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Choosing your ideal community: Cornucopia vs. Bayfield


Wisconsin is a Mid-western gem chock full of tremendous opportunities for easy living, low crime rate, and excellent school options. With the high quality of life that the state is known for, it’s no wonder many of its communities make it to numerous annual Best Places to Livelists. 

Cornucopia and Bayfield are two of these captivating communities. Located in Bayfield County in northwest Wisconsin, both places are known for their sleepy charm and simple pleasures. Continue reading to learn more about Cornucopia and Bayfield, and which community is perfect for you.

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With its position on Lake Superior, Cornucopia practically guarantees a relaxing life by the water, filled with beauty, enchantment, and adventure. It’s a census-designated place located within the town of Bell, covering 2.26 square miles.

Below are key pieces of information to help you decide if Cornucopia is indeed where you want to stay in Bayfield County, WI.

Intimate and idyllic

Cornucopia is located at the northern tip of Bayfield Peninsula, its short coastline hugging Siskiwit Bay. The community was named so in the 1900s due to its sheer wealth in natural resources– a real-life cornucopia, brimming with abundance.

It has an estimated local population of only 100 residents, and as you get to know these Cornucopians, you’ll notice their Slavic surnames. That’s because this area was settled by the Rusyns, an ethnic East Slavic group, a long time ago. They came by way of the Austrian Empire and Chicago.

Commercial fishing used to be Cornucopia’s bread and butter. The town had several fishing families that set out from the harbor to catch freshwater herring, whitefish, and lake trout. These days, however, commercial fishing has been replaced with tourism. It is said that only one of the old fishing families remains in operation.

Despite Cornucopia’s seeming isolation from the rest of the world, it’s actually very accessible. Two highways (WI Hwy 13 and Co Rd C) connect it to other parts of the Bayfield Peninsula and Bayfield County. The city of Bayfield is only 30 minutes away.

Cornucopia’s housing market

Home prices in Cornucopia range from $120K to $2.5M, with waterfront properties and estates making up the priciest homes in the market. For those asking where to stay in Cornucopia, WI, Lakeside, Lester Park, Roman’s Point, Blueberry Lane, and Spirit Point are some of the best neighborhoods in the area. 


Popular spots in and around Cornucopia

Living in Cornucopia puts you within a short distance from beautiful sights, unforgettable moments, and a wide variety of things to do. 

  1. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore 
  2. Cornucopia serves as one of the entry points to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Northern Wisconsin’s premier tourist destination. This park is home to 22 islands where people can partake in various water-based activities, such as sailing, kayaking, fishing, cave exploration, and wildlife watching.

    The Apostle Islands are also home to a collection of historic lighthouses, some of which are fully restored and open to guided tours.

  3. Cornucopia Beach 
  4. Cornucopia Beach is a great spot for afternoon swimming and relaxation. It’s also family-friendly, with a children’s playground and a picnic pavilion for intimate gatherings. Visitors can pick from an amazing selection of fresh and smoked fish from the nearby marina, which allows commercial fishing.

    For those researching where to stay in Bayfield County, WI, the Cornucopia Beach marina has a campground where visitors can set up their tents and stay for the night. Additionally, the street from across the beach is lined with fully furnished cabins for rent that can cater to small or large parties.

  5. Downtown Cornucopia 
  6. Cornucopia’s downtown neighborhood is small and cozy, but packed with everything you need for small-town living. Ehlers, a historic general store and deli that first opened in 1915, serves a wide array of grocery and deli items while also housing an extensive hardware section. The stretch is also home to restaurants, a coffee shop, fresh fish store, and other locally owned businesses.

  7. Siskiwit Falls
    Along the Siskiwit River near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore lies Siskiwit Falls. It’s a series of shallow waterfalls that contains a number of drops and slides worth exploring by foot or kayak. With a parallel trail 0.3 miles long, Siskiwit Falls delivers a scenic short walk filled with breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, especially in the summertime. 
  8. Lost Creek Falls 
  9. Deep in the woods southwest of Cornucopia hides the enigmatic beauty of Lost Creek Falls, an 8-foot waterfall sandwiched by a few feet of cascades above and below the falls itself. Hiking to the falls is easy thanks to the well-marked three-mile trail that leads to it. There’s a path behind the water where people can venture through and get a unique view of this wonder. 

  10. Meyers Beach 
  11. Located within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, but not part of the islands as one might assume, Meyers Beach actually belongs to the Cornucopia mainland on the shore of Lake Superior in Mawikwe Bay. It’s widely known as the main launching point for kayaking and hiking excursions in the area. However it’s also a great spot for swimming, picnicking, and beachcombing.



Bayfield, with a population of only 588 residents, is dubbed the smallest city in Wisconsin– and also its berry capital! Once the county seat of Bayfield County, the city enjoys a lakefront location tucked between Red Cliff and Washburn. From Bayfield, residents enjoy views of Lake Superior and the entirety of Madeline Island

Relaxed waterfront living

Bayfield is the picture of relaxed lakefront living without sacrificing any of the conveniences of city life. For most of the year, the community is slow-paced, but when summer rolls in, the community enjoys a swell of visitors from all over looking to play and relax in its many water-island destinations.

