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Explore Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Program No. 12512RJ
Discover the Apostle Islands’ many charms as you enjoy local culture, see a presentation on shipwrecks, learn about the region’s ecology and hear tales of early settlers.

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DATES & starting prices
Jun 2 - Jun 6, 2024
Starting at
Jun 9 - Jun 13, 2024
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Sep 15 - Sep 19, 2024
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Sep 22 - Sep 26, 2024
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DATES & starting prices
Jun 2 - Jun 6, 2024
Starting at
Filling Fast!
Jun 9 - Jun 13, 2024
Starting at
Sep 15 - Sep 19, 2024
Starting at
Sep 22 - Sep 26, 2024
Starting at
5 days
4 nights
12 meals
4B 4L 4D
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At a Glance

Discover the remote Apostle Islands, 22 Lake Superior isles (only one of them inhabited) off the northern tip of Wisconsin. Learn about the history of shipwrecks in this area and board a boat to discover the historic lighthouses that guide ships and boats safely through the sometimes-rough waters. In Bayfield, the small fishing town where this program is based, a National Park Service Ranger tells you more about the environment of this area including which wildflowers are in bloom.
Activity Level
Easy Going
Walking a few blocks on sidewalks; some moderate hills.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Ride the ferry to Madeline Island to explore Big Bay State Park with its pristine barrier beach and boardwalk.
  • Delve into the history of shipwrecks near the Apostle Islands in an expert presentation by the retired director of the Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center.
  • Hear some great tales of how the locals survived in the early years in this beautiful but sometimes harsh environment.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Bob Mackreth
Historian Bob Mackreth retired from the National Park Service in 2005 after a 32-year career as a park ranger. His assignments took him from the Atlantic coast to California's Sierra Nevadas. Bob's final position with the NPS was Park Historian at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. In this role, he conducted research into the stories of the men and women who lived on the remote islands in Lake Superior. Since his retirement, Bob has concentrated on research and writing, and remains committed to historic preservation.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Bob Mackreth
Bob Mackreth View biography
Historian Bob Mackreth retired from the National Park Service in 2005 after a 32-year career as a park ranger. His assignments took him from the Atlantic coast to California's Sierra Nevadas. Bob's final position with the NPS was Park Historian at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. In this role, he conducted research into the stories of the men and women who lived on the remote islands in Lake Superior. Since his retirement, Bob has concentrated on research and writing, and remains committed to historic preservation.
Profile Image of Sherman Edwards
Sherman Edwards View biography
Sherman Edward’s life has always been either on or under the water. His grandfather, Olaf, was a fisherman and a builder of fishing tugs. Sherman’s father tried his hand at fishing but made his career on the ore boats. Sherman’s career started on the ore boats in the summers when he went to college. He eventually started working for the local sports fishermen and eventually captained his own boat. He worked for the Madeline Island Ferry Line, retiring from there in 2013 after 33 years.
Profile Image of Thom Holden
Thom Holden View biography
Thom retired in 2013 from the Corps of Engineers’ Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center in Duluth, Minnesota after 36 years, the last 10 of which he served as its director. At the University of Wisconsin, he earned degrees in mechanical engineering and graduate degrees in environmental journalism and recreational resources management. He developed his interest in Lake Superior shipwrecks and lighthouses as a youngster, doing his first research project on Isle Royale National Park’s shipwrecks when he was 11 years old.
Profile Image of Geof Wendorf
Geof Wendorf View biography
Geoffrey “Geof” Wendorf has a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and a Master’s in Endocrinology/Reproductive Physiology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He served as a Professor in Community Development for 25 years with the University of Wisconsin Extension System. Geof then took a position with the University of Wisconsin Superior as an Outreach Specialist. He has since served as the Director of the Leadership Superior/Douglas County Program and in 2010 became Director of the Road Scholar Programs at the University of Wisconsin Superior.
Profile Image of Neil Howk
Neil Howk retired in 2017 as the Assistant Chief of Interpretation at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, having served more than 35 years with the National Park Service. He worked for the National Park Service at Colorado National Monument, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Dinosaur National Monument, Wupatki National Monument, Gates of the Arctic National Park, and from 1983 to 2017 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Neil and his wife operated a B&B in Bayfield from 1986 to 2018.
Profile Image of Katrina Werchouski
Katrina Werchouski View biography
Dr. Katrina “Kat” Werchouski is a proud member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. She serves as an equity and inclusion education and training specialist for the Minnesota Department of Human Services in the Office for Equity and Inclusion, and as senior partner and senior consultant for Peak Perspectives LLC. She earned her B.S. in environmental studies and B.A. in Native American studies from Northland College, M.S. in environmental studies from Green Mountain College, and Ed.D. from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Profile Image of Mary Tripp
Mary Tripp View biography
