6 Reasons to Spend A Day in Bayfield

This is the beginning of a series of posts written in collaboration with Bayfield Chamber of Commerce + Visitor Bureau. Come learn more about Bayfield at Northerly Collective's Pop-Up Truck event with Big Water Coffee + Bayfield Tea Company this coming Sunday, August 6th from 8am to 2pm in Koller Park in Manitowish Waters. Event details available here


Nestled on the shore of Lake Superior, Bayfield, Wisconsin is considered the "best little town in the Midwest" making it the perfect destination for a day trip from the Northwoods. Just a 2 hour drive north, Bayfield is the gateway to the Apostle Islands, situated on the large, vast, + ocean-like Lake Superior. In addition to the views of endless blue stretching past the horizon; Bayfield has conventional + organic farms, culinary experiences, and plenty of trails to explore. We promise you, one trip to Bayfield will have you planning another soon.  



With plenty of trails within a close radius of Bayfield, you will want to remember your hiking shoes + water bottle. For your morning walk with a cup of Big Water Coffee in hand, find the intersection of S Third St + Wilson Ave to pick up the Brownstone Trail and begin meandering along the brownstone cliffs of the Lake Superior Shoreline. Another favorite is Gil Larsen Nature Hiking Trail/Iron Bridge Trail, beginning just uphill from the ferry boat landing, this trail follows a stream under an old iron bridge to an overlook. For the more adventurous spirit, wander Frog Bay Tribal National Park through a boreal forest to the lakeshore, with great views of the Apostle Islands. Hike Houghton Falls State Nature Preserve, a trail that follows a sandstone gorge, ending with views of the Apostle Islands + a waterfall.

Northerly recommends: If you're like us, we love bringing our four-legged friends when we are making a day of it, so the best part - friendly dogs are welcome most places on a leash. Pick up a bag of locally made dog treats, Racey's Tasty Dog Treats, sold at Big Water Coffee. 



Adventure continues when the land ends and the open water of the big sea of Lake Superior begins. Sign up for a kayaking tour to hit the open water and experience beautiful sandstone cliffs. Trek & Trail offers a variety of customized tours to fit your style and group's needs, from sea caves to family paddles.  

Take the Stockton Island Dayhiker Shuttle, serviced by Apostle Island Cruises to experience the "singing" sand squeaks underfoot on Julian Bay. Shuttle will drop you off on one side of the island and pick up on the other, giving you enough time to explore + enjoy before returning to the mainland. 

Northerly recommends: If time doesn't allow you to buckle a life jacket and cruise the big lake, we suggest at least wading in the clear blue water and sandy beach of Bayview Park, located on Bayview Park Road.  



Bayfield's farms + orchards are in full swing in the summer and fall, so plan your trip accordingly. Nothing describes summer's sweetness better than sunshine on your face as you enjoy a juicy strawberry in the field. With cherries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, just to name a few - there's plenty of picking + eating to be done. As summer comes to a close and cooler weather blows in, apple orchards ramp up. Avoid the weekend crowds and head north on a weekday to get your bounty of honey crisp, gala, or whatever your favorite variety is for your famous apple pie. In need of a new recipe? Try this award winning apple pie from Bayfield's Apple Festival's Apple Pie Contest. Yum.   

Northerly recommends: Read the Berry Farm + Orchard Report to see what's ripe + ready. Our favorite farm for berry season is Blue Vista Farm. Check out their adorable barn-turned-gift shop complete with local products, serving ware, + trending cookbooks.   


four - Relax

Enjoy the slower pace of life by exploring what lies inside Bayfield's brick and mortar shops. Check out Eckels Pottery, stoneware + porcelain clay molded with inspiration from the local surroundings. Cruise the bookshelves of Apostle Island Booksellers, we suggest asking for their favorite new favorite reads. Stop into Howl Clothing + Adventure for men's + women's clothing and accessories. Wander towards the ferry boat landing to check out Trek & Trail, your kayak adventure headquarters. When you need time to slow to a crawl, find a bench or patch of grass in Bayfield Memorial Park and watch the boats leave the harbor. 

Northerly recommends: on a warm summer day, enjoy an iced coffee at Big Water Coffee Roasters or ice cream cone from The Candy Shoppe for an afternoon treat. 


five - ISLAND TIME  

Hop on the Madeline Island Ferry to explore the largest Apostle Island. Ferry schedule varies depending on the season; in peak summer, a boat departs every 30 minutes during the day. If you plan to venture out of town to walk the boardwalk of Big Bay Town Park, make sure to bring your vehicle. Once the ferry arrives to La Pointe, stroll through town stopping into Madeline Island Candles + Bell Street Gallery. For an educational bit, learn the legendary stories of the island's history at the Madeline Island Museum. When you've seen enough + it's truly time to celebrate the clock slowing to "island time", head to Tom's Burned Down Cafe, voted one of the best beach bars in the world.    

Northerly recommends: When the sun is high in the sky + your stomach is growling, grab lunch from the gals at Island Eats Food Truck.     



With tons of hidden culinary gems, any of the area restaurants won’t lead you astray. The Fat Radish offers delicious homemade soups, salads, + sandwiches for a casual lunch. On a sunny day, climb the stairs to the roof-top patio of The Bayfield Inn for lunch with a full service bar and some of the best views in town. Another popular eatery, Maggie's, offers delicious Lake Superior whitefish, served alongside their fun, eclectic interior decor.       

Northerly recommends: In beautiful weather, we love to order lunch to-go from The Fat Radish and enjoy a picnic in Bayfield Memorial Park.


Explore on the way

On the drive north to Bayfield, stop into Ashland Baking Company for a morning snack; known for delicious pain au chocolate croissants + fresh baked bread. Solstice Outdoors, located on the waterfront in Ashland, is a perfect place to stretch your legs + dip your toes into the water of Lake Superior. If it is your first time visiting the area, stop at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, just past Ashland, to connect with the area's history, cultural heritage, and changing art exhibits.

When the day comes to a close, continue your adventure by exploring a few fun stops on your way back home. For an afternoon treat, stop into Tetzner's Dairy, an honor-system farm store that sells milk, ice cream, + cheese. In Ashland, pick up a few local + organic items from the Chequamegon Food Co-op before enjoying a locally brewed beer from South Shore Brewery. If you're in need of dinner before continuing the trip, we recommend Freehands Lakeside, located on the lakefront. 


Getting there


Thanks to @roughingit for our thumbnail photo   

For more adventure suggestions, sign up for our newsletter, The Current Collective and explore with the Northerly Collective Adventure Guide.