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25 Unmissable Things to do in Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

A travel guide to what to do in Apostle Islands, with gorgeous views, best beaches and rich heritage in Northern Wisconsin

Are you looking for an off-the-beaten-path escape this season?

Nestled in the northernmost part of Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands are home to endless outdoor adventures and beautiful scenery waiting to be explored.

Whether you’re into kayaking, hiking or just relaxing on a beach – there are plenty of things to do in Apostle Islands.

So grab your travel bag, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready to explore one of the most beloved vacation spots when you travel Wisconsin!

Hey! Don’t forget to grab my FREE Apostle Islands checklist below!

Are you heading to the Apostle Islands, Wisconsin? Enjoy the ultimate guide with things to do in Apostle Islands, WI. Explore the National Lakeshore of Apostle Islands, heaven for outdoor lovers. Read also about the best kayaking spots, restaurants and lodging. #wisconsin #apostleislands #apostleislandslakeshore #wisconsinusa #madelineislands #wisconsinfood #kayaking #hiking #bayfield #lakesuperior
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Overview: Things To Do in Apostle Islands

  • Kayaking
  • Islands cruise
  • Hiking

1. Kayaking in Apostle Islands

two kayaks, one with 2 people and 1 with a single person kayaking down a river

Kayaking is one of the best ways to explore the Apostle Islands, enabling you to discover hard-to-reach spots and unique points of interest.

While kayaking on Lake Superior, you can explore caves, see shipwrecks, go snorkeling, or just immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area. 

Experienced kayakers, confident in their abilities, can set out to explore the National Lakeshore on their own, taking advantage of the many kayak rental facilities in the Apostle Islands’ area.

Regardless of your expertise, kayaking is one of the best things to do in Apostle Islands.

You can also bring your own inflatable kayak since they are light to carry.

Guided Apostle Island tours for kayaking are also available, providing training, equipment, and planned excursions, both during the day and at nighttime.  

One of the best places to start your kayaking tour is Meyers Beach since it is extremely close to the scenic sea caves of the Apostle Islands.

2. Go camping in Apostle Islands

a tent overlooking Lake Superior with the island across filled with trees on a bright day

For a truly unforgettable outdoor experience, spend the night (or several!) camping in the Apostle Islands. Plenty of campgrounds near the Apostle Islands, many offering full facilities.

Car campers and RV users will be limited to the mainland and Madeline Island campsites, as no automobile traffic exists in the National Lakeshore itself. – Check here RV rentals in Northern Wisconsin

19 of the other islands offer campsites that can be reached by kayak, a private water taxi, or a ferry service (to Stockton and Oak Island).

From wooded serenity typical for the state parks in Wisconsin to pools and activities at private campgrounds, you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

The state parks’ fall foliage is gorgeous, making them one of the best fall activities in Wisconsin and certainly one of the best fall getaways in Wisconsin.

So, if you don’t want to stay in any of the Apostle Islands hotels, going camping is one of the best things you can do.

Buy here your local’s guide to Wisconsin

Camping on Sand Island

If you’re here for sea caves and sandy beaches, consider camping on Sand Island.

It’s close to Little Sand Bay on the mainland, which offers free parking and is a great starting point for kayaking.

If you want to get into kayaking, make sure to check out the best inflatable kayaks for whitewater.

Camping on Oak Island

Hikers might want to consider camping on Oak island. For a more secluded experience and a gorgeous north-facing beach, York Island will be one of the best choices.

Adventurous campers will be glad to find out that 16 of the islands also offer primitive camping zones with no facilities or other camps nearby, allowing for a complete immersion in the natural beauty of the area.

There is a set of rules to follow, such as a limit of five people per group and keeping a distance from streams, structures, and other campsites.

Backcountry campers are also required to adhere to the Leave No Trace principles and stay in groups of no more than five people. 

Permits are required for all camping activities in the Apostle Islands. These can be obtained from Fees apply $15-30 per night, plus a $10 reservation fee. 

Book here your perfect Apostle Island Airbnb

3. Explore the ice caves and sea caves at Apostle Islands

best view of Apostle Islands Ice Caves on frozen Lake Superior, Wisconsin

The spectacular red sandstone caves burrowing deep into the cliffs are one of the defining features of Apostle Islands.

Boat tours and hiking trails provide access to caves on the islands and on the mainland, respectively, in addition to kayaking excursions.

