Apostle Islands and Madeline Island

Apostle Islands and Madeline Island Trip

A few years back my husband and I took an Apostle Islands and Madeline Island trip. We took the first ferry of the day on the Madeline Island Car Ferry from Bayfield over to Madeline Island. From Madeline Island, we rented a boat and explored lighthouses, a waterfall, the rocky shoreline of The National Lakeshore, and sea caves.

Madeline Island Car Ferry

We took the first ferry over to Madeline Island which was the first step on our trip.

The Madeline Island Ferry Line provides passenger, bicycle, and car transportation between the picturesque towns of Bayfield, Wisconsin, and Madeline Island. The 25-minute trip provides spectacular views of Lake Superior.

If you board the ferry and need to park your vehicle, park in the lot across the street from the Maritime Museum, it is free and has no time limit.

The Madeline Island Car Ferry docked at LaPointe, Wisconsin Purchase a print.

Helpful Links:
Madeline Island Ferry Schedule
Ferry Rates
Google Map Ferry Location

Madeline Island

The ferry brought us to Madeline Island and we unloaded our vehicle and decided to go sightseeing. We spent almost two hours sightseeing. One of our favorite places was Big Bay Park.

Big Bay Park On Madeline Island

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Big Bay Lagoon inside of Big Bay County Park is free to use and has a sandy beach, hiking trails, and a beautiful boardwalk. They have a private rental company that rents kayaks and canoes.

“We were meant to explore this earth like children do, unhindered by fear, propelled by curiosity and a sense of discovery. Allow yourself to see the world through new eyes and know there are amazing adventures here for you.” 

– Laurel Bleadon Maffei

Early morning at Big Bay Lagoon on Madeline Island in La Pointe, Wisconsin. The lagoon is located in Big Bay County Park.
Boat Rentals Big Bay Lagoon La Pointe, Wisconsin. If you visit Big Bay Lagoon, they have a private rental company that rents kayaks and canoes.

Time to explore the Islands.

Viewing The Apostle Islands

You have three options when viewing the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore:

  • Boat tour
  • Kayak
  • Rent or bring your own boat

We opted for the rent-your-own-boat option on Madeline Island. We rented a Regal.

After our information session, watching a safety and regulation video and the legal paper was signed. We were off.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather, either. Lake Superior was almost glass calm and the temps were in the low 80s. Exceptional!

The boat parked along the dock while we explored Stockton Island. The image was taken with a Lensbaby creative lens.

On The Way To Stockton Island Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

On our boating excursion, the first stop was Stockton Island.

Stockton Island is in the midsection of the Apostle Islands. We enjoyed the rocky shore, waterfalls, and wildlife along the journey.

A flock of geese flying in front of the Regal.
Way out in the distance are tiny dots in the middle of Lake Superior. Nothing but open water and loon pairs.
Apostle Island Cruises – There is a tour boat that we met out on the water. They leave from Bayfield, Wisconsin.
Apostle Cruise heading toward Stockton Island.
This waterfall was off one of the Apostle Islands further out in Ashland County, called Stockton Island.
The water closer to the shoreline is emerald green, just like the moss growing on the sandstone the waterfall is running over.

Stockton Island

Stockton Island is one of the Islands, in Lake Superior, in northern Wisconsin, and is part of National Lakeshore.

It is the largest island included in the national lakeshore, it is host to numerous trails and campsites. The island is also known for its high concentration of black bears, and a unique lagoon ecosystem with multiple carnivorous plants and low bush blueberries, as well as the singing sand found in Julian Bay.

I didn’t take into account how long it would take by boat to actually get to the island, nor how large the island was. So, we never got a chance to locate the carnivorous plants or see the singing sand beach.

We will have to make a trip back there now that I have a good layout of both the island and the entry points from the Lake. If you camp, locate the plants or visit the singing sand beach, be sure to connect with me @nikki_lynn_design, on Instagram. I’d love to see them!

“Of course humans like to explore, and we should. There’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s more than that. It’s essential for your children and your children’s children.”

 – Jeff Bezos

Sand Island Lighthouse

Sand Island lighthouse is on the way to devils island and worth a stop off the waters of the island for a picture. The brownstone is what caught my eye first.

Sand Island Lighthouse Purchase a print

The lighthouse is located on the Western of the Apostle Islands. Built in 1880 and first lit in 1881.

Sand Island lighthouse on Sand Island on the National Lake Shore.

The lighthouse was built out of Apostle Islands Brownstone with Norman Gothic architecture which is an architectural style of Europe during the High and Late Middle Ages.

Many of the historic buildings in Northern Wisconsin used brownstone from the area.

If you enjoy brownstone buildings, check out The State Bank Building located in Washburn Wisconsin on your visit to Bayfield County.

Devils Island Apostle Islands

Devils Island is located 20 miles from Bayfield, Wisconsin. It is the farthest north of the 22 islands and a little over a two-hour pleasure craft ride from Bayfield.

Lake Superior was kind to us and allowed us the privilege of calm waters and low winds to get to Devils Island to view the sea caves, island, and lighthouse.

Before we left the boat rental company, we were informed that most people do not make it out this far because Lake Superior has a mind of her own and you must respect her. He was thrilled we were seasoned Lake Michigan boaters but wanted to relay how the wind and Lake currents change quickly.

The Island is the most northern point in Wisconsin and has a lighthouse that was completed in 1891.
Devils Island Lighthouse sitting above the massive sandstone sea caves.
Devils Island
Devils Island has the best sandstone sea caves on the National Lakeshore. They are massive and surround the island.

Video Of Shoreline

Each Island has its own special features. Devils Island is hands down, the best sea cave island.

We toasted our success in navigating to the island and enjoyed lunch on the boat in front of the lighthouse. The wind coupled with the fast current was our cue to head back to the mainland.

The day made me a very happy girl!

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dinner At The Pub

The PUB Restaurant & Wine Bar

After returning to the boat rental we ate at The Pub Restaurant and Wine Bar on Madeline Island. Dinner was tasty, fresh, and cooked to perfection and the wait staff was very responsive.

We stopped at the bar for an after-dinner drink and the bartender let us sample a few new to us drinks. We didn’t receive any compensation for the business plug, just a business that should get a shout-out for excellent service.

Currently, I sell design work on Zazzle & Pixels Fine Art America.

Your Turn

If you get a chance, take the trip. There are a variety of ways to enjoy the area from a simple tour boat along the shoreline to kayaking and camping on one of the islands. There really is something for everyone.

This Site is for informational purposes only. You assume full responsibility monetary or otherwise if you visit the area.

Explore More:

Copper Falls – Ashland County, WI
Frog Bay Tribal National Park – Bayfield County, WI
Enger Park – Duluth, MN

Explore Wisconsin


Designs Available

Images available from Ashland or Bayfield Counties Wisconsin

The post was last updated in December 2022.

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