A few years ago, I took a solo camping trip over Fourth of July weekend and that trip started a tradition of road trips every Independence Day. My boyfriend Glenn and I rented a campervan and headed west to Yellowstone and last year we had a pandemic-friendly week in Copper Harbor, Michigan. This year we returned to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with stops all along the Lake Superior shore. Up first was the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on the very northern tip of Wisconsin.
Little Sand Bay Campground
Camping and outdoor activities have been extremely popular since the pandemic and reserving campsites at popular destinations in our area is nearly impossible even months in advance, so we booked a tent site at Little Sand Bay Campground about a 20 minute drive from Bayfield, WI and the Madeline Island Ferry.
The process was pretty old school, we called to reserve the spot and then mailed in a check. Yes, people still use paper checks! When you show up at the campground the reservations are posted on a bulletin board. The tent spots are all out in the open but they are closest to the lake. We got lucky and had some really nice neighbors. It wasn’t the most secluded campsite I’ve ever been to but it got the job done.
Meyers Beach Sea Cave Trail
Our campground neighbors were actually the ones who told us about the hike at Meyers Beach. It’s a short drive from Little Sand Bay and it costs $5 to park at the beach and trailhead. The hike is a little under 4 miles round trip and most of it takes you through the woods to reach the shore but once you get there you are rewarded with a number of incredible overlooks of the cliffs and sea caves.
There were a lot of kayakers down in the water and I’d definitely go back to explore the caves up close.
My favorite part about Apostle Island National Lakeshore is that, unlike Pictured Rocks, you can bring you dog on the trails.
Madeline Island is the largest island in the area and the only one to allow private and commercial development. The ferry to Madeline Island leaves from Bayfield every 30 minutes. You can take you car across but we opted to hoof it. A car would allow you to get to the State Park on the island but all of the shops and restaurants are right near the ferry dock. Plus dogs ride for free!
We also did a short hike to the Madeline Island Wilderness Preserve. The bugs were pretty bad but we always come prepared with copious amounts of bug spray.
There are 22 other islands that make up the Apostle Islands (apparently Madeline doesn’t actually count) and they are only accessible by kayak, boat or water taxi. We only had 2 days in the Apostle Islands area and I’d love to get back and camp on the actual islands and have the secluded experience we didn’t get this time around.
This was stop number 1 of 5 on our July 4th road trip. Up next we head to the Porcupine Mountains for 2 more days of camping! Stay tuned!