Numerous campsites along the shores, bike paths, and picnic areas are some of the attractions you can expect. It’s one of the best things to do in Northern Wisconsin.

During winter, when the conditions are just right, it’s possible to visit the Apostle Islands’ ice caves.

Getting there requires a two-mile hike on the ice of Lake Superior, which makes for a unique experience in itself!

This makes the National Lakeshore one of the best national parks to visit in December.

The ice caves are sea caves burrowing into the sandstone cliffs of the mainland where water from the lake has frozen in huge icicles and formations.

It’s thus perfect when looking for cool things to do in Wisconsin in Winter.

No two Apostle Islands winters are the same, and it’s not guaranteed that visiting the ice caves will be possible every year.

But if you are able to see them, they’re definitely one of the best things to do in Apostle Islands in winter.

The path to the ice caves in the Apostle Islands is only open when it’s reasonably safe to walk on the ice. For up-to-date information on the weather conditions, check the official website.  

If you visit in the winter, the Apostle Islands have some of the best winter cabins in Wisconsin.

Book here the ideal Northern Wisconsin getaway cabin

4. Do an Apostle Islands cruise

a boat cruising along a lake in Apostle Islands

The Apostle Islands Cruise Service offers yet another way to discover the islands and explore the area.

The narrated cruises average about 2.5 hours and take several thematic routes with different points of interest, such as sea caves, shipwrecks, and some of the best lighthouses of Wisconsin.

All of the cruises depart from Bayfield.

Overnight camping shuttles to Stockton and Oak Islands are also available, enabling visitors to combine a cruise with camping. If an overnight stay is not your thing, consider a day-hiking shuttle instead.

Buy here your Like a Local guide to Wisconsin

5. Rent a lodging cabin in Apostle Islands

best places to stay on the apostle islands, View of wooden cabin located in Wisconsin
Enjoy a romantic getaway

For a home away from home in the Apostle Islands, go online and book a lodging cabin, or stay at one of the best luxury cabins in Wisconsin.

A cabin getaway is also one of the best things to do in Apostle Islands for a romantic couple getaway.

Looking for Apostle Islands lodging?

A cabin offers a great alternative to camping and hotels, falling somewhere in the middle: the seclusion and peace of backcountry camping, but with full amenities.

A cabin offers a great alternative to camping and hotels, falling somewhere in the middle.

The seclusion and peace of backcountry camping, but with full amenities (for the best amenities, stay at a Wisconsin cabin with hot tubs). – Check cabins here

Some of the best lodging cabins in the Apostle Islands area include:

  • Northwoods Chalet – If you’d rather rent off the mainland, Northwoods Chalet is a great option located directly on the shore of Lake Superior. Its interior is particularly cozy! – Check rates here

If you prefer a romantic hotel, Bayfield also has the Pinehurst Inn Bed & Breakfast, one of the most romantic hotels in Wisconsin!

6. Go sailing near Apostle Islands

a boat sailing on a lake on a bright day with clouds

A sailboat is another wonderful way to enjoy the scenic views and see the unique points of interest of the Apostle Islands.

There are several companies in Bayfield and beyond, offering sailing adventures on Lake Superior, for both experienced sailors and sailing novices.

You can pick an active sailing adventure where you take charge of the sailboat, or enjoy the trip as a passenger.

Either way, you’re in for some incredible sights and an unforgettable experience! And even spot some hidden gems of the Apostle Islands.

Buy here your perfect Wisconsin Itinerary

7. Take the Madeline Island Ferry

Ferry on the shores of Madeline Island

Kayaking, cruise ships, sailboats… There’s one more way to venture out onto the Lake Superior waters: the ferry from Bayfield to Madeline Island.

The trip takes about 20 minutes and gives you the opportunity to explore the largest of the islands on foot, by bicycle, or by car. This lake is considered among the best lakes in Wisconsin.

While the ferry ride itself is a great experience with spectacular views of the lake, there are plenty of things to do on Madeline Island itself.

There is a walking tour of the historical town of La Pointe, bicycle and moped rental, a history museum, and other activities to take part in, such as golf and hiking.

This area is also home to some of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin.

Book here the best cabins in Apostle Islands

8. Go hiking in Apostle Islands

Aerial view of wide valley full of lush green and yellow trees from rocky ice age hiking trail during sunset hours

The Apostle Islands are a hiker’s paradise with over fifty miles of trails on the National Lakeshore islands, and some of the best hiking in Northern Wisconsin.

