If you’re looking for a unique vacation experience, Madeline Island Wisconsin has it all. From water sports-fishing, sailing, swimming, kayaking-to hiking, camping, or just sitting on the beach, this quiet island in Lake Superior will give you the peace and quiet you’ve been looking for. From the moment you drive onto the ferry, you know that this vacation will be different. You feel the stress slipping away as you make the two mile trip across the lake to the island. The Island is an easy drive from Chicago, Madison or Minneapolis, and the Madeline Island Chamber of Commerce can provide you with all the information you need to plan your trip. The island is only 42 square miles so come and explore the hiking trails and beaches; visit the state park and see ancient rock formations and wildlife viewing areas. Madeline Island is a great place to show your kids nature and wildlife as it was intended to be. All kinds of rental equipment are available on the Island. You can rent bikes and mopeds, canoes or stand up paddle boards by the hour or by the day. You can take a guided kayak or arrange for boat tour. Boats are available for charter with captains and bare boat. Camping is certainly an option, but you can also rent a cabin or condo. And, of course, because the Island is small, you are never far from the water! So plan your vacation to this idyllic spot where summer temperatures are moderate and the air is clean and healthy.
20 Washington Avenue
Bayfield, WI 54850 (ferry landing on mainland)
Sitting on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior, Bayfield Wisconsin truly has something for everyone! See the historic Victorian homes, many of which have been turned into B & B’s. The Rittenhouse Inn offers rooms as well as delicious lunches and dinners. The Maritime Museum gives you the flavor of this old fishing town, and you can even get out on the lake yourself at any of the charter outfitters. Fishing, sailing and kayaking are all available. The Bayfield Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Bureau can help you plan these activities. Or you can walk the streets of this village and visit the shops. A wide range of goodies await you-one of the best features locally-made hand-blown glass. The kids will love the candy stores! Bayfield Wisconsin is also just a short ferry boat ride from Madeline Island. The ferry dock is easily accessible and the ride is only twenty minutes. Madeline Island also offers a wide range of activities. Bike and moped rental, kayak tours, golf, hiking, as well as shops and galleries, bars and restaurants are just a few. You’ll want to visit the scenic Big Bay State Park and take advantage of its many opportunities to see nature close up. Hike the lake trail and watch for eagles or hike the lagoon trail and see beautiful wetlands. Contact the Bayfield Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce for more information regarding your trip to the Bayfield Peninsula.
There are many reasons to head to the north woods. One of them is Madeline Island camping. Many options are available-all of them within yards of the beaches of Lake Superior. The largest body of fresh water in the world, Lake Superior surrounds this tiny island and creates a 42-square mile playground. You can opt for a primitive camp site if tenting is your preference.
Which park is better for my family or group? Big Bay State Park or Big Bay Town Park? Both parks offer advance web reservations.
Fire wood is available at both locations. However, because of invasive forest insects and diseases, firewood burned in Wisconsin campgrounds must originate from within the state and within 10 miles of the campsite. In addition, firewood that has been harvested, purchased, stored or moved through an Emerald Ash Borer quarantine area may not leave the quarantine area. For more information on campground firewood see Big Bay State park Range of Allowable Firewood.
“Take home your memories, not gypsy moths!” Inspect your vehicle and outdoor articles for gypsy moth egg masses, remove and destroy them (burn or drown in water with a little bleach) before you leave the island. Thank you for helping keep Madeline Island free of invasive species!
And of course, it’s a very short walk to the beach. To enhance your camping experience, learn about a primary feature of the island: the culture and heritage of the Ojibwa. Madeline Island treasures its connection to the ancient tribe and preserves their past at the historical Madeline Island Museum on the Island. The museum features the art of the Ojibwa, and many handmade items are for sale in the gift shop. There are also children’s books that will help youngsters learn about the first Americans to come to the Island. For a true island experience, plan some Madeline Island camping: explore the beaches and wetlands, the hiking trails and tall trees, the rock formations and the eagles that soar above them. You’ll want to come back again and again to this peaceful idyllic location.
