Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Planning Your Visit


Public boat launches are located in Ashland, Bayfield, Cornucopia, Little Sand Bay, Red Cliff, and Washburn. The cost is $5/launch in Bayfield, $5/launch at Little Sand Bay. Marinas are in Ashland, Bayfield, Cornucopia, LaPointe, Pike's Bay, Port Superior, Red Cliff, Roys Point, Schooner Bay, and Washburn.

The use of personal watercraft is not allowed within the boundaries of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Hunting is allowed in the national lakeshore. Hunting activity may occur from September (after Labor Day) through December. A muzzle loader deer hunt (by permit only) is held on several islands during the month of October. Interested hunters must apply for the permit lottery between June 15 and July 15. For detailed information and an application form write to Park Dispatch, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, 415 Washington Avenue, Bayfield, Wisconsin 54814 or apis_ resource_issues@nps.gov. All hunting is conducted in compliance with state law.

Getting Around

Although 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:

On Your Own

If you'd like to take your own boat out onto Lake Superior, or paddle a kayak to one of the islands, visit one of these pages for essential information:

Boating in the Apostle Islands

Kayaking in the Apostle Islands

Apostle Islands Cruise Service (AICS) 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.

AICS 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.

For more information:

Business Partners

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 authorized to operate within the park under terms of a Commercial Use Authorization or Special Use Permit:

Business Partners, current list, pdf file 278kb

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.


The Eastern National bookstore at the Old Courthouse Visitor Center in Bayfield carries a wide variety of books and other items relating to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Eastern National aids and promotes the historical, scientific and educational activities of the National Park Service. It also supports the research, interpretation and conservation programs of the Service. As a not- for-profit cooperating association recognized by Congress, it makes interpretive material available to visitors and the general public.

Visit Eastern National on-line for books and educational materials about the Apostle Islands.

Things To Know Before You Come

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore exists as a coastal park at the northeastern tip of the Bayfield Peninsula, the northernmost mainland point in Wisconsin. It consists of twenty-two (22) separate units (21 islands and a 12-mile mainland unit) dedicated to the preservation and public enjoyment of significant historic, scenic, natural, and recreational resources in Ashland and Bayfield Counties.

Operating Hours & Seasons

The mainland portion and the islands of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are open to visitors year round.


Bayfield Visitor Center
May 27 to September 3, 2007: Daily 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
September 4 to October 14, 2007: Daily 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
October 15, 2007 to May 23, 2008: Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm


Located in the old Bayfield County Courthouse on Washington Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Streets, Bayfield.

The visitor center is closed on federal holidays, except Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.

A good place to begin your National Lakeshore visit, whether by car, afoot, or by private boat, is at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Visitor Center in Bayfield. Apostle Islands brownstone was used to construct this stately building, as well as many other elegant public buildings and residences throughout the Upper Midwest. At the visitor center you can view audiovisual programs and study exhibits about the park's history, natural history, and recreation opportunities.

Available Facilities:
Rest rooms, information desk, exhibits, camping permits.

Little Sand Bay Visitor Center

Located on Little Sand Bay Road, 13 miles north of Bayfield, WI.

Lakeshore exhibits, park film, Hokenson Brothers Fishery exhibit.

Available Facilities:
Rest rooms, information desk, exhibits, camping permits, marina.

Devils, Michigan, and Sand Island Lighthouses
On islands; accessible by boat only.

Special Programs:
Volunteer lighthouse keepers provide free visitor access to historic lighthouses.

Stockton Island Visitor Center
Presque Isle, Stockton Island.

Available Facilities:
Staffed intermittently. Restrooms, exhibits, sales items.



Lake Superior is renowned for its cold temperatures, rough seas, fog, and sudden squalls. Boaters and paddlers should monitor marine weather forecasts and be constantly alert to changing conditions.

Average daytime high temperatures range from 60 degrees Fahrenheit in May, to the upper 80s in mid-summer, to the mid-60s in September. Average lows vary from 40 degrees in May, to the upper 50s in mid-summer, to 50 degrees in September. Average water temperatures in May and June are only in the 40s. Even in late summer, surface temperatures rarely exceed 60 degrees, except in protected bays. Average summer winds blow at from 5 to 20 knots with waves of from one to four feet. Winds of 30 to 40 knots and 6 to 12 foot seas are possible.

Check for an up-to-date weather on Lake Superior

Near Shore Marine Weather Forecast, within 5 miles of shore

Offshore Marine Weather Forecast, beyond 5 miles from shore

Weather Station - Devils Island, WI, located on the Devils Island Lighthouse

West Lake Superior Bouy, located 48 nautical miles North of Ironwood, Michigan

Extended Trip Information

If you have several days:
An extended trip is the best way to experience the peace, solitude, and natural rhythms of the islands. Hike the wooded trails, explore the historic sites, or just sit by a campfire and listen to yodeling loons.