As well as enjoying the trip itself, you can reach historic sites, lighthouses, abandoned quarries, and other fascinating points of interest this way.

No wonder it’s one of the most popular things to do in Apostle Islands!

It’s also the perfect chance to try out your vegan hiking boots!

Stockton is one of the most popular hiking spots, owing to the 6 trails available there. The aptly named 1.5-mile Quarry Trail will take you to a historic abandoned quarry.

There are day-hiking cruise ship shuttles operating from Bayfield to Stockton, so the trails are easy to reach.

The Loop Trail, located on Oak Island and stretching for over 5 miles, will take you to the highest point in the lakeshore at 1081ft.

On the mainland, hikers can enjoy the 4.5-mile Lakeshore Trail.

From Mayers Road, Bayfield, the trail will take you past the cliffs above the sea caves, along cave overlook points, over a natural bridge, and to a backcountry campsite. 

Check here the best discounted hiking gear

9. Go cycling in Apostle Islands

older couple cycling away from camera on a work bike bath surrounded by trees, grass and purple flowers
One of the best ways to visit Apostle Islands

Cycling is a popular way of getting to know the mainland and Madeline Island. Both Bayfield and Madeline have bicycle rental and maintenance facilities, such as the Howl Adventure Center.

There are over 20 cycling routes in Ashland and Bayfield Counties, with varying lengths and degrees of difficulty. Among the most popular are:

  • Red Cliff to Little Sand Bay loop – A 16-mile route of moderate difficulty which includes incredible views of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. For a longer trip, you can start in Bayfield, extending the route to 27 miles.
  • Madeline Island loop – The best way to see the entire island. This route totals 33 miles. You can take bicycles with you on the ferry from Bayfield, or use bike rental facilities on the island.
  • Bayfield Orchard loop – As the name suggests, this route will take you to some of the most beautiful orchards on the outskirts of Bayfield. At approximately 10 miles, numerous hills make this route fairly difficult. 

Book here the best cabins in Apostle Islands

10. Do a Bayfield Heritage Tour

a lakeside boardwalk by a small dock, with a street with trees with no leaves
Soak up the history of Bayfield, WI

One of the best things to do near Apostle Islands is head to Bayfield. And there’s no better way to get to know the history of Bayfield than a heritage tour.

The thematic Apostle Island tours are available on a scheduled basis from mid-June until late September and may be available for booking at other times for private groups.

Particularly worthy of mention is the famous Ghost Walking Tour. It takes place in the early evening and revolves around tales of the supernatural.

Hear local ghost stories, see the sites of strange, unexplained occurrences, and find out all about UFO sightings over Lake Superior!

Book here the best Northern Wisconsin cabins

11. Do an Orchard tour

people apple picking in orchard with lush red apples hanging on the branches of rows of green apple trees

Wondering what to do in Bayfield, WI? Go fruit picking!

Not everyone knows that the micro-climate in the Apostle Islands area is perfect for fruit-trees and that Bayfield is surrounded by some of the most impressive orchards in Wisconsin.

If you want to get surprised and spend an unforgettable vacation in Wisconsin, an orchard tour is a must!

The town is mostly known for its apples, though locals also grow other fruit, including cherries and pears.

The orchards offer fresh fruit, vegetables, and various products made with local produce, such as jams, ciders, and juices.

There is even the Bayfield Apple Festival which takes place on the first weekend of October and offers guided Apostle Island tours, sampling, live music, and tons of other related events.

The Apostle Islands and Bayfield are some of the best places to go for family vacations in Wisconsin during the fall.

You can plan your getaway and it’s a great Wisconsin vacation idea when looking for family things to do since the event is considered one of the top Wisconsin fall festivals.

It’s also one of the top things to do in Wisconsin in October.

Throughout the rest of the year, you can tour the orchards by car or bicycle, using the orchard map as a guide.

Buy here your Insider’s Guide to Wisconsin

12. Go fishing at Apostle Islands

Boat launch along Chippewa Lake

Fishing enthusiasts won’t be surprised to hear that Lake Superior is the perfect place for catching trout and salmon.

The best time to go fishing at the Apostle Islands is during Spring when the trout and salmon are most plentiful in these waters.

In fact, for this reason, it’s a fairly popular destination during spring break in Wisconsin for fishers.

