Camping

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A forested campsite with a metal fire ring, picnic table, and bear proof box.
Most individual and group camp sites on the Apostles include a fire ring, picnic table, metal bear resistant food locker, and nearby privy.

NPS Photo

Plan Ahead

Camping is available on 18 of the Lakeshore's 21 islands, and at one campsite on the mainland. The mainland campsite is only accessible by kayak or a 6-mile hike on the Lakeshore Trail from Meyers Beach. There is NO drive up car, tent, or RV camping available in the Apostle Islands. There are a variety of camping options available in the local area. The islands are only accessible by sea kayak, motor boat, sail boat, or water taxi. Be sure to make your arrangements ahead of time to visit the islands. Reservations are required for all camping, and camping fees do apply.

Types of Campsites In The Apostle Islands:

Campsite access and amenities throughout the Apostle Island National Lakeshore vary from island to island.

Individual Campsites: $15/site/night. Group size of 1-7 people.
Individual sites are spread across the islands and are often set apart from other sites so visitors can experience solitude and basic camping amenities (picnic table, fire ring, bear resistant food locker, & nearby privy).

Primitive Camping Zone: $15/site/night. Group size of 1-5 people.
Primitive Zone camping is not a specific site, but provides the option of choosing a backcountry area to camp. There are no amenities, and specific guidelines to what areas are available on each island. Please practice Leave No Trace Principles when camping in Primitive Zones. Consult the Primitive Zone camping map for potential landing sites and available areas.

The following areas are closed to primitive zone camping:

  • Areas excluded from primitive camping zones and closed to camping to protect sensitive natural and cultural resources.
  • Area posted as closed to protect bird nesting areas and threatened or endangered species.
  • Areas in view of any designated trail.
  • Areas within 1/4 mile of any building, historic structure, individual or group campsite, or another camping party.
  • Areas within 100 feet of a flowing stream.
  • Private land or lease holdings.

Group Campsites: $30/site/night. Group size of 8-21 people.
A party of eight to twenty-one people is considered a group. All groups must use designated group campsites. There are 9 group sites available on 5 islands (Sand, Oak, Basswood, Stockton, & Rocky). Group sites provide more space for the larger group size and basic camping amenities (picnic table, fire ring, bear resistant food locker, & nearby privy). Every January, the park conducts a group camping lottery. After the lottery is concluded, all remaining campsites and dates are available for reservation.

Accessibility: Individual site #1 on Stockton Island at Presque Isle and site #3 on Sand Island are Accessible. Groups sites A & B on Stockton at Quarry Bay and group site C on Sand Island are Accessible. All have boardwalks leading from the docks to the campsites and vault toilets, as well as raised wooden decks for tent pads which connect with the boardwalk. Picnic tables and fire rings are all designed to be Accessible. If you need these sites, please request them when making a permit reservation.

 
An orange tent set up in a forest camp site.
Camping on Stockton Island.

NPS Photo

View Campsites

Campsite Directory - View campsites with descriptions for each island, access, and amenities.

Primitive Camping Zone Information & Maps

Build Your Itinerary

How to make a reservation online.

To make camping reservations and obtain a camping permit go to Recreation.gov or call the Bayfield headquarters to speak to a Park Ranger at 715-779-3397, select option 2. Please note that you can only book an itinerary within a 30 day window of when you want to start your trip. This does not include group camping.

 
A shaded picnic table in the sand looking out at a lake with an anchored sailboat.
Looking out at Lake Superior from Stockton Island.

NPS Photo

Docking

Some visitors choose to visit the islands and sleep in their personal self-contained vessel. If you are traveling out to the islands with your own boat there are a few things you should know before you visit. Public docks are found on 12 of the islands in the national lakeshore. Space is reserved at some docks for National Park Service (NPS) vessels and excursion boats. The remaining space is available to the public on a first come, first served basis. Docking fees are in effect from 6pm to 6am.

Fees:
Overnight docking fees: $15 for boats less than 40 feet in length/night
Overnight docking fees: $30 for boats 40 feet and greater in length/night.

Anchoring

The Apostle Islands’ protected bays, public docks, and pristine beaches offer outstanding boating opportunities. Many visitors choose to anchor out in bays overnight. There are no fixed anchorages within the park. There is no cost for overnight anchoring within the park. Weather conditions can change rapidly on Lake Superior, so it is important to regularly check the area marine forecasts.

Safety

Beaches, sand spits, and campsites are some of the park's most popular attractions. Please follow island ethics of Leave No Trace to protect the outdoors and keep the park pristine for future generations. Keep in mind that camping in the Apostle Islands is remote. Be prepared and plan ahead. Camp safety is your responsibility. Always be aware of your surroundings and up to date on current weather conditions in the park.

 

Local Area Camping

Camping on the Apostle Islands can be a unique and memorable experience, unfortunately, there is no drive up car or RV camping available in the Apostle Islands. However, our gateway communities provide many options for more traditional drive up car, tent, and RV camping.


Last updated: September 4, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

415 Washington Avenue
Bayfield, WI 54814

Phone:

(715) 779-3397

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