Family Apostle Islands, WI Sea Kayaking & Camping
5 Days, 4 Nights
Little Sand Bay, WI
Rich in sea caves, lighthouses and sandy shores, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a sea kayaker's dream. Disappear into this pristine collection of islands and shoreline featuring a potpourri of stunning geological formations - caverns, arches and pillars - uniquely accessible to kayakers. We'll pack our gear into our kayaks and set out to explore. You'll spend four days paddling the deep blue waters of Lake Superior before bedding down under the big sky over Gitchee Goomee at night. This trip offers ideal instruction to kayak tripping for the paddler with local experience.
Day One: We will meet outside of Bayfield, WI at Little Sand Bay for an afternoon of basic paddling instruction. Dining at a local restaurant, we will get to know each other, then return to our campground for a campfire and stories of the islands!
Day Two: Today's the day we hit the water! We will pack our gear into our kayaks and head out to the islands! Paddling on the sparkling blue waters, we will camp at either Sand or Oak Islands. Upon our arrival, we'll set up camp together, learning how to set up a tent and the basics of camp safety. The rest of the afternoon can be spent hiking the lush boreal forest or getting some extra paddling in!
Day Three: We will pack up camp and head out to our next island! Today's paddle will cover York and Raspberry Island, as well, with an opporitunity to explore a lighthouse on Raspberry. After a lunch stop, we will move on to our destination for the next two nights (either Oak or Sand Islands) and set up camp! Expect a delicious dinner and a comfortable fire to end the night with.
Day Four: Today is a day of exploration!! We will have a full day to take in the sights and wildlife of the Apostles. Kayaking through sea caves by headlamp, hiking trails and looking for signs of black bear, and developing our paddling skills are all options for the day! With a hearty lunch and dinner, we will end the night with a warm campfire and delicious dessert, recounting our favorite memories from the trip.
Day Five: We will pack up camp and kayak back to the mainland, bidding farewell to the beautiful waters of Lake Superior. We will arrive at either Little Sand Bay or Red Cliff and unload our gear, where The Northwest Passage van awaits us. Shuttling back to our cars, we will say goodbye to our new friends! We aim to be back on the mainland by noon. It is important that you maintain flexibility as weather can influence our itinerary and timing.
**Itinerary subject to change depending on conditions and availability of campsites on the islands.
In order to provide the finest and most complete wilderness experience, we strongly encourage and expect participation in all camp chores, including cooking, washing dishes, setting up and breaking down camp. We will provide all meals on the trail, tents, all camping and cooking equipment, and all kayak-related equipment.
It is essential that you know how to swim to participate in this trip.
You will be sharing a tent with fellow participants each night.
“I enjoyed the variety - from changing weather (several times a day) to mixing hiking with kayaking.”
“The food was the best I’ve ever had in the wilderness and I traveled with Outward Bound and Wilderness Ventures. I especially appreciated the vegetarian options! Great!” -Claire Dobbs
“Wonderful outfitter! I hope to travel with you again and tell others about you.” -Claire Dobbs
“We really liked circumnavigating Sand Island and exploring the sea caves. Susan and I greatly enjoyed the trip. Next year!?” -John and Susan Trammell
“I just can’t say enough about our guides Chris and Ryan. They were kind, gracious, ortganized, confident. I was nervous about the trip, but they were so confidence-inspiring that my fears were soon relieved. They were great!” -Rebecca Johnston
“I would not have made this trip with anyone but the NWP due to the rough water possibility and my respect for the training and safety concern of your instructors.” -Jim McGehee
“Excellent on all phases: instruction, safety, briefings.” -Phil Danley
“The guides were excellent leaders and did a great job managing the campsite and were very motivating, which really helped me to want to improve my kayaking.” -Colin Danley
“I enjoyed improving my skills and confidence in the kayak.” -Patrick Sajbel
“Rob and John were so great! They were so fun to be with and they were more than willing to teach us paddling skills and they both stood in the cold water a very long time teaching us how to roll. A++++! Thanks guys!” -Brad and Tracey Wierman
“Bonnie and Andrea were outstanding guides - experienced, wise, cheery and flexible. They handled the kids with ease and the adults with levity. They really made the trip for our group.” -Johnson Family
The Apostles Islands are a archipelago of 22 islands extending into Lake Superior from Northernmost Wisconsin. The islands first became managed by the National Park Service in 1970. Prior to that the area had been used for its wealth of natural resources, including fur trading, logging, quarrying and fishing.
The Sandstone formations seen throughout the islands were deposited about 600 million years ago during the late Precambrian Era. The area was glaciated repeatedly, including the most recent Glaciation 12,000 years ago, which rapidly receeded and the changing lake levels of Glacial Lake Duluth eventually seperated the islands from Bayfield Peninsula to form the Archipelago.
The area was a major fur trading center from 1660 to 1840, mainly of beaver pelts. Shipping of furs was bound for Europe via Montreal, and later down the Mississippi River. This industry opened up the area to further economic development, including fishing, mining, logging and tourism.
The Chippewa (Ojibway) Indians settled here in the late 17th century after accompanying fur traders here in 1659. Today they live in two nearby Indian reservations.
As fur trading declined, there were attempts to develop fishing markets inland, however these efforts failed in 1837 during the Depression. Quarrying begain in 1869 of high grade brownstone for use in Urban Midwest buildings. This declined as extraction became more expensive and architechtural styles changed. Logging was also a major industry in the 19th century, taking pine from the islands to be rafted on the lake to Sawmills or shipping points.
The land has been left to regrow since the 1930s depression, and today is home to abundant wildlife and varied ecosytems, from old growth forests to lagoonal communities. Tourism began in the mid 1850s, and faltered between 1930 and 1950 Depression and World War II Era, and continues today.