Getting to the Islands
Though Apostle Islands National Lakeshore features several points of interest located on the mainland, most people consider the islands themselves to be the most rewarding destination.
Getting to these islands on Lake Superior can be a challenge, but there are several ways to go about it:
Campsite GPS Coordinates (62.8kb pdf)
Ride the Excursion Boat - NPS Concession Operated Tours and Trips
Apostle Islands Cruises (AIC) is authorized by the National Park Service and U.S. Department of the Interior as a park concessioner to serve the public within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
AIC offers a variety of narrated sightseeing cruises, island shuttles, and charter trips to islands and offshore locations throughout the national lakeshore. The most popular is the 55-mile "Grand Tour" which travels through the heart of the Apostle Islands archipelago. Trips leave from Bayfield daily from late May to mid-October.
Cruises provide views of most of the islands, as well as close looks at dramatic sandstone cliffs and historic lighthouses. Obtain schedules and rates information from the visitor center in Bayfield. Note: All trips are weather-permitting.
Daily shuttles provide visitors with boat transportation services to specific islands, where you can visit a lighthouse, hike, picnic, bird-watch, or explore natural and cultural areas on your own.
Other cruises are available in the afternoon and evening with the opportunity to see sunsets, sea caves, and lighthouses. For a complete schedule of this year's cruise offerings, visit their website at www.apostleisland.com.
The Apostle Islands Cruises also operates a water taxi service between Bayfield and any island for up to six passengers per trip. Rates and information can be obtained from the Cruise Service.
For more information:
Business Partners - Tours, Kayak Outfitters, Charters, and Water Taxis
Business Partners of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore provide a variety of ways to see and enjoy the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. They offer opportunities to learn, explore, and experience the park through unique and specialized trips, tours, adventures and expeditions. The following commercial, public, and private companies and organizations are currently authorized to operate within the park under terms of a Commercial Use Authorization or Special Use Permit:
Current List: Tours, Kayak Outfitters, Charters, and Water Taxis (pdf updated every Friday by COB)
This list is published as a courtesy to park visitors and NPS makes every attempt to keep it up-to-date. Business partners should not rely on this website as their sole means of advertising to potential customers. Business partners must have a valid Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) or Special Use Permit (SUP) in order to provide these services within the national lakeshore.
Car Ferry to Madeline Island
Madeline Island, the only one of the Apostle Islands accessible by automobile, is not within the National Lakeshore. Attractions on Madeline Island include Big Bay State Park, with its lakeside campground, and the Madeline Island Historical Museum, with its exhibits about the fur trade era. The island offers full tourist services. Scheduled car ferries from Bayfield run from spring breakup to winter freezeup.
For further information on Madeline Island, contact the:
Did You Know?
Lake Superior showed a 79% decrease in ice cover from 1973 to 2010 based on analysis of historical satellite images from that period. - (Wang et. al., 15 Feb., 2012, Journal of Climate)