There is no car or RV camping within Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Campsites within the national lakeshore must be reached by boat, except for the Mainland 1 campsite, which can be accessed by kayak or a 6-mile hike only. A variety of state park and private campgrounds with facilities for car and RV camping are in the Bayfield area on the mainland and on Madeline Island. Madeline Island is not part of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
The Apostle Islands are Wisconsin's northernmost landscape. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore includes 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland on the south shore of Lake Superior. The lakeshore encompasses 69,372 acres, of which 27,323 acres are submerged lands in Lake Superior; the park boundary extends 0.25 mile from the shore of the mainland and from each island. Eighty percent of the land area of the park was designated as the Gaylord Nelson Wilderness in December 2004. The islands range in size from 3-acre Gull Island to 10,054-acre Stockton Island. The islands are spread out over a portion of Lake Superior nearly 290,000 acres in size.
A variety of scenic features can be found on the islands, including some of the earliest and latest events of geologic history in the lower 48 states. The park features pristine stretches of sand beach; spectacular sea caves; remnant old-growth forests; a diverse population of birds, mammals, amphibians, and fish; and the largest collection of national register lighthouses and lighthouse complexes in the national park system. People have used the islands for thousands of years. During the historic period, people constructed residences and started farms, fishing operations, brownstone quarries, and logging camps on the islands. Recreational activities within the park include sailing, kayaking, power boating, fishing, hiking, swimming, sightseeing, nature study, photography, and camping.
There are 56 individual campsites and nine group campsites in the park. All but one campsite must be reached by boat. Some islands have only a single campsite. Stockton Island has 19 individual campsites and two group campsites. One of these individual campsites and both group campsites are accessible to campers with disabilities. All of the park's campsites are located along the shoreline. Most of these are adjacent to sand beaches or docks. Campsites are equipped with a fire ring and a bear-proof food storage locker. All but two of the sites have either a vault toilet or stump privy. Most of the campsites have a picnic table. Some of the campsites have tent pads. Thirteen of the campsites are in the Gaylord Nelson Wilderness area. There is no car or RV camping in the national lakeshore. A variety of campgrounds with facilities for car and RV camping are in the Bayfield area on the mainland and on Madeline Island. Madeline Island is not part of the national lakeshore.
Advance reservations for camping permits are required for camping in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Individual campsites accommodate a maximum of seven campers and three tents. They may be reserved starting 30 days before the start of a trip. Group campsites accommodate a party of 8-21 campers. They may be reserved beginning in January every year. Each camping permit may cover up to 14 consecutive nights.
Primitive zone camping is available outside of individual or group campsites on all islands except Devils, Eagle, Gull, Long, Raspberry, and York. Primitive camping zones have been established on all other islands for visitors seeking a remote backcountry experience with no facilities. Primitive zone camping is NOT allowed within 0.25-mile of any building, any other camping parties; within 100 feet of a flowing stream; or on private lease holdings. Most primitive camping zones have a quota of only one camping party per night. Parties camping in primitive camping zones are limited to a maximum of five campers. Most of the best landing areas already have an individual or group campsite nearby. It may be challenging to find a landing spot when using a camping zone. Primitive camping zone maps for each island is available on the park website.
For more information or help planning your itinerary, call the park at (715) 779-3398, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily from Memorial Day through September or Monday to Friday from October through Memorial Day.
Charges & Cancellations
Cancellations made 8 days or more prior to the reservation start date will be given a 50% refund of the use fees. The $10 reservation fee is non-refundable. Cancellations made 7 days or fewer prior to the reservation start date will not be refunded. Changes to the reservation will be charged a $15.00 change fee. There is a $10 reservation fee for each permit made.