Permits to reserve individual and group campsites, as well as camping zones, can be arranged in advance, and should be obtained prior to departure for the islands. Each permit is good for up to 14 consecutive nights of camping. Camping permits are nontransferable. Campsites will be assigned when a reservation is made, with the exception of Stockton Presque Isle campsites 2-19, which are occupied on a first come, first serve basis. The permit for those sites guarantee a campsite, but not a specific one.
A party of eight to twenty-one people is considered a group. All groups must use designated group campsites. The park accepts group camping permit reservations beginning in January for that year. Learn more about the group camping permit lottery. A fee of $30/site/night will be charged along with a $10 reservation fee for each trip. The fees must be paid when the reservation is made.
To make reservations go to Recreation.gov.
How to make a reservation using recreation.gov
1) Go to www.Recreation.gov
2) On the upper-right corner, click Sign In or Sign Up to log in using your user profile or to create a new account.
3) Click on Find Places and Activities at the top of the screen.
4) In the Search area, enter Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and click the Search button.
5) The search will generate a list of places which includes Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Camping Permits, WI. Click on that title.
6) To check availability, go to the left-hand side of the page and under Looking For click on Select Permit Type and select Overnight Permit (Non-Commercial). This will add more options.
7) Under Entrance Type select the type of campsite you are looking for, such as : Group, Individual, or Primitive Zone Camping. If this is left blank, all campsites and zones will be listed.
8) Under Entrance you can select the specific campsite you are looking for, otherwise select Any Entrance. Leaving this section as Any Entrance will allow the search to show all sites available as long as the Entrance Type was left blank.
9) Under Start Date of Stay enter the date of the first night you want to camp.
10) Under Length of Stay enter the number of days you plan on camping, just the number only.
11) Click on the Search icon. This generates a two week list based on the search criteria that were entered from the previous screen along with a Legend at the bottom of the screen explaining what the letters mean for each site and day. There may not be room for all the campsites to appear on the same page. To see additional sites click on the Next tab at the bottom of the page.
12) To select a campsite on specific date(s), click on the A listed next to the campsite on the date(s) that you want. The square around the letter will turn gold to show that it has been selected.
13) When you have selected all the sites and dates for your trip, click on the Add to Itinerary icon at the bottom of the page.
14) After you verify all the dates for your camping trip, click on My Itinerary at the bottom of the page and select the Book tab.
15) Fill in the information requested on the Permit Order Details page. Several of the fields must be filled in before the permit can be processed. When you are finished, click on the Continue to Shopping Cart tab.
16) On the Shopping Cart page the dates and sites that you selected will be listed along with the fee totals. If the sites or dates are incorrect, click on the Change Details tab, otherwise click on the Checkout Shopping Cart tab.
17) On the Checkout Shopping Cart page you must fill out the payment information and click on the Acknowledgement icon.
18) When you have finished filling out the information on the Checkout Shopping Cart page, click on the Complete this Purchase tab.
19) You have completed the reservation process. A confirmation email will be sent to you, however this email is not the permit itself.
20) The permit can be printed from your recreation.gov account as soon as you purchase it. Once it is printed, it "finalizes" your trip, so any additional changes will cost an extra $15 fee. We recommend waiting until the week before your trip to print the permit. Any changes made to your trip less than eight days before the start of the trip will also cost an additional $15 fee. If the permit is not printed at least two days before a trip starts, you must pick up the permit at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore visitor center in Bayfield, WI.
21) Make sure to bring your permit with you while camping. Park staff may ask to see your permit.
Refunds and Itinerary Changes
A 50% refund of nightly camping fees may be issued for the cancellation of an entire trip if the cancellation is made at least eight days before the start of the trip. The $10 reservation fee is nonrefundable. No refunds will be issued after the start of a trip. No refunds will be issued for partial cancellations. No refunds are issued after a permit has been issued (printed).
If itinerary changes are necessary once a camping trip is underway, please contact park staff by calling (715)779-3397 ext. 2, or in person whenever possible. Present your camping permit to park staff when making these itinerary changes. There is no charge for changes due to severe weather conditions, campsite closures, or if the Apostle Islands Cruises Camper shuttle is cancelled. Campers choosing to make itinerary changes for other reasons, seven days or less from the start of a trip, or during the trip, will be charged a $15 fee each time they make a change to the itinerary whether or not the permit has been printed or not. Permits are non-transferable.
Campers planning to use the Apostle Islands Cruise Service Camper Shuttle to reach Oak Island, Michigan, or Stockton Island can obtain a full refund of their nightly camping fees (the $10 reservation fee is nonrefundable) if the shuttle is cancelled. Verification from the Apostle Islands Cruise Service Camper Shuttle will need to be provided in order to obtain the refund.
Last updated: December 26, 2019