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THINGS TO DO NEAR APOSTLE ISLANDS AREA CAMPGROUND

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore


Hours: Anytime          Open: Daily          Cost: Free          Group Size: Any
Hours: Anytime
 Open: Daily
Cost: Free
Group Size: Any

About The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore


The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sept. 26, 2020. Many locals fought for the preservation of these islands and their shorelines, calling them the most significant collection of islands in the United States.

Though known as wilderness today, it wasn't too long ago that the islands had thriving, albeit small, communities of fishermen, farmers, lighthouse keepers, and indigenous peoples that called these islands home. The Ojibwe people's main village was on Madeline Island, but they often traveled throughout the islands taking advantage of the different resources available.

Careful observers can see signs of civilization on nearly every one of the Apostle Islands. Since it won its status as a protected lakeshore, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is reserved for recreation; no one lives on the islands and the only buildings are historic in nature. Visitors to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore will enjoy the natural beauty of the region alongside the beautiful, historic lighthouses and fishing villages that remain.

About the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sept. 26, 2020. Many locals fought for the preservation of these islands and their shorelines, calling them the most significant collection of islands in the United States.

Though known as wilderness today, it wasn't too long ago that the islands had thriving, albeit small, communities of fishermen, farmers, lighthouse keepers, and indigenous peoples that called these islands home. The Ojibwe people's main village was on Madeline Island, but they often traveled throughout the islands taking advantage of the different resources available.

Careful observers can see signs of civilization on nearly every one of the Apostle Islands. Since it won its status as a protected lakeshore, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is reserved for recreation; no one lives on the islands and the only buildings are historic in nature. Visitors to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore will enjoy the natural beauty of the region alongside the beautiful, historic lighthouses and fishing villages that remain.
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Boating/Kayaking

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore draws thousands of boaters every year. Of the 22 islands that make up the Apostles, 12 have public docks, making visiting the islands much easier for those with boats.

Visitors don't have to bring their own boats to enjoy getting out on the water. There are plenty of tour boats, kayak rental and outfitters, water taxis and motorized boat tours/rentals. There are even sailing charters and fishing charters available in the area.

All boats on the lake must obey inland navigation rules as outlined by the U.S. Coastguard. This includes having on board the following items:

  • Personal flotation device for each passenger on the boat
  • Fire extinguisher
  • horn/whistle
  • Marker lights
  • Manual bailing device

Kayaking is one of the most popular activities in the Apostle Islands. There are dozens of outfitters in the area that rent kayaks and the accompanying safety equipment. If you're a less experienced kayaker or plan on going with a group, it might be best to hire an outfitter for a guided tour of the islands. This way, you're guaranteed to take safe routes and have an experienced leader who knows how to handle bad weather and other emergencies.


Boating

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore draws thousands of boaters every year. Of the 22 islands that make up the Apostles, 12 have public docks, making visiting the islands much easier for those with boats.

Visitors don't have to bring their own boats to enjoy getting out on the water. There are plenty of tour boats, kayak rental and outfitters, water taxis and motorized boat tours/rentals. There are even sailing charters and fishing charters available in the area.

Though Lake Superior is a lake, it acts much like the ocean; dangerous storms can come up without notice and bring on torrential rain, heavy wind, and dangerous waves. Many boats and boaters have been lost in violent storms. Some accidents are unavoidable, but many come about because boaters don't respect the power and danger of Lake Superior. Make sure to always check weather conditions before going out in a boat.

Even during summer, water temperatures rarely get above 50 degrees fahrenheit, which is cold enough to cause hypothermia. All boats on the lake must obey inland navigation rules as outlined by the U.S. Coastguard. This includes having on board the following items:

  • Personal flotation device for each passenger on the boat
  • Fire extinguisher
  • horn/whistle
  • Marker lights
  • Manual bailing device

Make sure you bring rope if planning to dock or anchor during your trip. There are docks and anchor points throughout the islands.

Kayaking

Kayaking is one of the most popular activities in the Apostle Islands. There are dozens of outfitters in the area that rent kayaks and the accompanying safety equipment. If you're a less experienced kayaker or plan on going with a group, it might be best to hire an outfitter for a guided tour of the islands. This way, you're guaranteed to take safe routes and have an experienced leader who knows how to handle bad weather and other emergencies.
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Exploring the Sea Caves 2

The wind and the waves of Lake Superior have worn away the sandstone of Devils Island, leaving an intricate cave system, which many believe is the most spectacular scenery in the entire area. The Apostle Island cruise services pass by the sea caves in the summer season and offer special sunset tours that take place on certain days of the week. If you want the once-in-a-lifetime experience of boating through the sea caves, your best option is a kayak.

The closest launch point for visitors bringing their own kayaks is the end of Meyers Road. There is a 1-mile paddle from the shoreline to the caves, which can be done quickly by kayak.

The sea caves can also be visited during the winter. Due to the harsh cold and stormy conditions in winter, the ice caves, as they're called in winter, are decorated with sheets of ice and long icicles hang from the cave ceilings and supporting pillars. It's truly a magical sight, which is why so many brave the frozen hike to experience their beauty.

