Apostle Islands Paddle, Pinot, and Porter
Explore the Apostle Islands by Day and Local Breweries and Wineries by Night
Join us for a tour of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on a series of sea kayaking and hiking trips during the day and local brewery and winery tours in the evening. Adventure options include kayaking to beautiful Sand Island, the Mawikwe Sea Caves, Bark Bay Slough, or the shipwrecks of Red Cliff Bay. Stay at our Little Sand Bay Base Camp while you experience the best of the Bayfield Peninsula – its abundant nature and local spirits. You must be 21 years of age to register for this trip.
DAY 1: In the afternoon, meet at our base camp near beautiful Little Sand Bay. Share introductions, participate in a sea kayaking orientation, and experience your first view of Lake Superior. Spend the evening sampling local beer and wine while getting to know your trip mates.
DAY 2: After a hearty breakfast, review paddling skills and start exploring the spectacular Mawikwe Bay Sea Caves or drive to Red Cliff to paddle among the Buffalo Bay shipwrecks. Enjoy a late lunch before heading to South Shore Brewery for a tour and tasting. Enjoy dinner overlooking Lake Superior before heading back to Little Sand Bay for s'mores and a campfire.
DAY 3: After breakfast we may kayak out to Sand Island to visit stunning Justice Bay and the Swallow Point Sea Caves. Eat lunch on a remote beach and, weather permitting, kayak in and out of the caves' sculpted rock chambers. In the evening, visit a local vineyard as you recount the day’s adventures. Return to base camp for one last sunset over Lake Superior.
DAY 4: After breakfast, enjoy one final adventure, have lunch and say goodbye to new friends.
Note On Weather: Sea kayaking is incredibly weather dependent. In the chance of high winds or heavy rains you may enjoy various mainland hikes or other local activities in replace of kayaking.
What To Expect
TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: The terrain and landscape of the Apostle Islands is made up of red sandstone, covered with a mixed forest of birch, pine, oak, and maple. Except for a few cliffs, the terrain is gentle and rolling. Most of your time is spent along the beaches and shorelines of the Apostle Islands National Lake Shore, kayaking to the shipwrecks and the sea caves. We have several routes to choose from, each revealing a different dimension of this archipelago. Wind and weather largely determine the route, and storms may delay paddling.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: No previous sea kayaking experience is needed to complete this trip. You will travel in sea kayaks which hold 2 or 3 people plus all necessary gear. An average day's travel consists of 2-6 paddling and/or hiking hours, depending on weather conditions. Travel distances vary from 4-6 miles each day.
WEATHER: Temperatures in the summer months range from 45 F to 85 F. Rainfall can vary. Weather in the area is strongly influenced by Lake Superior and can change suddenly.
YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 10 to 18 participants, plus 2 or more Wilderness Inquiry staff. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds and abilities, including people with disabilities. Our Apostle Islands kayak trips are cooperative in nature. WI staff will assist you in whatever areas you need, however most people pitch in where they can.
ACCOMMODATIONS: You will enjoy staying at our Little Sand Bay Base Camp. At night you will sleep in comfortable platform tents with cots. Typically, there are 2-3 people per 4-person tent (other arrangements can be made). Our Little Sand Bay Base Camp has very nice outdoor bathrooms and shower facilities with hot water.
MEALS: Enjoy preparing meals together in our rustic base camp kitchens using fresh, healthy ingredients for bountiful dishes. Rise to the smell of freshly brewed coffee to enjoy with your breakfast and pack picnic lunches with hearty snacks before heading off to explore. In the evening, prepare dinner together over stoves and campfires, while sampling local beer and wine from around the peninsula. If you have special dietary restrictions, be sure to list them on your registration.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all group equipment. You will need to provide your personal gear as outlined in the packing list. If you are new to outdoor activities, you do not need to spend a lot of money. Wilderness Inquiry can usually arrange for you to borrow most items. Also, looking into gear rental options can be a cost effective option.A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
Your 10% deposit is non-refundable. If you choose to cancel your trip:
For trips in the continental United States:
• 6 weeks prior to start date — we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 6 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 1 week— no refunds will be issued.
For trips outside the continental United States:
• 12 weeks prior to start date— we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 12 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 2 weeks — no refunds will be issued.
In the rare event that WI cancels a trip, or we are unable to serve you, all fees are immediately refunded, including the deposit. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for personal expenses such as airline tickets. To protect your investment in your travel plans we recommend purchasing travel insurance. Information on travel insurance is included in your trip confirmation packet. If after registering you wish to switch trips, you may do so subject to availability. Fees may apply.
