Home » 2000 Cross Country Road Trip

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, WI

Monday, July 17, 2000 - 9:00am by Lolo
242 miles and 5.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Our drive to Apostle Islands took us across the rather remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan and into Wisconsin. Along the way, I couldn't help but notice dozens of signs inviting us to stop in for the best "pasties" in the U.P. Now my curiosity was up--what the heck was a pasty? When we stopped at the Visitor Center in Bayfield, I was determined to find out. Herb was quite entertained when I asked the ranger what a pasty was, pronouncing it with a long a, like the little things that strippers wear on their breasts. The ranger tactfully corrected my pronunciation--apparently it's pah stee--and explained that it was a meat pie, a very traditional and popular dish in this region. Now I was mad that we hadn't stopped to try one when we had the chance--I hate being an ignorant tourist.

Lorry and boys at Apostle Islands beachLorry and boys at Apostle Islands beachWe took a ride up to Little Sand Bay along the Lake Superior shoreline to check things out. The day was pretty cool and dreary so we decided against trying to launch the blow-up boat to explore the islands and sea caves. Normally this might have been a big disappointment, but we had had such a great time out on the boat the previous day at Pictured Rocks that we didn't feel compelled to take it out in what were pretty lousy conditions.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid we didn't do Apostle Islands justice. On a beautiful day with a sea kayak to explore the islands, this place would have been paradise.

We headed back to our campground in Bayfield and decided to just relax and have a nice dinner and maybe watch a movie. While we were making dinner, we were startled when the owner of the campground knocked on our RV. "Do you like country music?" he asked with a big grin on his face. Rather a random question, we thought. Somewhat taken off guard, and never known for his tact, Herb replied, "Not particularly." "Oh, well I'll be performing some in about an hour right out there," he said pointing to two giant speakers next to the campground office. First the pasty thing, and then this. We really have to work at blending in with the locals better.


The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, which is the northernmost point in Wisconsin, encompasses 11 miles of Lake Superior shoreline as well as 21 remote islands off the Bayfield Peninsula. It has miles of pristine sand beaches, sandstone cliffs, spectacular sea caves, and six historic lighthouses to explore.

While there are some hiking trails in the park, the more popular recreational activities center around the water, such as boating, sea kayaking, scuba diving, and fishing. The waters of Lake Superior are generally too cold for swimming, except in shallow, protected bays.

The main Visitor Center is located in the city of Bayfield, just south of the Lakeshore. Bayfield contains most of the other facilities needed for a visit to the Apostle islands: marinas with boat rentals, a boat launch, the Apostle Island Cruise Service which offers excursion trips to the islands, a water taxi service, and campgrounds. There is another visitor center and boat launch in the park at Little Sand Bay.

The only overnight facilities in the park are campsites on the islands, which can be reached by boat, sea kayak, or water taxi. A permit, which can be acquired in advance, is required to camp on the islands.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore location map in "high definition"

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