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Take the stress out of planning your Bayfield getaway. On the blog, you'll get the inside scoop of where to go, what to see, and what to do. 

Your Perfect Lake Superior Getaway Awaits in Bayfield, Wisconsin

Main building of Seagull Bay Motel in Bayfield, Wisconsin

I’m feeling scattered but refreshed. 

At the time I’m writing this, Isaac, the boys, and I (Mollie) just got back from an extended Thanksgiving vacation in Florida. 

I unplugged for most of it, and now that I’m back in Bayfield, I’m looking ahead. And although the winter here is described as the “quiet season,” our attention is already turning toward the upcoming summer season.

In January, we notice you are too because my inbox starts to get a little busier with questions about Bayfield, things to do, and room availability at Seagull Bay.

Bayfield, Wisconsin, is one of the top destinations in the Midwest. And gone are the days when you can drive north on a whim and get a room in the height of our tourist season – the end of June through the end of October.

So as we settle back into our routines at Seagull Bay (after the holidays) and look ahead, we want to highlight a few things for you. We hope they inspire you to dream, imagine, and plan your ultimate Lake Superior getaway in Bayfield, Wisconsin.

Bayfield Is a Rich Blend of History and Eye-Catching Landscapes

If you’re new to Bayfield, let me tell you it’s an easy town to fall in love with. And for those of you who come back year after year, you know what I’m talking about!

Bayfield is a little harbor town that sits on the south shore of Lake Superior. It’s the gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and is as far north as you can get in Wisconsin.

Established in 1856, Bayfield and the surrounding area’s abundance of natural resources had already been drawing Native Americans and fur traders for hundreds of years. But as we entered the industrial era, logging, fishing, shipping, and mining attracted more people. 

Isaac’s ancestors, the Boutins, migrated from Canada in the 1870s to fish the bountiful waters of Lake Superior – where they’re still fishing today.

In the early 1900s, fruit farming – along with select vegetables like green beans – became popular, and farms owned by the families of Hauser and Erickson were established.

Lighthousekeepers and other settlers lived on the islands year-round, and people from all over (including presidents) came to sit on the banks of Lake Superior.

Since then, Bayfield has changed with the times. 

  • In WWII, Bayfield was home to a POW camp
  • The flood of 42’ forever changed part of Bayfield’s landscape
  • In the ‘60s and ‘70s, you could catch a baseball game in the center of town

The lumbermills that used to occupy Bayfield’s shoreline have been replaced with marinas and parks. The baseball field was moved next to the school to make room for a bank and a hardware store. And there are only two streets left that are laid with brick. 

And although Bayfield has changed, its charm has not. The downtown is lined with unique gift shops and eateries. Plus, Bayfield’s natural wonders continue to draw people from all around the world.

Lake Superior Makes a Getaway in Bayfield, Wisconsin Unforgettable

We can’t talk about Bayfield without talking about the elephant in the room – a really big elephant. Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake (by surface area) in the world. And the “crown jewels” of the lake are the 22 Apostle Islands. 

The largest of the islands is Madeline Island. Madeline is a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland. The ferry docks in the village of LaPointe, an old fur trading town. This is home to a bustling little community in the summertime and is the finish line for the Pointe to LaPointe, a 2.1 open water swim.

A historical lighthouse of Michigan Island on Lake Superior

The other 21 Apostle Islands are scattered around the Bayfield Peninsula and house the greatest concentration of lighthouses in the United States. They’re managed by the National Park Service. Most of the islands are designated wilderness areas to protect their quarries, old-growth forests, sweeping beaches, and towering sea caves.

  • Sailors
  • Kayakers
  • Cruisers
  • Campers
  • Boaters

…and more come to enjoy this salt-free sea. But the beauty doesn’t stop here.

Enjoy Forest Bathing, Captivating Views, and Rolling Hills

From the mainland, you’ll find sweeping views of Lake Superior, spectacular sun rises from the front balcony of Seagull Bay, and sherbet skies at sunset.

Hiking view by Lake Superior

The mainland is a hub of outdoor adventures:

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Skiing
  • Snowshoeing

In the last 10-15 years, Bayfield and the surrounding communities have worked hard with volunteers and contractors to develop a maze of trail systems for all to enjoy. Found inside the city limits and on its hillsides, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the landscape.

Also gracing Bayfield’s hillside are its fruit farms. 

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries

Are the preferred currency.

From late June until late October, you’ll find seasonal fruit gracing menus and garnishing cocktails.

It Wouldn’t Be Summer In Bayfield Without Big Top Chautauqua

The other thing worth bragging about is the music scene in Bayfield.

In 1986, Mary Rice helped support Warren Nelson, Betty Ferris, and others in launching Big Top Chautauqua. 

Over the years, Big Top has entertained thousands with their house shows and big-name artists like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Indigo Girls, Brandi Carlile, and more. It’s “music under the stars” in a big blue tent at the base of Mt Ashwabay.

You can also catch live music twice a week in the summer months at Memorial Park. Grab your camp chair, a blanket, and ice cream, then you’ll be all set to sit back and enjoy Concerts By The Lake.

Bayfield is filled with adventure, entertainment, and natural beauty. I still can’t believe I live here! Even better is that me and my family get to share our little town with you.

Slide Into Relaxation Mode At Seagull Bay in Bayfield, Wisconsin

A private deck from the Bay West property of the Seagull Bay Motel in Bayfield, WI.

As you start to dream of Bayfield and all the fun things to do, I want you also to imagine how a getaway on Lake Superior will make you feel.

What will it feel like to:

  • Wake up slowly in the morning? 
  • Watch the sunrise over Madeline Island?
  • Sit on the balcony or your private deck, knowing there’s no place you have to be?

There is so much to do when you visit Bayfield, but there’s a peace and sense of calm you feel when you pull into our parking lot. The point when you can relax after all the planning and packing has been completed. 

To help you take some stress out of preparing for your summer vacation, we’ve created our seasonal adventure guide. This guide gives you some ideas of the places and activities we think you’ll love.

You can download it here and start dreaming about your perfect Lake Superior getaway in Bayfield, Wisconsin.

Enjoy the View!

Mollie, Isaac, Axel, Ridge, and Banks

January 8, 2024

Get the Most Out of Your Bayfield, Wisconsin Getaway

just for you

Bayfield is brimming with outdoor adventures, local events, and renowned festivals.

To help you plan the ultimate Bayfield vacation, we’ve created a seasonal guide filled with the best our area offers.

Enter your email, and we’ll send it right to your inbox so you can start planning your getaway.


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Your Bayfield Getaway Awaits!

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