Don’t be fooled by Bayfield’s small size, as it’s easily one of the top places to visit in Wisconsin. This coastal town is known as the Gateway to the Apostle Islands, including the only inhabited one, Madeline Island.
Bayfield is fun to visit, as are the neighboring areas in Bayfield County, such as Washburn, Cornucopia, Barnes, Cable, Iron River, and the South Shore area. If you’re interested in outdoor adventures, including hiking, biking, or cross-country skiing, visiting the Bayfield attractions, or enjoying farms, orchards, and distilleries, you’ll find it all here!
If you’re wondering where to stay in Bayfield, WI, you’ll find plenty of Bayfield hotels and rentals in the surrounding area that meet your needs. We’ve got some great recommendations on the best accommodations in Bayfield County, as well as which areas are the best!
Lucy’s Place – Bayfield is an Airbnb business traveler and couple friendly bed & breakfast. The B&B has a private entrance, parking, free WiFi, in room jetted tubs, gas fireplace, and full breakfast. It is few blocks from the historic downtown district of Bayfield with its boutiques, craft shops, restaurants and galleries.
Cozy Yurt is an all season, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing retreat. You can get there by car in the winter or by boat in the summer. The yurt is located on a small peninsula that is just a short walk from Perry Lake’s north shore. Take a dip in the lake after your day of skiing or snowshoeing and warm up right back up at the indoor wood stove!
This is a gorgeous, 5-bedroom home (all with king beds) and 4.5 baths located right on the shore of Bayfield, Wisconsin’s famous Lake Superior. A short walk from the property will take you to downtown Bayfield where there are shops and restaurants galore! The home has a spectacular Great Room with three walls of windows that overlooks the lake.
Best Areas to Stay in Bayfield County
- Best area for first-timers/tourists – Bayfield
- Best area for budget travelers – Cable
- Best area for luxury travelers – South Shore
- Best area for safety – Iron River
- Best area for families – Washburn
- Best area for outdoor fun – Barnes
Where to Stay in Bayfield County, Wisconsin
1. Bayfield: Best Area for First-Timers or Tourists
As the gateway to the Apostle Islands, beautiful Bayfield is best for first-timers or tourists, and you’re sure to find plenty of Bayfield hotels that will suit your needs.
If you’d like a little history of the area, stop by the Bayfield Maritime Museum for stories and artifacts of seafaring life. When you’ve worked up an appetite, stop by the family-owned Pier Plaza Restaurant for a cold beer and delicious food with a view of Lake Superior.
Farms are aplenty in this area, and many serve cider, including Hauser’s Superior View Farm. This century-old farm has a greenhouse, nursery, and handcrafted hard cider from their on-site Apfelhaus Cidery. You can also pick up gifts and jams while you’re there!
Mount Ashwabay is for year-round fun, from snow sports in the winter to the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, a 900-seat music venue and performing arts center, in the summer. Under the big tent, they present live theater, concerts, musicals, and lectures.
If you decide that you want to be centrally located with easy access to the Apostles, here are our top recommendations for Bayfield hotels and other charming places to stay:
- Best Budget Hotel in Bayfield: Lucy’s Place – Lucy’s Place is a recently renovated inn with lake views, free WiFi, and is within walking distance to many attractions around the city center. The hosts also serve a free, full breakfast every morning, making this one of the best hotels in Bayfield for early risers.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Bayfield: The Copper Trout – The Copper Trout is the perfect spot to stay in downtown Bayfield. The 2-bedroom suite is just above its namesake restaurant, The Copper Trout. This Bayfield hotel with spacious rooms is convenient for fishing, shopping, and dining.
- Best Luxury Rental in Bayfield: Bay Top Lake House – This 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom vacation home sleeps six and is located approximately 1 mile north of beautiful Bayfield. The property has over 300 feet of shoreline and a large deck on the scenic shores of Lake Superior. Enjoy the view from your lake side room!
