Apostle Islands Live Cam

Surrounded by the notoriously treacherous waters of Lake Superior


The Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands located in Lake Superior, off the northern tip of Wisconsin in the United States. These islands are known for their natural beauty, sea caves, and historic lighthouses. Here is a brief overview of the history of the Apostle Islands:

Native American Presence:The region around the Apostle Islands has a long history of Native American habitation. The Ojibwe people, also known as the Chippewa, have a strong cultural and historical connection to the area. The islands were originally named by these indigenous people, and they played a significant role in the region's history and culture.

Fur Trading and European Exploration:In the 17th century, European fur traders and explorers began to venture into the Great Lakes region. The fur trade became a significant economic activity, and the Apostle Islands were part of this trade network. The French were among the first Europeans to explore the area.

Lighthouses and Shipping:As shipping traffic increased on Lake Superior in the 19th century, the need for navigational aids became crucial. Several lighthouses were built on the Apostle Islands to guide ships safely through the treacherous waters. One of the most famous is the Raspberry Island Lighthouse, which was constructed in 1862.

Logging and Quarrying:The islands were also utilized for logging and quarrying operations. Timber from the forests on the islands was in high demand, and quarries produced brownstone, a type of sandstone used in construction. The town of La Pointe on Madeline Island, the largest of the Apostle Islands, became a hub for these activities.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore:In 1970, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was established to preserve the natural and cultural resources of the area. The National Park Service manages this protected area, which includes 21 of the 22 islands along with a 12-mile strip of the mainland.

Sea Caves and Recreation:The Apostle Islands are renowned for their sea caves, particularly those along the mainland near Meyers Beach. These caves can be explored by kayak or boat and attract visitors who come to witness the stunning rock formations.

Cultural and Natural Heritage:The islands continue to be a place of cultural and natural significance. They are home to diverse plant and animal life, including a population of black bears. The cultural heritage of the Ojibwe people is also celebrated, and efforts are made to preserve and share the rich history of the region.

Today, the Apostle Islands are a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, camping, kayaking, and enjoying the scenic beauty of Lake Superior.

Top Tourist Attractions

The Apostle Islands offer a range of attractions for tourists, combining natural beauty, outdoor activities, and historical sites. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in the Apostle Islands:

  • Sea Caves:The sea caves along the Apostle Islands' shoreline are a major draw for visitors. The most famous sea caves are located on the mainland near Meyers Beach. During the winter, these caves sometimes freeze, creating spectacular ice formations. In the warmer months, kayaking tours are a popular way to explore the caves.
  • Apostle Islands Cruises:Several tour operators provide boat cruises around the Apostle Islands, offering visitors a chance to see the lighthouses, sea caves, and picturesque landscapes. These tours often provide narrated information about the islands' history and geology.
  • Madeline Island:Madeline Island is the largest of the Apostle Islands and is accessible by ferry from Bayfield, Wisconsin. The island features Big Bay State Park, historical sites like the Madeline Island Museum, and beautiful beaches. Visitors can explore the island by bike or car.
  • Apostle Islands Lighthouses:The historic lighthouses are iconic symbols of the Apostle Islands. Raspberry Island Lighthouse and Devils Island Lighthouse are among the most well-known. Many of the lighthouses have been preserved and are open to the public during certain times of the year.
  • Big Bay State Park:Located on Madeline Island, Big Bay State Park offers hiking trails, camping facilities, and stunning views of Lake Superior. The park is known for its diverse ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and sandstone bluffs.
  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Visitor Center:The visitor center, located in Bayfield, serves as an excellent starting point for exploring the Apostle Islands. Visitors can gather information about the islands' geology, ecology, and history. Exhibits and ranger-led programs provide insight into the natural and cultural aspects of the region.
  • Stockton Island:Stockton Island is the largest island in the Apostle Islands group and features attractions like Julian Bay Beach, which is known for its pristine sand and clear water. Visitors can also explore the island's hiking trails and campgrounds.
  • Meyers Beach:Meyers Beach is the launching point for many kayak tours to the Apostle Islands' sea caves. The beach itself is picturesque, and a short trail leads to an overlook with stunning views of the sea caves and Lake Superior.
  • Bayfield:The charming town of Bayfield, located on the mainland near the Apostle Islands, is a destination in itself. It features art galleries, shops, restaurants, and events that celebrate the local culture. Bayfield is also the gateway to the Apostle Islands, with ferry services to Madeline Island and boat tours to the other islands.

