Planning a trip to the Apostle Islands

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by andy k, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. andy k

    andy k Member

    423
    Feb 7, 2009
    Door County, Wisconsin
    1998 3075
    Mercruiser 5.7 w/ Alpha one. Kohler 5kw
    We are planning a trip to the Apostle Islands for next summer. I am have a hard time finding boating advise for this remote area. I was hoping that there would be some fellow boaters in this forum who have visited this area. This would be our first visit to this area.

    1) We will be trailering to this location. Is there a certain launch ramp that would allow us to keep our vehicle there for over a week and have a long enough slab to launch a 30' boat?

    2) Are there any islands or anchorages that we should see or any that we should avoid?

    3) We will be traveling with a 4 year old who loves to play at beaches. Where are the best beaches in the area?

    4) The big reason to visit this area is to see the sea caves. It looks like Devils Island and the Bayfield peninsula section on the west side of the mainland. Are these to best places to explore the caves or is there other locations?

    Thanks in advance for your advise!
     
  2. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    OllieC likes this.
  3. OllieC

    OllieC Active Member

    749
    Mar 11, 2013
    MinniSoCold
    Sara Belle
    2005 Weekender 215
    Mercruiser 5.0 mpi, Bravo III
    Check out Woody's link. It's important to do so before your trip. A few of the locations were closed due to storm damage this year, specifically Sand Island.

    There is a nice launch in Bayfield. Bayfield is 'typically' (not all the time) on the leeward side so you can have good access to the islands.

    If the weather cooperates, Julian Bay on Stockton Island is a nice place to check out. It's a nice sized (singing) sand beach.

    The south, south east Side of Raspberry Island is a nice place to visit, with a trail that goes to the Light House. Look in the pebbles for sea glass.

    Around the Bayfield Peninsula are sea caves just west of Sand Point. Sand Island is nice, but as I mentioned, the shoreline & trail accesses from Lighthouse Bay and Justice Bay have been destroyed from washout & storms.

    LaPoint on Madeline is always fun. Theres a few things to do on there. Restaurants, bars, art stores and souvenir shops - like a mini Bayfield. There's a city dock as well as a marina. They will be busy on the Summer weekends though. You could always take the ferry from Bayfield.

    Devils Island is a very cool place to see. I would recommend a dingy, SUP or kayak to explore the sea caves and lighthouse.

    "Hole in the Rock" on Oak Island is a nice place to stay the night. You'll see fellow cruisers and sail boaters anchoring there in the afternoon.

    Just explore.

    Hopefully you have an updated chart plotter. There are a few shoals to be aware of between islands and near the islands . Keep an eye out for rocky points, give them room. Approach any new beach slowly, as I mentioned, there are shoals & they aren't forgiving.

    I see you're from Door County, so I'm probably preaching to the choir , but please follow the "small craft advisories". Weather turns on a dime up there, and when it does, it can be down right dangerous. So be sure your VHF works.



    enjoy
    Ollie
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  4. Maggieiscrazy

    Maggieiscrazy Active Member

    263
    Oct 14, 2016
    Northern Wisconsin
    240 Sundancer
    5.0. Bravo III
    I have spent a lot of time cruising the apostle islands. The sea caves are neat but I really enjoy touring the light houses the history is fascinating to me. Julian bay on Stockton island and Big bay on Madeline island have the nicest beaches. But they both face east so if you have an east or north east wind they might not be an option. Presque isle bay is the best place to anchor for the night as it’s the place you will be least affected by changing wind direction. I always launch my boat at The Bayfield boat landing it’s nice and they only charge $12. The problem is you can only park your truck and trailer for 3 days. Make sure you check out Toms burned down cafe on Madeline island. Interesting place and even more interesting people. Have a fun trip the people are very friendly up there.
     
