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Southern Shore Lake Superior Trip Report

La Crosse, Wisconsin
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Southern Shore Lake Superior Trip Report

We had a great trip along the southern shore of Lake Superior that I would like to share with you all. Our road trip was with our 1 year old son the first week of July... Whew! But fun!

Day 1 - Hayward, WI. - Was basically an overnight stop. Downtown area was cute and they have some neat shops. A must do is Tremblay's Candy Shop, an old-time candy store where the fudge/truffles are made right before your eyes. Yummy! There is also an nice outdoors store and moccasin store. We stayed at the Comfort Suites - nice comfortable place right on the water. There is a playground outside for the kiddos.

Eats: The Angry Minnow: Was an interesting menu, food was fresh but under seasoned. The staff was very green..... The building is very cool and ambience was good. Upscale pub. Could be great with a little work.

Day 2-4 Bayfield, WI - We stayed at the Bayfield Inn's Bodin-ski House 2nd floor. I would definitely stay here again it was clean and in a perfect location.

Must do: Apostle Islands Cruise Evening Tour: We had a great time. The audio tour is given by the captain - tons of information, but a good mix of history and stories. The crew was super nice and accommodating. It is 3.25 hours so plan accordingly and bring snacks and warm clothing (yes, even if it is July), it will be cold on the boat. The best part was the Devil's Island Sea Caves. Make sure to do this cruise on a nice day, because if the weather is dicey they won't bring the boat in close to the island.

Must do: Iron Bridge Walk: Short and sweet hike, but the Iron Bridge is a really cool old structure.

Must do: Madeline Island, WI: We ferried our car over - $50 bucks. $Wow$ - Best beach was at the Big Bay Town Park - we walked the boardwalk/trail there for several miles along Lake Superior (though beautiful, it was kind of the same scenery.... so I would just walk it for a little bit). We then biked to Big Bay State Park - there was an overlook and a hike that looked promising. I actually wished we would've started at the State Park and taken that hike instead of the Town Park's hike.

Apostle Highlands Golf Course: The husband played it and liked it. Great Views, nice holes. Not the best maintained, but he would like to play it again.

Best eats: Sergeant Pepperoni's Pizza - Great pizza for take-out. Really Tasty

Coffee: Big Water Coffee Roasters: decent coffee, really cute place

Other eats: Maggie's, Egg Toss Bakery, Portside Bar and Grill - all average. We also ate at the Beach Club on Madeline - sit outside.. have a cold one.

Day 4 - Ashland, WI /Drove to the Porcupine Mountains. Stopped in Ashland to eat at the South Shore Brewery and Deep Water Grill : I highly recommend stopping here. Great Eats! We had the Broiled Whitefish Sandwich and the Reuben. Drink a Nutbrown Ale or their APA. Both were delicious.

Day 4-6: Porcupine Mountains / Ontonagon, MI : Stayed at the AmericInn - was not impressed, though it is the closest hotel to the Porcupines, so based on its proximity, I would stay here again.

Tip: If you are driving west to east, keep in mind the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness Park is around 25 miles across. I would hit up a few of the sights on the way in.... instead of backtracking like we did. Also, this is a wilderness area, so no cell service and if you want any type of groceries/gas.... plan ahead. Bring bug spray - you will need it.

Must do: Presque Isle East and West River Hike (2 miles): These are what I would deem as Easy Hikes, but they were beautiful. 4 waterfalls on the hike and it takes you along the river with old growth forest and wildflowers.

Must do: Lake of the Clouds Overlook: Beautiful overlook

Other hike: Summit Peak Loop (combines 3 trails) 5 miles total: So the mosquitos were terrible when we took this hike, so it was not enjoyable. We basically sprinted through swampland with mosquitos chasing us with a crying baby on my back. I think it would have been worth it in the fall - but not summer.....the hike took you through old growth forest, to Mirror Lake, and back up the Beaver Creek River.