Dr. Mary Tripp spent more than 20 years teaching marketing, nonprofit leadership, business management, and communications courses for multiple colleges and universities. Prior to teaching full-time, she was a marketing coordinator at the Essentia Health System for six years. Her past experiences include retail, food service, event planning, and supporting non-profit organizations. Tripp was the University of Wisconsin-Superior recipient of the “Excellence in Teaching” performance award in 2009. In her free time, Mary enjoys traveling, golfing, exploring national parks, reading, and spending time with friends.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Tales of Bayfield Pioneers: A History Of Bayfield
by Elenor Knight
Tales of Bayfield Pioneers is an exploration of a wonderful past. To read it is to come away with a sense of place. The times, the lives of the pioneers and settlers, the shipwrecks, community spirit, and institutions of a fledgling community on the shores of Lake Superior are meticulously documented for posterity. Eleanor Knight, "provided a new appreciation of local history to the citizens of Bayfield during the Centennial period." Eleanor, the grand-daughter of one of Bayfield's pioneers and captains of industry, William Knight, was one of Bayfield's finest and talented writers and highly qualified to document and record the wealth of historical facts. She has left a legacy for all to enjoy. Now, citizens of Bayfield and the future, together with the Knight family, can share the history of early Bayfield, as written by Eleanor Knight and published in the Bayfield County Press from 1950 through the 1956.
La Pointe: Village Outpost on Madeline Island
by Hamilton Nelson Ross
The Wisconsin Historical Society Press has republished a long-out-of-print classic of Wisconsin history, La Pointe: Village Outpost, by Hamilton Nelson Ross (1889-1957). The book, which first appeared in 1960, provides a 300-year history of La Pointe, a community on Madeline Island, one of Lake Superior's Apostle Islands. With flair, humor, and solid scholarship, Ross tells the story of the region's evolution. Madeline Island served initially as a refuge for the local Ojibwa from their enemy the Sioux before the arrival of French explorers in 1659, then an epicenter of the fur-trade era in the eighteenth century, and finally a summer vacation spot for businessmen and industrialists. Today the island attracts thousands of summer tourists who vastly outnumber the 200 or so year-round residents. Ross first visited Madeline Island from his native Beloit as an eight-year-old, returning again and again over his lifetime to the Ross family cabin in La Pointe. His years of careful study and observation served him well. Ross told the region's story so eloquently that his book helped persuade Congress and the President in 1970 to preserve the islands in perpetuity as the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
The Four Hills of Life: Ojibwe Wisdom
by Marlene Wisuri & Thomas D. Peacock
The Four Hills of Life tells the wise and beautiful Ojibwe story about the path we walk through the seasons of life, from the springtime of youth through the winter of old age. The hills we climb along the way are the challenges we face and the responsibilities we accept. The path is not always easy; some of us lose our way. We question the meaning of life. But when we walk the Good Path—when we commit to values and fulfill our goals—the meaning of life finds us. With text and activities developed by Ojibwe elder and educator Thomas Peacock and heavily illustrated with photographs by Marlene Wisuri, The Four Hills of Life describes the journey taken by previous generations of Ojibwe and the relevance of these life lessons for young readers today.
Superior's Jewel: The Apostle Islands Trilogy
by Barb Dimich
A dauntless street sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department, Kat LeNoir possesses courage and confidence until she shoots a man to death in the line of the duty. Follow it up with another near death encounter on a hot city night and Kat suddenly finds herself incapable of serving the citizens or commanding her patrol. There’s only one way out--to resign. Emptied of life, terrified of failure, Kat returns to Madeline Island and discovers island peace shattered by the crosscurrents of her hometown’s first murder and an outsider homicide cop on a two-year search for a killer of sixteen-year-old girls. While it’s clear nothing will stand in his way of catching a crazed killer, especially a lady cop who couldn’t hack it, it’s also clear that his determination and her dwindling courage turn into a battle of wills that can salvage or destroy what’s left of Kat’s pride.
This Superior Place: Stories of Bayfield and the Apostle Islands
by Dennis McCann
"Picturesque little Bayfield on Lake Superior is Wisconsin’s smallest city by population but one of its most popular visitor destinations. This book captures those unique qualities that keep tourists coming back year after year and offers a historically reliable look at the community as it is today and how it came to be. Abundantly illustrated with both historical and contemporary images, This Superior Place showcases, as author Dennis McCann writes, “a community where the past was layered with good times and down times, where natural beauty was the one resource that could not be exhausted by the hand of man, and where history is ever present.” Because Bayfield serves as “the gateway to the Apostle Islands,” the book also includes chapters on the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Madeline Island, and the nearby Red Cliff Ojibwe community. It also covers the significant eras in the city’s history: lumbering, quarrying, commercial fishing, and the advent of the orchards visitors see today. It is not a guidebook as such but more of a visual and written tour of the city and the major elements that came together to make it what it is. Colorful stories from the past, written in Dennis McCann’s casual, humorous style, give a sense of the unique characters and events that have shaped this charming city on the lake."

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