how crowded are the apostles?

I’ve been going over options for a 5 day tour in late June. I keep coming back to the apostle islands for their relative proximity to me, their beauty, and options for routes and changing weather.

What is the feel during the middle of summer there? Am i going to be running into a bunch of guided groups and motorboats and end up shoulder to shoulder at the camp sites? Ideally i’d love to spend a few days without seeing many other people.

bump! good question
I’m curious also.

It looks like the big marinas and most of the development is in the eastern area.

If you decide
that the Apostles are going to be too crowded or if the weather is not looking good when you head up there consider the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage near Mercer, Wi. as a alternative. It is a series of old deep glacial carved lakes that have been flooded into one big lake by a small dam. Lots of islands with boat-in only campsites. A nice mix of larger open water, smaller protected areas, and river. Even has a nice non-motorized portion if the boat traffic is too heavy. I was there mid-week in July (after deciding not to try Apostles solo) and there was hardly any traffic. Campsites were really nice with tables, vault toilets, and some even had stacked firewood. Only problem was trying to sleep at night with all the racket from the loons.

Have a great time wherever you decide to go.


The mainland campsites
can get crowded but the island sites are separated and most are limited to seven or less. If you have the skills to get there and can score the Devil’s Island campsite up to seven people can have the only campsite on the island. A volunteer lives and gives tours at the lighthouse on the opposite end and maybe a boat or two anchored just below your site. It’s worth the trip !! Last September it wasn’t so crowded, the volunteer was gone for the season so four of us had the place to ourselves.

Good Luck


sounds great
Isn’t that the island with the caves?

Most of the caves are
on the NW of Devils and Sand Island and the mainland North of Meyers Beach. Meyers Beach and Sand Island are easier to get to than Devils.

Remember when you go there “THE LAKE IS THE BOSS” !! When you leave the shore you are at the lakes mercy the water is always cold and waves can build quickly or around the next headland.

We took 2 1/2 hours to paddle four miles from Rocky to Devil’s in 3-5 ft wave and some of our group were at their limit in that. We did have a backup plan and observers on land but a rescue there could have gotten very hairy.

Email me direct if you want more info.



If you see them in that picture of the Last Supper they look pretty wedged in.

another consideration

– Last Updated: May-19-12 9:52 AM EST –

A few days of solitude during mid-summer is unlikely, but Monday-Thurs would be best. The caves are a main attraction, but I would never call them over-crowded. The caves are not nearly as awe inspiring unless the conditions are calm enough to paddle INSIDE of them. Many of them have low overhead clearance, which can make for pretty hairy paddling even in moderate conditions. The lake will let you know when you can go.

Stay off Stockton
and stay away from campsites next to docks if you want solitude. The campsites are done by permit, so you’ll always have your spot. The Tombolo of Stockton Island has campsites stacked pretty tightly, but the rest of the sites offer good seclusion. You won’t go without seeing another person, but you generally do not have to interact with them and can pass far enough away from them to feel alone.

They all had to get on the same side of the table for the photo opp.