Sault Sainte Marie - Drummond Island - Hessel

The oldest European settlements in the Midwest, and the third oldest in the United States are at the heart of this tour of the Eastern Upper Peninsula. The historic city of St. Ignace, at the Straits of Mackinac, is a good place to begin this 160-mile tour.

Best Enjoyed: Mid-September to Early October
Approximate Length: 160 miles

As early as 1618 French explorer Etienne Brulé, looking for a route to the Orient, paddled to the land inhabited by the Chippewa (Ojibwa) Indians.  Fur trappers followed in the mid-1600s and in 1668 Father Jacques Marquette founded a Jesuit missionary at Sault Ste. Marie. In 1671 he did the same at Michilimackinac, which the priest renamed St. Ignace. The historic city at the Straits of Mackinac is a good place to begin this 160-mile tour; fall color is best from mid-September to early October.

Straits State Park in St. Ignace is well worth a visit for the one-mile trail with views of the Mackinac Bridge, and a bit of area history at the Father Marquette Memorial.

Follow US-2 (it becomes State Street) through the city of St. Ignace, and visit the excellent Museum of Ojibwa Culture and museum shop with authentic Native American art, crafts, music and books (closes for the season in mid-October). In St. Ignace you can catch a ferry to Mackinac Island for a day or several. No cars are allowed on the historic island, where the 18th century Fort Mackinac and legendary Grand Hotel, shops and private Victorian cottages are well worth exploring by bicycle, horseback or carriage. Be sure to take in the fall color along the shoreline path and interior trails of Mackinac Island State Park---Michigan's first state park (and only the second one in the nation).

Back on the mainland Upper Peninsula, head north out of St. Ignace on I-75 for a short distance, past the natural formation known as Castle Rock. At 195 feet high, it served Indians as a lookout and offers great views of autumn hues.

At state route M-134 travel east to the area of islands and waterfront villages known as Les Cheneaux ("the channels," sometimes referred to as "The Snows"). Fishing and boating, boatbuilding and nature are important in this area which---although it is populated with second homes for "Trolls" (people who live in territory below the Mackinac Bridge) -- retains an unpretentious, laid-back feel. Antique wooden boats are regularly used as transportation between the mainland and islands, and for pleasure cruising, and hopping among the three dozen islands. The quiet waters are ideal for kayaking and canoeing as well. The pleasant drive along M-134 through areas of forests, marshlands, bays, low dunes, and nature preserves is dotted with the towns of HesselCedarville, and De Tour Village. At the far eastern tip of the U.P. the De Tour ferry carries passengers and vehicles on a 15-minute crossing to Drummond Island. The heavily wooded island is a haven for hikers, paddlers, mountain bikers, hunters, boaters, fishers and observers of nature. There are cottages for rent and the Drummond Island Resort offers many amenities, including its acclaimed golf course, but it's also nice just to take the ferry for a picnic and drive around the island.

From De Tour Village zig-zag along M-48 and M-129 north along country roads through color-rimmed farmland and the small towns of Goetzville, Raber, Stalwart, Pickford and Donaldson, to Sault Ste. Marie.
This centuries-old center for shipping shares its name with its Canadian sister city across the St. Marys River. The Michigan city is the home of the two Soo Locks, which compensate for a 21-foot difference in water levels and make possible navigation between Lakes Superior and Huron. It's fascinating to examine the exhibits in the visitor center and---if the timing is right---watch giant Great Lakes freighters and ocean-going "salties" squeeze through the engineering marvels. The Soo Lock Boat Tours offer cruises that serve dinner (and sometimes an up-close and personal look at a 1,000-foot freighter) with a backdrop of fall color.

Get an overview of Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding seasonal patchwork of orange, red, yellow and bronze from the top of the 21-story Tower of History, four blocks east of the Soo Locks. For another kind of colorful experience visit the Kewadin Casino in Sault Ste. Marie, which showcases top names in entertainment in addition to plenty of gaming excitement.

Follow I-75 south out of Sault Ste. Marie to M-28, and jog west for about seven miles to Brimley State Park. Established in 1923, this is one of the oldest U.P. state parks. Located on the Lake Superior shore at Whitefish Bay, this is a great spot for enjoying a fall picnic.

It's a quick trip along I-75 south to St. Ignace and a hot cup of coffee at Java Joe's Café.

