Sea Kayaking in Lake Superior

Sea Kayaking on the edge of Lake Superior to Houghton Point

A few weeks ago, my husband and I had a rare weekend away in Bayfield, Wisconsin , a beautiful little town located in northeastern Wisconsin along the shores of Lake Superior and home to the pristine Apostle Islands. We chose Bayfield because we wanted to explore the Apostle Islands National Park, a collection of 21 islands and 12 miles of windswept beaches, cliffs and sea caves offering visitors the opportunity to hike, paddle, sail or cruise this stunning area. I had always heard about this amazing place but had never been there despite the fact it is only a four hour drive away from Minneapolis.

One of the main things we wanted to do was go sea kayaking and explore the sandstone sea caves along the shores of Lake Superior. We had seen them from above while hiking at Meyer’s Beach and knew that it would be something that cannot be missed. We were able to reserve an 8 am paddle on Sunday morning with Lost Creek Adventures launching out of Cornucopia near Meyer’s Beach.

Photo credit: National Parks Services

Photo credit: National Parks Services

It had rained and stormed the entire day on Saturday so we were concerned that our kayak adventure on Sunday morning would be canceled. However, when we rose at 6 am the sky was clear, the birds were singing and the sun was glorious. It was going to be a spectacular day!

We ate a quick breakfast and drove about twenty minutes to the other side of the Peninsula where we would be launching off that morning. As soon as we turned the corner  around the tip of the Peninsula, we realized that the weather on this side was completely different. I was stunned to see that only twenty minutes away from Bayfield, the weather in Cornucopia was cloudy, exceptionally windy and cool. It was the unprotected edge of the shoreline and the winds were fierce. To our dismay, there was no way we would be able to safely go sea kayaking there because the waves were over four feet high making the situation extremely dangerous. We would have to go to Plan B.

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Mayfield WI

A Weekend Getaway to Bayfield and the Apostle Islands

“Bayfield and the Apostle Islands – Where the Water Meets the Soul”

Growing up in Minnesota, I have spent many years enjoying the rugged North Shore of Lake Superior which is filled with excellent hikes along the Superior National Hiking Trail, gorgeous views, and tons of nature for the outdoor enthusiast. This summer we even took a family trip to the North Shore and headed further to explore Ely, Minnesota the heart of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area. As much as I love this part of Lake Superior, after all these years I wanted to try someplace new. I had always heard about the incredible beauty of the Apostle Islands outside of Bayfield, Wisconsin on the other side of Lake Superior yet had never visited there. With my parents in town for the week and free babysitting for the kids, this was my chance for an adventurous, romantic weekend away with my husband on Lake Superior’s South Shore.

Bayfield, Wisconsin is about a four hours drive northeast of Minneapolis at the end of the Bayfield Peninsula. It is the launching off point to the stunning, pristine Apostle Islands – an archipelago of 22 islands and a National Park – and is known for its sailing, sea kayaking, hiking, biking and pristine beauty. It is also home to the incredible sea caves that line the mainland as well as Devil and Sand Islands that can be reached only by sea kayak, boat or foot when the lake freezes over.  Madeline Island – the most well-known of the Apostle Islands and also the only inhabited island – is a short 20 minute ferry ride from Bayfield and is a popular destination in its own right.

 Apostle Islands WI

A view of Lake Superior from Cornucopia on a cloudy day.

We set off Thursday morning after saying goodbye to the kids, our puppy and my parents, and enjoyed the beautiful drive through Wisconsin dairy land and verdant forests to Bayfield. Since it was a big tourist weekend in Duluth, we decided to take the more scenic back roads to Bayfield passing through the cabin and lake country of Hayward, Spooner and Cable, Wisconsin. After we hit Ashland and left the small farm towns along the way, the scenery became even more stunning that I imagined. Unlike the rocky rugged look of the North Shore of Lake Superior, the South Shore of Lake Superior and the Bayfield Peninsula is dramatically different. It is equally as lush and green yet softer and gentler. Instead of lupines lining the highway, sprays of yellow and pink wildflowers fill the landscape alongside Deciduous trees and the famous Bayfield blueberries.

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