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. Kick off your adventure with a welcome dinner prepared by award-winning cookbook author Beth Dooley that features local wines paired with your dish. 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.
ItineraryExpand All Fields
Day 1: Arrive at WI's Little Sand Bay Base Camp and spend the evening sampling local beer and wine.
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. Kick off your first dinner prepared by award-winning cookbook author Beth Dooley that features local wines paired with your dish.
Day 2: Paddle to the Mawikwe Bay Sea Caves and participate in a tour and tasting at a local bewery.
After a hearty breakfast and great coffee, 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: Explore Sand Island by sea kayak followed by a visit to a local vineyard.
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: Enjoy one final adventure before saying farewell to your trip mates.
After breakfast, enjoy one final adventure, have lunch and say goodbye to new friends.
What to Expect
ACCOMMODATIONS: Our Little Sand Bay Base Camp is the perfect place for this special trip. You will enjoy comfortable platform tents with cots, great bathrooms and shower facilities, and the ambiance of a secluded “Cedar-Hemlock” forest.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: No previous sea kayaking experience is needed to complete this trip. You will either hike or travel in sea kayaks made by Current Designs or Eddyline 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.
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.
MEALS: You’ll enjoy fresh, healthy ingredients spun into 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. Please list any dietary restrictions 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.
COVID VACCINATION AND HEALTH PRE-SCREENING: All participants (and our staff) are required to be fully vaccinated (including the booster) at least 2 weeks prior to the trip start date.
In addition, upon your arrival, we will perform a health screening that will include confirming that you have no COVID-19 related symptoms (for example: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat) or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 related symptoms within the last 2 weeks. We will also take each group member’s temperature daily. If COVID-19 related symptoms develop during the trip experience, you are responsible for your quarantine and transportation needs that adhere to CDC guidelines. Please ensure that you have an emergency contact on file that would be able to assist.
SAFETY WHILE ON TRAIL: All participants and staff will wear properly fitting masks when social distancing is not possible (i.e. riding in the van, loading/unloading boats, cooking, etc.) or when requested by a WI staff member. As of Jan 15, 2022, KN95s or N95s are required for staff and participants. Cloth masks, buffs, bandanas, and scarves are not accepted face coverings. Thorough hand washing and/or gloves and masks will be worn during meal preparation.
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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. 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.
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.
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.
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.