Wisconsin, USA

Five Family-Friendly Things to do in Bayfield, Wisconsin

If you’ve ever looked for a Midwest family vacation, then you know there are plenty of water parks, theme parks, and big city getaways. However, if you are looking for a Midwest vacation that will leave everyone happy, Bayfield, Wisconsin is a small town that is sure to be a big hit with the whole family.

1. Big Top Chautauqua
Set on Mt. Ashwabay, this canvas tent theatre has hosted artists such as Johnny Cash, Melissa Ethridge, B.B. King, and the Beach Boys. The energy is as big as the talent, and there isn’t a bad seat in the tent. From mid-June through mid-September there are dozens of different shows that appeal to young and old alike, and what better way to introduce the kids to new music than in a big circus tent. 

2. Lake Superior         
Due to the Apostle Islands, the water near Bayfield is calm, which is perfect for spending the day on Lake Superior with the family. With a quick kayak lesson, you can venture out and explore the famous Apostle Island sea caves. You will be amazed as you weave in and out of the cave passages that shimmer with color, especially near sunrise and sunset.

If you want to see more of the Lake Superior National Lakeshore, you can’t beat sailing. When chartering a sailboat you can choose to take lessons or leave the sailing to one of the many local captains. Either way, you will get to enjoy the translucent water, spot various fish and wildlife, and view the picturesque lighthouses that dot the islands. You are sure to make long-lasting memories when you spend time with your family on Lake Superior.

3. Hiking/Walking
One of the greatest things about Bayfield is how walkable the city is. You can easily park your car and not drive during your entire visit. Exploring the town on foot is the best way to discover local stores and museums while chatting with locals and fellow vacationers. Convince the kids to take a walking architecture tour by promising to follow it up with a spooky, evening ghost tour.

It would be a shame to visit Bayfield and not hike one of the many trails in the area. You can stroll through simple trails that take you right through town or try one of the more vigorous hikes that take a little more effort. Whatever trail you choose, the entire family is sure to love the adventure of exploring nature. Remember to bring your camera and binoculars because Bayfield is home to more than 300 bird species. Also, don’t forget to hop on the ferryboat to Madeline Island where there are hiking opportunities at both Big Bay Town Park and Big Bay State Park.
4. Shopping
Shopping in Bayfield could not be easier due to the active downtown area. You will be able to wander from shop to shop with a view of the lake in one direction and the city visible in the other. You will not find a mass retailer in town, but you are guaranteed to come home with something unique. In many of the shops you will find beautiful handcrafted jewelry and art, and you may even get the chance to meet the artists themselves. The various book and antique stores are a great way to spend an afternoon as you and the kids hunt for vintage treasures. The many local candy, fudge, or ice cream shops offer tempting treats that are guaranteed to please the whole family. Wind down with a pleasant drive to a nearby orchard or fruit farm where you can buy local fruit, jams, homemade pies, and country decor.
5. Eating
The best part of most vacations is the food, and Bayfield will surely satisfy even the most enthusiastic foodie. From a cafe that specializes in breakfast to a fine dining restaurant that serves a five-course meal, there are options galore. Popular local meals such as whitefish pizza and fish boils should not be missed. Many places offer outside seating, giving you a relaxing spot to take in views of the city or Lake Superior while enjoying your meal. In addition, each place has a decor and ambiance that is as unique as the food they serve. You won’t go hungry in Bayfield, and there is something for everyone.

Whether it is the calming effect of the lapping waves on Lake Superior, the conversations with friendly locals, or just experiencing the adventures and uniqueness of the town, it’s possible to end your vacation in Bayfield with a plan to bring the family back again.

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