Madeline Island is nestled in Lake Superior, just off the coast of northern Wisconsin. Even though the island is just 20 minutes away from the mainland, it feels a world away. The largest of the Apostle Islands, a chain of Lake Superior islands, Madeline is three miles wide by fourteen miles long. More than 45 miles of roads cross the most accessible of Wisconsin’s islands. Its neighboring islands, which make up the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, are quiet and more off the beaten path. Amenities abound on Madeline Island and its main city LaPointe, including shops, restaurants, campgrounds and some great Wisconsin beaches—all a ferry ride away from Bayfield.
Madeline Island Ferry
Madeline Island Ferry Image: Mulad (flickr)
If you’re not arriving on the island by airplane or your own boat, it’s best to take the ferry from the mainland. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes to make the two-and-a-half-mile trip from Bayfield, a charming city in its own right, to LaPointe. It takes about six hours to reach Bayfield’s ferry dock from Milwaukee and less than two from Duluth, Minnesota. The ferry departs through most of the year, generally from March into December, though the schedule can change based on the weather. Pets are allowed on the ferry, as long as they’re well-behaved, and autos and motorcycles can be accommodated for an additional fee.
If you don’t want to bring your car along, LaPointe is a highly walkable city and bicycle rentals are also available. After stepping off the ferry, you’ll have access to all the fun things to do on Madeline Island. Guided walking tours and the Madeline Island Museum fill you in on the history of this distinctive and charming island. You’ll also have the chance to taste the local bounty at the restaurants, shop the farmers market, and experience nature at Big Bay State Park.
Top image: TimWilson (flickr)