Siskiwit Bay Marina in Cornucopia, Wis.

On your way to paradise

Published in the October 2019 Issue June 2020 Feature Heather Magda Serrano

If you’re looking for an ideal stopping point on your way to the Apostle Islands, then Siskiwit Bay Marina in Cornucopia, Wis., is the place for you. Many boaters have already discovered this delightful marina on their way there.

It’s a family-run operation with Dave Tillmans and his wife Mary Beth as the owners. They’ve owned the marina for the last 34 years and are currently training their youngest son Will to take over once they retire.

“I never would have dreamed 34 years ago that I’d still be here,” laughed Dave. “Time has a way of slipping by.”

Life has been good to the Tillmans and they’ve enjoyed managing their marina immensely. What’s more, the boaters who stop by always have a fun time enjoying the family-friendly, laid-back atmosphere.

Everything You Need

Dave explained that there are a few different reasons people are attracted to the marina. The first and most obvious one is that Siskiwit Bay Marina has dockage with 65 slips. They usually have four slips set aside for transients, but when their regular boats are out on the lake, their slips are used for transient boaters as well.

The marina also does boat haul outs and storage. They have a lift that’s capable of lifting up to 30,000 pounds, and more and more people have started storing their boats with them for the winter—every winter they’re storing more boats than the year before. Siskiwit Bay Marina also has a full time mechanical and repair staff in case you run into any problems.

Over the years, Dave and his family have done everything they can to expand and improve the marina in order to provide boaters with the best possible experience. “When I first bought the marina there were 15 boats here,” explained Dave, “and we restored all the walls and the bulkheads and the docks, expanding it as much as possible.”

They’ve also got diesel fuel, gasoline and a pump-out facility. There’s also garbage and recycling, so boaters can come in and get refreshed and fueled up, often even eating in town and spending the night.

The Sea Caves

Nestled right on the edge of the Apostle Islands, Siskiwit Bay Marina is the closest marina to the mainland sea caves, a popular destination that draws countless tourists every year. These caves are subject to freezing in the winter, thawing in the summer, and the force of Lake Superior’s waves. All of these forces have chiseled away at the shore, creating extensive sea caves with intricate arches, hollow chambers, and slivering corridors.

“We get a lot of transient boaters coming through here for the sea caves,” added Dave. “We are a very popular stop for boaters coming from the twin ports of Duluth and Superior.”

What’s more, if you visit during the winter, you can experience the majesty of the ice caves when the Apostle Islands turn into an arctic tundra with frozen waterfalls and sharp icicles. The scenery is enough to take anyone’s breath away.

A Popular Stop

With its close proximity to the Apostle Islands, it’s little wonder that Siskiwit Bay Marina is a popular stop for transient traffic to spend the night. Once you’re there, you’ll also find the town of Cornucopia to be warm and inviting with a general store, a couple of coffee shops and restaurants, and a post office. The marina also has a bed and breakfast and a campground with 24 sites that offer full RV 30-amp electric and water hookups.

“It’s really a family operation all the way,” shared Dave. “There’s a lot of camaraderie and it’s extremely low-key and friendly.”

With its welcoming atmosphere, many boaters who go to the marina become regulars. Some of the boaters have been there since day one when the Tillmans bought the marina 34 years ago. Everyone enjoys getting together for gatherings and potlucks on the weekends.

“People that are here are generally kind of upbeat and they’re on vacation so they’re mostly pretty happy,” smiled Dave. “They’re in their happy place, so that’s what we’re surrounded with.”

For More Information

Siskiwit Bay Marina




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