As well as fishing along the mainland, you can also take a trip to one of the islands. The north side of Long Island is deemed to be one of the best fishing spots.

During the Summer, the best bet for catching a fish is targeting Lake Trout in deeper waters. In the summertime, the sportfishing area between Long Island and Madeline is a particularly popular spot.

A Wisconsin fishing license and a Great Lakes trout or salmon stamp are required for fishing in the Apostle Islands area.  

It’s also the perfect occasion to bring your inflatable kayak for fishing.

Buy here your inflatable kayak

13. Go Scuba Diving

a scuba diver in the ocean looking at rocks
The world below is even more beautiful

Shipwrecks, underwater caves, and rock formations make the Apostle Islands a great spot for scuba diving.

The National Park Service website provides detailed information about all the underwater points of interest, complete with GPS coordinates of each site.

The underwater cliff nick-named “The Wall” is particularly impressive. This submerged sandstone ledge drops suddenly to over 100 feet!

Diving in certain areas of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore requires a free permit, which can be obtained from the park headquarters in Bayfield. 

But it’s worth it because this is one of my favorite things to do in Apostle Islands!

Book here the best cabins on Apostle Islands

14. Go Island hopping

Side view of one Island filled with trees by a lake

As we’ve already seen, there are several ways to get from one island to another within the archipelago.

Whether you choose a kayak or a water taxi, a relaxed day or two spent island hopping will let you explore the area and see as many of the sights as possible.

Though they’re all close together, each island is slightly different. Some are entirely wild while others bear unmistakable marks of human presence, such as lighthouses and quarries.

Even if you’re stopping at each island only for a little bit, you’ll get a general idea of its topography and history.

If you haven’t decided how to spend your time in the Apostle Islands yet, island hopping is bound to provide plenty of inspiration. 

Book here a romantic cabin getaway in Northern Wisconsin

15. Enjoy typical Wisconsin food

Beer Battered Wisconsin Cheese Curds with Dipping Sauce on a paper on top of a wooden tray

If you know anything at all about food in Wisconsin, it’s probably that the Friday night fish-fry is king.

And you’re not wrong! This traditional dish involves beer-battered fish served with chips, tartar sauce, rye bread, an onion slice, and coleslaw. 

Another Wisconsin favorite is grilled “bratwurst” soaked in beer and onions, a dish known as ‘beer brats’.

The beer-and-onion mixture can include other ingredients, such as herbs and spices, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, or sugar. Try beer brats with a side of breaded cheese curds, another Wisconsin delicacy. 

For a lighter option, order the awesomely named Chicken Booyah, a broth-based soup with vegetables and shredded chicken, highly popular in northern Wisconsin. 

The Blue Moon ice cream is an absolute must-try for visitors to Wisconsin!

The secret recipe for the bright-blue ice cream is a Wisconsin tradition, and the distinct flavor has been described as everything from marshmallows to pistachio and Froot Loops.

Buy here your guide to the best restaurants in Wisconsin

Where to eat in Apostle Islands, WI

In Bayfield, try the local cuisine at Copper Trout, or Pier Plaza Restaurant.

On Madeline Island, check out Grampa Tony’s and the highly unusual bar and venue named Tom’s Burned Down Café. 

Ashland is a larger city offering a broader choice of restaurants, from family-run cafes to fine dining.

Greenleaf Restaurant is one of the most popular options with a versatile menu and a huge selection of both local and global dishes. 

Buy here the perfect Wisconsin Itinerary

16. Visit Devil’s Island

trees above a Sea caves along the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior

Devil’s Island is one of the 22 Apostle Islands in Wisconsin. The island is known for the extensive sea caves that line the shore.

During a thunder storm, the noise echoes through the caves and can be heard for miles.

Visiting the caves is also one of the coolest Apostle Islands winter activities as they freeze over and become ice caves.

In addition to the caves, Devil’s Island has some of the the best Apostle Islands camping sites.

Book here your Wisconsin AirBnb

17. Madeline Island Fall Fest

open piano full of mountain of pumpkins with people blurred at the background

If you are looking for fun things to do in Wisconsin in October, head to Madeline Island. 

The Madeline Island Fall Fest is one of the best fall festivals in Wisconsin, and always falls on the 3rd weekend of October.

The festival is great for everyone: couples looking for romantic getaways in Wisconsin, families with small kids, and even foodies! 

