The Apostle Islands in Wisconsin, also known as the Jewels of Lake Superior, are made up of twenty-one islands and 12 miles of mainland. Visitors will be mesmerized by the beautiful scenery, cultural blending, and the contrast of past and present on the islands. The Apostle Islands have been home to American Indians, early farmers, fishermen, and lighthouse caretakers and their families throughout its history. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.


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The people that lived on the island in the past made their living through logging, quarrying stone, fishing, and farming. Evidence of the lives of the previous inhabitants of island can be found by keen observers as well as by those that are less so. Some traces are easily spotted such as lighthouses with their towers and outbuildings.

There is other evidence of the previous occupants like the walls towering above the Bass Island Brownstone Quarry, which can be found on the southern tip of Basswood Island. Other less obvious traces of past peoples and their lives include the low stonework foundation found in the woods of Sand Island. This foundation is all that remains of the old one-room schoolhouse where children of the islands fishers and farmers learned.

Lake Superior itself conceals traces of previous inhabitants. Many ships were wrecked in the lakes waters. The Wisconsin State Underwater Archaeology office contains records with detailed information and rich accounts on the wrecked ships on the Lake Superior Shipwrecks website.

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2.Things to Do

Things to Do
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Visitors to the Apostle Island will enjoy various outdoor activities no matter the season.

Sailing and Boating- Boating docks can be found on twelve of the islands. Visitors that choose to partake in the sailing opportunities offered by the National Lakeshore will enjoy bays protected by conservation laws, public docks, beautiful beaches, historic sites, and the wild beauty of the islands.

Fishing- Depending upon the season, fishermen will catch a variety of fish on Lake Superior. Spring is best for catching trout and salmon. During the summer months, Lake Trout are the most sought-after fish by fishermen. The fall season brings fishermen many of the same fish as in the spring.

Hiking- With more than fifty miles of maintained trails, the islands offer a dream experience for hikers. The trails offer access to various historic sites such as lighthouses, logging camps, and quarries. They also offer access to beaches and picturesque overlooks. The islands boast several nice beaches great for walking and exploring. The Lakeshore Trail on the mainland is a rough trail for use by experienced hikers and runs for four and half miles coming to an end at a backcountry campsite. The first 0.7 miles of trail is covered by a boardwalk and 2 miles from the beginning of the trail, hikers will find a natural bridge and the first sea cave overlook point.

Kayaking- Visitors can utilize kayaking to explore the islands and the mainland sea caves. The kayak launch points can be found at Meyer’s Beach and Little Sand Bay.

Day Trips- Shuttles are available from the Apostle Islands Cruise Service for visitors who wish to spend the day exploring the islands and its history. This is great for those who prefer not to kayak or use their personal boats.

Camping- Of the nineteen Apostle Islands, only one campsite on the mainland allows for camping, but the majority of those who camp, camp at Stockton Island. Backcountry camping is allowed on sixteen of the islands.

Guided Tours- Guided tours of the Raspberry Island Lighthouse, the Sand Island Lighthouse, the Manitou Island Fish Camp, and the Hokenson Brother’s Fishery are available to visitors.

Hunting and Trapping- Hunting and trapping on the Apostle Islands is offered to visitors during specific seasons with the appropriate licenses.

Scuba Diving- Divers will enjoy the sparkling water of Lake Superior, where submerged rock formations and real shipwreck sites are abundant.

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3.Educational Opportunities

Educational Opportunities
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Junior Ranger Program- Participants learn about the park and how to help preserve it. All kids are welcome to come and learn about the environments in the world around them.

Apostle Island School- This program is a partnership between the National Park Service, the Olson Environmental Institute, and Northland College. School-age children are sent on a three-day residential stay at the Apostle Islands that gets them away from technology.

Lighthouse Curriculum- A curriculum is available for download by teachers and students who wish to learn about the lighthouses on the Apostle Islands and their history.

Become A Volunteer-In-Parks- Several diverse volunteer opportunities are available within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The positions are a great way to help the National Park Service protect the Apostle Islands, educate visitors on their importance, all while learning new skills and gaining experiences that are hard to find anywhere else.

415 Washington Ave, Bayfield, WI 54814, Phone: 715-779-3397

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Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

More Ideas: Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

Located in Ashland, Wisconsin, the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is both a visitor center and a natural history museum. It is supported by the Friends of the Center Alliance, a grassroots non-profit organization run by volunteers. The mission of the center is to promote the sustainability of the area’s natural, historical, and cultural resources. Set across 180 acres, the center itself contains three floors accessible by elevator or stairs. The first floor contains the permanent exhibits, an information center, a gift shop, a theater and a conference room, while the second floor features the history center and archives, and the third floor contains an observation deck.


