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!

Join Pure Michigan and Under the Radar for a virtual trip around Mackinac Island

There are many scenic destinations in Pure Michigan, including the iconic shores of Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island is a place where you can enjoy the simple life. Take a horse-drawn carriage or bike around the island, where cars have been prohibited for more than 100 years, sample the world-famous fudge from confectioners who have perfected their recipes or take in the views on the world’s longest porch at Grand Hotel. There is so much to experience when visiting this Great Lakes gem.

As the first state in the United States to ever conduct a real-time virtual guided tour, Pure Michigan is offering you the opportunity to experience Mackinac Island – virtually! We’re partnering with Georama, a real-time vicarious travel platform, so you can virtually tour the island just by simply logging into michigan.org/live on Thursday, June 11 at 12 noon to 4 pm Eastern. Tom Daldin, host of PBS show Under the Radar, will serve as your travel guide and adventure lead in this digital exploration.

Photo courtesy of Instagrammer (at)Jacquelynn_Joy

Have a question about Mackinac Island you’ve always wanted answered? With the interactive live-stream, you can ask Tom questions on the spot – and get a response immediately – as we take you through the town on a sightseeing adventure.

Begin your journey by taking a ferry ride to Mackinac Island before getting an up-close and personal view of the island.

We’ll take you to downtown Mackinac, home to some of the most lovely shops and art galleries in the state, offering you a chance to peek inside as well as interact with people on the streets to get their thoughts on the island known as America’s fudge capital.

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

We’ll also tour Douds Market, America’s oldest family-owned grocery store for 131 years so you can see some of the store’s specialty items and get a history lesson on the market.

From there we’ll visit Fort Mackinac and round out our journey with a trip to the gloriously-designed Grand Hotel. We’ll give you a new perspective of this landmark and invite you to join us as we sip tea on the Grand’s famous front porch all while surrounded by 2,500 gorgeous geraniums.

We’re excited for you to join us on this Pure Michigan adventure! See you at michigan.org/live on Thursday, June 11 at 12 noon to 4pm.

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?