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!