Great Family Adventures: Northwest Passage's 'Apostle Islands Sea Kayaking and Camping Trip'

Yes, we know: The family vacation is a much-parodied event, and perhaps rightfully so. But fumbles, foibles, and hassles aside, families keep taking them for the same good reason: They’re priceless sources of memories.

    Photo: Courtesy of Northwest Passage

HIGHLIGHTS: Lake Superior is one of the world’s biggest bodies of freshwater. And its Apostle Islands hold untold marvels of geology and history. Gather your family to explore these jewels of Wisconsin—and to teach them to paddle if they don’t already know how. This five-day itinerary was designed for having children in tow, so it starts with an afternoon of basic paddling instruction. Once on the deep water, the kayaking proceeds at a pace that stays comfortable for beginners. Skills develop naturally as guides take the group, all outfitted with headlamps at this point, into and through resonant sea caves and enchanting arches that can only be gotten to by kayak. Legs need a workout, too, so there’s some hiking in the plan—get out of the boat to explore a lighthouse on Raspberry Island and to search (from a good distance) for black bears. A nightly campfire keeps things lively as guides cook and share historical legends about these shores of Gitche Gumee. By bedtime, the group has set up camp together, and the kids have learned to pitch a tent.

OUTFITTER: Northwest Passage was founded by Rick Sweitzer, who organized the first dogsled expedition to the North Pole for amateur explorers. Since 1983, the company has been offering family-specific adventures that accommodate all skill levels, build outdoor skills, and emphasize personal development.

ITINERARY: Little Sand Bay, Wisconsin, to Sand or Oak Island, York Island, Raspberry Island, and back to Little Sand Bay.

DATES: Departures August 7, 2013, and August 6, 2014, or book a custom trip.

PRICE: $685 per adult and $595 per child (age 18 or younger), including guidance and instruction, permit fees, most meals, and use of kayaking and camping equipment.

INFO: nwpassage.com, (800) 732-7328.

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