Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Madeline Island?
Madeline Island is located at the very northern point of Wisconsin on Lake Superior. Located 90 miles east of Duluth MN; 450 miles north of Chicago, IL; and 320 miles north of Madison, WI.
How big is Madeline Island?
Madeline Island is the largest of the Apostle Islands and is 14 miles long and 3 miles wide. There are 45 miles of paved and non-paved roads on the Island.
How do I get to Madeline Island?
Madeline Island can be accessed via private boat, airplane, or ferry. The Madeline Island Ferry Line boat landing is located at the northeast end of Bayfield. Turn east onto Washington Avenue off of State Highway 13. Ferry service is provided from March or April until freeze-up, weather permitting. The ferry ride takes approximately 20-25 minutes. From the mainland dock to Island dock the distance is approximately 2.5 miles.
Are reservations required for the Ferry?
No, vehicles and pedestrians are loaded on a first come first served basis. (Exemptions are for semi-trailers, dump trucks etc. or pre-arranged tour groups). The general rule is to be in line approximately 10-15 minutes for a specific scheduled crossing.
Can I bring my pet onto the Ferry?
Yes, well-mannered pets on a leash or properly kenneled are welcome on the ferry. Pets are not to be left unattended while on a leash.
Is there somewhere to park my car in Bayfield?
There is parking throughout the City of Bayfield; most street parking has a 48-hour limit. There are various lots near the ferry landing which will allow overnight and extended parking. For more info regarding Bayfield, please Click Here
Are there campgrounds on Madeline Island?
Yes, campgrounds are located at Big Bay Town Park and Big Bay State Park. The Town Park has 61 tent sites and 22 electric sites, all of which can be reserved online . Potable water and pit toilets are available at the Town Park. The State Park offers a 60-site family campground with showers. Rates vary depending on residency and day of the week. Big Bay State Park: For information and reservations can be made by calling 1-888-947-2757 or make your reservation online at https://dnr.wi.gov/
topic/parks/name/bigbay/. Big Bay State Park: Reservations can be made by calling 715-747-3031 or visiting bigbaytownpark.com.
Is there public transportation on Madeline Island?
No, public transportation is not available on the Island. It is advisable to bring your car across – especially for access to the parks as they are located 7 miles from the ferry landing.
If I don’t bring my vehicle over to the Island, what can I do while on the Island?
The Village of La Pointe is located at the end of the ferry dock. There are shops, restaurants, churches, museums, lodging, real estate, hiking trails, grocery stores, small public beach area, coffee, bike, moped, guided kayak tours, mini-golf, and many other points of interest within walking distance. Madeline Island Ferry Line provides twice daily walking tours during the summer peak season.
What is the difference between Big Bay State Park and Big Bay Town Park?
Big Bay State Park and Big Bay Town Park are located at opposite ends of Big Bay on the east side of the island. Both Parks are located approximately 7 miles from downtown La Pointe. The Town Park is owned and operated by the Town of La Pointe; the State Park is part of the Wisconsin State Park system and requires a State Park sticker for admittance with a vehicle. If you are looking to visit the sea caves while on Madeline Island, you will want to access them via the State Parks Bayview Trail. The Town Park does not have sea caves but rather a 2-mile sandy beach with the Big Bay Lagoon adjacent to it. The Town Park and State Park are adjacent to each other and are connected via a boardwalk and trail.
Is there bicycle or moped rental on the Island?
Yes, Motion to Go, located within 2 blocks of the ferry landing rents bicycles and mopeds. Please note a valid driver’s license is required for moped rental.
Where are the public boat launches located?
Madeline Island Yacht Club has a boat launch as well as in Bayfield at the town marina and at Black Hawk harbor.
Is there transportation from the Madeline Island Airport to town?
No, there is no readily available transportation, please make arrangements with your place of lodging prior to flying to the Island. The airport is located approximately 1 ½ miles from downtown La Pointe.
How do people get across during the winter?
Once the ferries stop running for the winter, there is a passenger only windsled that travels on a limited schedule. The windsled is used until the ice road is considered safe enough for cars and light trucks to travel. The windsled is used again in the spring when the road is deemed unworthy of travel but the lake ice is too thick for the ferries to cut through.
CLICK HERE to download the 2020 Madeline Island Visitor’s Guide