(published September 2014)
The Apostle Islands on the southwest side of Lake Superior offer 21 beautiful, uninhabited islands, stunning sea caves, seven lighthouses, beautiful island bays, fishing, camping, hiking and kayaking all within a one or two day sail.
Presque Isle Bay on Stockton Island is perhaps the most beautiful bay in all the Apostle Islands. Being somewhat centrally located within the island chain, it makes a great home base from which to explore the other islands as well.
There are a couple of ways to cruise the Apostle Islands. You may choose to day sail, returning to your home base each evening after a day of exploring, or you may choose to sail completely away from civilization and cruise from island to island. If you choose to day sail you then must choose between a home base of either a marina or an island bay.
If you choose to make a marina your home base, our personal favorite is Pikes Bay Marina near the city of Bayfield, Wisconsin. There is plenty of shopping and dining in the quaint town and there is a public dock at the foot of Rittenhouse Avenue, as well as plenty of street parking. Along Rittenhouse Avenue is everything from art and jewelry, restaurants, coffee houses, candy stores, ice cream shops, bookstores, and T-shirt and souvenir shops, to a grocery store for restocking your galley. One block south on Manypenny Avenue there are antiques, two of our favorite restaurants, as well as a bike shop. We highly recommend The Egg Toss Bakery Café for breakfast (I loved their multigrain pancakes). For lunch or dinner we recommend Maggie’s (fun ambiance, good food), Pier Plaza Restaurant (outside deck overlooking the water), or Ethel’s at 250 (pasta & pizza).
If you choose to make a quiet island bay your home base, Presque Isle Bay is on the top of the list. Presque Isle Bay is a large bay on the southeast side of Stockton Island. The view is spectacular with sandy beaches in front of a forested island to the west and unlimited water view toward the east. On Stockton Island there are six hiking trails with over 15 miles of well-groomed hiking trails. The views from some of these trails are outstanding.
From your home base of Presque Isle Bay, as each new day dawns you will have so many options available to you. Choosing where to sail or which island to explore each day is part of the fun. Imagine each morning as you are sitting in the cockpit of your boat, enjoying the sunrise over the pristine water, watching the sea gulls, cormorants and bald eagles fishing for their breakfast. You check the weather then check the charts. Soon you are off on another day of adventure and exploration. With so much to explore, the most difficult part of your day may be deciding which way to go!