The Friends of the Center Alliance spent nearly six years lobbying for funds from federal and state governments. Once funds were obtained, construction began in 1995 and after three years, the center was officially opened to the public. The facility is operated by a partnership that includes the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the Wisconsin Historical Society, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the University of Wisconsin–Extension, and the Friends of the Center Alliance.

Permanent Exhibits

The permanent exhibits feature the natural history of the region, with a particular focus paid to nearby Lake Superior.

The Exhibit Hall showcases the interactions between human cultures, the land, and the natural resources of the Northern Great Lakes region over time. Covering such topics as fishing, the fur trade, and Native American tribes, the exhibits display key moments in history from the last ice age to the modern day. Also featured is a display on French trapping in the 1600s, an exhibit on iron ore mining and lumbering, and a 35-foot birch bark canoe from Lake Superior. Further interactive displays include a dynamite T-bar, which sets off an “explosion” in an iron shaft mine, and the interior of a fur trading post from the 18th century.

The Martin Hansen Theater plays a variety of short science and history-related documentaries. Visitors can contact the center to request longer documentaries for pre-arranged viewings.

The Spirit of the North Gift Shop is run by the Friends of the Center Alliance. It sells nature-themed pictorial works and a wide range of books on regional topics such as shipwrecks and lighthouses. Also on sale is an array of both fun and educational gifts for children.

The History Center and Archives is operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. It contains records and documents relating to Wisconsin’s heritage such as marriages, deaths, and Northern Wisconsin census rolls for Native American tribes. Additionally, the history center sponsors periodic programs.

The third floor presents an observation deck. This lookout provides 360-degree views of Lake Superior, the walking trails, and the surrounding area. A box of binoculars is available for use by visitors.

Behind the center is the Aldo Leopold Trail. This boardwalk nature trail offers interpretive signs at certain points along the way, communicating the region’s heritage and the seasonal changes in fauna and flora. During winter months snowshoes are provided to visitors by the center. Looping in a 3/4-mile trek, the trail tours the Northwoods wetlands, a sedge meadow, a tamarack swamp, a mature cedar swamp, and a black ash swamp. Part of the trail encircles the children’s Nature Discovery Area, where school groups and families can watch dragonflies and butterflies, play in the sandbox, and climb inside a beaver lodge.

The Native Garden Walk is also available to visitors. This walk showcases the plantings of native herbs and flowers, with each identified by name and categorized by use.

The Community of Life Mural is a composition of six vignettes illustrating Native Americans, loggers, fur traders, commercial fisher-persons, and those who love the outdoors around the Lake Superior region. The piece was created by Kelly Meredith in 2013.

Ongoing Programs and Education

The center runs the Children’s Forest Program hosted by trained naturalists and educators. It focuses on the stewardship of the local region and includes educational activities adapted to grade levels. A further program offered by the center is the Leadership Secrets of the Voyagers Ed-Venture. Reenacting the teamwork used by ancient voyagers to travel across Lake Superior, this adventure program includes the use of double-seater kayaks on the Fish Creek estuary as well as challenges and games.

29270 County Hwy G, Ashland, WI 54806, Phone: 715-685-9983

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More Ideas: Old Rittenhouse Inn in Bayfield

Located in Bayfield, Wisconsin, this old country inn was the first in the area. The Old Rittenhouse Inn features 20 guestrooms within 2 separate Victorian-style homes as well as a private cottage. The Old Rittenhouse Inn is the main building with 12 rooms plus there is a gourmet restaurant for guests to indulge their taste buds.

The second mansion is a historic building which features 7 rooms and was originally built for a lumber baron. Because Bayfield is located on the shores of Lake Superior, guests will enjoy many boating tours in the area as well as wineries, trails and spas. The Innkeepers, Wendy and Mark Phillips, are happy to assist guests in finding local attractions to keep them busy during their stay. This bed and breakfast offers elegant comfort and charm with personal customer service and attention. More Things to Do in Wisconsin

The 20 rooms of the Old Rittenhouse Inn are span across two separate Victorian-style buildings on the property, plus there is a cottage which guests can reserve for added privacy and space. There are three room categories to choose from: Standard Guest Rooms, Deluxe Whirlpool Rooms and Luxury Suites.

At the main building, The Old Rittenhouse Inn, there are 12 rooms in total within this 1890’s mansion.

Rooms 1 to 4 are original bedrooms at the mansion and all feature views of Lake Superior and boast private baths with showers. Three of these rooms have queen size beds and the fourth has a king bed and is the largest of the original bedrooms. All have beautiful, elegant Victorian décor including floral wallpaper and hardwood accents plus vintage Victorian period furniture.

