Bayfield HO. Escaping to the Apostle Islands? Below is a list of great restaurants, must-do hikes and reliable outfitters. In other words, a few of our favorite things to do in Bayfield, Wisconsin.
A good friend sent me a text this morning:
We’re cruising to Bayfield for four days for a long weekend. Local establishments, views, hike/bike trails … What should we hit up?
Here are my suggestions to her and YOU. First, let’s start with where to stay…
If you’re heading to Bayfield, Brickyard Creek has always been our favorite place to stay. We adore this green community. If you’ve got a group, there are larger family-sized cabins available. If you’re slipping away for a weekend with a friend or your significant other, check out this studio cottage built for two. So cute.
There are three things I absolutely love about this tiny cottage: the tree growing in the middle of the back porch, the fact that the private Brickyard Creek beach is only a two-minute hike through the woods and that this rental cabin is ours. My favorite thing to do is have coffee on that there driftwood bench. This is living the dream…
Here are some Bayfield adventures…
Kayaking Day Trips
There are a variety of different kayaking options. This summer we went with Lost Creek Adventures because of a Facebook referral from a friend. They offer one of the only family-friendly tours; a trip to Roman’s Point Sea Caves. You’ll have to drive up to Cornucopia for this outfitter, but in my opinion it was worth the extra effort. Our guide was a retired DNR employee with a wealth of info. Kayaking is pricey, but … amazing. This will be an annual tradition for us. There are so many places to tour, things to learn, and caves to explore.
Lake Shore Trail at Meyers Road
This is a beautiful trail and must-see if you’re up for a solid hike. It is about a 15-minute drive north of downtown Bayfield. The trails is about 5-miles, but a natural bridge and the first of several sea cave overlook points are about 2-miles from the trail head. Just beautiful. Bring your camera!
Iron Bridge Hiking Trail
Learn more about this short hike: Superior Trails Review
This short trail is a few blocks north of downtown. It follows a stream and portions of the trail have foot bridges. The “lines” on the iron bridge itself are a photographer’s dream, as is the quaint red-door church you might pass on the walk from town.
Of course, everyone wants to ride the ferry across to Madeline Island. I would recommend taking your car or bike. While LaPoint (which is the tiny community at the ferry drop-off) is nice, we love Big Bay State Park. The bike ride is a nice jaunt, if you’re feeling up to it. You can also rent bikes or mopeds at the ferry landing, if you don’t bring any up with you. Big Bay beach is beautiful and the trail that starts there and follows the shoreline is just lovely.
The island is also home of Madeline Island School of the Arts (MISA). Ummm, yeah. Does it get any cooler than this? If you want to take a photography class with me, let me know. I’d love to have an excuse to consider it.
Apostle Island Cruises: Website + Schedule There are a variety of different options available if you search online. This summer we did the Raspberry Island Lighthouse Tour. I enjoyed it, but if you had to pick between spending your money on a boat tour and kayaking … go with the kayaking!
These are some of my favorite shops, restaurants and bars…
Big Water Coffee Roasters
Check out this local roaster + shop online: Website
You’ll want to start your day with a cranberry bran muffin from Big Water. If you visit in the summer, it is perfect with their Cold Fusion iced-coffee. If the weather is cool, I highly recommend the Honey Bee Latte, hot cocoa, or caramel apple cider (which is made with local apples). Actually, you can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. Take your drink with you on a walk of downtown or enjoy the lovely atmosphere in the shop. This is also my go-to place for wi-fi when needed.
You’ll definitely want to have lunch or dinner at Maggie’s. You’ll find it tucked away downtown on Manypenny Avenue. You can’t miss it; it is Pepto-Pink and covered with flamingos. Our favorite pizza there is The Late Night Special: pesto, chicken, tomatoes, fresh parm and feta. So delicious. The creme brûlée is also wonderful. It usually comes with a small scoop of homemade raspberry pepper sorbet. It is cold and super tart, but then hot all at the same time. Love it.
Having breakfast at the Egg Toss is a must, simply because they offer mimosas. The food is good and the homemade jelly (made from Bayfield berries) is amazing. I love the tile floor and the tablecloths. Sitting in the three-season room in the morning sun with a drink in hand just feels like a slice of heaven.
Rooftop Bar at the Bayfield Inn
Enjoy lunch and a drink on the rooftop while overlooking sailboats drifting by on Lake Superior. Everything on the menu is heaven. The more formal restaurant downstairs in the hotel has delicious food, too. The bar is fun at night as well, but sometimes super crowded.
Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
Learn about the visitor center: Travel Wisconsin
If it is raining, the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is pretty impressive. They currently (post written 9/15/15) have an awesome sea cave photography exhibit showcasing images from this book about the Apostle Islands (affiliate link). The visitor center is right outside of Ashland, so when you go stop and enjoy lunch at the Deep Water Grill in the South Shore Brewery or Cafe Coco in Washburn.
Brownstone Trail to Wild Rice
This is on my personal to-do list. If you’re looking for a place to spend a romantic evening with your significant other, this is it. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this restaurant. Shad and I plan to hike to it from downtown on the Brownstone Trail. Of course, the tough part is finding a balance between dressing appropriately for the trail and restaurant. Get creative.
Bayfield is one of the most beautiful places in Wisconsin. We are so lucky to have the Apostle Island National Park and Big Bay State Park. I’m always looking for additional adventures, trails, and suggestions. I’d love to hear about your favorite things to do in Bayfield, too. Let’s chat in the comments.