Sand Island is located on the western edge of the Apostle Islands. Due to its location, it is considered “off the beaten path,” however it has a lot to offer. A rich history of inhabitants, sea caves, the remnants of a farming and fishing community, the Sevona shipwreck, and a beautiful sandstone lighthouse.
In 19870, Francis Shaw of Sandusky, Ohio bought land to establish a fishing camp on Sand Island. While the island had been used previously as a fishing camp by various fishermen. However Shaw owned the land, he started work on a farm and slowly built a year round residence there. At that point, Shaw had four fishing boats and three additional people working for him. The island had grown to multiple residences, root cellar, smokehouse, and workshop. Many of these buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. As others heard of opportunity on there, Sand Island saw settlement by several Norwegian families. By 1895 the Census indicated that over forty people lived on the island. Soon after, a resort opened, as well as a post office, cooperative store, the families even had a telephone line to bayfield!
Today what remains are mostly run down remnants, but some of the settlements still stand. The Noreng Farm, is about a half mile inland from the East Bay Docks. On the trail immediately south of the East Bay Docks are a few rusted out cars from the 1920s. The lighthouse is located on the North side of the island, and there is good anchoring in Lighthouse Bay. The Lighthouse, built in 1881, is constructed of Sandstone in the Norman Gothic style of architecture. Lighthouse tours are available by request from 9-4:30 (when staff are present). Nonetheless, it Sand Island is a beautiful place, and is great if you like to have an anchorage by yourself.
The sea caves are a fun place to explore by dinghy. The caves are located on the Eastern point of the island. Although caution is recommended, as they can be difficult to navigate (due to swells from the main lake). They are best explored when conditions on a calm day or when the wind is out of the west.