Exploring the Sea Caves

The wind and the waves of Lake Superior have worn away the sandstone of Devils Island, leaving an intricate cave system, which many believe is the most spectacular scenery in the entire area. The Apostle Island cruise services pass by the sea caves in the summer season and offer special sunset tours that take place on certain days of the week. If you want the once-in-a-lifetime experience of boating through the sea caves, your best option is a kayak.

The closest launch point for visitors bringing their own kayaks is the end of Meyers Road. There is a 1-mile paddle from the shoreline to the caves, which can be done quickly by kayak.

The sea caves can also be visited during the winter. Due to the harsh cold and stormy conditions in winter, the ice caves, as they're called in winter, are decorated with sheets of ice and long icicles hang from the cave ceilings and supporting pillars. It's truly a magical sight, which is why so many brave the frozen hike to experience their beauty.

Be extra careful when planning a winter trip to the ice caves. Ice conditions can change rapidly and ice is rarely if even uniform in thickness as you change locations. Bring an ice bar to test the strength of the ice as you go. Make sure you know what to do if you or someone with you falls through the ice. Be prepared and dress warm. The frigid weather can chill you to the bone quickly.

As long as you are prepared and the conditions are safe, you'll be treated to a breathtaking cave of ice.
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Wildlife

Visitors are often surprised to hear that the Apostle Islands are home to such a diverse group of wildlife. Those who spend time in the Apostle Islands are likely to see whitetail deer, black bear, snowshoe hare, grouse, red fox, coyote, beaver, and otter.

Unsurprisingly, the islands are also home to waterfowl. During spring and fall, the Apostle Islands act as important migratory bird concentration and nesting points for millions of migratory birds. Five species of endangered birds have been seen in the Apostle Islands, and several of those species occasionally nest in the area.

There are many salamanders, frogs, and other amphibians that call the islands home alongside plenty of dragonflies, bumble bees and moths.

Most interesting of all? Motion activated cameras set up on Sand Island captured both a bobcat and a wolf in 2009. Wolves were known to be in the area in decades past, but evidence that they still roamed, or at least visited, these islands was quite a surprise. 

Wildlife

Visitors are often surprised to hear that the Apostle Islands are home to such a diverse group of wildlife. Those who spend time in the Apostle Islands are likely to see whitetail deer, black bare, snowshoe hare, grouse, red rox, coyote, beaver, and otter.

Unsurprisingly, the islands are also home to waterfowl. During spring and fall, the Apostle Islands act as important migratory bird concentration and nesting points for millions of migratory birds. Five species of endangered birds have been seen in the Apostle Islands, and several of those species occasionally nest in the area.

There are many salamanders, frogs, and other amphibians that call the islands home alongside plenty of dragonflies, bumble bees and moths.

Most interesting of all? Motion activated cameras set up on Sand Island captured both a bobcat and a wolf in 2009. Wolves were known to be in the area in decades past, but evidence that they still roamed, or at least visited, these islands was quite a surprise. 

Lighthouses

There are 9 lighthouses throughout the Apostle Islands. The islands with lighthouses are,

  • Sand Island
  • Raspberry Island
  • Devils Island
  • Outer Island
  • Michigan Island
  • Long Island


Each lighthouse was built in the mid to late 1800s and kept ships from crashing into the shores of the islands. Many of the lighthouses were also rebuilt sometime during their lives. Several of the lighthouses have since become historic sites that offer guided tours and several more are still in service. The lighthouses make great stops during a visit to an Apostle Island.
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Lighthouses

It's difficult to overstate the vastness of Lake Superior. It really is an inland ocean. Visitors can stand on one shore and even on the clearest days, can't see across the water to the opposite shore. Sailors and merchants needed waypoints and protections as they traveled across this body of water.

There are 9 lighthouses throughout the Apostle Islands.
 The islands with lighthouses are:



Each lighthouse was built in the mid to late 1800s and kept ships from crashing into the shores of the islands. Many of the lighthouses were also rebuilt sometime during their lives. Several of the lighthouses have since become historic sites that offer guided tours and several more are still in service.

The lighthouses make great stops during a visit to an Apostle Island.

Fishing

Great fishing can be found nearly year round throughout the Apostle Islands, but the spring and the fall are some of the best times to locate hungry fish in shallower waters. In the summer months, most fish retreat to deeper water and lake trout are most commonly targeted. Where rivers flow in or out or Lake superior are also great spots to target fish.

There are multiple species of trout that call this lake home, including rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, and lake trout (mackinaw). Anglers can also find Atlantic, coho, and chinook salmon in the lake. In fact, the easier question might be what kinds of fish can't you find in Lake Superior, as it is also home to walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and many more species of fish.

Given the size of the lake, it might be easiest to book a fishing charter or guide service. There are several that operate throughout the Apostle Islands. They will know exactly what's biting, where to catch it, and what bait to use, three questions that can take weeks of trial and error to discover yourself.

