Kayaking Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Gitchi was founded in the hand-shaped state of Wisconsin, near the ring finger’s proximal phalange, a place called Eau Claire. While we love to travel and see the many natural wonders of the world, one of our favorite places is in our own state, a place we call “the most superior of lakes” for reasons both affectionate and literal. 

Lake Superior is home to many beautiful locales, but our most beloved is the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This lakeshore, filled with sea caves (in the summer) and ice caves (in the winter), is where lagoon-like, turquoise blue waters converge with bright red sandstone rock formations to give you one of the Midwest’s most breathtaking views. 

During summer, kayaking the lakeshore is an absolute must. On a hot day, you can weave your kayak through the cool and beautiful caves. And if the water is adequately warm – remember, it’s the coldest of the Great Lakes, even in the summer – you’ll find that jumping in and swimming through the underwater caves is unbelievably exhilarating.   

Another wonderful thing about the Apostle Islands is the local community and all it has to offer. Bayfield and Madeline Island are filled with cool restaurants, coffee shops, and music venues.

3 Must Do’s After Kayaking the Apostles:

The Tent at Big Top Chautauqua

1. Catch a show at Big Top Chautauqua We may be biased, but Big Top is, hands down, one of the best concert venues in the world. This 800-seat venue is located at the top of Mt. Ashwabay, under a giant circus tent and hosts acts like Willie Nelson, the Avett Brothers, Brandi Carlile, and Cloud Cult. It is best described as a "spiritual experience" and is decidedly the best bookend to a day on the water.


Tom's Burned Down Cafe

2. Ferry to Madeline Island to experience this beautiful place filled with free-spirited people who have a great reverence for the land and the lake that surround them. While you’re there, have a locally-sourced meal at the delectable Farmhouse restaurant and a refreshing Wisconsin-brewed beer at the eclectically awesome Tom’s Burned Down Cafe. No need to bring a car. As soon as the ferry docks, just stroll by foot for about a block.


3. Grab a coffee at Big Water Coffee Roasters Kickapoo Coffee. This cute shop on Bayfield’s main drag, emblazoned with its elegant logo on the front window, makes some tasty signature drinks. The Vanilla Bean Latte and Maple Latte are particularly exquisite. And pick up some organic beans, roasted in Wisconsin and bagged in beautiful packaging, to remember your visit.

Update: This post was edited on 11/22/2018 to mention Kickapoo Coffee, which replaced the previously mentioned Big Water Coffee Roasters in downtown Bayfield.