Fun on Wisconsin’s Islands
Last Updated: 12/30/2013
We know what you’re thinking, and yes, you read right…Wisconsin is home to a handful of beautiful islands. The Apostle Islands, Madeline Island and Turtle Flambeau Flowage make fantastic travel destinations. But that’s not all, there’s also Rock Island and the Lower Wisconsin River Sandbars are which are two must-see destinations.
Think of Rock Island as the little sister island to Washington Island in Door County. In fact, to access this primitive oasis, you have to take a 10-minute ferry ride from Jackson Harbor on Washington Island. There are no permanent residents on this 912-acre island, and cars and bikes are not allowed. Which is good, because you won’t need either. The entire island is a state park and features 10 miles of hiking trails and 5,000 feet of beach!
Most visitors make it a day trip. But if you’re up for a greater dose of the great outdoors, there are some great backpack camping sites. Just don’t forget to pack your own… everything.
While you’re there, don’t miss the Pottawatomie Lighthouse. Not only is it Wisconsin’s oldest lighthouse, it may be the most unique, too. You can actually live in the lighthouse for a week at a time on the condition that you serve as a tour docent. The lighthouse enthusiasts are more than willing to put up with no electricity or running water for this unique volunteer opportunity.
Lower Wisconsin River Sandbars
The 92 miles of the Lower Wisconsin River from the dam at Prairie du Sac to the confluence with the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien, is prime territory for sandbar islands. Canoeists, anglers, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts consider this their warm-weather Mecca when water levels are low and sandbars are plentiful.
Three days and two nights on the river are perfect. Paddle, fish, play during the day and camp on the sandbars at night. It’s a trip you won’t soon forget. But remember to bring your camera. If there are beginner paddlers in your group, no worries, the lower river is free from rapids and falls.
Wisconsin River Outings is one of the largest outfitters with several hundred canoes and several dozen kayaks, and specializes in group outings. The best part of this stretch of the river? It is completely protected. Spin around 360 degrees and you’ll see no development, just tree lines, bluffs, and, if you’re lucky, some eagles.
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