Weekend Guide to Bayfield


This is part 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


While there are pockets of greatness in every state, northern Wisconsin seems to have many: amazing lakes, beautiful seasons, and quaint small towns. Bayfield, nestled on the shore of Lake Superior, seems to have all of them.  

Each season on the northern peninsula of Wisconsin brings a new version of adventure and excitement. Fall brings Apple Festival and a rainbow of colors as the leaves change. As the snow flies, winter leads to the Apostle Islands Dog Sled Race and the chance to visit the ice caves + drive the ice road. Also, the perfect time for a relaxing getaway as town becomes a cozy oasis, contrary to the summer hustle and bustle. Summer is peak season, explore the open water from the hull of a sail boat or ferry, go berry picking, or simply walk the trails and enjoy life on Lake Superior.

Here's a few of our favorite ways to explore for a weekend in the warmer months. Enjoy! 


for the slower paced

Where To Stay:

With plenty of cottages + condominiums in the area with premium lake views, we suggest using the Bayfield Chamber's Lodging Availability search feature to find the perfect accommodations for your group. The Bayfield Inn offers a variety of options from hotel rooms to home rentals located downtown, some being pet-friendly. 

What To Do:

For the history buff, learn the rich maritime history of the area at the Bayfield Maritime Museum, a great place to stroll through, chat with the knowledgeable volunteers, and get a glimpse into year's past. 

Wander the Brownstone Trail as you watch the boats drift in and out of the harbor. Stroll the quaint Gil Larsen Nature Trail, following Big Ravine Forest’s stream under an old iron bridge to an overlook, located just up the the hill from Big Water Coffee. For a more adventurous hike, drive north of Bayfield to Frog Bay Tribal National Park, the trail leads you through a primordial boreal forest to the lakeshore with a great view of the Apostle Islands. 

Shop local in the variety of shops in town, like Howl Clothing & Adventure, Joanne's Scandinavian, and Apostle Island Booksellers. Explore the art galleries: Eckels Pottery, Bates Art Gallery, and Silverwaves Jewelry. Keep an eye out for the abundance of products made locally, like Bayfield Apple Co. , Lotta's Small Batch Sauce, and Soulfire Pottery

Where To Eat:

Begin the day in the most lovely of ways, linger over a 2-course gourmet breakfast at the historic Old Rittenhouse Inn. Take a mid-day break to soak up the lake views as you sip a signature cocktail on the roof-top patio of The Bayfield Inn. Savor a relaxing dinner at Ethel's at 250, famous for pasta + pizza. On a warm night, enjoy a ferry ride to dinner as you travel to the Pub Restaurant at the Inn on Madeline Island, with a lakeside view from nearly every seat in the house!  


for the wild at heart

Where To Stay:

Pitch a tent and wake up with the sunrise over Lake Superior. Dalrymple Park and Campground, located just north of Bayfield, has 30 wooded, first-come, first-served, campsites. Take advantage of access to miles of mountain bike trails in this Bayfield Rustic Yurt, nestled in the Bayfield County Forest. 

What To Do:

If you're a water lover and the moment you see the big blue ocean-like Lake Superior you'll be itching to hit the waves, we recommend signing up for a guided kayak tour through Trek & Trail or another outfitter in town. You'll be wow-ed by the sea caves near Meyer's Beach. Another option is to take a ferry shuttle to Stockton Island or Michigan Island. Explore Stockton's "singing" sand beach or take a tour of the Michigan Island lighthouse. For more information on ferry shuttle service, visit here.   

In the cyclist world, word on the street is Mt. Ashwabay has some of the best mountain bike trails in the Midwest. If mountain biking is a hobby of yours, don't miss out! Bike rentals are available through Bayfield Bike Route

Make the short drive to Cornucopia to hike the Lakeshore Trail, perched above the lake on a cliff with a different perspective of the sea caves from above. While in Cornucopia, visit Ehler's Store for a snack or soda (locally-made Naturally Northwoods soda is a delicious choice). 

Where To Eat:

As you prepare to explore from sun up to sundown, we recommend picking up lunch (or breakfast) to-go from The Fat Radish, a casual restaurant with a focus on local food. When you're in need of a refreshment post-cycle or hike, stop into The Creamery Bar for a craft beer. Pizza from Sergeant's Pepperoni Pizza To Go is some of the best in town - pick it up + enjoy while the sailboats return to the harbor. 


For the romantic getaway

Where To Stay: 

The Pinehurst Inn B&B on the south side of town, has five rooms in the main house, built in 1885, and three rooms in the Garden House. Suites include fireplace, whirlpools, and massages are available on site. If you're looking to reconnect with each other and enjoy time away, this is your place.   

What To Do:

Hop the ferry to explore life on the Madeline Island. Bring your bicycles or a vehicle to explore the 14 mile long island. Drop into a few of the shops in La Pointe to pick up a memento of your trip, like Madeline Island Candles or Bell Street Gallery. Grab lunch from the Island Eats Food Truck or sit on the patio of the Pub Restaurant at the Inn on Madeline Island - the lakeview is literally superior. When you're ready to get moving, drive to Big Bay Town Park and walk the boardwalk. Float in the lagoon with the honor-system kayak rental program that is located at the base of the boardwalk through Bog Lake Outfitters

One of the hidden (but quintessential) secrets in Bayfield is the sunset cruise with Dreamcatcher Sailing. Sail the smooth, glossy water of Lake Superior with an USCG Licensed Captain as the sun sets in the distance. We recommend picking up wine from Bayfield Wine + Spirits and fresh smoked fish from Bodin's Fisheries to set the mood. 

Where To Eat:

Start your day by sharing a gooey cinnamon roll from The Candy Shoppe, alongside a lavender mocha from Big Water Coffee. For lunch, we recommended visiting Maggie's, an unique themed restaurant with a fun atmosphere + delicious food. Relish in a one of a kind dinner at Wild Rice Restaurant. Make sure to order dessert as you linger in conversation. And this amazing restaurant is closing at the end of the season, so visit soon! 


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.