Best Things to Do in Bayfield and the Apostle Islands

Bayfield

Bayfield, Wisconsin is a Great Place

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, boutiques and more it’s a great place for a family trip or girls weekend.

Things to do bayfield apostle islands

Stay in a Hotel or Camp on Madeline Island

While in Bayfield, we stayed at the Harbor’s Edge Motel. This motel is clean, cute, and conveniently located across the street from the Madeline Island ferry. It also has outdoor seating, which was just a few yards from Lake Superior. If you prefer something more rustic, consider camping 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.

Bayfield

Find Great Pizza at Manypenny Bistro

One night we had pizza from Manypenny Bistro. The pizza was really good and cheesy, and the service was super quick.  Another day we grabbed a meal from Morty’s Pub. They have a great selection of sandwiches, fish and chips and burgers. And across the street from Morty’s is a a cute and tiny ice cream shack is you’re looking for something sweet.

Things to do bayfield apostle islands
apostle island

Take the Ferry to Madeline Island

From Bayfield, you can take a beautiful 25-minute ferry ride over to Madeline Island, where you’ll find an entire town to explore. The ferry schedule changes seasonally, but during peak summer months it runs every thirty minutes daily. It costs $16 roundtrip for an adult. For an additional fee, you can bring a car as well as a car with a trailer for those planning to bike, kayak, and camp on Madeline Island.

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

Madeline Island is a Very Unique Place

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. 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
Things to do bayfield apostle islands

Take a Cruise Around the Apostle Islands

For a fun adventure on Lake Superior, 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.

A Beautiful and Easy Getaway

Bayfield and the Apostle Islands are 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 the many restaurants, shops and activities. 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 and Birchwood, Wisconsin.

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