Take your family on this kid-friendly adventure on the South Shore of Lake Superior between Cornucopia and Bayfield. The Apostle Islands are known for sea caves, sandy beaches, historic lighthouses, and sunken shipwrecks. On this Apostle Islands vacation, you and your family will paddle through sea caves, hike scenic trails, and enjoy wide sandy beaches. Camp with your family among the tall hemlock trees at our cozy and well-outfitted base camp at Little Sand Bay. Our talented and caring staff will have activities to keep kids of all ages engaged and having fun.
Sample ItineraryExpand All Fields
Day 1: Welcome to Little Sand Bay Base Camp! Get to know your trip mates and explore the area.
Your trip begins at our Little Sand Bay Base Camp. Your family will learn how to set up camp, go over safety issues, and begin to explore this area full of beautiful hemlock and cedar trees. Your guide will provide an orientation to sea kayaking and our 24-foot North canoes. After dinner you'll make s'mores around the campfire.
Day 2: Enjoy a paddle to the famous Fedora shipwreck or the wetlands of Bark Bay Slough.
Enjoy a hot cup of coffee or cocoa with breakfast, then set out for another day of adventure. Options include paddling out to explore the skeleton of the famous Fedora shipwreck near Buffalo Bay or paddling through the wetlands of Bark Bay Slough. Wilderness Inquiry staff will lead structured activities for the children throughout the day and evening.
Day 3: Paddle to the Mawikwe Bay sea caves or hike to a nearby waterfall.
After breakfast, we might paddle or hike to the Mawikwe Bay sea caves. As you eat your lunch on a sandy beach, feel the joy of this magical place. After lunch go on a beautiful hike to a nearby waterfall. Spend the evening back at Base Camp around the fire playing games and listening to stories.
Day 4: Enjoy one final adventure before saying farewell to your trip mates.
Pack up camp and have breakfast before one final adventure. Enjoy a picnic lunch as you bid adieu to new friends.
Dates & Fees
What to Expect
ACCOMMODATIONS: At night you and your family will sleep in a comfortable 4 person tent at our Little Sand Bay Base Camp. Each tent is mounted on a platform. Our Little Sand Bay Base Camp has very nice indoor bathrooms and shower facilities with hot water.
TERRAIN/ROUTE: Most of the time is spent with your family along the beaches and shorelines of the Apostle Islands National Lake Shore. We have several activities to choose from, each revealing a different dimension of this beautiful area.
ACTIVITIES ON YOUR TRIP: You will stay at Wilderness Inquiry’s Little Sand Bay Base Camp and take day trips from there. An average day’s activities consist of paddling a North canoe or sea kayak, hiking, and exploring the area. The North canoes hold 6-10 paddlers and or our large stable kayaks hold 2-3 people. This trip is open to families with kids of all ages; however it is recommended for kids age 5 and older. Outings typically consist of 2-5 hours, depending on weather conditions.
YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 6 to 18 participants, plus 2 or more Wilderness Inquiry guides. Each group consists of families of various ages, backgrounds and abilities, including people with disabilities. Our trips are cooperative adventures and people pitch in with camp chores as they are able.
MEALS: Your family will 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 of eggs, oatmeal, or granola. We’ll pack picnic lunches with plenty of snacks before heading off to explore. In the evening, we’ll prepare dinners as a group and enjoy s’mores over the campfire. If you have special dietary restrictions, be sure to list them on your registration.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all sea kayak gear and group equipment. You will be assigned the same gear for the duration of your trip, and it will be sanitized between trips. 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.
COVID POLICY: We continue to monitor and update our COVID-19 policies. Wilderness Inquiry strongly encourages everyone to be fully up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination and take other necessary steps for the health and wellness of all. We ask you to self-screen for any signs of illness prior to your trip’s departure. Please contact Wilderness Inquiry if you are exhibiting signs of illness. We will also continue to follow all guidance and requirements of locations that we travel, keeping in mind some international destinations do require vaccinations and/or negative covid tests. We will update this policy as new information and guidance becomes available.
SAFETY WHILE ON TRAIL: Though not required, some individuals may choose to wear a mask, and we expect all participants to respect this choice. Please ensure proper hygiene including, but not limited to, hand-washing and/or sanitizing before eating and after using the restroom. Individuals who become ill or test positive for COVID-19 during a Wilderness Inquiry experience will be isolated to the best of the group’s ability and are responsible for their own transportation and expenses to depart the trip.
GROUP EXPECTATIONS: To facilitate a safe and inclusive environment where we can all come together as our true selves, feel supported, and enjoy the outdoors in community, we have developed community agreements that align with Wilderness Inquiry’s core values and brand promise. We ask that you review these before your adventure so you can help Wilderness Inquiry create an inclusive environment for all.
Community Agreements as We Adventure Together
☐ We are safety conscious so everyone can have fun!
☐ We seek to understand each other and celebrate our differences.
☐ We are curious, open-minded, and communicate respectfully.
☐ We are open to trying new things and pushing outside of our comfort zone.
☐ We support each other and collectively contribute to group tasks.Read more »
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where do we meet?
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. Detailed meeting place directions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip. 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.
What is the minimum age for kids on your family trips?
There is no minimum age requirement to participate on a WI family trip. We require participants to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times when on water for safety. The smallest PFD we provide for children requires a minimum weight of 30 pounds. A family with a child smaller than this weight limit would need to provide their own PFD or would be unable to participate on the trip. For family paddling trips, children should be able to sit comfortably in a canoe or kayak for 1+ hour at a time. This should guide whether or not a child would be a good fit on any particular trip.
Do you have any additional health restrictions on trail?
In addition to following CDC guidelines, we work with a team of community and health experts to help guide our safety measures on and off the trail. Find a complete list of steps we are taking to provide you the safest experience here: https://www.wildernessinquiry.org/covid19/
Do you offer financial aid?
Yes - we believe the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors should be available to everyone. To keep our programs as financially accessible as possible, each year we raise funds to support need-based scholarships. Certain restrictions apply. Financial aid is available for a select number of trips only and typically not available for international trips. Click here to apply for financial aid. This website also shows a list of trips that are currently eligible for financial aid. Check back often, as this list is updated regularly! Call 612-676-9400 for more information.
Is there a discount on family trips?
Yes. All youth participants under the age of 18 pay 25% less than the adult rate on all family trips.
Would my teenager enjoy a family trip with Wilderness Inquiry?
There are typically both teens and younger children on our family trips. We often offer a variety of activities so that participants of all ages have an enjoyable trip!
I have a child with a disability. Would a family trip be appropriate for them?
Yes. All of our trips strive to integrate persons with and without disabilities, including children on our family trips. Call us at 612-676-9400 if you have questions. Otherwise, you can register for a family trip, and we'll call you when we receive your information.
Will age-appropriate activities be offered for children on a family trip?
Yes. Your trip leaders will offer age-appropriate activities for children at different points throughout the trip. Our staff love kids and are great at making sure your whole family has a great time.
Do I need paddling experience to join a canoe or kayak trip?
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!
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.
I use a wheelchair, can I still participate?
Yes, our Basecamp is accessible and this trip is pretty accessible overall. Of course, each person is different so we will ask you to complete a standard health form. If we have any questions, we will call you to discuss them. We do not recommend this trip for people who use electric wheelchairs, unless they bring their own van or ability to transport their power-chair.