You are exploring the Apostle Islands. One of the most surprising things about
the Apostle Islands region is it’s size. Though the Islands range from 3 acres to
more than 10,000 acres, they’re spread out more than 450 square miles of Lake
Superior. That’s an area larger than Rocky
Mountain National Park. Camping may be the best way to
experience the unique character of each of the
Apostle Islands. Camping is allowed on 19 of the 21
islands and in the national lakeshore’s mainland
unit. Permits are required for all camping
in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
A nightly fee is charged for camping in the park.
The permit system allows campers to reserve
campsites in advance. Reservations can be made in person
at the Park’s Visitor Center or by phone. Permits should be picked up in person
at the Visitor Center in Bayfield prior to the start of a trip.
Photos and descriptions of campsites and
other information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
is available on the park’s website. Careful planning is essential for a
successful and enjoyable visit to the islands. The park has 55 individual campsites that
can accomodate from 1 to 7 people with up to 3 tents.
Most of these sites are equipt with a fire ring,
bear proof food locker, and a picnic table. Most are also located near a vault toilet.
Individual campsites can be reserved beginning
one month before the start of a trip. A fee of 10 dollars per night must be paid
when the reservation is made. There are 7 group campsites
on Basswood, Oak, Sand, and Stockton Islands.
These sites accomodate parties of 8 to 20 people. Reservations for these sites can be made
starting the 2nd week in January. The fee for these sites is 20 dollars per
night. Camping zones have been established on
17 of the islands for visitors seeking a remote backcountry
experience with no facilities.
Parties using designated camping zones are limited to a maximum of five people
and two tents. Only one camping party is allowed
per zone per night. A fee of ten dollars per night is charged.
Reservations for camping zones can be made one month before the start of a trip.
Zone camping is not allowed within a 1/4 mile
of any building or within a 1/4 mile of any designated campsite.
It’s not allowed within view of any designated trails. Camping is not allowed on Eagle and Gull
Islands, nor on privately leased lands.
Some areas are closed to camping to protect sensative natural and cultural
resources. Several drive-in campgrounds are located
outside the park in the Bayfield area on the mainland
and on Madeline Island. There are no drive-in campsites at Apostle Island National Lakeshore. With one exception all the parks
campsites are located on the islands.
Some type of boat transportation is nessessary to get to all those campsites.
Sailboats, powerboats, and seakayaks are all popular ways to travel to the
islands. If you don’t have a boat, excursion boats
make regular trips to Stockton Island in July and August.
Water taxis can also be hired to carry up to
6 passengers from bayfield to the islands. A list of water taxi opperators is found
on the park website. Refer to recent detailed maps and mileage
charts when planning your Apostle Islands
adventure. It’s easy to underestimate distances
between destinations. Mileage charts are available on
the park website, and in the park’s boaters guide,
and paddling brochures. Plan for a couple of possible iteneraries
in case specific campsites you want have already reserved.
In the Apostle Islands the Lake is the Boss.
Quickly changing conditions can make Lake Superior a dangerous place.
Be sure to monitor weather forecast and be prepared to stay put
when wind, waves, and storms make travel hazardous. Pack extra food in case Mother Nature
decides your trip needs to be a bit longer than you intended.
Notify a friend or relative about your travel plans in case you are delayed.
The Apostle Islands are wild and wonderful
places to explore. Some forethought and planning help can
assure a trip to your national park is fun,
exciting, and safe.