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“Don't understand the hype and attraction.”
Review of Madeline Island

Madeline Island
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The largest of Lake Superior's Apostle Islands and the only one that is commercially developed.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children, Wheelchair access
Reviewed August 26, 2014

Yes, it's a nice little island off the mainline, accessible only by ferry (pricey!).
There are only a few blocks' worth of businesses, and it doesn't take long to realize there isn't much to see or do.
Skip the pottery place on the main drag. It's ugly, the clerk wouldn't speak, and it's expensive!
The Bell's pottery place was nice -- still pricey, though. But clerk was very nice and friendly.
The candle shop was okay. Nice clerk and homemade soy candles. (I did buy one as a souvenir.)
After all I'd seen and heard about Madeline, was disappointed that there wasn't more to it.

1  Thank GloriaH022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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91 - 95 of 181 reviews

Reviewed August 24, 2014

This was a great little biking island with such beautiful scenery as you ride the coast of the island. Roads were pretty clean and lane nice size. The state park was free to bikers but the trail turned to gravel. We didn't explore any further but I wonder if there weren't more paved trails in there. We left the park and continued around the island before stopping for drinks at Tom's Burned Downed Cafe.
Nice shops with some locally made items.

1  Thank s10sler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2014

Madeline Island is a relatively large island in the Apostles accessible by car ferry. The town is very "cute" with little shops and a noted "burned down bar"--they kept the burned down shell and draped the area with a lot of "atmosphere". Many people rent scooters and head out to either the local park or the state park at the opposite end of the island. The state park is well kept. Camping, picnic areas, beach (brrr), boardwalk and a lot of open preserved natural space. Wild blueberries in late August. Car ferry was about $52 round trip, with 2 adults and one car. I don't recommend bicycling--no dedicated path--just shoulder, and not much scenery.

2  Thank nonamesforme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2014

It's people like this who keep places like Madeline Island from achieving a deserved perfect score on websites like this. Madeline Island is a quasi-hidden gem, apart from the inviting exploited touristy destinations that have become all too prevalent.

Reviews like these are like a person traveling to Jamaica and saying- It was horrible. The sun shines all the time and they don't quit playing reggae music.

So you're disappointed in the pristine clear waters that are perfect for kayaking, cliff jumping and paddle boarding? Then stay away from Madeline Island. You've been let down by what you expected to be 5-star Paris-level hotel accommodations and a lack of shopping options? Madeline Island ain't yo thang.

However, if you want the surreal feeling of swimming in a fresh water ocean within the Midwest, enjoy listening to good music at an open air bar that for a split second might feel like the Caribbean, and don't mind kicking the occasional raccoon away from your tent....this is your spot.

From my experience, Madeline Island people are good people. Hopefully it can it stay that way, and the others, who are concerned with high end hotels and first class shopping, can stay out.

23  Thank Nelson R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2014

The ferry ride was the best part. My husband and son golfed the course on the island which wasn't maintained very well. My daughter and I shopped the little stores, not really that impressed. I did however enjoy a delicious coffee! The kids asked my why anyone would ever want to visit Madeline Island, my response was it was for people who liked to tent, hike and kayak.

3  Thank KarisaLuvz2Travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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