Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Website – https://www.nps.gov/apis/index.htm
415 Washington Ave, Bayfield, WI
This summer, our big adventure was having a new baby. But LAST summer we took a month-long road trip out to Montana.
Our destination for Day #3 was the last of the four National Lakeshores – Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on Lake Superior in Wisconsin. One thing that we hadn’t gotten to do at the other National Lakeshores was take a boat ride, and this seemed like THE National Lakeshore that needed one, since its islands and all (there isn’t much to see on the mainland). So we got four tickets for the Grand Tour from Apostle Islands Cruises (ahead of time, because I’m the type of person who road trips with a binder).
So we pulled into town from our camping spot, went into the visitors center for a little while, then headed down to the dock to get onto our 10 AM boat ride.
And away we went!
This was a serious boat ride, a three hour tour (a three hour tour) covering 55 miles. Many of the islands passed were (as the tour operator jokes from a poor TripAdvisor review) “just rocks and trees”.
Some rocks were more dramatic than others.
The boat would stop and coast off of some historical areas as well, like the Manitou Fish Camp, restored to its 1930s appearance when it would have been at its busiest.
Looking for animals is also a highlight of this tour, and we did see a bald eagle! Sadly, no good picture.
Now, all of this was really pretty and enjoyable. But far and away the highlight of the tour was two hours into the outing – Devil’s Island. This is the northernmost of the Apostle Islands, and thus is subjected to the full brutality of Lake Superior storms. The payoff? The rock is as full of holes as swiss cheese, forming beautiful arches, stacks, columns, and sea caves.
After this, the tour is straight shot back, stopping off only at the beautiful Raspberry Island Lighthouse, built in 1863.
With both kids asleep by the lighthouse (nothing like a boat rocking in the water to conk out a 2 and a 4 year old), it was a quiet ride all the way back to the dock.
Sadly, it was time to drive off toward Minnesota. If we’d had more time, we would have camped out on one of the islands. Maybe some day!
Fun fact – the other three National Lakeshores are Indiana Dunes on Lake Michigan in (surprise!) Indiana, Sleeping Bear Dunes on lake Michigan in Michigan, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior in Michigan. They are all very pretty.
The rest of our day…
Our previous day? Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana
Our next day? Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
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"Rocks and trees", Devil's Island, bald eagle! Sea stacks, arches, and other pretty erosion. History and lighthouses.
Only that we couldn't spend more time here.