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“Kayaking was fun” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Apostle Islands Kayaks

Apostle Islands Kayaks
Lodi, Wisconsin, United States
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Kayaking was fun”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2013

The kayaking was fun. It was a work out but worth it. We did the self guided tour. My husband and I had both kayaked before and knew somewhat what to expect, but it was a more difficult paddle than we have done in the past. We had a tandem kayak which I wouldn't recommend, it was harder to manuever. It would have been nice if the kayaks had better seats since our backs got sore. The staff was very nice, but everything was unorganized. We got misinformation on where to meet and many of the other details. I'm a planner so I found that very irritating. But the shoreline and caves were beautiful.

Visited August 2013
4 Thank Rachelle E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edward K, Owner at Apostle Islands Kayaks, responded to this review, May 16, 2015
I am glad that the customers enjoyed kayaking and the beauty of Lake Superior. We make it very clear on our website and during the reservation process, however, that customers are to "check in with us at our downtown location" by specific times, depending on which tour or rental activity they wish to participate in. Customers are then given specific instructions - which park (we have two), where at the park and what time. My staff and I are indeed "very nice" and we do our best.
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27 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Poor Service”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2013

I had made reservations for my boyfriend and myself three weeks prior to our kayak trip. We originally planned to take out two single kayaks, as that was one of three options on their website. So we get there at 12:30pm, which is when the company told us to be there, but the employee didn't get there until well after 1:00pm. We could have been hanging out at the nearby beach instead of standing and waiting for over 40 minutes. What was worse was that a group of young adults that made NO RESERVATIONS took the last of the single kayaks, even though we DID make reservations, so we were forced to go on a double kayak. The employee there said that we may be able to get a half-off discount, but when I called Ed about it, he said that he would only be able to do that for our NEXT trip to Madeline Island. Although I have little respect for the company itself, the kayaking trip was fun as we explored the caves and swam a bit.

Visited August 2013
11 Thank ErlDibbles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edward K, Owner at Apostle Islands Kayaks, responded to this review, May 16, 2015
The customer did not check in at our downtown location as requested, but rather waited at the launch area 7 miles from La Pointe. Since the customer did not check in, my assistant had no way of knowing that the customer was waiting at the launch area, but she did her best to accommodate the customer. I am glad that the customer found "the kayaking trip was fun" and got to "explore the caves" and swim.
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Level Contributor
61 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Gorgeous scenery, hard work; not for small kids”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 26, 2013 via mobile

In general was a good time for my own family, a great workout with beautiful up close views of Madeline Island shoreline and sea caves. Would not suggest for those not used to physical activity. The young guides gave very brief instructions on how to use the paddles but once in the water didn't help with tips much. They told us at the beginning they wanted to keep everyone in a tight group but that notion went out the window later. My family and I stuck together and were aware of our surroundings. We are fairly fit and expected it to be a good workout, and it was. Bu Ot I felt bad for the families with young children. They didn't seem informed or prepared to work hard. Some parents had to paddle their own weight and their child's. The youngest kids were very bored after about 45 minutes. I had concerns about the guides not communicating well with each other and the group. As I mentioned before, this was a great activity for my own family. Would recommend for active adults and kids who can help with paddling.

Visited July 2013
4 Thank jenlec
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edward K, Owner at Apostle Islands Kayaks, responded to this review, May 16, 2015
I rarely allowed my young guides, although they were well trained, to take out a tour group. This was one of those few occasions. Yes, many parents are not "prepared to work hard," and that is unfortunate. I do think, however, it is not difficult for most parents to paddle with a child. We do take a lunch break half way through the tour and parents with small children who get "bored after about 45 minutes" can always shorten the tour after we visit the caves. I am glad that the customer writes that " this was a great activity for my own family, " and I appreciate the constructive criticism.
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Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
53 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Ed's on Island time, but that worked to our advantage on this great experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 20, 2013