A rich maritime history is one of the things that give Bayfield plenty of character. Both residents and tourists can learn more about it at local attractions such as the Bayfield Maritime Museum– it’s open for free, with the season running from June to September. Another significant part of the Bayfield lifestyle are the local events, from regattas in the summer to dog sled races in the winter. 

The Bayfield Apple Festival is undoubtedly the city’s biggest event. Inaugurated in 1962, it is held every October and features live music entertainment, food, as well as apple orchard events and tours. 

Wisconsin Highway 13 is the primary point of access in Bayfield; it runs through the city and also connects it to the rest of Bayfield County and the state. Buses actively serve Bayfield and are operated by Bay Area Rural Transit.  

Bayfield’s housing market

Bayfield is home to a larger housing market than Cornucopia. Property types include single-family homes, condos, and townhouses– all at approachable prices. Some of these residences feature views of Lake Superior; others even come with water frontage or direct lake access. With such a selection, it’s clear why Bayfield’s population balloons in the summertime– many go to the city to relax in their vacation homes. 


Popular spots in and around Bayfield

The local real estate landscape isn’t the only thing that draws many potential homebuyers to Bayfield. The allure of slow-paced lakefront living and close proximity to both nature and culture are simply hard to resist. 

  1. Bayfield Maritime Museum 
  2. Bayfield Maritime Museum is a free admission museum that houses a great number of nautical artifacts and exhibits that tell a dynamic story of Bayfield’s maritime history. The museum even has a boat-building program for those who want to learn the skills.

  3. Big Top Chautauqua
  4. Music lovers will enjoy the fact that Bayfield has a music venue unlike any other. Big Top Chautauqua is a huge circus-sized tent that seats 900 people and hosts over 60 concerts all year round featuring international and local artists, original productions, and other live performances. Budding musicians are invited to showcase their talents on open mic nights, happening every Wednesday.

  5.  Mt. Ashwabay

    Located less than five miles from Bayfield’s city center, the Mt. Ashwabay Ski and Recreation Area is one of the popular spots in Bayfield County for outdoor recreation. It especially comes alive in the wintertime, when the mountainside is covered in powdery snow. Skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding, fat biking, and sledding are some of the winter activities you can enjoy here. When the snow melts, Mt. Ashwabay turns into a hiking and mountain biking paradise.

  6. Madeline Island
  7. Hop onto the Madeline Ferry and head to Madeline Island, the largest and only inhabited island in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Here, you can play outdoors, frolic at the beach, camp in a park, or hike, bike, sail, kayak or canoe to your heart’s content. For those looking for a more urban environment, the Madeline Ferry drops passengers at La Pointe, which has a handful of bars, restaurants, galleries, and even artist studios that provide a glimpse into Bayfield’s creative side.

  8. Copper Crow Distillery
  9. Bayfield boasts the nation’s first Native American distillery, the award-winning Copper Crow. What’s special about this particular place is that it has a unique way of making vodka and whiskey with the use of whey, a derivative of the cheese production process. Visitors are invited to sample the products within a stylish tasting room, whether sipped straight up or mixed into craft cocktails.

  10. Frog Bay Tribal National Park
  11. Considered an at-risk Boreal Forest ecotype, Frog Bay Tribal National Park offers a combination of deciduous trees, undeveloped coastal wetlands and beaches, and widely diverse wildlife. A mile-long hiking trail allows visitors to experience the exotic beauty of the untouched wilderness. As the first tribal national park in the country, Frog Bay’s importance to the Red Cliff culture cannot be overstated, and while the park is free and open for the enjoyment of all, the tribal community requests everybody to respect the park’s cleanliness and leave no trace behind.



Choosing between two of Wisconsin’s best places to live in can be difficult. But ultimately, there’s no wrong decision. It all boils down to which community is best suited to your personal, budgetary, and lifestyle needs. To help you make an informed decision, here are the questions to ask yourself when deciding between these two exceptional communities.

  1. What are the features of the location?
  2. You can replace many features in your home, but you cannot change its location. Carefully evaluate neighborhoods and consider how close they are to the facilities you need the most or visit regularly, whether it’s the office, restaurants, coffee shops, health and wellness facilities, and the like. Make a list of what’s important to you and your family to make the most informed real estate decisions.

  3. Is the size suited to your living needs?
  4. When choosing an available home, consider the number of rooms and size of the storage spaces. If you have a couple of children, then you might need a house with more rooms and storage. On the other hand, retired couples can do with a bungalow-type house with very few rooms– they might even prefer it, especially if downsizing is their goal.

    Think about your needs for the present as well as the immediate future when choosing the right size home for you and your family.

  5. How is the neighborhood?

Once you’ve identified your prospects, visit the sites and explore the area. Drive or walk around the community. Take notes and pictures. If you can, try to meet some of the neighbors. Ask about lifestyle and community events. After your visit, ask yourself, did the place make you feel safe, secure and welcome? How comfortable you are about the place will be a major factor on your quality of life while living at the location.


Let Broad Street Brokers help! With over 40 years of combined experience in the industry and local market, our team is well-equipped to help you find your first small-town home or the new addition to your expanding investment portfolio. Call us at 715.779.3220 or send us an email to start. 

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