Straits State Park
720 Church Street
Saint Ignace, MI 49781
Reservations: (800) 447-2757
Phone: (906) 643-8620
The park has 255 modern campsites that feature electricity, fire rings and picnic tables. Fifteen Straits-semi modern waterfront sites. There are four modern toilet buildings with showers, two sanitation stations. We have a view of the Mackinac Bridge and are 1/2 mile from the ferries that travel to and from Mackinac Island. The Soo Locks and Tahquamenon Falls are just one hour away and the Father Marquette Memorial is located in the Straits State Park.
Mackinac Bridge
I 75
Saint Ignace, MI 49781
Phone: (906) 643-7600
Unites Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere with 7,400 feet of roadway suspended in the air over the straits of Mackinac. Total length of the bridge, including its approaches, is approximately five miles. Celebrate 50 years with the mighty Mac with the Michigan History Magazine. Click on the link for more information.
Father Marquette National Memorial
Straits State Park
720 Church Street
Saint Ignace, MI 49781
Phone: (906) 643-8620
On a rise overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, the Father Marquette National Memorial tells the story of that 17th-century missionary-explorer and the meeting of French and Native American cultures deep in the North American wilderness.
Museum of Ojibwa Culture/Native Expressions Gift Shop
500 North State Street
Saint Ignace, MI 49781
Reservations: (906) 643-6076
Phone: (906) 643-9161
A national historic landmark, this museum interprets the rich archaeology and history of a 17th century Huron Indian village, Marquette's French Jesuit Mission, and local Ojibwa (Chippewa) Indian traditions and contemporary culture. Exhibits, continuous videos, and live demonstrations by nature interpreters all help visitors explore this exciting chapter of the straits area history. This unique gift shop features an outstanding selection of authentic, locally-made Certified Native American art, crafts and gift items, and has the area's largest selection of native books. Located inside the Museum of Ojibwa Culture. Open Memorial Day weekend to early December or by appointment.
Fort Mackinac
P.O. Box 370
Mackinac Island, MI 49757
Phone: (231) 436-4100
Voted one of Top 10 Tourist Attractions by Family Fun Magazine.  On a southern bluff of Mackinac Island, towering 150 feet above the majestic Straits of Mackinac, is a fort once occupied by 18th-century British Redcoats and 19th-century American soldiers. This is Fort Mackinac, a military compound that holds significant history spanning several centuries. At Fort Mackinac, history is alive and you’re a part of it! Step inside and hear bugle music, rifle fire, and a cannon blast. Dance to a 19th century tune, drill with soldiers, play Victorian children’s games. It’s the 1880s. Imagine it. And then walk inside and live it.
Grand Hotel
1 Grand Avenue
PO Box 286
Mackinac Island, MI 49757
Reservations: (800) 334-7263
Toll Free: (800) 334-7263
Phone: (906) 847-3331
A National historic landmark located on Mackinac Island where bikes and horse drawn carriages are the favored modes of transportation. As Travel + Leisure’s 500 World’s Best Hotels and Conde Nast Traveler’s Top 5 Midwest Resorts, Grand Hotel offers outstanding accommodations where no two guest rooms are alike. Open from May – October enjoy spectacular views of the Straits of Mackinac in a rocking chair on the world’s longest porch. Dining at the Grand Hotel has been one of the highlights of experience for our guests. Every meal is truly special with exceptional food, service and ambiance. Options available are the Main Dining Room looking over the Straits of Mackinac requiring coat and tie for the gentlemen and dress or pantsuit for ladies after 6:30 p.m. Other options available are the more casual Gate House, Jockey Club at the Grand Stand, Cawthorne's Village Inn and Carleton's Tea Store. 

