The seemingly endless expanse of Lake Superior’s blue water laps at the shores of 21 islands that fall under the aegis of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. All of these landmasses teem with natural beauty. Some islands feature the remnants of the communities that used to exist on these remote Wisconsin isles; others are part of a recently designated national wilderness area; and all of these islands lend themselves to waterborne exploration, their protected bays and pristine beaches beckoning to boaters of nearly every stripe. As intriguing as the Lakeshore’s 21 islands are to adventurers and campers, however, visitors need not cross water to experience this destination, since the Lakeshore also lays claim to 12 miles of mainland.
As visitors hike the trails on the islands through mostly untrammeled terrain, they will find it difficult to believe that communities of people once inhabited the islands, since so few signs of the people who farmed, logged, quarried and fished remain today. Yet hikers who are interested in such artifacts as the remnants of a one-room schoolhouse can find them among all the scenic beauty the islands provide.
Most visitors to the Lakeshore, however, are likely more interested in the here and now, and that includes sailing and boating. Thirteen of the 21 islands possess public docks, so RVers with their own vessels can tie up to cleats in various locations. Kayaks are becoming increasingly popular within the Lakeshore, and the mainland section features two free launch sites, from which paddlers can explore the mainland sea caves. Personal watercraft, however, are not allowed within Lakeshore boundaries.
Fishing is definitely allowed, and anglers can target brook, rainbow, brown and lake trout, as well as coho salmon. Hunting and trapping are also allowed between Labor Day and mid-May. And SCUBA divers, after they’ve checked the conditions (since Lake Superior has famously capricious weather), can explore intriguing underwater rock formations and numerous shipwrecks.
As for camping, 18 of the islands allow overnight stays, and one tent site exists within the mainland section. RVers will find various campgrounds in nearby towns.
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: