Things to do at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Sea Kayaking Couple

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One of the best things about living in Bayfield, Wisconsin is being close to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. A national preserve comprising of 21 islands, this Lake Superior highlight is just half an hour’s ferry ride away from Bayfield’s shores.

Here are some of the adventures that await you in this captivating paradise:

  1. Kayaking, canoeing, and boat cruises

    The best way to experience the sparkling waters of the Apostle Islands’ bays and lagoons is by being on them. With public docks accessible on more than half the islands, this preserve is a haven for boating and sailing enthusiasts. Check out the Apostle Islands Cruises’ Grand Tour for a breathtaking, 55-mile, nonstop tour that introduces you to all the sights and stories that the islands have to offer.

    For more active and adventurous types, hop on a sea kayak and paddle along the pristine shores of the islands. You can even set off from the mainland unit, where two free kayak launch points can be found. You can also start from Meyers Beach, also on the mainland, where a kayak tour will take you to the islands’ beautiful sea caves.

  2. Angling and fishing

    An Apostle Islands favorite for generations, fishing is something you should definitely try on your visit. The area abounds with lake trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, and coho salmon. Just note that a Wisconsin fishing license and a Great Lakes trout/salmon stamp are required, so make sure to plan ahead.

  3. Guided tours

    If you’re heading to the Islands in the summer, you’re in for a treat as the park services offer the following guided tours and activities:

    • Lighthouse tours are one of the most popular attractions at the Apostle Islands. The summer tours take you to see the majestic towers at the Michigan, Devils, Sand, and Raspberry islands. Tours are available on request from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • Manitou Island Fish Camp and Hokenson Brothers Fishery tours let you discover two of the Apostle Islands’ historic fishing landmarks with park staff and volunteers as guides.
    • Campfire programs are free, 45-minute talks happening every night on Stockton Island. From late June to Labor Day, learn loads about bears, wilderness, shipwrecks, and more!

  4. Scuba diving

    It’s one thing to marvel at the beauty of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore from above the surface, but wait till you discover the wonders that the clear waters hide in its depths. You can look forward to seeing gorgeous natural rock formations and visiting historic shipwreck sites – an underwater adventure guaranteed to fascinate and thrill.

  5. Trail hikes and camping

    Not all of the fun is water based. The Apostle Islands also boast more than 50 miles of lush maintained trails that can take you to the beaches, lighthouses, scenic viewpoints, old farms and abandoned quarry sites, and historic logging camps.

    Camping is available on 19 of the 21 Apostle Islands. Just make sure to secure your permit and you can enjoy unforgettable evenings under the stars, surrounded by the islands’ thriving flora and fauna.