- Best Resort in Bayfield: Legendary Waters Resort & Casino – The Legendary Waters Resort offers many amenities, such as spacious rooms, a casino, an indoor pool, and free WiFi.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
2. Cable: Best Area for Budget Travelers
Start your adventure in the Cable area with a trip to Namekagon Lake, which has seven different boat landings. You can go to the Namekagon Lake Recreation Area to picnic, swim, fish, hike, bike, or camp! For an easy hike, check out the Forest Lodge Nature Trail – or, if you prefer to mountain bike, head to one of the many trails in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The Loon Saloon, located on Anderson Island in Lake Namekagon, is the perfect place to stop to quench your thirst and hunger, with beautiful views of the lake.
Stop by the Cable Natural History Museum for a dose of history, with exhibits on the logging industry and the native Anishinaabe people, as well as live animals and a gift shop. The nearby Velō Cafe is a great spot to stop for delicious, homemade eats, including Reuben sandwiches, BLTs and breakfast burritos, as well as a number of coffee and smoothie options.
The Cable area has vacation rentals, not hotels. Some may require a multiple-night stay, so check requirements before booking. Here are our top recommendations:
- Best Budget Rental in Cable: 2 Bedroom/2 Bath House – If you’re looking for a reasonably priced place to stay, this 2-bedroom home is perfect. Bring your boat or snowmobile and enjoy the full kitchen and free WiFi.
- Best Mid-Range Rental in Cable: Cozy Yurt – This is the perfect place to stay if you want a unique experience. This highly-rated yurt has direct lake access, a full kitchen, and free WiFi.
- Best Luxury Rental in Cable: Majestic Moose Lodge – Perfect for a large family, this vacation home has almost everything you need, from a full kitchen, free WiFi, and your own beautiful lake side room.
3. South Shore: Best Area for Luxury Travelers
The South Shore area includes the towns of Cornucopia, Herbster, and Port Wing. It is in the northernmost part of Wisconsin and is considered the western gateway to the Apostle Islands.
Start your trip with a visit to the famous sea caves at nearby Meyers Beach. The caves are accessible via boat and hiking trail, although the trail is difficult with steep slopes. Head to Lost Creek Falls via its eponymously named hiking trail for a fun adventure to see an 8-foot waterfall that you can even walk behind!
Port Wing Boreal Forest State Natural Area is another popular attraction where you can see gorgeous trees, from large red pines, balsam fir, mountain maples, and various birches. This natural area also has wild blueberries! For some of the freshest fish in the area, stop by Halvorson Fisheries in Cornucopia. This family-owned fishery has quite a collection of fresh fish to delight your tastebuds.
If you’re interested in staying in the South Shore area of Bayfield County, we recommend these top-rated rentals:
- Best Budget Rental in the South Shore Area: Waterfront Guesthouse – This fun 2-bedroom home is in an excellent location, minutes away from Meyers Beach, with easy access to countless trails for biking, hiking, motorsports, and fishing.
- Best Mid-Range Rental in the South Shore Area: 2-Bedroom Cottage – Conveniently located in Herbster, this cottage is within walking distance of Lake Superior. Guests will enjoy the full kitchen, free WiFi, and fireplace.
- Best Luxury Rental in the South Shore Area: Gorgeous Custom Home – This 2-bedroom, 3-bath timber home sits on Lake Superior with beautiful panoramic views. The home has free WiFi, a wood-burning sauna, a full kitchen, among several other amenities. Pets are welcome.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
4. Iron River: Best Area for Safety
The Iron River area includes the towns of Delta, Oulu, and Benoit, and is known for its sandy beaches, great fishing, motorized trail system, and annual blueberry festival! Start your fun with a trip on the Iron River ATV Trail, which is almost 18 miles of winding and wooded trails.