Under certain circumstances, such as death of a family member, change in health status, loss of employment, etc., we may make exceptions to our refund policies. Please let us know immediately if your plans change!
Some of the trip information on your website is different than the trip catalog. Why?
WI typically creates and prints our annual trip catalog in December. At that time we do our best to have finalized trip itineraries and set our prices accordingly. However, sometimes there are changes to a trip that necessitate adjustments to our prices after the catalog has gone to print.
What is the base camp like on the Apostle Islands trips?
We refer to our property as the Little Sand Bay Base Camp. The camp is approximately 1,500 feet from the Lake Superior lakeshore near Little Sand Bay in Northern Wisconsin. Our base camp offers camping at its most comfortable and accessible. All tents are large enough to stand upright, and are set up on comfortable wooden platforms. Hot showers, private bathrooms, a roofed pavilion space, and an indoor seating area for leisure time are other key features. The camp consists of 40 acres of woods with wood chip trails, 5 campsites, and a gear warehouse. Watch this short video to see what it is like.
What are our transportation options for the Apostle Islands trip?
One option is to take your own vehicle and meet your group at Wilderness Inquiry's Little Sand Bay Base Camp. You can park your vehicle here for the duration of the trip. Another option is to use WI's van transportation, which typically leaves from WI headquarters in Minneapolis early in the morning on the first day of the trip and returns to Minneapolis the evening of the last trip day. There is an additional fee of $75 to use WI's roundtrip van transportation.
On which Apostle Islands trips do we camp on the islands?
The Apostle Islands Kayak Island Camping trip is the only trip where you actually set up camp and sleep on the islands. If you have a private group that would like to customize an island camping experience, we can likely accommodate.
During all other Apostle Islands trips, participants stay at our Little Sand Bay Base Camp, located on the main land approximately 0.5 miles from the Lake Superior Shoreline. Kayak trips on Lake Superior are organized on most days, in which you will explore the sea caves and other highlights of the Apostle Islands area. All activities depend upon safe weather conditions.
Will I get to see the sea caves on my Apostle Islands trip?
The sea caves are the most popular feature of the Apostle Islands area - and with good reason! It is our intention to explore the caves by kayak at least once during every trip. This is dependent upon safe paddling conditions on Lake Superior, as safety is always our top priority. On a clear day, we should be able to paddle to the sea caves and even travel through the insides of the caves by kayak.
Do I need previous kayak experience to join a trip in the Apostle Islands?
Paddling trips with WI are appropriate for beginners and seasoned paddlers alike. On the first day of all trips, basic paddling strokes will be taught by the trip leader. Each trip gives participants multiple opportunities to practice their skills. Participants with more experience will have plenty of opportunity to paddle during the trip, and even to help teach less experienced paddlers!
Does this trip have electricity for my CPAP machine, phone, camera or other electronic device?
Yes, this trip has electricity. Please indicate on your registration form that you need electricity and we will be sure to accommodate your need to the best of our abilities. If this is an international trip please check if you need an international adapter for your electronics. You can find more information on international plug ins here: https://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/
I am riding in the Wilderness Inquiry van to the trip starting point. Where can I park my car?
Wilderness Inquiry has no participant parking available in our lot. We strongly recommend that participants meeting at WI make arrangements to be dropped off and picked up at WI. If you are unable to make a drop off/pick up arrangement, you can park your car at the St. Anthony Standard parking ramp ($10/day). Long-term street parking is not available.
Standard Meeting Places and Times
Start: Little Sand Bay Base Camp at 1:30 PM (local time)
End: Little Sand Bay Base Camp at 1:30 PM (local time)
This trip begins at 1:30 PM at our Little Sand Bay Base Camp near Bayfield, WI, where parking is available. The trip ends at 1:30 PM at the same location. Van transportation between Minneapolis or Duluth and Little Sand Bay is available for most trips. The van leaves from from Wilderness Inquiry Headquarters in Minneapolis at 7:30 AM and the Radisson Hotel in Duluth at 10:30 AM. The van returns to the Radisson Hotel in Duluth around 3:30 PM and to Wilderness Inquiry Headquarters in Minneapolis around 6:30 PM. Detailed meeting place directions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip. Another option for transportation between Minneapolis and Duluth is The Skyline Shuttle which runs several times daily. For more information visit: http://www.skylineshuttle.com. Booking a flight? We recommend flying in the night before your trip to Duluth or Minneapolis St. Paul airports, and flying out from Duluth after 5:30 PM and from Minneapolis St. Paul after 9:00 PM. Call us at 612-676-9400 if you have questions.Want to Ride With Us?
We typically provide transportation for this trip from the following places (make your selection when you register):