These attractions collectively make the Apostle Islands a popular destination for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and those interested in the historical and cultural heritage of the region.


The climate of the Apostle Islands, situated in the northern part of Wisconsin along Lake Superior, is influenced by the lake and exhibits characteristics of a continental climate. Here are some key features of the climate in the Apostle Islands region:

  • Cold Winters:Winters in the Apostle Islands can be quite cold and snowy. Lake Superior has a moderating effect on temperatures, but the proximity to the lake can also lead to heavy snowfall. Winter temperatures often range from sub-zero to freezing, with icy conditions along the shores of Lake Superior.
  • Lake Effect Snow:The presence of Lake Superior contributes to lake effect snow, particularly in the winter months. Cold air passing over the relatively warmer lake water can result in increased snowfall, especially in areas downwind of the lake. This phenomenon can enhance winter precipitation in the Apostle Islands region.
  • Cool Summers:Summers in the Apostle Islands tend to be cooler than in more southern parts of Wisconsin. Lake Superior's cool waters moderate temperatures, preventing extreme heat. Summer temperatures typically range from mild to warm, with daytime highs averaging in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit (15-25°C).
  • Rainfall Distribution:Precipitation is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year, although summers may experience slightly more rainfall. The region receives a significant amount of its precipitation in the form of snow during the winter months.
  • Fog:Fog is not uncommon along the shores of Lake Superior, particularly in the spring and early summer when the lake is still relatively cool compared to the air temperature. This can affect visibility and create atmospheric conditions that add to the region's unique charm.
  • Fall Colors:Autumn in the Apostle Islands is a beautiful time, with the changing colors of the deciduous trees creating a stunning display. Fall temperatures are cool, and visitors often come to enjoy the fall foliage and hiking trails.

It's important to note that weather conditions can vary, and the microclimates on each island may differ. Additionally, the Great Lakes, including Lake Superior, can influence weather patterns and create local variations in climate. Visitors to the Apostle Islands should be prepared for a range of weather conditions, especially if engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, or exploring the sea caves.


The Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands located in Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, off the northern tip of Wisconsin in the United States. Here are some key features of the geography of the Apostle Islands:

  • Location:The islands are situated in the western part of Lake Superior, near the town of Bayfield, Wisconsin. The closest mainland point is the Bayfield Peninsula.
  • Number of Islands:There are 22 islands in the Apostle Islands group, each with its own unique characteristics. The islands vary in size, with the largest being Madeline Island, and the smallest islands often just rocky outcroppings.
  • Geological Formation:The Apostle Islands are characterized by rugged sandstone cliffs, sea caves, and unique rock formations. The sandstone was shaped by glacial activity during the last Ice Age, and the islands continue to be shaped by the erosive forces of Lake Superior.
  • Mainland and Bayfield Peninsula:The mainland, particularly the Bayfield Peninsula, serves as the gateway to the Apostle Islands. Bayfield is a charming town that attracts visitors and provides services for those exploring the islands. Ferry services to Madeline Island and boat tours to the other islands depart from Bayfield.
  • Madeline Island:Madeline Island is the largest of the Apostle Islands and is the only one that is inhabited year-round. It has a diverse landscape, including forests, wetlands, and beaches. Ferry services connect Madeline Island to Bayfield.
  • Lake Superior:The islands are surrounded by Lake Superior, the largest and deepest of the Great Lakes. Lake Superior is known for its cold, clear waters and can influence the climate of the Apostle Islands. The lake provides recreational opportunities and plays a role in the unique features of the islands, such as the sea caves.
  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore:In 1970, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was established to protect the natural and cultural resources of the area. The National Lakeshore includes 21 of the 22 islands and a 12-mile strip of the mainland.
  • Sea Caves:The islands are renowned for their sea caves, particularly those along the mainland near Meyers Beach. The sea caves are carved into the sandstone cliffs by the erosive action of Lake Superior and are a popular attraction for kayakers and boaters.
  • Vegetation and Wildlife:The islands are home to diverse plant and animal life. Forests cover much of the land, and the islands provide habitat for various bird species, including nesting colonies of seagulls and other waterfowl.

The geography of the Apostle Islands, characterized by its geological features, proximity to Lake Superior, and diverse ecosystems, makes it a unique and attractive destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.