Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

apostle island.jpgCanoeing Around the Apostle Islands

The Apostle Islands are a group of more than twenty islands on Lake Superior found just off the Bayfield Peninsula in northern Wisconsin. The islands were the spiritual home of the Chippewa natives that lives in the area. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore also encompasses 12 miles of mainland waterfront.

Seeing all of these wonderful and different islands by canoe or kayak can be an incredible experience. However, you should keep an eye on weather conditions and if it appears as though a storm is coming in or that the water is getting choppy, you should immediately make your way off the lake. It is always better to err on the side of caution.

Before heading onto the lake, you should have a map of the island and a distance chart so you can plot your course. You can travel to any of the islands, such as Devil’s Island, Cat Island, Manitou Island, and Otter Island. You can find campsites at these islands, but make sure you have the proper permits before you set up camp!

Another feature that you might want to check out while paddling around the islands is the sea caves. Be careful not to get too close, however, as the waves can make your canoe extremely difficult to control. Only approach the sea caves when conditions on the water are calm. Devil’s Island is a great place to get a look at some sea caves. You can also check out the lighthouse on its shores.

Some of the islands are home to black bears, so you should always be sure to have your food stored securely and away from your campsite whenever you are stopping on an island, whether you are camping or just stopping for lunch. Also, anything that you bring with you to the islands, you should take back out with you – no littering.

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is open to the public year round, but hours that the visitor center is open vary depending on the season. When you first come to the islands, it is a good idea to visit Bayfield Visitor’s Center. You can learn more about the islands’ histories and pick up camping permits if you plan to stay overnight. You can park at Little Sand Bay or Meyer’s Beach, which will cost a small parking fee.

With so many places to paddle to, the Apostle Islands are sure to bring you back again and again.


  1. We love having the Apostle Islands praised and promoted – thank you so much. We are blessed to have this fine treasure to share with visitors and locals alike.

    The one cautionary I would make: Please don’t plan to use a canoe for any paddling across to any of the islands. Kayaks are your paddling boat of choice – and with that, we urge paddlers to work closely with the Apostle Island National Park staff and/or one of our local outfitters. Lake Superior is an inland sea and acts like one. Conditions can change drastically. Making open water crossings is to be taken seriously. Please come and paddle – but please be careful.