If you're looking for a place to do some shore fishing, there are any number of docks and shore fishing spots on the mainland and on the islands.
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Fishing

Great fishing can be found nearly year round throughout the Apostle Islands, but the spring and the fall are some of the best times to locate hungry fish in shallower waters. In the summer months, most fish retreat to deeper water and lake trout are most commonly targeted. Where rivers flow in or out of Lake superior are also great spots to target fish.

There are multiple species of trout that call this lake home, including rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, and lake trout (mackinaw). Anglers can also find Atlantic, coho, and chinook salmon in the lake. In fact, the easier question might be what kinds of fish can't you find in Lake Superior, as it is also home to walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and many more species of fish.

Given the size of the lake, it might be easiest to book a fishing charter or guide service. There are several that operate throughout the Apostle Islands. They will know exactly what's biting, where to catch it, and what bait to use, three questions that can take weeks of trial and error to discover yourself.

If you're looking for a place to do some shore fishing, there are any number of docks and shore fishing spots on the mainland and on the islands.

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Hiking

Visitors to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore can enjoy over 50 miles of maintained trails between all the Apostle Islands. These trails will take hikers to lighthouses, former quarry sites, scenic overlooks, individual and group campsites, beautiful beaches, sites of old farms and logging camps, and through beautiful island forest.

These trails are cleared and kept safe for use throughout the season, but be prepared with supplies such as: 

Plenty of water
Hiking shoes/boots
Weather appropriate clothing
Extra food
Sunscreen/insect repellent 

Weather often changes in the Apostle Islands, so be ready for a range of conditions and always let people know where you plan to go hiking.

In addition to the maintained trails, there are miles of sandy beaches that are great for exploring and hiking. There are miles of shoreline on the mainland, and plenty on the islands as well.

Because this area is sensitive to human traffic, please use trails whenever possible and avoid trampling or otherwise disturbing native flora and fauna. Some of the plants on these islands are found in few other places in the world.

Hiking

Visitors to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore can enjoy over 50 miles of maintained trails between all the Apostle Islands. These trails will take hikers to lighthouses, former quarry sites, scenic overlooks, individual and group campsites, beautiful beaches, sites of old farms and logging camps, and through beautiful island forest.

In addition to the maintained trails, there are miles of sandy beaches that are great for exploring and hiking. There are miles of shoreline on the mainland, and plenty on the islands as well.

Because this area is sensitive to human traffic, please use trails whenever possible and avoid trampling or otherwise disturbing native flora and fauna. Some of the plants on these islands are found in few other places in the world.

Dining

While most of the apostle islands are designated as wilderness, you won't find any restaurants or gas stations on the Apostle Islands, with the exception of Madeline Island. Visitors to Madeline Island will find a dozen or so great restaurants to enjoy while exploring the Apostle Islands.

Dining

While most of the Apostle Islands are designated as wilderness, you won't find any restaurants or gas stations on the Apostle Islands, with the exception of Madeline Island. Visitors to Madeline Island will find many great restaurants to enjoy while exploring the Apostle Islands.

Most Popular Restaurants:

Grandpa Tonys

Easy going seasonal restaurant serving pizza, sandwiches, salads, breakfast, and ice cream

Beach Club on Madeline Island

Fresh fare in a casual atmosphere, serving burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups, and more

Cafe Seiche

Farm to table restaurant serving award-winning dishes in a warm, inviting atmosphere

What Visitors Are Saying

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Had a Blast!

Had a blast kayaking here lake Superior is beautiful there are also a couple of state parks in on Madeline island and another one about 40 miles or so away, the Sea Caves are a must if you really want to experience what the apostle islands have to offer, there's a lot of cute restaurants and some beaches if you wanna go for a swim

-Michel Leana

Visitor Reviews

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Beautiful Natural Formations

If you are able to make it during a year that the ice caves are open, DO IT! One of the most beautiful natural formations I've ever seen in WI. Plan to make a trip back during the summer to visit by canoe.

-Kristen Herber

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Lake Superior is Beautiful

Had a blast kayaking here lake Superior is beautiful there are also a couple of state parks in on Madeline island and another one about 40 miles or so away, the Sea Caves are a must if you really want to experience what the apostle islands have to offer, there's a lot of cute restaurants and some beaches if you wanna go for a swim

-Michel Leana

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Beautiful Hikes

Beautiful easy hike through the forest. Saw a ton of cool mushrooms and saw the sea caves from the top. If I ever go back in the summer I will definitely rent a kayak to explore the caves. Or even go in the winter to see lots of ice.

-Jessica Murray

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Beautiful Natural Formations

If you are able to make it during a year that the ice caves are open, DO IT! One of the most beautiful natural formations I've ever seen in WI. Plan to make a trip back during the summer to visit by canoe.

-Kristen Herber

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Beautiful Easy Hike

Beautiful easy hike through the forest. Saw a ton of cool mushrooms and saw the sea caves from the top. If I ever go back in the summer I will definitely rent a kayak to explore the caves. Or even go in the winter to see lots of ice.

-Jessica Murray

Ready to Visit? We're just minutes from the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore!

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Ready to Visit? We're only minutes from the lakeshore!

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