Fascinating Facts about Five Michigan Islands

Michigan’s islands are stunningly beautiful and rich with history – from functioning as a lush habitat for endangered wildlife to serving as the former stomping grounds of an American king – each island offers unique qualities and attractions. Here are some interesting facts about the islands that you may not be aware of. 

Curious for more information on Michigan islands? Be sure to check out our pages on Belle Isle and Isle Royale, just to name a few!

Les Cheneaux Islands

  1. “Les Cheneaux” is French for “the channels.”
  2. There are 36 islands that make up the Les Cheneaux Islands.
  3. The Les Chenaux Islands Antique Boat Show and Festival is the world’s largest antique wooden boat show. The next boat show takes place on Saturday, August 8 2015.
  4. You can learn how to build boats at the Great Lakes Boat Building School.
  5. Nicknamed Michigan’s Land of Water.
Les Cheneaux Island

Les Cheneaux Islands – Photo courtesy of Chris Arace

Mackinac Island

  1. Since 1898, motorized vehicles have been prohibited on Mackinac Island- there are more than 500 horses on the island for transportation.
  2. Fort Mackinac is home to the oldest surviving building in Michigan – Officers’ Stone Quarters.
  3. Doud’s Market, America’s oldest family-owned grocery store, has resided on the island for 131 years.
  4. The island’s Grand Hotel has the world’s largest front porch at 660 feet long!
  5. Five U.S. presidents have visited the Grand Hotel including Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island – Photo Courtesy of Grand Hotel

Beaver Island

  1. This island has a population of 600 people, mostly of Irish descent.
  2. Totaling 56 square miles, it is the largest island in Lake Michigan.
  3. The island is home to the Michigan monkey-flower, a federally-classified endangered species.
  4. Protar’s House, the Marine Museum and the Old Mormon Print Shop museum are major tourist attractions.
  5. The island was the only American territory ruled by a king.
Beaver Island

Beaver Island – Photo courtesy of Chris Arace

Drummond Island

  1. Drummond island is the largest freshwater island in the United States.
  2. The island boasts a population of 1,058 people.
  3. A main attraction is the DeTour Reef Light, an 83-foot tall lighthouse that marks a dangerous reef to help guide ship traffic from and to Lake Huron and Lake Superior through the St. Marys River.
  4. There are more than 13 ecosystems on the island including six forest types, five swamp-marsh types, inland lakes and rivers, and sand dunes.
  5. The island is ideal for bird watching as it is home to a host of avian species including loons, grebes, waterfowls and owls.
Drummond Island

Drummond Island – Photo courtesy of Modern Explorers

Manitou Islands

  1. The Manitou islands are surrounded by over 50 known shipwreck sites, dating back to 1835.
  2. North Manitou Island is nearly eight miles long and over four miles wide.
  3. South Manitou Island is three miles wide and three miles long.
  4. North Manitou Island is powered by solar electricity.
  5. The South Manitou Island Light is a popular attraction among tourists. Between 1871 and 1958, ships took refuge here during severe thunderstorms.
Manitou Island Light

South Manitou Island Light, Manitou Islands – Photo courtesy of Michigan Nut Photography

Are you planning any trips to see Michigan islands this summer? Tell us below!

Six Pure Michigan Activities to Experience in Lenawee County

Photo courtesy of Mike Dickie

Photo courtesy of Mike Dickie

If you’re looking for a picturesque countryside, hometown charm and more than 50 lakes for recreation and enjoyment, look no further than Lenawee County this summer. The Michigan International Speedway located in Lenawee is known for its NASCAR races, Faster Horses Festival and other exciting events for the whole family. If you’ll be in the Lenawee and Irish Hills area this summer, here are six fun-filled places to visit.

Taking a trip down US-12 or M-50 will lead you to a few local wineries and breweries.

Cherry Creek Winery (15750 US-12, Cement City)

Located in a Historic 1870 Schoolhouse, enjoy a wine tasting at the knotty pine bar. Sample Cherry Creek’s freshly made butter fudge, or Michigan Cherry Preserves. Sample gourmet items like fresh pressed Artisan Olive Oil or 18 year old Balsamic Vinegar from Modena Italy, all bottled on site. Special events, including live entertainment by the vineyard, most weekends.

Pentamere Winery (131 E. Chicago Blvd., Tecumseh)

This Downtown Tecumseh winery offers around a dozen wines to choose from, try a few in the tasting room and take a peak at the cellar where all of the wine is stored and bottled. The winery also offers it’s own wine jellies and gift items.

J. Trees Winery (703 E. Chicago Blvd., Tecumseh)

Located in the Historic Hayden-Ford Mill, this winery’s tasting room also includes small plates and panini sandwiches. Their wines and ciders are crafted from estate grown fruit, as well as other high quality Michigan fruit. Enjoy a drink on the outdoor patio, overlooking the water!

