Updated: Feb 22, 2020
We recommend that everyone do a bit of research prior to booking a trip or rental with any outfitter. Some of the key points to consider:
Price - This often comes first. But you need to compare apples to apples. Keep reading....
Trip length - One outfitters half-day trip could be 2 hours, while another's may be 4. Look for honest accounting of time on the water. Lost Creek Adventures offers the most time on-water for the trip type you choose. For example, Our Full Day Sea Caves Tour is 6.5 hours with 8 miles of paddling, and includes food for $119. You may be able to find a "full day" trip for $95, but it's only 4 hours long, with 4 miles of paddling, and no food.
What's included - Does the trip include food? Quality guides? Quality gear? A shuttle to the put-in and take-out or do you pay your own parking?
Safety - Guides are trained and certified by the American Canoe Association, Paddle Canada, British Canoe Union, or other comparable organization. All our our guides go through rigorous and ongoing training in safety and judgment.
Quality - Everyone can say they are the highest quality, so for this one we recommend that you don't trust what a business puts out there, and instead...
Ask for referrals
Referrals from people you know is our #1 recommendation. With the very real issue of fake reviews and fancy web marketing it is possible for anyone to compete for your business. Make a Facebook post to your friends. People are very willing to give their opinion, and you may be surprised at how many of your friends have visited the Apostle Islands. Other social media may work also, but most are designed to show off where you went, not ask for suggestions before you go.
Ask local businesses & Chambers
No B&B or hotel owner wants to recommend a poor service to their clients, as it will come back to bite them. Lodging businesses including hotels, motels, campgrounds, and B&Bs are some the best places to ask for recommendations. Chambers of Commerce are a bit iffy since they are supposed to be impartial. You may get honest advice or just a handful of rack cards.
Check out reviews from a reputable 3rd party source
Most people use Google, and if you have a smartphone Google asks for your reviews from places you visit. For this reason Google is the worst place to look for honest reviews. Yelp is less used, but probably the most honest. Trip Advisor is a close second. If you are relying on Google reviews, look at what other attractions the reviewer has written about. It should be apparent if it is a fake review. Also see how the owner has replied to any negative reviews.