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Where to Stay in Bayfield County: 6 Best Areas & Places

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Don’t be fooled by Bayfield’s small size, as it’s easily one of Wisconsin’s top places to visit. 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, 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!


Best Areas to Stay in Bayfield County

  • Area for first-timers/tourists – Bayfield
  • Area for budget travelers – Cable
  • Area for luxury travelers – South Shore
  • Area for safety – Iron River
  • Area for families – Washburn
  • Area for outdoor fun – Barnes

Where to Stay in Bayfield County, Wisconsin

1. Bayfield: Best Area for First-Timers or Tourists

Lake Superior in Bayfield County Scenery
Bjoertvedt / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

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 exist 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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: Things to Do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

2. Cable: Best Area for Budget Travelers

Cable Natural History Museum Building
Management / TripAdvisor

Start your adventure in the Cable area with a trip to Namekagon Lake, which has seven boat landings. You can visit the Namekagon Lake Recreation Area to picnic, swim, fish, hike, bike, or camp! For an easy hike, check out the Forest Lodge Nature Trail.

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 lake views.

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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Luxury Rental in Cable: Majestic Moose Lodge – Perfect for a large family, this vacation home has almost everything you need, from a full kitchen to free WiFi and your own beautiful lakeside room.

3. South Shore: Best Area for Luxury Travelers

Lighthouse in Apostle Island
Nina / Adobe Stock

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 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

4. Iron River: Best Area for Safety

Pudas House at Oulu Cultural & Heritage Center
Oulu Cultural & Heritage Center / Oulu Cultural & Heritage Center Official Website

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 festival 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!

  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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!

See Related: Where to Stay in Door County

5. Washburn: Best Area for Families

Washburn Cultural Center Building
Washburn Cultural Center / Facebook

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Luxury Rental in Washburn: Gorgeous Chalet on Superior – This 4-bedroom, 5-bathroom home has its private beach on the Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior! It has a few amenities, including a theater room with a 65-inch TV, several private sitting areas, a gourmet kitchen, and more.

See Related: Things to Do in Minocqua, Wisconsin

6. Barnes: Best Area for Outdoor Fun

Trail in Tomahawk Lake Park
Tomahawk Lake Park / Town of Barnes Official Website

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!

  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.

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