Located just off the shore of Bayfield, Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore isn’t just known for its sea caves and sandstone formations – the area is also recognized for providing some of the best night sky viewing, far away from city lights.

Why the Apostle Islands are a Camping Lover's Dream: Tent on Stockton Island
Camping on Stockton Island

With camping available on 18 of the Apostle’s 21 islands, one on the mainland, and several in the Bayfield area, the national lakeshore is a dream for anyone looking to get in touch with nature by enjoying a night under the stars.

Why the Apostle Islands are a Camping Lover's Dream: Shuttle going to the Apostle Islands
A shuttle operated by Apostle Islands Cruises transports campers to an island in the national lakeshore.

While the mainland campsite is only accessible by kayak or a 6-mile hike on the Lakeshore Trail from Meyers Beach, Apostle Islands Cruises offers convenient shuttle services to and from Stockton and Oak islands, two of the most popular to camp at.

Along with its rural charm, here’s why people keep coming back to camp in the Apostles:

Visit the Largest Island in the National Lakeshore

Why the Apostle Islands are a Camping Lover's Dream: rock formation near Stockton Island
A rock formation along the shores of Stockton Island

Stockton Island offers beautiful sunsets along with miles of hiking trails, a brownstone quarry site, and pristine beaches, which make for great photo opportunities. The boat ride from the Bayfield City Dock  to the island is just a short ride. Shuttles are available from June to September.

Explore the Tallest Island of the Apostles

Oak Island

Enjoy the serenity of Oak Island, the tallest of the Apostles. Rich in history, nineteenth-century land surveys note the location of a maple “sugar bush” on the island used by the Ojibwe. From June to September, campers depart Bayfield on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays at 2:15 p.m. Oak Island campers are dropped off and picked up on the shuttle’s way to Raspberry Island.

Oak Island
One of the campsites on Oak Island in the fall

Check Out Madeline Island

Madeline Island shore
Big Bay State Park. PC: Wisconsin DNR

Madeline Island is home to Big Bay State Park, where picturesque sandstone bluffs are found along four miles of Lake Superior shoreline. The park also has a one-mile boardwalk, sandy swimming beach, hiking trails, and a 60-site campground. A short ferry ride from Bayfield to Madeline Island is needed to reach the park. Reserve a camping spot online.

Looking for drive-up camping? Not to worry, here are two local favorites:

Apostle Islands Area Campground & RV Park

Sixty-three wooded and spacious sites with firepits and picnic tables are available at this campground and RV park. The dump station is free to use for guests and hookups for electric, water, and sewer are available. 

Dalrymple Campground

Twenty-eight rustic tent and RV sites overlooking Lake Superior can be enjoyed at Dalrymple Campground. Consisting of heavily wooded private sites, Apostle Islands lookout points, electrical hookups, firewood, and more. All sites are first-come, first-served – no reservations allowed.

Please note: There is no drive-up camping available in the Apostle Islands. The islands are only accessible by sea kayak, motor boat, sailboat, shuttle service, or water taxiReservations and permits are required for all camping.

Be sure to make your arrangements ahead of time to visit the islands.