Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Wisconsin’s northernmost landscape juts out into Lake Superior as the scenic archipelago known as the Apostle Islands. The national lakeshore includes 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland Lake Superior shoreline, featuring pristine stretches of sand beach, spectacular sea caves, remnant old-growth forests, resident bald eagles and black bears, and the largest collection of lighthouses anywhere in the National Park System.
For detailed information on the park’s features and programs, fascinating stories, and links to a wide variety of related sites enter our Virtual Visitor Center by clicking the “In Depth” link to the right.
National Lakeshore – Operating Hours, Seasons
The lakeshore is open all year. The headquarters visitor center is open daily from May through October from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day) and Monday to Friday November through April from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
CAR – The headquarters visitor center is one block off Wisconsin Route 13 in Bayfield.
The visitor center and fishery exhibit at Little Sand Bay is accessible by road, 13 miles north of Bayfield.
Meyers Road, off Highway 13 about 5 miles east of Cornucopia, offers lake access and a trailhead.
Most other facilities are accessible only by water.
Weather & Climate
Summer temperatures average 75-80 degrees F. during the day and 55 degrees F. at night. Summer thunderstorms commonly create severe, rapidly changing wind and wave conditions. We recommend visitors bring layers of clothing and rain gear. Sea kayakers should use wet or dry suits. Winter temperatures of -10 degrees F. are not uncommon.
The headquarters visitor center, the Little Sand Bay visitor center, the Stockton Island visitor center, and the Apostle Islands Cruise Service tour boat are accessible to the mobility-impaired. An accessible campsite is located on Stockton Island.
Getting Around | more information
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.
Excursion boat trips leave from Bayfield daily from late May to mid-October. The Apostle Islands Cruise Service offers a variety of excursion trips and a camper and hiker shuttle to several islands. Cruises 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 “More Information” link above for additional details on tour boats and water taxis.
Area marinas offer rental sailboats and will arrange full- and half-day trolling trips for trout and salmon. Local outfitters also rent sea kayaks.
If you’d like to take your own boat out onto Lake Superior, or paddle a kayak to one of the islands, follow the “More Information” link above for essential information.
MAY WE RECOMMEND Sailing, boating, sea kayaking, camping (permit required), hiking, picnicking, swimming, scuba diving (permit required), excursion cruises, sport fishing and hunting (state licenses required), cross country skiing, visiting museums and exhibits, and participating in guided programs.