Tecumseh Brewing Company (128 W. Chicago Blvd., Tecumseh)

The brewery offers an extensive selection of craft beer, 12 to 16 beers on tap, ranging from American Ales to German lagers and from hearty stouts to Belgian ales.

Need a place to unwind? The area around Michigan International Speedway includes many parks and lakes, perfect for camping and boating!

Photo courtesy of Mike Dickie

Photo courtesy of Mike Dickie

Hidden Lake Gardens (6214 M-50, Tipton)

Hidden Lake Gardens is open 362 days of the year with an admission fee of $3 per person. Guided tours, requested at least two weeks in advance, are available for $3 per person. Year-round educational programs for all ages are offered at the Visitor Center, which also houses a library, exhibits, auditorium, meeting rooms and a gift shop. The Conservatory includes tropical plants, arid plants, and a variety of flowering houseplants. A picnic area with shelter is available without reservations. In addition to more than 6 miles of one-way paved drives, there are nearly 10 miles of hiking trails to allow the visitor a closer look at the beauty the Gardens provides.

Enjoy a day on the lake! Great for fishing, boating, or just relaxing, the Irish Hills area offers many lakes. Devil’s Lake and Wamplers Lake are both located near Michigan International Speedway and offer something for everyone!

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of Dan Cherry

Devil’s Lake located less than 10 miles south of the track off of US-223, with a public boat access located on Southwest shore off Devils Lake Hwy (Across the street from 9555 Devils Lake Hwy, Manitou Beach). Manitou Beach is a great place for a bike ride, with stops at Jenni’s Coffee and Cream for an iced coffee or ice cream cone. Enjoy lunch or dinner at Manitou Bar and Grill and shopping at Devils Lake View Living, and The Buoy at The Lake which both offer jewelry, purses, home décor and more.

Wamplers Lake located in W.J. Hayes State Park (1220 Wamplers Lake Rd, Onsted)

W.J. Hayes State Park, in the heart of the Irish Hills, is bordered by a group of inland lakes frequented by anglers and boaters. It is home to Wamplers Lake, a 780 acre all sports lake great for fishing and all water sports. There are numerous geocaching hides in the park, metal detecting is allowed in designated areas and dogs are welcome visitors, too. The park offers modern campsites, a large swimming area, two boat launches, fishing pier, foot paths, a picnic shelter, activity areas and free children’s programs.

This summer, enjoy Lenawee, the Michigan International Speedway and the communities surrounding it. For more information and deals in the Irish Hills area, visit the Lenawee County Conference and Visitors Bureau’s on Michigan.org.

Five Reasons That Will Inspire You To Visit Grand Hotel This Summer

Every year since 1887, Grand Hotel has welcomed countless guests to historic Mackinac Island, where cars are not allowed and bikes and horse-drawn carriages are the favored modes of transportation. Thanks to its picturesque location, beautiful accommodations and various activities and dining options, Grand Hotel has been named as one of the Travel+Leisure 500 “World’s Best Hotels”. Here are the top five reasons to visit America’s Summer Place this summer:

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

#1 Getting there is just part of the fun

Mackinac Island is located just a quick ferry ride away from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace. When approaching the island by ferry, Grand Hotel’s famous 660-foot front porch is visible high on a bluff above town. After arriving to the island, luggage is transported directly to the hotel. Enjoy a scenic walk through downtown Mackinac or a horse-drawn carriage ride up Grand Hill to Grand Hotel.
Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

#2 Grand family activities

Grand Hotel’s activities make it a perfect destination for families. Guests of all ages can enjoy swimming in the heated pool, bocci ball and croquet in the Tea Garden, delicious treats at Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor and golf on The Jewel. The complimentary children’s programs entertain younger guests with butterfly conservatory visits and arts and crafts. Or tour the Grand Stables for an up-close visit with the Grand Hotel horses and over 20 antique carriages.

#3 Dining and dressing up

Dining has always been an exceptional feature of the Grand Hotel experience. Evening wear is required for dinner and in all areas of the hotel after 6:30 p.m. Most guest room rates include a full breakfast and five-course dinner daily. In addition to the legendary Main Dining Room overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, other casual options are located around the island, including The Gate House, Cawthorne’s Village Inn, Woods Restaurant and The Jockey Club at the Grandstand.

Grand Hotel has the longest porch in the world.

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

#4 Every room is different

At Grand Hotel, no two of the 390 guest rooms are alike. Each guest room has been tastefully decorated by renowned designer Carleton Varney and features its own special character and style. The new Cupola Suites offer more flexibility for families, with the option of creating one- or two-bedroom suites.

#5 Live music and nightly dancing

Live music and dancing are Grand Hotel traditions. The full-time musical staff includes skilled veterans who are some of the finest in the country. Every evening guests are treated to a jazz quartet during dinner, a harpist at demitasse and later, dancing to the Grand Hotel Orchestra as it plays classics and requests.

So come and enjoy the grand family experience for yourselves. Call 1-800-33GRAND or visit GrandHotel.com to learn more. What are some of your favorite memories from your trip to Grand Hotel?