Rooms 5 and 6 are deluxe whirlpool rooms with king size poster beds and relaxing, two person in-room whirlpools. Each has a private bathroom with tub and shower. Room 5 has a sleeper sofa as well so this room can accommodate up to four guests.

Room 7 is always popular amongst guests with its Oriental décor and whirlpool tub which is surrounded in wooden shuttered windows for added natural light or privacy, whichever guests prefer. The private bathroom in Room 7 boasts in-floor heating with a tub and shower.

Room 8 is an accessible, first floor room with a private porch entrance. There is a corner whirlpool surrounded by gorgeous stained glass windows. The king size bed and private bathroom with a tub and shower add to the comfort of this room well-appointed room.

Room 9 is also an accessible room on the first floor with a king size bed and private bath. The in-room whirlpool is elevated and has a curtain which can surround the entire whirlpool. The stained glass windows allow colorful light into the room. This room comes with a sofa sleeper, therefore can accommodate up to four guests.

Room 10 is a spectacular king suite boasting all original tongue and groove wood work. This room was once the ballroom of the original mansion and comes with a large window seating area where guests can take in views of Bayfield, Lake Superior and even Madeline Islands. For added comfort, there is a seating area near the double-sided fireplace to cozy up and relax. A two person whirlpool tub is the perfect place for guests to unwind and relax. The private bathroom also has a tub and shower.

Room 11 is amongst the most popular choices with guests. It has its own private deck and is located on the third level of the mansion for stunning views of the wooded ravines around the property and Lake Superior. Inside the room, guests are treated to plenty of space with a seating area, a wet bar, a king size bed and two large window seats. There is an in-room whirlpool for two people to enjoy. The deluxe private bathroom boasts double sinks and a steam shower.

The 12th room is actually called the Moroccan Suite and offers guests a large, spacious suite done in rich, elegant colors of reds, golds and wooden accents. The décor is Moroccan inspired with copper fixtures, lots of leather furniture and accents as well as animal prints and silky fabrics. It is located on the third floor and offers guests a window seat with a partial view of Lake Superior. In the room there is a king size bed, a two person whirlpool tub and a double sided fireplace. This suite has a private bathroom with a rain shower for extra luxury and relaxation. If guests wish to have additional guests stay they are charged at a rate of $40/night.

In Le Chateau, the second mansion on the property, there are 7 rooms in total. This building is the perfect place to host gatherings, reunions, enjoy a romantic getaway and so much more, with its large common areas and stunning, well-kept gardens and surrounding grounds.

The Ballroom, as the name suggests, was once part of the original ballroom of the house. It has a queen size bed, and a cozy fireplace complete with rich, dark wood accents and furniture. The large, bright windows overlook the rose garden and croquet lawn from its third floor location. In this room, guests will enjoy a private bathroom with tub and shower. If additional guests wish to stay in this room there is a $40/night charge.

The Tower Room can be found on the second level and boasts the best views of Lake Superior and Madeline Island through its curved windows. There is a queen size bed with a fireplace nearby to snuggle next to as well as a private bath with tub and shower.

The Northeast Room features very ornate furniture with matching carved headboard/footboard and dresser. There are lacy curtains outlining the second floor windows. The private bathroom boasts in-floor heating as well as tub and shower. The leather love seat and sofa are next to the gas fireplace for added relaxation space.

The Master Suite is a grand suite featuring two separate rooms on the second floor. The sitting room boasts a warm, inviting fireplace with stately furniture and the bedroom has a king size bed and stained glass windows for added ambience. The private bathroom is large and bright with a tub and shower. The sofa sleeper can accommodate two additional guests for a maximum occupancy of four.

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The Turret Suite is located on the third floor within the turret, providing spectacular views of both Lake Superior and Madeline Islands. There is a fireplace with a plush armchair for reading a favorite novel or relaxing fireside. The private bathroom has tub and shower.

The South Room is located on the third floor and features two beautiful gabled windows for catching views of the lake or just curling up with a good book. The private bathroom boasts “His” and “Hers” sinks, a newly updated shower and even a view of the Fountain Garden on the property. The fireplace is centrally located within the room so that guests can enjoy its view from the queen bed, the sitting area and even the two person whirlpool tub.

The North Room is a moderately sized room on the second floor of Le Chateau. The windows give guests a view of the croquet lawn and fieldstone enclosure. The fireplace is within view of the queen bed and whirlpool tub. The bathroom has a tub and shower as well.