Any camping trip should begin with a stop at the park's Bayfield visitor center where visitors can discuss their itineraries with a park ranger and pick up camping permits. Campers in need of transportation can reach five of the islands on regularly scheduled cruises from late June to Labor Day. Water taxi services are available to carry campers to the less visited islands.

Although camping is allowed on 18 of the islands, almost half of the camping in the park occurs on Stockton Island. A park ranger presents campfire programs near Stockton's Presque Isle Visitor Center some nights during the summer season. Ranger-guided walks may also be offered on Stockton.

Fees & Reservations

Fees & Reservations

2007 Enhanced Amenity Fees - Recreation User Fees


New NPS recreational user fees were proposed in 2006 to be implemented at the Apostle Islands in 2007. After extensive public involvement, these fees have been approved by the NPS national office. The NPS is developing implementation plans and will announce the details publicly and at this web site when they are available. The first new fee to be implemented will be the camping fee for group sites, which will be due when permits are issued as part of the annual group permit lottery in January 2007.



Camping, individual or undesignated site, per night $ 10
Camping, group site, per night $ 20



Overnight docking, boats less than 40 feet $ 10
    Six-night ticket book $ 50
Overnight docking, boats 40 feet and greater $ 20
    Six-night ticket book $100


Interpretive Programs

Regularly scheduled on or off-site, per person $ 3

per family $ 8

More in-depth tour, per person $ 5
                                   per family $ 12
Custom/specialized/immersion programs (up to 2 hours), per person $ 5
Per person per hour for each hour over 2 hours (min charge $100) $ 5


Vehicle length includes the length of a trailer

Meyers Beach day use, vehicle length less than 20 feet (including trailer) $ 3
Meyers Beach day use, vehicle length20 feet or greater $ 5
Meyers Beach annual parking pass, vehicle length less than 20 feet $ 15
Meyers Beach annual parking pass, vehicle length greater than 20 feet $ 25
Bayfield HQ overnight, vehicle length less than 20 feet $ 5
Bayfield HQ overnight, vehicle length 20 feet or greater $ 8
Bayfield HQ special event, vehicle length less than 20 feet $ 10
Bayfield HQ special event, vehicle length 20 feet or greater $ 20
Little Sand Bay Free



By Automobile
The headquarters visitor center is one block off Wisconsin Route 13 in the city of Bayfield.

Although 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.

The visitor center and fishery exhibit at Little Sand Bay is accessible by road or lake access, 13 miles north of Bayfield.

Meyers Beach Road, off Highway 13 about 5 miles east of Cornucopia, offers lake access and a trailhead.

Island facilities are only accessible by water.


The Apostle Islands Cruise Service, a park concessioner, provides scheduled public transportation services from late May to mid-October. Boat trips leave from the city dock on the Bayfield waterfront. The Cruise Service offers a variety of non-stop sightseeing trips and several camper and hiker shuttles to select islands. The boat trips provide views of most of the islands, as well as close looks at dramatic sandstone cliffs and historic lighthouses. The Cruise Service also operates a water taxi service between Bayfield and any island for up to six passengers per trip. Follow the link above for additional details on tour boats and water taxi service.

Area marinas offer rental sailboats and will arrange full- and half-day guided fishing trips. Local outfitters also rent sea kayaks and provide training and guided services for groups and individuals. Information on park tours, trips and expeditions is available:
See Business Partners.

Park Resources



Land acreage 


    (acres on mainland - 2,568)


Water acreage


Shoreline - miles


Annual boat hours for all park operations


Miles of Trail


Miles of Road




Administrative buildings


Visitor centers


Acres of lawn needing mowing


Public docks




Photovoltaic systems


Water distribution systems


Natural Resources       
Annual precipitation

30 inches rain, 57 inches snow

Average daily temperatures

July: 55° - 81°; January: 0° - 22°

Endangered and threatened species

24 (3 Federal, 21 State)

Forest breeding bird species


Migratory bird species


Fish species


Mammal species


Flora species


Seacaves and beaches




Cultural Resources       
Museum objects
   (13,000 on site)


Historic structures


National Register of
Historic Places properties


Light station complexs


Light station towers


Light station buildings


Light station structures


Light station objects
(Fresnel lens)


Known archaelogical sites


Known logging camps
& associated sites


Historic quarries


Fisheries and fish camps


Historic farm sites


Submerged (e.g. shipwrecks)


Historic resorts and resort sites