Off the far eastern tip of the U.P. there’s a nature lover’s paradise that’s also home to a top rated golf course and one of the country’s largest closed loop trails for off-roading. Drummond Island, with 150 miles of Lake Huron shoreline, also has 34 inland lakes, plus forests and unusual geographic features that make it an 83,000-acre playground for hiking, birding, biking and paddling. Take the ferry from DeTour village on a day trip or overnight at a wide choice of lodging, from vacation rentals, B&Bs, camping and the Drummond Island Resort.
About a half mile north of Munising, in Lake Superior, the Grand Island National Recreation Area is a good day trip for hiking, biking, beachcombing, or paddling. Visitors can also hop aboard a 3-hour bus tour to take in the sights. An excursion to Grand Island, located at the western end of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore,is a nice complement to a visit to Pictured Rocks. Tent camping is allowed. The ferry transports bicycles, but not motor vehicles.
An excursion to Isle Royale National Park is a memorable adventure, beginning with the ferry or seaplane ride to the Lake Superior archipelago some 70 miles north of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The island measures 45 miles by 9 miles at its widest, and its wilderness is home to a variety of wildlife including wolves and moose. Rock Harbor Lodge welcomes guests overnight and for dining; camping is of the primitive, low-impact variety. The ferry from Copper Harbor or Houghton is for passengers, canoes and kayaks only (no bicycles or motor vehicles allowed).
Les Cheneaux is French for “the channels,” and there are many of them among the archipelago of 36 islands in the Eastern U.P. Pronounced Lay Shen-O, locals also refer to Les Cheneaux Islands as “The Snows.” Wooden motorboats have a long history here as the primary means of transportation between the islands and the mainland towns of Hessel and Cedarville, and are celebrated at the 33rd annual Antique Wooden Boat Show & Festival of Arts Saturday, August 14. Many cottages and family motels dot the area, as well as art galleries, shops, restaurants and the Great Lakes Boat Building School. Tour the islands on a charter outing or paddle a kayak on a guided excursion with Woods & Water Ecotours.
Victorian era buildings in pastels line the main street of Mackinac Island, home of the iconic Grand Hotel, one of the last great summer resorts in America. Rising from the Straits of Mackinac, the slip of water connecting Great Lakes Michigan and Huron, Mackinac Island is accessible by plane or by ferry from St. Ignace in the U.P. or Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula. (Boaters should reserve a spot at the marina in prime season.) Spend a day or overnight at a choice of about four dozen inns; no camping is allowed. Motorized vehicles are banned on the island so head out on foot, rent a bicycle, take a horse-drawn buggy tour, or ride horseback to explore the shops, restaurants and natural and historic attractions, including the 18th century Fort Mackinac. And be sure to sample the fudge, a favorite of visitors (called “Fudgies”) since the late 1800s.
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