With breathtaking views and pristine waters, Bayfield is one of Wisconsin’s top destinations for those looking for an active, sustainable getaway in a picturesque setting. This small harbor town sits on the vast waters of Lake Superior and serves as the virtual door step to the stunning Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – 22 coastal islands highlighted by stunning rock formations and six historic lighthouses considered the finest collection in the country.
The community of Bayfield has made it their mission to preserve the rare, unspoiled natural landscape in their care. As a certified member of Wisconsin’s Travel Green program, Bayfield boasts the greatest number of green businesses of any city in the state.
The Apostle Islands
Grab your Jimmy Buffett CD and head to the Apostle Islands, which provide some of the best blue-water paddling in the country. Explore the sandstone cliffs, sea caves, historic lighthouses and unspoiled beaches with Living Adventure kayak rental. Living Adventure offers full and half-day guided tours, as well as overnight tours in the summer. Or, sail the Apostle Islands with a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain. Dream Catcher Sailing offers day trips or multi-day sailing vacations.
Madeline Island, the largest of the Apostle Islands, is home to Big Bay State Park. Take a ferry over to visit the 2,350-acre park with 1.5 miles of beaches, campgrounds, and more than seven miles of hiking and nature trails.
A variety of camping is available on the islands from rustic or remote to more traditional campsites. Use your own boat or kayak to access the islands or board one of the island shuttles offered by the Apostle Islands Cruises. Apostle Island Cruises also offer a variety of narrated boat and lighthouse tours.
The Arts in Bayfield
There’s plenty to do and see in Bayfield especially when it comes to the arts. Big Top Chautauqua is one of the nation’s most revered tented theater troupes. Enjoy live entertainment and original productions under this 900-person giant canvas tent.
In July, Bayfield hosts the Festival of Arts, where over 90 artists from throughout the Midwest gather to showcase their art in a juried show. In addition, guests can take open house gallery tours and enjoy live music on the lakefront.
In the fall, the Bayfield Apple Festival will take center stage as more than 50,000 people will pick their own apples and sample endless apple treats.
Where to Eat in Bayfield
When it comes to dining, Bayfield has a number of restaurants offering fresh food, made from local ingredients. The Fat Radish is the perfect place for lunch and coffee. Try a smoked-whitefish omelet or a fresh deli sandwich on cranberry wild rice bread at this well-known fresh market deli and farm-to-table restaurant. Or try the Manypenny Bistro for breakfast. They have unique specialties like cinnamon bread sandwiched with cream cheese, dipped in batter and then grilled.
For fine dining, Good Thyme Restaurant offers creative gourmet dining with fresh local ingredients. For casual and eclectic, enjoy a beer and a sunset at the Tom’s Burned Down Café. This bar/cafe is anything but ordinary and features live music and an art gallery.
Where to Stay in Bayfield
For accommodations, Bayfield’s Rittenhouse Inn is a regal, elegant option. Actually three historic houses, the Rittenhouse Inn offers views of Lake Superior from one of the world’s best front porches. Another option is the Bayfield Inn, which is within walking distance to a number of Bayfield and Apostle Island boat tour and rental services. The inn also offers condo and apartment rentals for longer stays. The newest in accommodations and scan be found at the Legendary Waters Resort and they own quite simply the most stunning views of Lake Superior. You can also test your luck in the casino during your stay.
We’re sure you will find accomodations to suit your needs whether it’s a campsite, resort, condo or a B&B.
For even more tips on how to plan your getaway to Bayfield, check out our Can't Miss Stops on Your Getaway to Bayfield or A Dog-Friendly Trip to Bayfield and Madeline Island.