours (one highlighted the many islands and the other highlighted lighthouses and sea caves) and both were very enjoyable. There are also some small private tour operators and we heard very good things about them. View Pictures
Apostle Islands Sea Caves – The sea caves are beautiful and amazing. You can reach them for a close-up view by boat, kayak, or canoe. You can also reach a few by hiking about 3-4 miles one way, but you do not get a close-up view because the trails are above the caves. In the winter when everything is frozen, you can reach them by snow mobile or hiking 7-8 miles on the frozen lake in the frigid weather. The frozen formations in the caves are described as quite spectacular. Our boat cruise took us by a few of the lighthouses and up close to the sea caves along with the many kayakers. View Pictures
Madeline Island is not part of the many islands that make up the Apostle Islands managed by the National Park Service. When the Park Service was establishing the Apostle Islands, it was determined that the extent of the development and resident population on Madeline Island would be too costly to try and purchase all of the property. You can take a 20 to 30-minuted ferry ride over to visit the island. You can take your vehicle over, which is recommended if you want to explore the entire island as there are some sites that are about 7-10 miles from the docks. There is a campground on the island and we saw quite a few campers going to and from the island on the ferry. We did not take our vehicle as we just planned on walking around the marina town to see the local sites and shops. We had a wonderful lunch at a restaurant on the waterfront. It was just a great relaxing visit with a yummy fish lunch on a perfect sunny day! View Pictures
Next stop: Voyageurs National Park!