Park headquarters: 415 Washington Av., Bayfield, Wis. (1-715-779-3397; nps.gov/apis).
Getting there: Bayfield is a four-hour drive from the Twin Cities via Duluth. I recommend Hwy. 13 from Superior, Wis., to Bayfield.
When to go: The National Lakeshore is open year-round. High season is July and August. High temperatures average 5 degrees cooler than the Twin Cities. Summer lake temps can extend into September.
Campsites: Available on 19 of the 21 islands; permits required ($15-$30 per night, $10 reservation fee; info at 1-715-779-5124; nps.gov/apis and recreation.gov).
Camping shuttle: Apostle Islands Cruises runs shuttles to Stockton and Oak islands on Tue., Fri., Sat. and Sun., late June to Labor Day ($60 per person; apostleisland.com).
Most local companies offer day trips and/or overnight adventures and should include a safety course.
Trek & Trail: In Bayfield (1-800-354-8735; trek-trail.com).
Lost Creek Adventures: Based in Cornucopia, Wis. (1-715-953-2223; lostcreekadventures.org).
Apostle Islands Kayaking: New service from Apostle Islands Cruises (1-715-779-9503; apostleisland.com/ kayaking).
Wilderness Inquiry: Accessible paddling trips and camping (1-612-676-9400; wildernessinquiry.org).
Apostle Islands Cruises: Archipelago grand tours, lighthouse tours and hiking and camping shuttles, from Bayfield ($46-$60; 1-800-323-7619; apostleisland.com).
Adventure Vacations: Powerboat and inflatable-kayak day tours from La Pointe on Madeline Island ($60-$190 per person; 1-715-747-2100; adv-vac.com).
Superior Charters: Sailing charters and rentals (1-715-779-5124; superiorcharters.com).
Dreamcatcher Sailing: Charters and island pickups/drop-offs (1-715-779-5561; dreamcatcher-sailing.com).
This populated island is not part of the national lakeshore, but offers a taste of the Apostles plus lodging, restaurants, bars, shops and two fine parks.
Madeline Island Ferry: Several times a day between Bayfield and La Pointe ($15 per adult round-trip, $27 per auto round-trip; madferry.com).
Inn on Madeline Island: Vacation rentals and hotel accommodations (1-800-822-6315; madisland.com).
Madeline Island Vacations: Vacation rentals and hotel accommodations (1-888-747-2388; madelineislandvacations.com).
Big Bay State Park: 60 campsites and hiking (1-715-747-6425; dnr.wi.gov).
Big Bay Town Park: 61 campsites and an excellent beach that comes close to Stockton Island’s Julian Bay (1-715-747-3031; bigbaytownpark.com).