This guide will help you plan your perfect camping trip at Big Bay State Park.

Big Bay State Park

The Big Bay State Park is a state park in Wisconsin. It is located on Madeline Island which is the largest of the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior. It is open year-round.

The 2,350-acre campground offers stunning views, sandstone bluffs, and caves to explore. The campsites are large and offer plenty of space for larger RVs and they are wooded with space between so you do have some privacy. We had a deer hang out with us one night at our campsite which was fun!

Camping at the Big Bay State Park was a unique camping experience.

Big Bay State Park

Camping on Madeline Island

Madeline Island is 14 miles long and 3 miles wide.

With its numerous natural resources, pristine Lake Superior views, Madeline Island offers camping that any outdoor camping enthusiasts will appreciate. It is a very tranquil & serene place. There are lots of opportunities for recreation including water activities such as kayaking and hiking trails.

There are two campgrounds on this island, the Big Bay State Park and Big Bay Town Park.

The quaint little town of La Pointe on the island is located in the western part of the island and offers a variety of restaurants, ice cream shops, art galleries, and tourist guides. Tom’s Burned Down Cafe was an interesting place to check out. It has been called the worst bar in the world but it sure was lively.

A drive from the Big Bay State Park to La Pointe takes about 12 minutes.

Madeline Island Ferry Boat

How to get to Big Bay State Park

Because the Big Bay State Park is on an island you need to take a ferry boat to get there. I took the Madeline Island Ferry from Bayfield, Wisconsin. Towing our RV on the ferry was surprisingly easy and the Lake Superior views were spectacular. – Madeline Island Ferry Info

How long is the ferry ride from Bayfield to Madeline Island?

The ferry ride from Bayfield to Madeline Island can last anywhere from 25 minutes to 1 hour. The time it takes depends on the weather. If you are one of the first ones to get on the ferry you may spend some time waiting because they try to fill the boat up before they leave.

No dogs allowed on Big Bay State Park beach

Are Dogs Allowed at Big Bay State Park?

The campground is pet friendly, however, I was disappointed to learn that dogs are not allowed on the beach at Big Bay State Park.

Big Bay Town Park is an Alternative

The Big Bay Town Park has an abundance of campsites with a dog-friendly beach so I spent my beach time at this park. It is a gorgeous beach with a boardwalk and my dog Princess loved it. If I return to Madeline Island I will choose to camp at this campground next time.

Kayaking at Big Bay State Park

Best Things to do While Camping at Big Bay State Park

Kayak and Canoeing

There were many kayak and canoe tour guides that will rent you a kayak or canoe and take you out on Lake Superior. I went on a guided kayaking tour and it was a fun adventure. If you love water activities I encourage you to try this.

The Madeline Island Kayaking Guided Tour I Took:


There are 7 miles of hiking trails at Big Bay State Park.

I hiked the 1.3 mile Big View Trail. This trail enters a forest and follows the Lake Superior shoreline. I saw people jumping off rocks so if you are more daring than me this might be something to try. This is a must-do hike.

Off this trail is the Point Trail and is 1.7 miles. This trail takes you through woods and the mosquitoes were awful. Be sure to prepare ahead of time to combat these pesky insects.

Enjoy the Lake Superior Shoreline

Swimming and walking along the Lake Superior shore is a great way to spend time on the island. The water is just right if you want to go for a swim and the sunsets are spectacular!

Make Big Bay State Park Reservations

You can make your Big Bay State Park campground reservations here: