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About the Apostle Islands and Surrounding Area

A Constellation of 22 Islands Strung in Lake Superior


The Apostle Islands offer some of the best wilderness cruising in North America. The crystal clear water has shaped the topography of the islands, creating unique and beautiful landscapes. The shorelines are often littered with sea caves and sandstone bluffs, while others have gentle sand spits that offer excellent anchorages. 

Sailing in the shelter of the Apostle Islands provides both a challenge and comfort. Lake Superior can whip up a steady breeze, which winds and twists as it moves through the maze of islands. A beat upwind into brisk air and seas can easily be made into a comfortable cruise by tucking into the lee of a nearby island. This region offers some the world’s best sailing for the novice to the expert seaman!

A Unique Sailing Opportunity

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore includes 21 of the 22 islands and 12 miles of mainland shoreline. Madeline Island, the only year-round inhabited island, is also the only island which is not part of the National Park. The remaining islands are essentially “remote,” and there are no marina facilities harbors once you’ve departed Port Superior and the Bayfield area. Fortunately, the islands are in close proximity to each other to provide a sailor’s paradise, often referred to as the Caribbean of the North.

The crystal clear, deep water between the islands, generally more than 100 feet deep, separates the islands from each other by approximately two miles. The shoreline topography is often rugged and steep on the north end of the island, littered with caves and sandstone bluffs created by Lake Superior. The southern ends of many of the islands are gentle sand spits, which require a wide passage but offer excellent anchorages.

Anchoring in and among the Apostle Islands is a pleasure. With many comfortable sites for many various wind conditions, you can find a cozy, remote nook to drop anchor or a large secure bay with Superior Charters. A welcomed sandy bottom is easily visible due to the clarity of the water and makes for excellent holding ground.

Apostle Islands Map

Suggested Anchorages in the Apostles


For more information about The Apostle Islands, please visit the National Park Service’s park guide: