2023 Apostle Islands kayak camping and paddling trips
Trip 1: August 1-4, 2023
Trip 2: August 17-20, 2023
Miles: varies each day
Challenges: weather; packing ALL gear into kayaks; possible long paddle days; Join one of our Practice Paddles prior to the trip.
Fee: $40 to join the trip -OR-
$70 to join the trip and participate in the group meals (evenings only)
NOTE: You MUST be a current member of NEWP and ACA. To join, see the membership page.
Registration and payment options will be coming soon. Please check back later.
- All participants must wear a personal flotation device (PFD or lifejacket) at all times while on the water.
- No alcoholic beverages are allowed on the paddle or during lunch stops.
Current Participant List:
(Please confirm your club membership status and complete the trip forms above.)
Trip 1: 8/1 to 8/4 (Oak B)
- Jeff Mazanec
- Scott Thomson
- Joanne Gorski
- Richard Grenell
- Matt Ashauer
- Mike Bors
- Mike Labelle
- Dean Wegner
- Hether Hoffman
- Sandy Oliver
- Josh Phillipps
Trip 2: 8/17-8/20 (Oak A)
- Jeff Mazanec
- Tana Taylor
- Josh Taylor
- Richard Grenell
- Angie Lent
- Tom Wilczak
- John Deigman
NEWP has secured two group camping permits for Apostle Islands Group Campsites this year and is finalizing plans for this year’s trips.
- Trip 1 will launch from Little Sand Bay and travel to Oak Island Group Site B on Tuesday August 1; returning to Little Sand Bay on Friday August 4.
- Trip 2 will launch from Washington Avenue Beach in Bayfield and travel to Oak Island Group Site A on Thursday August 17; returning to Bayfield on Sunday August 20.
Group camping permits require a minimum of 8 and allow a maximum of 21 participants. Based on past trip experience, we intend to limit the size of each trip to fourteen participants. Although participants must meet the stated experience, boat and equipment criteria stated on this page, our goal is to mix experienced paddlers with “first-timers” in each trip.
(Some of the trip details are still in the planning stages and may be updated.)
NEWP club trips provide an opportunity for experienced paddlers together with newer paddlers to safely enjoy a few days of great paddling and camping in the beautiful Apostle Islands. For many participants over the years, our club trip has been a “first” experience paddling extensively in the Great Lakes, and often also for camping with only the equipment and supplies that can be packed into a kayak.
We select destinations and campsite locations to offer a variety of paddle destinations, hiking and other activity options based on weather and paddle conditions. Ken Braband’s short video clip from our 2019 trip to Sand Island, or his long version with participant interviews provides a good trip overview. For more information check out the Apostle Islands website.
Trip Plan Information
Plans for two Apostle Islands trip this year are set:
- Trip 1: Launch Tuesday August 1, camp on Oak Island Site B; return Friday August 4. Trip Leaders are Jeff Mazanec and Scott Thomson.
- Trip 2: Launch Thursday August 17, camp on Oak Island Site A; return Sunday August 20. Trip Leaders are Jeff Mazanec and ??.
Participant lists on this page will be updated as registrations are confirmed, and we will maintain a wait list if necessary.
Trip 1 (Aug. 1-4) Timeline
- Travel to Bayfield, WI on Monday July 31 and spend the night in local camping or hotel accommodations. Check Trek and Trail in downtown Bayfield for last minute paddling or camping needs. Optional group dinner at 6:30 PM.
- OPTION – Leave early enough Monday to do a Meyers Beach launch to visit the mainland sea caves Monday afternoon.
- Launch day Tuesday August 1: Breakfast at Manypenny or other local restaurant, then travel to launch at Little Sand Bay for a 10:30 AM launch to Oak Island Group Campsite B. (8 miles). Set up camp, share dinner and enjoy island life!
- Days 2 and 3, Visit Raspberry Island lighthouse, Manitou Island Fish Camp; other islands or other local attractions. Extensive hiking trails are available on Oak Island.
- Return day Friday August 4 – Break camp and return to Little Sand Bay; pack up and drive home.
Trip 2 (Aug. 17-20) Timeline
- Travel to Bayfield, WI on Wednesday August 16 and spend the night in local camping or hotel accommodations. Check out Trek and Trail in downtown Bayfield for last minute paddling or camping needs. Optional group dinner at 6:30 PM.
- Launch day Thursday August 17: Breakfast at Manypenny or other local restaurant; pack and launch from Washington Avenue Beach in Bayfield. Paddle distance to Oak Island Group Campsite A is about 8 miles, with a great lunch stop at the Basswood Island dock.
- Days 2 and 3, visit Raspberry Island lighthouse, Manitou Fish Camp; other islands or other local attractions. Hiking trails are also available on Oak Island.
- Return day Sunday August 20 – Break camp and return to Bayfield; pack up and drive home.
Pre-Launch Night Lodging: On your own – we’ll share lodging options for those that wish to share a room. We’ve had good experience with local camping, Washburn and Bayfield lodging accommodations.
Apostle Island Group Campsite Information – Oak Island Site A
This site is 1.5 miles southeast from the Oak Island dock, situated atop a high bank above the sandspit at the southern tip of the island. Vault toilet facilities are available, with 2 picnic tables, fire ring and food locker. Well water is not available at this site so we will filter our own water supply.
Apostle Island Group Campsite Information – Oak Island Site B
This site is 50 yards west of the dock and adjacent to the volunteer cabin. 2 picnic tables, a fire ring, food locker and vault toilet are nearby. We will filter our own water supply for cooking and drinking.
Participant Qualifications and Preparation
To ensure participants meet fitness qualifications and equipment requirements, all participants must complete at least one two-hour group paddle. This will:
- Expose the participant to the physical requirements of an extended crossing. We will be prepared to stay in the kayaks for the full trip.
- Confirm each participant’s ability to make the trip.
- Verify that the kayak and equipment are suitable for a Lake Superior trip.
- Practice/test paddles are listed on the Practice Paddles page.
- Other opportunities to paddle in “big water” conditions:
- Door County Sea Kayak Symposium (July 7-9)
- Others TBD
Trip Leaders for each trip are identified above.
- Trip leaders will have authority over all participants on water trips or activities.
- If the trip leaders believe that due to weather or water conditions it is unsafe to proceed with a trip or activity, they may restrict or cancel that trip or activity.
- Note that past trip weather and wave conditions have resulted in early return trips or change to land-based daytrips. (NPS adopted stricter “no paddle” rules in 2021 that may apply in certain situations.)
- Water Crossings, Trips and Activities:
- No solo on-water crossings, trips or activities will be allowed.
- All on water activities will be done in groups with designated lead paddlers. Groups must be three or greater paddlers.
- Trip leaders have final approval of all participating kayaks and equipment.
- All kayaks, equipment and clothing must be suitable for Lake Superior paddling.
- Kayaks must have flotation or bulkheads, deck-lines and be fitted with spray skirts. If the kayak does not have bulkheads the use of and knowledge of how to use sea socks is required.
- Inflatable PFDs are not acceptable for this trip.
- Participants are encouraged to acquire and become familiar with safety equipment such as paddle floats, radios, tow ropes, spare paddle etc.
- Night paddling is not planned, however paddlers should be prepared in case a night paddle becomes necessary. Coast Guard rules require everyone to have a visual light source such as a laser flare or three traditional flares, a sound source (whistle) and a white light source (head lamp) to display in the presence of moving boat traffic.
- Paddle Clothing – Lake Superior is COLD!
- Practice self and group rescues; review the video Cold Water Boot Camp.
- Bring suitable cold water paddling gear, wetsuit, dry suit, splash jacket, gloves, etc.
- Dress to confidently function in cold weather and in case of cold-water immersion.
- Alcohol and Drugs
- NO ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION WILL BE ALLOWED WHILE PADDLING.
- NO ILLEGAL DRUGS WILL BE ALLOWED.
Meals and Camping
Participants are responsible for their own camping and cooking. However, we will coordinate “group cook” dinner each night for those that wish to participate. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are on your own. Group dinner meal leaders:
- Trip 1:
- 8/1 Tuesday – TBD
- 8/2 Wednesday – TBD
- 8/3 Thursday – TBD
- Trip 1:
- Trip 2:
- 8/17 Thursday – TBD
- 8/18 Friday – TBD
- 8/19 Saturday – TBD
- Trip 2:
Black bears are active in the Apostle Islands and occasionally present a problem. Steel “bear boxes” are provided at the group campsite and must be used to store all food, toiletry or clothing that smells of food.
The trip goal is to have a fun, safe outing. Because of the nature of Lake Superior, safety will be the primary factor. Due to possible weather and wind conditions on Lake Superior, there is no guarantee that events or activities will happen as planned. Participants must be flexible and be prepared for changes in events and timing.
All Apostle Island National Lakeshore rules must be followed. All participants will be expected to follow the “Leave No Trace” practices. Burning of garbage, cigarette butts or other waste is not allowed in the fire area.
Questions? Contact Jeff M. at [email protected].
- Be a current ACA and NEWP member.
- Have taken a NEWP class or be known by one of the lead paddlers to have the requisite skills and training for the planned trip.
- Complete the event form, ACA waiver and submit the event fee.
- The fee will cover event expenses and purchase of trip safety equipment.
- In the event a participant cannot make the outing and a qualified replacement is willing to take their place, the fee will be refunded.
- If the event is cancelled due to conditions beyond our control, any remaining funds after paying expenses will be refunded proportionately. The participant can choose to donate their refund to the club for the purchase of safety equipment.