Spring Getaway in Bayfield, Wisconsin
Before throngs of tourists descend on Lake Superior's northern Wisconsin shore, discover the natural beauty that blossoms everywhere in friendly Bayfield.
Bayfield in Bloom
Springtime visits to this Lake Superior town in northern Wisconsin reveal sights, sounds and scents Midwesterners welcome after a long winter. Daffodils and lupines nod as waves lap the shore. Pink and white apple blossoms blanket the ridge above town. And some of the town's 588 residents actually have time to sit and chat about Bayfield's natural beauty before the busy summer travel season starts.
Related: Fun Midwest Spring Getaways
Beat the Crowds
A Memorial Day visit reveals a side of Bayfield that disappears by July 4, when thousands of visitors pour in to tour the nearby Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and hit concerts under the Big Top Chatauqua tent. An apple festival brings another wave of tourists in October. But for those riddled with cabin fever after winter, the springtime setting is just right for strolling, driving, biking, breathing deeply and noticing the pop of fresh colors.
Related: Top Things to Do Around Bayfield and the Apostle Islands
Dozens of Master Gardeners (and other serious gardeners) live on this peninsula 80 miles east of Duluth. For years, gardeners from as far away as the Twin Cities have traveled here for spring perennial plant sales and the annual garden tour (June 10, 2023), highlight of the Bayfield in Bloom celebration. For other springtime visitors who miss those events, the blooms are like a private living-art show.
Flowers of May and June
The show starts in mid-May, when 40,000 daffodils unfurl sunny yellow petals along State-13 leading into town. That's about three weeks before bushy magenta lupines push up from the sandy dirt along the wooded hillsides. Lilacs welcome June with regal purple plumes. Colors deepen during 35-degree nights and brighten during 60-degree days.
Planning Your Bayfield Trip
Many attractions and restaurants keep limited hours until Memorial Day. Call the visitors bureau to check on bloom times and local openings/closings before you go. But hiking, biking, orchard visits and possibly exploration by water could all be part of your trip.
What to Do: Hiking and Biking
Hundreds of miles of trails take hikers and bikers through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Midwest. Plan your routes with resources like Bayfield County's hiking and biking guides. The Bayfield Chamber of Commerce can also help map out seasonally appropriate adventures.
What to Do: Orchards and Farms
The apple-lovers' haven of Bayfield Apple Company—also Wisconsin's largest raspberry grower—has developed a lower-sugar version of commercial pectin that uses apple juice produced on-site. Products in the orchard's store include an apple cider with a subtle raspberry undertone, apple mustards and butters and jams.
The Earth-friendly grower Blue Vista Farm uses composting, organic herbicides and apple varieties bred to resist local pests. Blueberries, apples, raspberries and fresh-cut flowers are among the items sold in the on-site barn store.
You've probably had apple cider doughnuts at other orchards, but the ones at Erickson's Orchard and Country Store are seriously exceptional—crusty and juicy at the same time. Also available: garden supplies and sculptures, plus jams, ciders and pies made on-site. June brings you-pick strawberries.
Gardeners come to Hauser's Superior View Farm each spring for locally grown perennials, annuals, fruit trees, shrubs and tomato plants. You'll also find locally made apple wine, jams and jellies, plus gardening T-shirts.
What to Do: On The Water
Summer visitors like to explore the area by boat, but the changeable weather of Lake Superior makes it hard to predict what water options will be open to spring visitors. Check right before your trip to see what's available—maybe a narrated cruise, sea kayaking or shuttle to the Apostle Islands.
Where to Stay
Old Rittenhouse Inn, a Queen Anne mansion, has luxe rooms and suites with fireplaces, steam showers and whirlpool tubs. No TVs. Plan to have dinner here at least one night.
At The Bayfield Inn, all-white rooms are decked with duvets and whirlpools—and have windows with screens that allow in cool Superior breezes.
Set in the woods overlooking the lake, the new Wild Rice Retreat is a sanctuary focused on the arts and well-being. Activities like yoga and meditation round out a serene stay.
Related: This Unique Way to Explore Bayfield Focuses on Wellness and Outdoor Adventure