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“Spectacular Beach and hiking trails”

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Big Bay State Park Campground, Madeline Island
Reviewed January 5, 2012

My wife and I went here on our Trip back in September. The ferry ride was nice. Once on the island, we drove to the Park. We walked from a parking area to the beach and were taken away by the beauty of Big Bay Beach. The water was clear and surpisingly warm ! The hiking trails were nicely marked and the plaques along the way were helpful in giving some history and information. On the way back to the docks, we passed a doe and her fawn right by the side of the road. Not more than 1/2 mile later, another set was on my side of the car. We stopped right next to them and I got some nice video and pictures, which I will add as soon as possible. Allow at least 3-4 hrs to explore the island / beach / trails.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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11  Thank Watertown_Traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (19)
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16 - 19 of 19 reviews

Reviewed August 17, 2011

Some campgrounds are noisy, some are nasty (bathrooms that is), some aren't secluded, and some are too secluded. This one was just right! The ferry ride was great and the town was beautiful. Yummy ice cream too! We had a very nice spot next to our extended family and not far from the bathrooms. There was a nice boardwalk to the sandy beach and the trails in and around the campground were great. The lake was FREEZING but most of our party jumped in to say we did it. The beach was nice and quiet and clean. I would recommend this campground to anyone who wants to camp on the Apostle Islands, but is terrified of kayaking and dying in the the lake. I do wish that travel to the outer islands to camp was less expensive...we found it was $600ish for all of us (8) to get to the other islands. Unless I was looking in the wrong place. Everyone said you had to charter a boat and that costs alot!

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with family
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11  Thank KatherineNoel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2011

My husband and I camped here in late May, 2011. It was a good time to go as bugs were minimal, but the trails were muddy. The campground's sites are nice and well-spaced. There is no view of the lake, but it and its wildlife can be heard from most sites. The main bathrooms and showers were clean and well maintained. As for the park itself, there are trails, such as the bay view trail which has some great views of the sea caves. There is a nice beach. Not a spectacular place, but it is the highlight of Madeline Island.

Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
8  Thank packhawk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2007

A quick ferry ride from beautiful and charming Bayfield, WI gets you to Madeline Island. Once there the park is a 10 minute drive on which you will probably see TONS of deer, so be on the look out! If you plan doing any of your own cooking it is good to know that the island has only two small grocery stores with a limited selection. You may want to hit the IGA in Washburn or Bayfield before heading over, especially if you are a picky eater. You will also want to stock up on insect repellant before heading over, it sells out quickly on the island. Big Bay State Park’s campground is large with about 60 sites, most of them wooded and despite what it may look like from the park map, none of them have a lake view. There is a convenience station with flush toilets and showers (2 per sex) which is fairly well maintained. In addition each loop has pit toilets, water pumps, and bear proof garbage receptacles. Don’t let the lack of a lake view stop you from camping here, this is still a beautiful campground lush with Northwoods vegetation and wildlife. Each evening at dusk we heard what sounded like thousands of loons over the water and sunsets over Lake Superior are spectacular! We even had our own resident yellow-bellied sapsucker that stopped in for frequent visits while sitting around the campfire. Despite what other reviewers have said, I feel that there is a lot to do on the island. There are miles of trails to hike and a lot of coastline to paddle. Just be sure to have plenty of 100% DEET insect repellent with you and apply it offen, the black flies are merciless and will ruin your fun otherwise. The highlight of our trip was renting a canoe through Bog Lake Outfitters and paddling through the wetlands of the Big Bay lagoon, accessed from Big Bay Town Park. We saw a river otter, turtles, a huge variety of birds (and a lot of black flies). Campsites at this park can be reserved, which a big plus considering you will be investing around $40.00 for a ferry ride over. There is also what appears to be really nice camping available at Big Bay Town Park (no showers, no reservations) that is worth checking out.

41  Thank Lois Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Big Bay State Park Campground, Madeline Island

Address: Madeline Island, WI
Location: United States > Wisconsin > Apostle Islands
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Apostle Islands
Number of rooms: 60
Also Known As:
Big Bay State Park Campground, Madeline Island Hotel Apostle Islands

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