Other stop: Victoria Falls near Rockland, MI: It was closed, but the restoration site was kind of cool. Old copper mine village. It has a few buildings and a volunteer mans it. They don't seem to get much action so they would love to talk to you.

Best Eats: Ontonagon, MI : Syls Cafe: Little diner that had amazing (I mean AMAZING!!!) raspberry pie. Dutch Apple was good too. All homemade food. I digged it.

Other Eats: AmericInn Restaurant is passable in a pinch, We also ate at Antonios Pizza (5 miles south on Rt 64, near White Pine), there is a blinking stoplight and west of that you will see an abandoned strip mall. On the back side of the stripmall there is a little diner/pizza place - really local.... Had good pizza.

Days 6-8: Keweenaw Peninsula/ Copper Harbor, MI : Copper Harbor is beautiful - so is Eagle Harbor, MI. I would stay in one of these places.

Scenic Drive Must do: Take Highway 41 North to M26 towards Eagle River. Between Eagle River and Eagle Harbor at Jacob's FAlls, you must stop at the Jampot (see description below). On the way to Copper Harbor, take Brockway Mountain Drive (It is a rough road, don't do it if you get car sick :) Beautiful views coming down into Copper Harbor. On your return drive down the Peninsula, take the coastal drive out of Copper Harbor, back to Eagle Harbor etc.

Other Drive: We drove out to Bete Gris: Which was a nice looking beach, then headed south down the eastern coastal road. It was pretty in parts, when you could see the lake. Otherwise, it was a long way out of the way. We stopped at a roadside turn out that was nice and walked along the beach.

Must do: The Jampot: A bakery run by monks. The monastery is down the road across the street. Buy Jam! Buy Sweets! Then walk down to the monastery and walk through their beautiful flower garden.

Must do: Eagle Harbor Lighthouse. Take a few pics, check it out.

We stayed at the Bella Vista Motel in Copper Harbor. I thought it was adorable. Very small, family owned, very clean, pretty landscaping. Great Sunsets. Lake Front property. I would definitely stay here again.

TIP: If staying over the 4th of July (like us). Definitely stay at the Bella Vista. They shoot the fireworks off right over the harbor. You can watch them from the hotel lawn. It worked out perfectly.

Good Eats: Harbor Haus: German specialties, kitschy outfits, great views

BAD EATS: Tamarack Inn - Terrible Service...... :( crabby staff.

Other eats: Mariner North - just okay.

Day 8: Houghton, MI

Good Eats: Suomi Bakery - Finnish Specialties, Good Fast Service

Day 8-9: Minocqua, WI before heading home - Loved this little lake town, good downtown area.

Must do: Bearskin trail: although we didn't do it. It looked lovely.

Must do: Just take a drive, and look at all the nice lake homes... then talk about how you should buy one and get all fired up about it. That's what we do :)

Good Eats: Island Cafe - friendly staff, fresh food.

We stayed at the Best Western Plus: Nice Clean hotel, great location.

Thanks! Hope this helps anyone trying to plan their northwoods trip. Have fun!

Edited: 08 July 2013, 04:14
Destination Expert
for Madison
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1. Re: Southern Shore Lake Superior Trip Report

Thanks so much for this great report. One of my favorite drives in the COUNTRY, and you nailed it. Bravo!, And with a 1-year-old in tow. Many happy memories will now follow, once the mosquito bites stop itching and go away.....

La Crosse, Wisconsin
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2. Re: Southern Shore Lake Superior Trip Report

Yes! Thank you! We had a great trip. Now I can't wait to do the northern shore of Superior... just need to get lil' man a passport.

Destination Expert
for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
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3. Re: Southern Shore Lake Superior Trip Report

fun reading thanks for sharing. If ever in Bayfield again don't miss the Delta Diner south of there a bit. There's some great waterfalls, the big top shops are amazing and berry picking is fabulous not to mention Applefest.

4. Re: Southern Shore Lake Superior Trip Report

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