If you’re the latter, you HAVE to try the waples (waffles filled with apple cheesecake and caramel sauce). They are to die for, and you won’t find them anywhere else in Wisconsin!

For those seeking attractions of Apostle Islands, don’t forget to take advantage of some of the other top things to do in Apostle Islands here, such as Madeline Island kayaking or the local museum!

Buy here your perfect itinerary for Wisconsin

18. Visit the South Shore

Apostle Islands Ice Caves on frozen Lake Superior, Wisconsin

Visiting South Shore is one of the top things to do near Superior, WI. Although this area is full of sites, there are three historic communities of particular interest: Cornucopia, Herbster, and Port Wing.

If you’re looking for things to do near Apostle Islands, these three coastal areas are a must when you visit Apostle Islands.

Cornucopia’s claim to fame is as Wisconsin’s northernmost town, but the historic port and Cornucopia Beach are also worth a visit.

This is considered the gateway to the Apostle Islands, and anyone here will be able to assist you in how to get to Apostle Islands.

Herbster is the most popular of the three, and the Herbster Campground is one of the best alternative Apostle Islands camping options.

It’s also worth a visit to the Bark Bay Slough State Natural Area where you can take apostle Islands kayaking trips.

Port Wing is the furthest from the Apostle Islands, but still a must for history buffs. Port Wing boasts two old historic churches and a restored saloon.

They’ve all been converted into art galleries, but maintain their original features.

Buy here your essential Wisconsin guidebook from REI

19. Go Shopping in Bayfield

Cityscape view of Bayfield Wisconsin with autumn trees and houses by the lake

If you visit Apostle Islands in Wisconsin, you’ll want to make time to stop in the city of Bayfield.

One of the best things to do in Bayfield, WI is to go shopping!

It’s a small city, but there are so many great options, especially to pick up souvenirs or go clothes shopping. You’ll never run out of what to do in Bayfield, WI if you love shopping.

Joanne’s Scandinavian is the best souvenir shop. You’ll find so many must have items related to the Scandinavian roots of so many Wisconsin residents.

Joann’s sells cute plates and cups, and Scandinavian cookbooks with mouthwatering recipes.

Get prepared for Apostle Islands winter activities at Howls’s. They sell great, comfy, and stylish winter clothes! Years later, I’m still wearing some of the boots I managed to find there on sale!

Book here the best cabins in Northern Wisconsin

20. Cook Food from the Apostle Islands

a person holding two apples in a knitted top

When asked what to do in the Apostle Islands for foodies, my response is always: try some of the Wisconsin islands’ apple and berry based desserts!

The desserts from the Apostle Islands are life-changing!

I’ve already mentioned waples up above, but did yo know that there are more than 50 different varieties of apples available in the Apostle Islands and surrounding areas?

So it’s no surprise they have countless apple-based dishes.

This Stuffed Baked Apple with Wild Plum Sauce recipe is absolute heaven!

If you prefer berries, be sure to try out some of the local jams! I also recommend buying a berry filled pastry at Gourmet Garage or Erickson’s Orchards & Country Store in Bayfield.

Buy here your guidebook for Wisconsin

21. Visit Meyers Beach

View of rocky coastline covered in green trees sitting next to a large body of water in Cave Point County Park under a bright blue sky with white fluffy clouds

Whenever I find myself needing a break from the hustle and bustle, Meyers Beach is my go-to retreat. There’s just something about the tranquility of Lake Superior that soothes the soul. 

I love kicking off my shoes, feeling the sand between my toes, and simply letting all my worries melt away.

And oh boy, let’s talk about picnics! This place is like a picnic paradise. I always make sure to pack a basket filled with all my favorite snacks and treats. 

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a leisurely meal with the sound of waves in the background and the fresh breeze blowing through.

If you’re traveling from Ashland WI to Apostle Islands, this is an essential stop to unwind and recharge.

Meyers Beach isn’t just about lounging around (although I’m a big fan of that). It’s also a prime spot for wildlife watching.

Keep your eyes peeled, and you might just spot some of the local inhabitants going about their day. 

From birds soaring overhead to critters scurrying along the shoreline, there’s always something fascinating to see.

For those wondering about things to do at Apostle Islands, Meyers Beach offers a serene escape amidst the region’s natural wonders.

Book here a romantic cabin getaway in Northern Wisconsin

22. Capture stunning lake views

silhouette of a person holding a camera on the beach at sunset

Let me gush about photography in the Apostle Islands! It’s an absolute dream for shutterbugs like me. If you’ve got a camera (or even just your phone), you’re in for a treat.