Stop by the Oulu Cultural & Heritage Center to learn more about Oulu history. Visitors will see various log homes and a historic schoolhouse. Discover Wisconsin, the nation’s longest-running travel and tourism TV series, paid a visit to the Oulu Cultural & Heritage Center during their Fall Fest in September. That alone should tell you that it’s worth a visit!
For a delicious pizza, head to the Iron River Pizza Parlor, where you can order a specialty pizza or build your own. Want to take a piece of Wisconsin back with you? Visit Benoit Cheese Haus – a shop with fresh curds and over 150 cheeses!
- Best Budget Rental in Iron River: Shady Maple Retreat – This 2-bedroom mobile home is an affordable way to stay in this gorgeous area, with everything you need from free WiFi to a full kitchen.
- Best Mid-Range Rental in Iron River: Lakefront Cabin w/ Boathouse – This property is on 2 acres and sits on Spider Lake, with access to a kayak and sauna!
- Best Luxury Rental in Iron River: Lake Cabin w/Private Dock – This 6-bedroom home has all the amenities you’ll need, including a private dock, fitness room with a Peloton, free WiFi, and a pool table!
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5. Washburn: Best Area for Families
The Washburn area includes the towns of Washburn, Bayview, and Barksdale. This charming area offers antique shops for the collector but has a little bit of everything for everyone else. It’s the perfect area for outdoor recreation, history, theater, and shopping.
For a dose of history, culture, and art, head to the Washburn Cultural Center, which houses the Washburn Area Historical Society Museum and has art galleries, a vinyl vault, and an antique shop. Stop by nearby Patsy’s Bar & Grill for delicious onion rings, fried fish, hamburgers, or tacos. This historical landmark opened in the late 19th century and is the local watering house.
This small town’s performing arts center, the Stage North Theatre, showcases film, music, and theater productions. This intimate theater seats less than 150 and has shows year-round right on the shores of Lake Superior.
- Best Budget Hotel in Washburn – Washburn Inn – The Washburn Inn provides guests free WiFi and private parking. Although it is a cheap hotel, it is very comfortable and nearby the Washburn city center. This is one of the more popular hotels in Bayfield County.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Washburn: Bodin’s Resort – This lodging features a private beach area with lake views. Guests can stay in a private cottage or deluxe apartment.
- Best Luxury Rental in Washburn: Gorgeous Chalet on Superior – This 4-bedroom, 5-bathroom home has its own private beach on the Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior! It has several amenities including a theater room with 65-inch TV, several private sitting areas, a gourmet kitchen, and more.
See Related: Best Things to do in Minocqua, Wisconsin
6. Barnes: Best Area for Outdoor Fun
The Barnes and Eau Claire Lakes area is the perfect spot for those who want to fish, hike, swim, mountain bike, or ski. There are 11 interconnected clear-water lakes that make up the headwaters of the Eau Claire River. One of the most popular spots is Upper Eau Claire Lake, which has a public boat landing.
Tomahawk Lake Park is a fun place to visit year-round, with 8 miles of trails available for biking, hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing.
When you get hungry after sightseeing, stop at Cedar Lodge Steakhouse & Grille for a delicious steak, hand-tossed pizza, or seafood. When you’re doing your hotel search in this area, you’ll find that vacation rental homes are the best choice. You’ll likely find yourself in a lake-side room!
- Best Budget Rental in Barnes: 2-Bedroom Cabin on Eau Claire River – This 2-bedroom cabin is perfect for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. You can make breakfast in the cabin’s kitchen and enjoy your coffee on the patio area.
- Best Mid-Range Rental in Barnes: Private Retreat w/ Dock – This highly-rated 3-bedroom cabin includes free Wi-Fi, a full kitchen, lake views, and a foosball table!
- Best Luxury Rental in Barnes: 6-Bedroom Retreat on Upper Eau Claire – This gorgeous 6-bedroom home is perfect for a family or group. It includes free Wi-Fi, a full kitchen, two kayaks, and a lily pad for swimming and lounging in the shallow water.