Madeline Island Sea Caves

I’m off to madeline Island next week. I’ll be taking my 2 daughters with limited kayak experience, but want to show them the caves if I can. We will be staying in the State Park campground. Obviously, if the weather is bad, we won’t be doing much paddling, but we are hopeful of good weather. Is there a map of the area sea caves, and what to expect? Any general advice from anyone familiar with the area? Thanks!

Madeline Caves?
You mean the Apostle Islands, right? Does Madeline even have sea caves? Madeline is not really known as a kayaking destination as it is pretty populated. Stockton Island is going to be the closest big bunch of caves. For info, just do an internet search and you’ll find plenty of pictures and information.

Since your daughters are novices
and you are new to that area, you may want to consider a guided tour of some caves. My wife and I tried this with Living Adventures a few years ago and found their tours to be professional and enjoyable.

Here is a link:

P.S.- I don’t remember any caves on Madeline Island either.

For clarification, we will be camping on Madeline Island. I’m mostly looking for info on what is near Big bay campground, or is it just a nice place to paddle? How difficult is it to go to where the caves are, and how far?

The Island
The most beautiful part of Big Bay is, in my very biased opinion, accessed from Town Park Beach, which is around the bay (you can paddle or drive). If you are going to drive to Town Park, you can still launch but it means carrying your boats down a flight of stairs to the beach (certainly doable). At that spot you can either paddle the Bay or into the Big Bay Slough, a spectacular estuary. Don’t miss that (it has a new boardwalk with good instructional signage that you enter from the State Park.) As for the sea caves, they are at Little Sand Bay, north and west of Bayfield (and Red Cliff) off highway 13. They are really cool, but I would second the recommendation about going on a guided tour, especially if you are not familiar with the area. The weather can blow in from the northwest VERY quickly, and those winds and waves blow right into the caves (hey, how do you think they got there?!) The Living Adventures folks (also on 13, just south of Red Cliff) do a super job. Trek and Trail (in Bayfield) also does tours. Don’t miss taking your daughters to Maggie’s in Bayfield for a meal. Have a wonderful time in this most enjoyable paddling (and relaxing) place.

Apostle Islands Sea Caves
Living Adventures have an age limit on who they take where, so you might want to check with them first whether your kids qualify.

You should also check on the weather and water temperature – late September is rather late in the season. Depending on the weather and water temperature, not all the trips may be available, and you might need to use dry suits if you go.

I was in Bayfield in late June, and found out that my 10-year-old son was too young to go. We ended up kayaking in Bark Bay Estuary on our own. We did leave the river and go out into the lake bay for a short time, but stuck close to the beach – when we went, the water was still cold.

The lake can be very dangerous, the islands do not really provide much protection from either wind or waves.

Small Correction
Actually, there are sea caves all over the Apostles not just on Sand. The largest concentrations are to be found on Little Sand Island, Squaw Bay, Devil’s Island, Outer Island and Stockton Island.

Living Adventures does a good job but they are located in Red Cliff not on Madeline. Might be worth if to give them a call if you’d like a guided trip. Be sure and check out the wreck of the Fedora. It went down in 1901 and the water is so low this year that much of the boat is out of the water. It’s not going to last with the ice so now if your last chance to see it.

I second Maggies and if something

– Last Updated: Sep-20-07 5:37 PM EST –

is playing, go see a show at Big Top Chautauqua in Bayfield in the big tent:

the correction
Salothsar is of course correct about the various sea caves; I was simply trying to give the easiest to get to (and didn’t explain that). One other Island wonder is Tom’s Burned Down Cafe. It can be a REAL island adventure!

Was in Superior last weekend, Friday night temps dropped to 30°F.

Be prepared for wind and cold!