    OllieC likes this.
  5. andy k

    andy k Member

    423
    Feb 7, 2009
    Door County, Wisconsin
    1998 3075
    Mercruiser 5.7 w/ Alpha one. Kohler 5kw
    Thank you for your knowledge, I always appreciate local knowledge as information can sometimes be limited or incorrect online. Thank you

    So it sounds like the Bayfield Ramp only allows you to park for 3 days. We would be spending a week in this area. Is there a different location that would allow me to park my vehicle for a week?

    It also looks like the stalls are kind of small at that ramp. My truck and trailer is 55' long.


    Thanks,
     
  6. OllieC

    OllieC Active Member

    749
    Mar 11, 2013
    MinniSoCold
    Sara Belle
    2005 Weekender 215
    Mercruiser 5.0 mpi, Bravo III
    Andy,

    The best bet then is to give them a call . Most of the folks are pretty friendly up there. Maybe they'll charge you double to park? Depending on when you arrive, you might be able to park on Maypenny Ave. between S. Broad and 2nd St. However I'm not sure if that's a city lot?

    You may be able to launch by me in Cornucopia as an option. It is a smaller ramp at the city harbor however I've seen sizable boats launch there. However, Dave, Marybeth & Wil at the Fo'c'sle Inn and Siskiwit Bay Marina (next to the city harbor) have a lift that would handle your boat. They would probably charge you a small fee to launch and store your rig there. I rent transient slips from them during the Summer.

    Ollie
     
  7. andy k

    andy k Member

    423
    Feb 7, 2009
    Door County, Wisconsin
    1998 3075
    Mercruiser 5.7 w/ Alpha one. Kohler 5kw
    So far Cornucopia seams like the best option. Have you ever launched at the Washburn marina? From google images it seems to have a decent size ramp and good parking. I pulled this image off of there website. Thanks again for the help. We are looking forward to this trip next season. [​IMG]
     
  8. OllieC

    OllieC Active Member

    749
    Mar 11, 2013
    MinniSoCold
    Sara Belle
    2005 Weekender 215
    Mercruiser 5.0 mpi, Bravo III
    No I have not because my family's cabin is in Cornucopia. That looks like a really nice launch though. Washburn is a nice little town. You can get a lot of your provisions there at the IGA. Stop in a Coco's for breakfast too! The Gramma Crabby Fritatta is fantastic, but you'll feel it later.
     
  9. Mike sandor

    Mike sandor Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    138
    Jul 28, 2017
    Eau Claire, Wisconsin
    2007 320 Sundancer
    Twin 496. Bravo 3
    2018 3500 Chevy, Loadmaster trailer
    Raymarine Axiom, Quantum 2
    496 Mercruiser/Bravo III drives
    D1CC468D-646A-4B93-BE16-6946F13B6474.jpeg I own a slip in Washburn and use the ramp for our 320. The are are few go fast boats that are over 50’ that use the ramp as well. Long concrete ramp, gradual slope, black top approach and parking area.
    You can park your vehicles for a few days or weeks, what ever your preference. The transient slips are rarely filled but always a good idea to reserve if you can. They have space on the break wall adjacent to the fuel and pump out dock that always appears to be open. This area has shore power and water as well.
    There is a nice sand beach adjacent to the marina where you can swim, paddle board or what ever if the weather keeps you off the lake. Major Tom is the harbor master and can be quite the character. Extremely helpful and all around nice guy. Pretty decent ships store as well. Nice picnic areas for grilling out.
    You will never have enough time to explore all that is available. Stockton is a short run, 45 minutes, but it can get crowded at times. Great walking paths cross cross the island. Rangers give fireside talks by the fire pit in the evenings. We spend most of our time at any one of the many shore lines, anchored off shore, you watch your depth, you can stern in very close to shore and walk in, depending on water temp of course.
    Attached photo is Stockton island.
     
  10. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    I'd think the best would be to slip in Bayfield. Launch at Washburn if you have to, leave the trailer there, run the truck to Bayfield so it's available for use. This puts home base about 12mi closer to the islands, he'd be within 25-30mi of all islands, caves.
     

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