Historic lighthouses. Picturesque hiking trails. Incredible sandstone formations and sea caves. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a dream come true for anyone looking to relax and explore the great outdoors.

Sea caves on Devils Island.

Located on beautiful Lake Superior near Bayfield, Wisconsin, the national lakeshore is less than a two-hour drive from Duluth, making it the perfect day trip.

Here’s why you should start planning you’re trip today:

Note: Highway 13 along the lake for the most scenic drive is suggested. However, if you decide to take US 2, Ashland’s rich history is highlighted in the 21 vibrant murals found around the city. The displays feature lumberjacks, military veterans, railroads, and so on. The city’s harbor – especially in the fall – is also one of the most beautiful around.


Cruise the Apostle Islands in Style

Apostle Islands Cruises taking off from Bayfield’s City Dock.

Operating out of Bayfield, Apostle Islands Cruises cover the 12-mile mainland stretch and 21 of the archipelago’s beautiful 22 islands (Madeline Island is not part of the National Lakeshore), offering narrated sightseeing tours and shuttles to specific islands and offshore locations throughout the park.

Everything You Need to Know About Apostle Islands Cruises


The Best Tour?

Passengers aboard a Grand Tour.

Passengers rave about the Cruises’ 55-mile narrated “Grand Tour”, which travels through the heart of the archipelago, passing extraordinary scenery and wildlife, the beautiful historic Raspberry and Devils Island Lighthouses, and breathtaking sea caves and sandstone formations that have been carved out by Lake Superior over thousands or years.

The tour is 2.5 to 3 hours long, operating daily between late May to mid-October.


Historical Lighthouses

Michigan Island Lighthouse.

North America’s largest group of lighthouses can be found at the Apostle Islands. These navigational beacons have been critical in guiding boats around the archipelago since the mid-1800s. In 1977, six of the lighthouses were collectively listed under the name “Apostle Islands Lighthouses” on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Lighthouses of the Apostle Islands


Famous Sea Caves

Sea caves on Devils Island.

The Apostles boast of myriad lighthouses that dot its shoreline, but the area’s most popular attraction is the renowned sea caves. Over billions of years, the relentless pounding of lake waves and erosion has sculpted a wonderland of arches, caves, and caverns into the reddish-brown sandstone cliffs of Devils Island’s north shore, Swallow Point on Sand Island, and the mainland near the western boundary of the lakeshore.

The Sea Caves of the Apostle Islands


The Berry Capitol of Wisconsin

Foraging for berries is a popular pastime in the Bayfield area. PC: National Park Service

Bayfield is celebrated as the “Berry Capital” of the region. The town is encircled by an expanse of berry farms and orchards, collectively known as the “Fruit Loop.” Visitors can take tours and handpick their own strawberries, blueberries, currants, cherries, gooseberries, raspberries, and more, during the temperature months.

11 Stunning Photos of the Apostle Islands


Birding in the Apostles

Attendees of the 10th annual Chequamegon Bay Birding and Nature Festival. PC: National Park Service

Since 1972, over 300 bird species have been spotted in Ashland, Bayfield, and Iron counties of the Chequamegon Bay region. The annual Chequamegon Bay Birding and Nature Festival attracts a large number of bird enthusiasts every year to the area.


A Hiker’s Paradise

Julian Bay on Stockton Island. PC: National Park Service

The national lakeshore is also a hiker’s paradise. With fifty miles of maintained trails, the paths provide access to lighthouses, abandoned quarries, old farm sites, historic logging camps, beaches, campsites, and scenic overlooks.

5 Best Hikes in the Apostle Islands


Campers Love It, Too

A campsite in the Apostle Islands. PC: National Park Service

For those seeking a natural retreat and a chance to sleep out under the stars, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a veritable paradise. With 18 islands and several mainland locations in the Bayfield area to set up camp, it’s a dreamy destination for any nature enthusiast. Apostle Islands Cruises provides shuttle services to and from Stockton and Oak islands for added convenience.

Why the Apostles area Camping Lover’s Paradise


Amazing Fall Foliage

The Apostles offer some of the best sites of viewing autumn colors.

Although the Apostle Islands can be explored year-round, autumn is especially stunning. The rural archipelago and its cliffs are lined with bright red, yellow and orange treetops. If you’d like to see the colors form the lake, you’re in luck, because Apostle Islands Cruises offers tours until mid-October!

Why You Should Visit the Apostle Islands in the Fall

Plan Your Trip from Duluth to the Apostle Islands Today

The Archipelago, an Apostle Islands Cruises vessels, is coming into dock at the Bayfield marina.

The Apostle Islands is a must-stop for anyone looking for adventure and beautiful sights. Plus, Bayfield, the nearby town, has plenty of restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, events, and shopping options. Book your trip to the Apostle Islands today and see these sea caves up close and personal!