Lake Superior Sea Caves

Apostle Island National Lakeshore

The Apostle Island National Lakeshore consists of 21 offshore islands and 12 miles of mainland shoreline in Lake Superior along the north coast of Wisconsin. It lies essentially between the towns of Bayfield and Cornucopia.

First, a Word of Caution:

Kayaking the Sea Caves on Lake Superior within the Apostle Island National Lakeshore is a unique and unforgettable experience but is not for beginning kayakers. Lake Superior is Big Water, and must be treated the same as if you are sea kayaking. It is recommended that large touring kayaks over 12 feet long or tandem kayaks be used, and spray skirts and PFD are a must. The water is always cold, even during summer, so I wear a wetsuit under my other clothes. Also, pay attention to the weather. It may start out calm in the morning but can work up to large waves and swells very quickly. If kayaking along the shoreline, stay a ways out from the rocks because large waves will ricochet off the rocks and cause a tidal back wave that can easily swamp a kayak. If you go here to kayak, be prepared, know what you are doing and know what to do if you swamp your boat. Several deaths occur here almost every year and most succumb to hypothermia because they can not re-enter their boat when it tips. That said, I highly recommend this trip for experienced kayakers. Better yet, take a guided tour with one of the reputable outfitters at Bayfield or Red Cliff, Wisconsin, (see links below). The shoreline, the islands, and the sea caves are beautiful and make a unique one-of-a-kind experience.

The sea caves are along the shoreline just North of Bayfield and along some of the islands, most notably Sand Island out from Little Sand Bay. A nice trip is to start out from Meyers Beach and kayak along the shoreline to the South. The caves are carved out of the red sandstone bluffs by the action of wave swells and many years of freeze and thaw. You may hear the reverberating sound of the waves washing in and out of the caves even before you see them. If the water is relatively calm, you may enter the caves with your kayak but is not recommended when the waves are rough.

Local outfitters and excellent resources are Trek and Trail in Bayfield: Trek and Trail

Living Adventure out of Red Cliff: Living Adventure

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