First, the landscapes? Jaw-dropping. Think rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and iconic sea caves carved into the rock. Every angle is like a postcard waiting to happen.

And don’t even get me started on the wildlife. Bald eagles soaring overhead, deer grazing in the forests, and if you’re lucky, maybe even a black bear moseying along the shoreline. 

For those seeking the top things to do in the Apostle Islands, photography ranks high on the list. It offers endless opportunities to capture the region’s natural beauty and wildlife.

Oh, and the historic landmarks? They’re like stepping back in time.

From centuries-old lighthouses standing sentinel along the coast to the weathered remains of shipwrecks peeking out from the waves, there’s so much history just waiting to be captured.

If you’re considering things to do around Apostle Islands, photography should definitely be at the top of your list for an unforgettable experience.

Buy here your perfect itinerary for Wisconsin

23. Berry Picking

hands picking blueberries from a bush

Berry picking in the Apostle Islands during the summer? Oh, let me tell you, it’s like stepping into a real-life fruit paradise! 

When those warm months roll around, the islands come alive with nature’s sweetest treasures.

Now, I’ve gotta say, there’s something downright therapeutic about berry picking. It’s like a treasure hunt, but you’re hunting for these juicy, flavorful gems instead of gold. 

And let me tell you, when you finally pop one in your mouth, it’s like a burst of pure summer bliss.

But here’s the best part—you don’t need fancy equipment or special skills to enjoy berry picking. 

Bring a basket or a container (or heck, even just a handful of empty pockets) and start exploring. Before you know it, you’ll have more berries than you know what to do with.

If you’re planning a trip from Hayward, WI, to the Apostle Islands, make sure to include berry picking in your Apostle Islands itinerary for an authentic taste of the local flavors.

Book here your Wisconsin Airbnb

24. Enjoy Birdwatching

a bald eagle flying over a body of water

Let’s chat about birdwatching in the Apostle Islands – it’s like a nature lover’s dream come true! If you’ve got a pair of binoculars and a love for all things feathered, you’re in for a treat.

First off, the variety of bird species here is absolutely incredible.

We’re talking majestic bald eagles soaring through the skies, speedy peregrine falcons zipping past cliffs, and colorful migratory birds making pit stops on their journeys. It’s like a real-life aviary out here!

Birdwatching is an absolute must if you’re wondering what to do at Apostle Islands.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m no expert birder. But that’s the beauty of it – you don’t have to be! 

Just grab your binoculars, find a cozy spot with a good view, and start scanning the skies. 

For those looking for things to do at the Apostle Islands, consider joining a guided birdwatching tour for an enriching experience.

Oh, and here’s a pro tip – if you’re not sure where to start, consider joining a guided birdwatching tour. 

You’ll get to learn from experienced birders, explore the best birding hotspots, and maybe even make some new feathered friends along the way.

Buy here your essential Wisconsin guidebook from REI

25. Snowshoeing

Person wearing outdoor clothing including a woolen hat and a backpack using skis and poles to walk up a hill blanketed in white snow

Let me paint you a picture of snowshoeing in the Apostle Islands – it’s like stepping into a real-life snow globe! 

When those fluffy flakes start to fall and the islands get coated in a fresh blanket of white, it’s time to strap on those snowshoes and hit the trails.

Plus, it’s a killer workout without even feeling like exercise – win-win! Snowshoeing is an absolute must if you’re wondering what to do at Apostle Islands during the winter months.

Picture yourself surrounded by towering trees draped in snow, icicles sparkling in the sunlight, and maybe even a glimpse of Lake Superior peeking through the trees.

It’s like being in your own private winter wonderland.

For those seeking things to do near the Apostle Islands during the winter, snowshoeing offers a unique and refreshing experience amidst the region’s natural beauty.

Whether you’re a beginner looking for a stroll or a seasoned snowshoer seeking a challenge, there’s something for everyone. 

Pick a trail, bundle up in your coziest winter gear, and get ready to experience the magic of the snowy landscape.

Buy here your perfect Wisconsin Itinerary

Video: Things to do in Apostle Islands

My personal note: Essential Guide to Apostle Islands, WI

Where are the Apostle Islands?

The Apostle Islands are located in northern Wisconsin, on Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes of North America and the largest freshwater lake in the world.

