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Where to Kayak? Sea Caves of Madeline Island, Wisconsin


With their famous sea caves, the Apostle Islands offer some of the best kayaking in the world and among them is Madeline Island.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a 22-island archipelago with more than 500 square miles of Lake Superior and the shoreline. Some of the islands are commercialized and some remain uninhabited, but it’s the islands sea caves that most people come to see.

Over time the waves and weather of Lake Superior carved away at the red-brown sandstone, leaving breathtaking passageways, arches and caverns and a watery wonderland for kayakers in the summer. Its no wonder that Madeline Island has become a popular tourist destination for kayakers.

Kayaking Madeline Island

One of the best ways to enjoy the island is from the lake. Views of the sea caves, cliffs, beaches and the lagoon can only be accessed by kayak. You can kayak directly out to Madeline Island. There are two kayak launches on the mainland section of the Park, one at Meyers Beach and another a Little Sand Bay Visitor Center. It would be a much shorter kayak to use one of the launching areas outside the park in Bayfield or Red Cliff if you are planning to kayak directly to Madeline Island. Alternatively, you can take the ferry from Bayfield and rent kayaks in La Pointe.

The sea caves and cliffs are an amazing site and are on the south side of the island. Big Bay State Park has a lovely beach for a break or lunch. Big Bay Lagoon is also not to be missed. The water there is warmer and calmer, great for summer kayaking. And there’s also an abundance of wildlife.

Guided Kayaking Tours of Madeline Island

It is strongly recommended, unless you are a seasoned kayaker, to take advantage of a guided kayaking tour. There are many options for day trips as well as multi-day kayaking trips. The US National Parks Service actually partners with a bunch and you can access their list of authorized Apostle Islands kayak outfitters here.

Adventure Vacations is one and is actually located right on Madeline Island. As such, you’ll get a much more thorough tour of the island sea caves as opposed to the sea caves on the mainland. They offer half day Apostle Islands sea caves kayaking tours as well as boat tours, boat taxis and hiking tours around Madeline Island.

Plan Your Kayaking Trip to Madeline Island

Many people come to Madeline Island seeking adventure. Exploring the area by sea kayak is fun and exciting, but it can also be extremely hazardous, especially if weather conditions become unfavorable. It is important to be prepared. Make sure you follow all the proper precautions outlined by the Nation Parks Service for kayaking the Apostle Islands for a safe and successful kayaking trip.

And when your trip is over, make sure you have a proper place to store your kayak. A custom kayak storage rack will help preserve your kayak, so it lasts longer and requires less maintenance. That means you’ll get to spend more time on the water enjoying your kayak. For specific questions, inquiries, or custom orders, contact Log Kayak Rack at 1-715-543-2006.