The website does say trips/tours at 9:30 & 1:30 however we were told 11 am. Since we wanted a "no guide trip" and the weather/skies would be clearing that worked out great for us. Also I'm not a morning person and we had plans that evening, so the flexibility was good in our case. We've been to other islands, countries and when it comes to activities like these, it seems common that schedules are not "tight" as we expect in the office and our normal lives. Slow down and allow ample time when doing these excursions and plan for extra time. We were a bit wary since they wanted our phone # and we didn't have service at the campground, but he showed up as expected with the gear (kayaks live and stay at the beach) and all we had to do was walk down to the beach. We paid the day prior and had no issues. NO lengthy "sign you life away" contracts or deposits required as is common for most rental outdoor equipment. Ed gave a brief review of "how to" and off we went! We were asked to take our shoes off and it turned out I was quickly warm and this was fine. The wind blows toward shore so the location is excellent and safe. I would recommend this for families and older kids too, maybe younger if you stay really close to shore. He has more stable sit on top kayaks in addition to regular sea kayaks for this reason. The cliffs, rocks and adjacent bog/pond are equally impressive. To be out on the water is divine and really is a nice perspective. I am in shape but not a kayaker and was able to go several miles along the shore, across the bay and into the river, pond in 3-4 hours. (I've read 6-7 miles a good amount for beginners) Though it started out cool, we quickly warmed as the muscles get working and I was overdressed. I'd take a protein bar next time and do take water. I am glad we did this and feel ready to do more apostle islands next time!

Visited June 2013
4 Thank Ktwho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
milwaukee, wi
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Don't do it!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2012

I absolutely expect a snarky response from Ed for this review, but I like to help others make the best decisions on what to do with their valuable vacation time.
Let me start by saying that I think Madeline Island is one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited and that the trip I'm reviewing is our second trip to the island. I also don't doubt Ed's kayaking knowledge.
However, I am a planner. We had multiple phone conversations with Ed prior to our trip and had made a reservation for our group of 8, well in advance. Ed continuously told us that he was thinking about changing his tours for the summer 2012 season and that he would get back to us. In desperation, after not hearing back about any changes, we made our reservations. When we stopped by Ed's place the day before our kayaking tour, he had no record of our reservation. Good thing we stopped by. We were planning to do the sea caves excursion, and had told them that we needed a three-person kayak as one person in our group is physically unable to use the paddles and another is a handicapped child with limited ability to use the paddle. We found out when we got there that they don't offer 3-person kayaks for the sea caves trip. So, we had to scramble to figure out a way to get everyone onto a kayak. Then, we found out that the "shuttle" that is supposed to take people out to the park, isn't even registered, so we had to drive ourselves. This wouldn't be a problem, except that the trip leaves from the state park, so we had to pay the state park fee on top of the kayak tour fee.
So, at that point, we thought we were finally all set, but our trip got cancelled due to weather. Nothing that can be done about that. So, we rescheduled for the next day, and got cancelled again. So, we rescheduled for a third day! So, that's 3 additional state park fees for two different cars.
Also, we found that his website had been changed in multiple ways between when we made our first phone call to him and when we went on our tour. Many companies reserve the right to do this, but good customer service entails letting your already-registered customers know when there are changes. But, then again, it's difficult to do that if you're too disorganized to keep track of the reservations.
As we had already been through the paddle-selection process, we knew which size paddle each person needed. Ed even claimed to have written it down, but didn't bother bringing the list along and refused to consider that we could easily remember which paddles he had given us the previous day. So, we wasted a good 20 minutes, as he reassigned us paddles. Again, not a huge issue, but just another straw on the camel's back. We finally ended up at the state park beach and were all ready to go! But then we were forced to take off our shoes! My husband and I had both spent significant money on specially-made water shoes that are meant to be used in situations like this and everyone else in our party had the cheap water-sock type shoes. Ed had just purchased some new kayaks this year and although they were already scuffed-up quite a bit, he felt our shoes would damage them. For the first part of the trip, I did keep my shoes off but my heels were so raw from sitting in the sandy bottom of the kayak, that I had to wear them the rest of the time. If you want to put your kayaks on a shelf and admire them, then don't rent them out!
The tour itself was fine, except for two things. First, we paid extra for a guided-tour(though we weren't really given a choice in the matter). Usually with a guided tour you get a knowledgeable, friendly, funny person who talks to you the whole time, tells you stories and history, and points-out things of interest. We got absolutely none of that, except for him pointing out a little cave called the Gnome Cave. Secondly, we were told it's too rough to go anywhere near the caves! The water was pretty calm throughout the trip, but I'm not an expert. Again, Ed seemed more concerned about his kayaks than about what his customers were paying to see.
So, we spent ridiculously more money that we planned, wasted an entire day of vacation and STILL didn't get to see the sea caves. Keep in mind that if you're looking for a relaxing day, this is not for you. We paddled non-stop the entire time. I would've loved to stop and enjoy the beautiful scenery!
There is at least one other kayaking outlet on Madeline Island. Though their prices are a bit higher, I would highly recommend trying them out.

Visited August 2012
20 Thank mrsbanting
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edward K, Owner at Apostle Islands Kayaks, responded to this review, June 5, 2016
This "review" does not merit a response.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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