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11 Stunning Photos of the Apostle Islands

Home to magical sea caves and cliffs, the highest concentration of lighthouses in North America, and a unique archipelago, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is one of the most beautiful areas in the Midwest.

Scattered along Lake Superior near Bayfield, Wisconsin, the “Apostles” have been carved out by the wild ways of the big lake for numerous years, shaping the 21 islands to what they are today.

With the clear, spontaneous waters of Superior encircling the rural islands, exploring the area on your own can be somewhat challenging. Fortunately, boat and kayak tours are available so those wishing to admire the beauty of the Apostles can enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience.

Schedules: Apostle Islands Cruises | Apostle Islands Kayaking

Now, I don’t have to tell you why you need to see the national lakeshore for yourself when these 11 photos are proof:

1. Gorgeous Sunsets

What’s better than watching a sunset over Lake Superior? Nothing – especially when you take seeing the fading light shimmer off sandstone cliffs and caves into account.

2. Breathtaking Fall Colors

Vibrant autumn colors decorate the islands beginning mid- to late-September into early October. Admire the colorful leaves by cruising by them on a boat or paddling up-close on the clear lake – tours run throughout the fall!

3. Crafted Over Time

The Apostle Islands derived from glaciers that once covered North America. Once the glaciers melted, waves from Lake Superior caused erosion that formed the islands, which are made of mostly red sandstone.

While Native Americans are believed to have inhabited the islands for thousands of years prior, the national lakeshore was established in 1970.

4. Cruising by Cliffs, Caves, and Lighthouses

Apostle Islands Cruises is authorized by the National Park Service and U.S. Department of the Interior as a park concessioner. The company offers narrated sightseeing cruises and charter trips to the islands and offshore locations throughout the national lakeshore.

The Grand Tour, a 2 ½ to 3-hour cruise that brings passengers 55 miles along the gorgeous shoreline, is the most popular excursion. Onboard, passengers will see the historic Raspberry and Devils Island lighthouses, standing rocks, amazing sea caves, and marine wildlife.

5. Hang Out and Enjoy the Views

While being on the water gives people the best view of the islands, being on the islands gives people the best view of the lake.

6. Cherished by All

Whitetail deer have been known to swim between the mainland and the Apostle Islands – can you blame them?

7. Launching in a Kayak by Boat

A newer addition to the Bayfield area is Apostle Islands Kayaking – the only boat-assisted kayaking adventure in the national lakeshore. 

Once launched after a leisurely boat ride, kayakers explore roughly five miles of sea caves, cliffs, rock formations, and hidden beaches of the Apostle Islands. After the paddling portion of the trip is over, which lasts about two hours, kayakers board the boat and head back to the mainland.

8. Beacons of Light

Lighthouses have guided boats around the Apostles since the 1800s. While there are many standing structures, six of the lighthouses were listed as a group on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 under the name Apostle Islands Lighthouses

9. Sweet Serenity

This isolated formation in the Apostles is a favorite to kayak past! But that’s not the only one…

10. Arches Galore

Be sure to take your camera on your adventure. The arches in the Apostles make the most perfect natural picture frame.

11. Intimate Views of the Cliffs

You might find yourself feeling pretty small next to these big cliffs…but what better way to ground yourself.

Book Your Trip to the Apostle Islands Today 

The Apostle Islands is a must for anyone that cherishes natural treasures. Besides the national lakeshore, there are plenty of restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, events, and shopping options in the Bayfield area as well. Book your trip to the Apostle Islands today and take your own photographs to capture memories of a lifetime.