Boat Tour Questions & Answers

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Let your captain show the way! Enjoy a Boat Tour of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore!

Boat Tour FAQs:

Q: What time does the tour start?

  • Typically, the morning tours start at 9am or 10am; afternoon tours start at 3pm. Your approximate tour time will be confirmed after you make your 50% deposit. All depart times are subject to weather and will be confirmed the day before your tour date.

Q: What happens after I register for the tour?

  • You will receive an auto generated email from us confirming your registration. Within 24 hours, you will receive a second email with an invoice. We require a 50% deposit of your tour price in order to reserve your spot on our calendar.

Q: When do I pay for the tour?

  • We require a 50% deposit of your total tour price in order to hold your reservation. Once registered, we will send you an email invoice with directions on how to pay the 50% deposit.
  • The second half of your payment will be due before the tour departure, at our Beach Shop. If you are a Bayfield pick up, this payment can be made over the phone, typically done when we confirm your departure time the day before your tour.
  • Your deposit will be refunded if your tour is canceled due to bad weather.

Q: How do I pay for the tour?

  • The 50% deposit to hold your spot is usually a PayPal payment through our invoicing system. You do not need a pre existing PayPal account and all major credit cards are accepted.
  • Your second payment can be paid with any major credit card or cash in our Beach Shop. We are not able to “recharge” your first card used for the 50% deposit as we do not keep your credit card information on file.

Q: What is the National Park surcharge fee?

  • There is a 3% park surcharge for all boat tours, for us operating within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This money goes directly back to the NPS. These funds are used to support projects such as docks, launches, and grounds keeping; hiring staff for lighthouse tours and interpretation on the islands and visitor centers; visitor protection rangers responding to emergencies; amongst other things. You will find the charge on your invoice under the 3% park surcharge fee.

Q: What type of boats are used for the tour?

  • We use 21-24 foot cuddy cabin power boats. These boats are family friendly because they comfortably fit six adults plus they have a little “cabin” which allows for storage space for your coolers. This space also functions as a spot to change in/out of your swimsuit or wet clothes. 

Q: What if there is bad weather the day of our tour?

  • Your safety is our top priority when planning a tour with us. If we need to reschedule your tour due to weather, we will try our best to reschedule while you are in the area, backup date noted accordingly.
  • If we are unable to get you on the water due to adverse weather, we will provide a FULL refund of your deposit.

Q: What if there are big waves and wind that doesn’t permit the tour to go to Devil’s Island?

  • Sometimes, the weather on Lake Superior makes it difficult to head out to the caves on Devils Island. We are well prepared with backup options:
    • Sand Island has similar sea caves and rock formations to Devils Island. Your captain may suggest seeing the sea caves at Sand Island instead of Devils.
    • Meyers Beach also has rock formations similar to those at Devils Island. No matter the alternate route, you will not be disappointed by the amazing views found in the Apostle Islands!
  • Please note this may extend the time of your tour, as those locations are further from our main route. This decision will be made at the Captain’s discretion, while in communication with your group. 

Q: What if we need to cancel our tour?

  • You can cancel your tour up to four weeks or more before the tour date and receive a full refund of your deposit, minus a $20 per person processing fee.
  • Cancelling within two to four weeks prior to your tour, you will receive a 50% refund of your deposit, minus $20 per person processing fee.
  • No refunds are given less than two weeks’ notice of the tour date unless emergency circumstances apply. 

Q: What should we wear for the tour?

  • We will provide a suggested packing list at the time of your tour confirmation. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses, wearing plenty of layers, including a sweatshirt, windbreaker, and long pants, and/or a towel or blanket, as it is always chillier on the water than you expect. Feel free to bring a swimsuit if you’re up for a jump in the lake!

Q: Are there bugs bad in the Apostle Islands?

  • Yes, the bugs (mosquitos and black flies) can be bad on the islands; mostly during the late spring/early summer. Many factors affect the bug situation; temperatures, wind, location, etc.
  • While out of our control, your captain will try to find a solution if the black flies become unbearable during your tour; and may even shorten your tour. We will give you a discount in the chance that your tour is cut short.
  • Wearing long pants and long sleeves are the best defense against bug bites.

Q: What should we bring on the tour?

  • Bring everything you would think you need for a trip on a boat; sunscreen, bug spray, hats and towels, etc. We will provide a packing list once you register for the tour.
  • Please feel free to bring your own lunch, snacks and beverages; Adventure Vacations does not provide lunch or beverages. No glass bottles are allowed in the park/on our boats. 



Q: Does it cost extra to tour the lighthouse on Raspberry Island?*

  • If you would like a tour of the Raspberry Island Lighthouse, you will have to pay an extra fee for this service through the National Park Services. Please bring small bills of cash to pay at the time of the Lighthouse Tour.  *Currently this option is unavailable due to Covid-19.
  • Instead, visitors are able to walk through the first floor of the lighthouse which has been restored to appear as it did in the 1920’s. *This is a free, self-guided tour and available mid-June.

Q: Can kids come?

  • Of course, kids are welcome on our tours! Any children 12 and under must wear lifejackets (provided by Adventure Vacations or bring your own!) at all times on the boat.
  • Please note that the price is the same for each person on the boat, regardless of their size or age.


Q: Can I bring my dog?

  • Dogs are allowed on our tours; however, we do require an additional fee. They also require a “sniff” test to make sure they will not make a mess in the boat. Unfortunately, larger breeds are not allowed onboard the boats (Mastiffs, Great Danes, etc.). Please note there is no kennel service on the Island or in Bayfield.
    • Dogs 20lbs and under – $15 fee
    • Dogs 20-60lbs – $40 fee
    • Dogs 60-110lbs – $75 fee (take up whole seat space on boat)

Q: Is there a bathroom on the boat?

  • We do not have bathrooms on the boat, however, there are bathrooms along the tour at certain Island stops.

Q: We don’t intend to visit Madeline Island; can the tour leave from Bayfield?

  • Yes! We can pick up your group in Bayfield (and drop you off). More details, such as the address, will be provided for you at the time of confirming your tour registration.
  • There is no extra cost for a Bayfield pick up/drop off.
  • You can find info about Bayfield city parking, click here

Q: Is gratuity included in the tour cost?

  • No, a tip for your captain is not included. We suggest tipping your captain as you would tip your waiter/waitress in a restaurant; around 10-20% gratuity is greatly appreciated by your captain based on your experience and their role in your tour.
  • If you found your trip to be “un-tip worthy” please let us know how we can improve!

Q: What if our group doesn’t meet the minimum four people and it’s the day of the tour but no one else has signed up?

  • Hopefully we will be able to find another group to meet the minimum requirements! We are usually busy mid June through end of August and have no problem finding others to adventure with!
  • You will get a full refund of your deposit for your tour if no one else signs up.

Q: Can you accommodate a larger group than 6?

  • We can accommodate to groups larger than 6 people, however, per Coast Guard regulation, our captained charters only carry up to 6 clients per boat. If someone in your group is an experienced boat driver, we offer boat rentals that can hold up to 8 people including the driver. Some larger groups choose to have one captained boat and then a rental boat follow.

 *Some aspects of these tours, such as lighthouse visits and short tours of historic sites, are run by the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and are offered by the Park Service, not by us. Therefore we ask for your understanding and flexibility when it comes to arranging these parts of the tour. At certain times of the year there are fewer rangers operating lighthouses and camps in the National Park and docks/lighthouses are sometimes under construction, which means it may not always be possible to visit lighthouses and other park-run attractions. The Park also charges small fees for some of its tours, ranging from $3-5 per person or $10 per family. They ask that each individual or group pays in cash before the start of their tour.