Best Things to Do in Bayfield and the Apostle Islands

A Super Cute Lakefront Town

Bayfield is a super cute waterfront town in Wisconsin. It’s about one hour and 40 minutes from Duluth and there are so many things to do. We were able to get away for a two-day trip and we’re so glad we went. This tiny town has a population of just 439 people with a coffee shop, book store, and boutiques.

Things to do bayfield apostle islands

Stay in a Hotel or Camp on Madeline Island

We stayed at the Harbor’s Edge Motel. Camping is a little too rustic for us, but we don’t need a fancy hotel with all the bells and whistles. This motel was clean, cute, and conveniently located across the street from the Madeline Island ferry. It also had some outdoor seating, which was just a few yards from Lake Superior. You can also camp on Madeline Island, which many people do.

Things to do bayfield apostle islands
Things to do bayfield apostle islands

Shop Around Main Street

Start your morning at Gale Force Coffee. Located just a block from Lake Superior, we grabbed coffee and bagels to get the morning started. We brought our coffee and treats one block over to Bayfield Civic League Memorial Park, which has a ton of benches all facing Lake Superior. Visit the bookstore, or stop in any number of the cute little gift shops and boutiques that line Main Street. We grabbed dinner from Morty’s Pub, and across the street is a cute and tiny ice cream shack!

Things to do bayfield apostle islands
Things to do bayfield apostle islands
Things to do bayfield apostle islands
Things to do bayfield apostle islands

Take the Ferry to Madeline Island

There are 22 Apostle Islands and 21 of them are protected National Lakeshore. Madeline Island, the largest of the 22 islands is 14 miles long and has an entire town built on it. Take the ferry over and spend the day meandering around. There is a post office, police and fire departments, art galleries, restaurants, bars, and a museum. Be sure to stop by Tom’s Burned Down Cafe for a unique experience! There is also a beautiful public beach for swimming. You can rent bikes, hike Big Bay State Park, rent kayaks, or camp.

Things to do bayfield apostle islands

Take a Cruise Around the Apostle Islands

Book a tour with Apostle Island Cruises. The boat ride is about 55 miles round trip and close to three hours long. Our captain was fourth-generation from Bayfield and he had an incredible amount of knowledge about each island. My favorite story was about a bear who enjoys swimming back and forth between two islands. I imagine her living her best life, catching fish all day and swimming around her private islands.

You’ll also get really close to the sea caves, which are one of the biggest attractions in the area. The caves were carved by wind and waves over the course of thousands of years. If you want to get even closer, you can rent kayaks and go under and through the caves. We were lucky enough to see an incredible sunset on the way back to Bayfield as well.

Things to do bayfield apostle islands

Grab Dinner at Manypenny Bistro

We didn’t get off the boat until 9:00 pm, so we ordered pizza to go from Manypenny Bistro. Then we grabbed a bottle of red wine from the liquor store, which we brought back to our hotel room. The pizza was really good! The dough was the best part.

Bayfield is an easy day trip from Duluth. It’s such a unique place with so many things to do! I highly recommend a trip that is at least two days long so you can enjoy Bayfield and the Apostle Islands.

A Beautiful and Easy Getaway

Bayfield, Wisconsin, and the Apostle Islands are an easy getaway from the Twin Cities. It’s an absolutely beautiful area with plenty of options for places to walk, eat, drink and explore! Looking for more inspiration? Check out my post on Duluth!

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