They are a collection of 22 islands, 21 of which form the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. 

Where to stay Apostle Islands?

Whether you want luxury hotels, romantic cabins in the woods or a budget option that feels like home, there are so many great accommodations and hotels near Apostle Islands!

Find the best Airbnb in Apostle Islands, an island paradise with many accommodations right on the beach. You can also check out this post for even more pet friendly cabins in Wisconsin.

You might even catch one of the best movies set in Wisconsin on television at night if you’re lucky. Here are a few of my favorites:

Best Vacation Rentals and Airbnb in Apostle Islands, WI

  1. Woodland Chalet
  2. Northwoods Chalet
  3. Spirit Lodge in La Pointe
  4. Sowl’s Cabin
  5. Lucy’s Place

Find all the best AirBnbs in Wisconsin

Best Hotels Near Apostle Islands

Bodin’s Resort **** – Private

Front view of Bodin’s Resort in Washburn, Wisconsin

Bodin’s Resort in Washburn, Wisconsin, is only 9 miles away from Bayfield and the Madeline Island ferry.

Right on the edge of the Haughton Falls State Natural Area, Bodin’s Resort offers cozy cabins overlooking Lake Superior. This is one of the top hotels near Apostle Islands for those on a budget.

This area offers some of the most romantic cabins in Wisconsin. – Check rates & reviews here

Best Western The Hotel Chequamegon *** – Luxury

Front view of Best Western The Hotel Chequamegon

Located in Ashland on the shore of Lake Superior, the Best Western The Hotel Chequamegon is within walking distance of the Ashland Historical Museum, serveral shops, and over 20 restaurants.

This resort is considered to be one of the best resorts in northern Wisconsin and one of the top luxury resorts in Wisconsin.

From the hotel, it’s a half-hour drive to Bayfield, the main point of access to the Apostle Islands archipelago. – Check rates here

AmericInn by Wyndham Ashland ** – Mid-Range

Front view of the AmericInn in Ashland with a driveway and parking area and a sign

Also in Ashland, the AmericInn by Wyndham Ashland is a casual, comfortable hotel overlooking Lake Superior.

Close to local attractions, particularly the Ashland Breakwater Lighthouse, it’s one of the best hotels near Apostle Islands for exploring, both Ashland and the Apostle Islands – Check rates & reviews here

Buy here a Wisconsin guidebook

How to get to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore?

The Apostle Island National Lakeshore is a nature reserve, which means that no car traffic is allowed on the islands themselves.

Madeline, the largest of the islands, is the only one reachable by car (via a ferry ride) and not part of the Lakeshore.

The city of Bayfield, located along Wisconsin Highway 13 on the shore of Lake Superior, is the main starting point for exploring Lakeshore.

All of the cruises and guided trips depart from here, and the city offers kayak and sailboat rentals, water taxis, and other means of transport to the Lakeshore islands. 

Have a look at my web story about things to do in Apostle islands.

FAQ about Things To Do in Apostle Islands

Where are the Apostle Islands located?

The Apostle Islands are located in northern Wisconsin, on Lake Superior.

What are free things to do in the Apostle Islands, WI?

You can have free parking at Sand Island. Diving in certain areas of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore requires a free permit.

What are things to do in Apostle Islands in winter?

During winter you can visit the Apostle Islands’ ice caves, the frozen waterfalls, and spend time at the nearby ski hills.

What to do on Madeline Island?

Some of the best things to do on Madeline Island include walking tours, biking and hiking. You also can’t miss out on Madeline Island kayaking and the ferry.

What to do in Superior, Wisconsin?

There are a lot of great things to do in Superior, WI, such as a visit to the Superior Entry Lighthouse and Minnesota Point. There are also several state parks nearby to go hiking and enjoy the outdoors.

What is the best time to visit Apostle Islands?

The best time to visit Apostle Islands is typically during the summer months, from June to September, when the weather is warmer and outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, and camping are more accessible.

What things to do in Madeline Island?

In Madeline Island Wisconsin, visitors can enjoy exploring the charming town of La Pointe, relaxing on pristine beaches, visiting historical sites like the Madeline Island Museum, and indulging in outdoor activities such as biking and kayaking.

How many Apostle Islands are there?

There are 22 Apostle Islands in total, located in Lake Superior off the northern tip of Wisconsin.

Apostle Islands Map

apostle island map