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Big Bay State Park

Camping on Madeline Island

Madeline Island Ferry

After our sea kayaking day-trip, we loaded up our car and bikes onto the 3:30 Madeline Island Ferry, and made it to our campsite at Big Bay State Park by 4:15.

The campground is small, with only 60 sites available. The sites are also located in a marshy area, so be sure to bring lots of bug spray – the mosquitoes are numerous and tenacious!

Swimming in Big Bay State Park

The really standout feature of this campground is the beach — it’s 1.5 miles of golden sand and clear water. Swimming in Lake Superior is usually, well, a brisk experience, but the shallow water of the bay makes for a refreshing dip.

Big Bay + New Glarus

The other nice thing about the beach is that it isn’t crowded at all — even at it’s busiest,  there were no more than 30 people scattered along the shore. As a matter of fact, if you’re feeling adventurous, a moonlight dip in the lake will make you feel like you’re the only people left on earth.

Nature Trails in Big Bay

On a cooler day we hiked the nature trails in the park — if you get a chance, pack a picnic lunch and eat on the cliffs overlooking Lake Superior. We also biked around the island. One thing to be aware of, is that some of the roads aren’t paved, so biking can be a bit dicey — make sure that you consult a map before setting out.

Know before you go:

Make your camping reservation early – you can make one up to 11 months in advance. Be sure to bring lots of bug spray – you’ll need it! If you are taking a vehicle on the ferry, be a little early, especially in the afternoon, otherwise you may have to wait for the next trip.

Bottom line:

We loved camping at Big Bay, and will definitely be back.

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