Getting to Madeline Island, Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

Maybe you’re thinking of checking out the island on your next vacation or weekend getaway.  The first question, of course, is how are you going to get there???

For most of the year, the island can be reached by a ferry that travels between Bayfield and La Pointe; the ferry accepts vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.  The trip is about 2.6 miles; ferries run several times a day, with the schedule varying by season.

During most years, this part of Lake Superior freezes for a few months in late winter; it’s then possible to drive across on what’s known as “the Madeline Island ice road.”  During transitional periods, residents make the trip in a special “ice sled” that can safely cross thin ice and open water.

By road, Bayfield is about an hour and a half from Duluth, four hours from Minneapolis, six hours from Madison, and eight hours from Chicago.

It’s much easier, of course, to reach Madeline Island by air; the Town of La Pointe maintains a public airport with two 3,000 ft. runways.  For location, detailed runway information, and instrument approach procedures, visit

Finally, if you’ll be arriving by boat, Madeline Island is easy to reach from anywhere in the Great Lakes.  Transient docking is available at the Madeline Island Yacht Club.

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