The Rittenhouse Cottage is the perfect accommodation for guests looking for extra space and privacy. This separate unit is a two-storey Arts and Crafts building with Victorian era styling. The living room has a wet bar, fireplace, mini fridge, and flat screen TV. The king size bed is located in a lofted area which also has a private bath complete with whirlpool tub. There is an optional second bedroom with a king size bed and private bath for an additional charge. Within the cottage, roll away cots will easily fit, allowing up to five guests total. The cottage is located one block from Old Rittenhouse Inn.

The Landmark Restaurant is the on-site restaurant and is located within the Old Rittenhouse Inn main building. There is seating for up to 62 guests at 12 tables. They are open for breakfast, lunch (by appointment) and dinner. Breakfast is included with each guests stay at Old Rittenhouse Inn, which includes a choice of hot entrée, fresh fruit, beverage and fresh pastry. It is open to the public as well for anyone wishing to invite along a guest to join them for breakfast.

Lunch is available by making prior appointment. Dinner is served daily in the Landmark Restaurant for both guests and the general public. There are two dining options available: a la carte, or the set five course dinner menu. The set menu is $59 per person and includes soup, a salad, and a sorbet course, followed by an entrée, and finished off with dessert. Guests can dine in the dining room or on the porch, weather permitting. Some of the chef specialties on the a la carte menu include Champagne Chicken, Whitefish Lyonnaise and Trout Piccatta. Desserts are made fresh each day, from scratch for a true homemade taste.

With historic, picturesque property, the Old Rittenhouse Inn and Le Chateau mansion are perfect for hosting a romantic, whimsical wedding. There are not only accommodations for guests to lodge, but also many common rooms for guests to gather and mingle while awaiting the event to take place or even in between the ceremony and reception. The Wedding and Events Director works with each couple to customize the wedding they wish to have and ensure it goes off without a hitch. Couples will first come for a site tour and free consultation to talk over their plans and hopes for the big day. The wedding co-ordinator will go over details such as menu planning, the minister, and referrals to hair and makeup artists, cake and so much more.

There are packages to select from if guests wish to have an elopement or renewal of their vows, or even just enjoy a romantic weekend away and celebrate a date important to them.

The Old Rittenhouse Inn attempts to practice green ways of reducing their carbon footprint by using programs such as the towel re-use program for guests wishing to participate. They also offer logs to use in the in-room fireplaces which burn for about three hours, reducing the need for multiple logs and wasting wood resources.

Special programs and packages are offered at the Inn, including a fun-filled Mystery Dinner weekend. These can be scheduled throughout the year for groups of 14 or more and involve guests becoming a character which is assigned to them in advance and the entire “game” plays out over a six course gourmet meal time with Rex, the butler, playing host.

There are a few lodging options which will accommodate more than two guests at a time, at an additional rate, such as the cottage. Families will love the extra space and the ability to cook their own meals in the cottage, which cuts down on costs but also allows for leisurely dining at their own pace.

Guests can have excellent spa treatments only a short walk away at Superior Body Massage and Spa. At this spa, they offer a great selection of options from different types of massage, to facials and even manicures and pedicures. Their specialty spa menu includes indulgent treatments such as The Ultimate Relaxer, which puts focus on parts of the body which don’t always get treated such as the hands, feet, head and shoulders. It can be extended to include a full body massage as well. To finish off the treatment, guests are given a steam facial using aromatic towels afterwards. Another option is The Steam Canopy where guests are first given a dry brush exfoliation on their arms and legs, which starts detoxification. Then, while lying on the massage table, guests are treated to an aromatherapy steam which they will choose, and at the same time receive a cool stone facial and scalp massage. Their ultimate menu selection is Paradise Perhaps, which starts off with a Steam Canopy and is followed up with a seasonal scrub of the arms, legs and back which is then softened away using warm compresses in those areas. Guests then are wrapped with a body masque and body wrap, leaving only their feet exposed for additional pampering. Once the body wrap/masque is complete, guests will take a private shower and prepare for a full body massage to work on custom areas of tension. A pure, heavenly experience. It is recommended that guests call ahead to book reservations at the spa.

Only a short drive, about 10 minutes, from The Old Rittenhouse Inn, guests can enjoy a round of golf overlooking Lake Superior at Apostle Highlands Golf Course. It is a public course with three tees to accommodate all levels of play for an enjoyable day on the course for everyone. The greens are tree-lined, as well as eight of the holes having water hazards to present a little more of a challenge. The scenery is unbeatable, especially in the fall with the many color changing leaves. There is a clubhouse for guests to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a beverage, which has a patio open seasonally. If guests wish to play only 9 holes, that is an option as is the standard 18 hole course. It is a good idea to book a tee time ahead of time to ensure availability.

Back to: Romantic Wisconsin Weekend Getaways, Things to Do in Wisconsin

303 Rittenhouse Ave, Bayfield, Wisconsin, Phone: 715-779-5112

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