Summer Staycation Series: Madeline Island


Summer is slowly beginning to wind down, and I’m sure there were many more adventures and road trips planned than actually occurred. We’re launching a short summer series of ideas designed to help you take the most of the weekends that are left! When was the last time you took a local adventure? Simply going to a familiar place with a different lens or purpose can make it feel new. Get dressed up for dinner, walk or bike instead of drive, go to a different beach than usual. To see the first installment of a local highlight, scroll on. 

Madeline Island: A place known and visited by many, but always worth the trip. Estimated budget for 1: $60/person or less for a day. $15 round trip for an individual on the ferry, and the rest for fun, games, and food!

Get prepared! A trip to the island means you want to look your best, so stop by the store to see our summer-wear options, from button-downs to wicking dresses to sandals. We’ve got great hiking-appropriate clothes that can take you from trail to meal. Recommended items would be a sling bag (like the ones by Patagonia or Kavu), Chaco sandals, Kavu or Patagonia synthetic dresses, and Outdoor Research men’s shorts with a Kavu button-down.

A trip to the island is perfect to get new family, couple, or Instagram photos, so make sure to bring a camera or clear some space on your phone!

Time needed: 5+ hours total.

Time to go: wake up early, grab a cup of coffee in Ashland at The Sandbar, and hit the road! Driving along the coast is beautiful in the early morning, and there’s less traffic. During the week, the first ferry leaves Bayfield at 6:30am, and while I recommend the one at 7:30am or 8:45am, if you want to get a start on the day, go for it! Getting to the island on the ferry takes 20+ minutes, and bring a sweater--the wind gets cold! Enjoy the stillness of the morning, birdsong, and the pastel colors. 

On the island: we recommend coming hungry! The island is home to some fabulous eats, including Farmhouse Restaurant, Cafe Sieche, Jody’s Foodtruck, and the Beach Club. Come for breakfast or lunch, and there will be something delicious available. Getting a breakfast or brunch bite and then hitting the trail or beach is our ideal day.

Once happy hour hits, Tom’s Burned Down Cafe is, of course, the quirky place for drinks and photos! 

Before heading to Tom’s, why not go by Big Bay State Park, which boasts one of the nicest selfie spots in Wisconsin. Enjoy over 10 miles of hiking trails, a beautiful shoreline, and beach relaxing. See what Travel Wisconsin has to say about Big Bay here:

Big Bay Town Park is equally nice for beach relaxing, and without the entrance fee, which definitely helps keep the cost of the day lower. 


Simply taking a few hours to relax on the island, or in any new setting, can be as rejuvenating and as fun as an out-of-town vacation. We hope this first post inspires you to take a mini-vacation of your own! Check back in a few weeks for more ideas.