For nature at her most dramatic, nowhere is better to visit than Madeline Island Wisconsin. Watch the late evening sun sink into the lake as you sip a cold drink at any of the numerous bars and restaurants. Or wake up to waves pounding the shoreline. If activity is what you’re looking for, there’s plenty of that! Bikes and mopeds are available for rental by the hour or day. Rent one and head out to the state park where hiking trails take you along bluffs overlooking the lake or through a lagoon filled with water fowl. There are all kinds of ways to get out on the water: sailboats are available for charter at the marina. Or if you’re looking to get closer to nature, take a guided kayak tour. If a lazy day on the beach is more to your liking, bring a book or watch the kids build a sandcastle. Catch some fish and cook it up for dinner or go to one of several restaurants where fish is prepared fresh daily both for lunch and dinner. All at Madeline WI. Before you plan your stay on the island, you’ll need to decide what kind of accommodations you’re looking for. Camping is available at both the State and Town Parks-either primitive or with amenities. You can also rent a rustic cabin in the woods or a luxury condo right in town. Many rental places will hold more than one family, so why not plan a family reunion? And of course you’re always near the water wherever you choose to stay. Madeline Island Wisconsin has something for everyone! You can get back to nature if you want or visit nearby quaint towns with their apple orchards and wineries. It’s a great place for a family vacation.
Gidanamikaagoo Omaa Mooningwanekaaning, that means “welcome to Madeline Island” in Anishinaabe (also called Ojibwe), the native language of the Ojibwe Tribes.
According to Jordyn Flaadda, Ojibwe language translator,
“Madeline Island is often called the spiritual home of the Ojibwe people, who have lived here since hundreds of years before the first arrival of European fur traders and missionaries. Madeline Island is named in English for Madeleine Cadotte (Ikwesewe), a prominent local nineteenth-century Ojibwe woman whose father was the chief Waabajijaak and whose husband was Michel Cadotte (Gichi-miishen), a fur trader of Ojibwe and French ancestry. In Ojibwe the island’s name is Mooningwanekaaning after mooningwaneg, the birds called flickers in English. Many place names in Wisconsin come from the Ojibwe language because of the Ojibwe people’s long history in the area and the use of Ojibwe as a lingua franca during the time of the fur trade. The Ojibwe language signs on Madeline Island today represent traditional place names as well as modern names for places such as the gas station and the city park, a reflection of the history and future of the Ojibwe language here on Mooningwanekaaning.”
While visiting Madeline Island you can explore Ojibwe history at the Madeline Island Museum. The museum’s American Fur Trading room exhibits beaded objects, clothing and tools used in daily life by the Ojibwe people.
Just a short walk or drive from downtown La Pointe and located off Old Fort Road (near the marina) on Chief Buffalo Lane are the Old Indian Cemetery and the Ojibwe National Prayer Pole and Memorial Park. A historical marker commemorates the site of the St. Joseph Mission Cemetery (Old Indian Cemetery). Established in about 1836, it is the burial site of Chief Buffalo and Michel Cadotte. Please view respectfully from outside the fence. Miigwech (Thank you). The nearby Ojibwe National Prayer Pole and Memorial Park honors the enduring relationship between Ojibwe people and Madeline Island. Sacred cedar and other trees surround a peaceful pond.
Watch the Native Report episode highlighting the signage project and the island’s Ojibwe heritage.
For more information on the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa Indians, please visit the following website:
Native American Tourism of Wisconsin
Links of Interest:
Museum of Ojibwa Culture & Father Marquette Mission Park (St. Ignance, MI)
Forts Folle Avoine Historical Park – Ojibwe Village (Danbury, WI)
George W. Brown Jr. Ojibwe Museum & Cultural Center( Lac du Flambeau, WI)