Mackinac Island State Park
P.O. Box 370
Mackinac Island, MI 49757
Phone: (906) 847-3328
This is Mackinac Island State Park, a landscape characterized by high limestone bluffs, beautiful vistas of sparkling water, vibrant forests, and mystical geological formations. With automobiles banned since 1898, here exists a quieter way of life away from interstate noise of cities. Over 80 percent of Mackinac Island is within Mackinac Island State Park—free of charge and open year round—where you’ll discover the true natural gems of Mackinac. Whether visiting this island parkland by foot, bike, horseback, or carriage, these many majestic geological wonders and unique historical monuments are visual treasures found only here—on the island sacred to the Ojibwa and Odawa Great Lakes Indian tribes. According to them, this is where life began. You’re invited to discover why.
Castle Rock/Souvenir Barn
Castle Rock Road (Bus. Loop I-75)
PO Box 185
Saint Ignace, MI 49781
Phone: (906) 643-8268
Spectacular views of the Straits of Mackinac, Mackinac Island and Lake Huron from atop this ancient lookout of the Ojibwa Indians, referred to as Pontiac's outlook, 195.8 feet above ground level. Stop and climb 170 steps to the top. You can also get your picture taken with Paul Bunyan and Babe, his blue ox as well as visit our large store with many souvenirs, t-shirts, gifts and local items. Open daily mid-May through mid-October. Three miles north of St. Ignace.
Drummond Island Resort and Conference Center
33494 South Maxton Road
Drummond Island, MI 49726
Toll Free: (800) 999-6343
Phone: (906) 493-1000
Drummond Island Resort and Conference Center is a true Michigan treasure, located on the shores of Lake Huron in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Our 1800 acre resort caters to guests looking to escape their everyday lifestyle and enjoy the majestic beauty of island life in Northern Michigan. Guests to the resort can enjoy our 4-star golf course, the Rock, named one of the “Best Places to Play” by Golf Digest; an afternoon shooting clay's at our Sporting Clay's Park, an ATV ride at our ORV Park; cast a line at our trout pond, walk or hike miles of trails throughout the property, or enjoy a tranquil kayak ride along the shores of the island. The resort boats spacious lodge rooms and fully updated log cabins and cottages nestled in the woods and along the shore of the island. While at the resort, guests can enjoy a game and pizza at Pin’s, a sport bar full of the “Up North” feeling. Our conference center and banquet hall is perfect for all types of gatherings, including meetings and weddings. Leave the real world behind and enjoy island life at the Drummond Island Resort and Conference Center only 60 miles north of the Mackinac Bridge.
Soo Locks
Portage Avenue
Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
Phone: (906) 253-9290
The Soo Locks have been referred to as one of the great wonders of the world and are still the largest & one of the busiest waterway traffic systems on earth! Watching huge vessels pass through the Locks is a unique experience that cannot be seen anywhere else in the United States! The Locks consist of two canals and four locks that allow vessels of many types/sizes to safely traverse the 21-foot drop in elevation of the St. Mary’s River between Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan and Huron. From viewing decks, you can watch "Lakers" and "Salties" (ocean-going vessels) as they travel the seaway between ports and navigate the rise/drop of the water levels. The Soo Locks Park Visitors Center, open from 9am - 9pm mid-May thru mid-October each year. We also have schedules of arriving vessels along with general information.
Soo Locks Boat Tours & Dinner Cruises
515 & 1157 E. Portage Ave.
PO Box 739
Sault Sainte Marie, MI 49783
Toll Free: (800) 432-6301
Phone: (906) 632-6301
Three ways to experience the Soo Locks! Soo Locks tours, sunset dinner cruises and lighthouse cruises. Take a trip through the famous Soo Locks. The whole family will enjoy a fully narrated, memorable and relaxing tour. Learn about the lake freighters, ocean vessel and historic Sault Ste. Marie. You'll enjoy our friendly staff, easily accessible facilities. Free pet kennel, gift shop and a snack bar. Our season runs from Mid-May to Mid-October of each year.
Tower Of History
326 East Portage Avenue
Sault Sainte Marie, MI 49783
Toll Free: (888) 744-7867
Phone: (906) 632-3658
An express elevator whisks you to the top of the 21 story structure to a spectacular view of the historic St. Mary's River, rapids, Sault Locks, and the International Bridge. See the twin cities and natural beauty for 20 miles. Telescopes are available, and this is a great place for camera and binocular buffs. The lower level of the tower features a mini-museum of Native American culture and a video of the early history of the area. Open mid-May thru mid-October from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Kewadin Casino, Hotel and Convention Center
2186 Shunk Road
Sault Sainte Marie, MI 49783
Toll Free: (800) 539-2346
Phone: (906) 632-0530
Kewadin Casino, Sault Ste. Marie, is located on Shunk Road on the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indian’s Reservation. This casino location is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and offers more than 37,000 feet of gaming area. Vegas style gaming is offered here and includes slots, live Keno, Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, Let It Ride, 3 Card Poker and live poker. Top named entertainers from B.B. King to the Beach Boys perform at the DreamMaker Theater, located within the casino. This facility can house up to 1,500 guests and will provide you with an entertainment experience you are certain never to forget. Hotel accommodations are available on site with a 320-room hotel including an indoor pool, spa, and fitness center. Valet parking, free parking, a hotel shuttle, deli, the Bawhating Art Gallery, Signatures sports bar and our award-winning restaurant, Dreamcatcher’s, are just a few of the amenities that this site has to offer you. The Sault Ste. Marie site is also home to a convention facility. With 39,000 square feet of meeting space in addition to the 19,000 available at the Big Bear Arena across the street, we are sure to have ample room for you and your event. The Agawa Canyon, world famous Soo Locks, and the grand history of Michigan's oldest city all await you at this Kewadin Casino site.
Brimley State Park
9200 West 6 Mile Road
Brimley, MI 49715
Reservations: (800) 447-2757
Phone: (906) 248-3422
A modern 237 sites campground with electric on site and mini cabins and dump station for taking on water. Located at the Southern end of Whitefish Bay. Canadian Hills visible from the clean sandy beach on beautiful Lake Superior. One of the oldest state parks in the Upper Peninsula, Brimley features hunting, fishing, boating, camping and hiking.
Java Joe's Cafe
959 N. State Street
St. Ignace, MI 49781
Phone: (906) 643-5282
Sandwiched between the Holiday Inn Express and the Comfort Inn on North State Street in St. Ignace, Michigan, Java Joe's Cafe provides the perfect place to unwind after a day of touring Mackinac Island. If you're the morning type, come over early and grab some breakfast and a shot of the #1 espresso in the U.P. or we can make you a latte or cappuccino with one of our 45 flavors. For lunch we can pack you a picnic basket filled with goodies and for the evening, have pizza or soup and a sandwich with a chai latte. Our extensive menu includes bagels, muffins, sandwiches, fresh soups, pizza, ice cream, and more! Java Joe's offers multiple flavors of coffee. So, if you're in the area stop in for a latte, a muffin, and some great'll be glad you did! We also sell a huge variety of teapots, cookie jars, Java Joe mugs, T-shirts, flavored coffees, crepe & pancake mixes, granola, and Peace jewelry!