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. When viewing Apostle Islands photos, the grandeur of this treasure can truly be appreciated.

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.

An aerial view of Apostle Island National Lakeshore.

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

Schedule: Apostle Islands Cruises | Top 12 Reasons to Visit this Year

We don’t have to tell you why you need to see the national lakeshore for yourself when these 11 Apostle Islands photos are proof:

1. The Gorgeous Sunsets of Apostle Islands

A sandstone arch in Apostle Island National Lakeshore, with a sunset visible in the distance.
The Evening Grand Tour starts in mid-June and offers the perfect opportunity to catch these rays.

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. Incredible Blues & Reds

Bright blue and red sandstone cliffs in Apostle Island National Lakeshore.
View of red and blue sea caves during the Grand Tour.

The Apostle Islands’ sea caves are ablaze with color, especially during the summer months. The red sandstone cliffs, interwoven with blues, are wedged between azure waters and emerald forests on the cliffs’ margins. Truly a stunning sight when seen from the water.

3. Crafted Over Time: Millennia of Erosion

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.

The inside of an Apostle Island National Lakeshore sea cave. It is full of arches, layers of sandstone, and standing water, with rays of sunlight beaming in.

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.

An Apostle Island cruise can be seen in the distance, passing by the craggy cliffs of Devils Island.

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.


An amazing Apostle Islands photo with a person relaxing in a hammock, perilously close to a cliff that juts out over Lake Superior.

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

A deer laying down and relaxing in a cave in Apostle Island National Lakeshore.

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

7. Breathtaking Fall Colors

Showcasing the fall colors of Apostle Island National Lakeshore, with a bright red bush near the beach.

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 – tours run throughout the fall!

8. Beacons of Light

The Raspberry Island Lighthouse is white with red roofing. It is three levels, with a tower in its center.
The lighthouse on Raspberry Island.

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

A standalone rock formation in Lake Superior near Stockton Island in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. It is large, with tree
The intriguing rock formation near Stockton Island.

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

10. Arches Galore

An incredible Apostle Islands photo of a sandstone arch viewed from the water. Devils Islands cliffs are visible in the distance.

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

11. The Startling Beauty of Lake Superior

The cliffs and sea caves of Devils Island, featuring red sandstone. A green forest is on top of these cliffs.
The cliffs and sea caves of Devils Island.

Of course, it goes without saying that Lake Superior is breathtakingly magnificent. It never ceases to amaze, from the turquoise tranquility of a serene summer day to the churning dark blues of fall.

Book Your Trip to the Apostle Islands Today 

A woman is taking a photo of Devils Island and its lighthouse from the top deck of an Apostle Islands Cruise.
For the best Apostle Islands photos, take a Grand Tour.

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 to take your own photographs and capture memories of a lifetime.