Go Off-Road, Into the Blue

Michigan is home to more than 60,000 inland lakes and ponds, and borders four of the five Great Lakes, but did you know that there are more than 30,000 islands in the Great Lakes? Some of these islands belong to Canada, Wisconsin, or Ohio, and most are small and rarely traversed by man; but there are a few Michigan islands that outdoor adventure seekers can make their way to. However, you can’t get there by RV (though RVs are allowed at some of these spots)… you need to go by air or by water.

  1. Mackinac Island, Lake Huron: Only 15-minutes by a Mackinac Island ferry from Mackinac City or St. Ignace, Mackinac Island is a popular tourist spot. Despite the tourism, it retains a lot of old-world charm with its horse-drawn carriages and wagons, Victorian homes and hotels, and hundreds of fragrant lilac trees. Bike around the island (eight miles), hike up to Arch Rock, or grab a sandwich and eat it along the shore. There is a campground on the island, but it’s for tents only.
  1. Drummond Island, Lake Huron: With a motto of “Michigan’s Ultimate Playground,” Drummond Island lives up to its reputation. It’s the second largest fresh water island in the nation with hundreds of points of interest across its 87,000 acres. The island is so large that it has 34 inland lakes of its own. It’s a favorite spot for snowmobilers, birders, and hunters. There are plenty of lodging options, from B&B’s to lodges, but there are a couple campgrounds with hookups for RVs. How do you get there? You’ll need to take the ferry – and yes, the RV can come along, too.
  1. Beaver Island, Lake Michigan: This is the largest island in the Big Lake and has been known as “America’s Emerald Isle” due to its high number of Irish descendants. It has amazing stargazing because of its remote location, solid fishing, and biking. Go in the spring or the fall to avoid the heavy crowds.
  1. South Manitou and North Manitou, Lake Michigan: These islands are part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and can be reached by taking the ferry from Leland. They are perfect for the person who wants to get away from it all. Since they are uninhabited and possess no stores, make sure to have everything you need for the day. On South Manitou, you’ll find a growth of Northern white cedars on the southwestern corner, among some of the oldest (500 years) and largest (18 feet around) in the world. On both islands, you can enjoy some time at the beach and be able to take a dip in Lake Michigan.
  1. Isle Royale, Lake Superior: A national park, Isle Royale is the Michigan island to go to if you’re interested in a more rugged experience. The islands are abundant with wildlife and very scenic – you won’t want to leave. You can reach Isle Royale by taking the ferry from Houghton or Copper Harbor. Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and scuba diving among shipwrecks are just some of the things to do. Ranger programs held April – October provide education and exploration of Isle Royale’s cultural history and natural attractions.
  1. Les Cheneaux Islands, Lake Huron: There are 36 islands in this chain located along the northern shore of Lake Huron. There’s something to do every season of the year. You can find solitude and quiet by kayaking through sheltered channels or hiking through restive woods. You can visit some of the larger port towns and marinas that contain unique shops and exceptional waterfront views. Find adventure by hiring a guide or racing an ATV on the trail system. Best of all, there are some RV-friendly options: Cedarville RV Park & Campground, Loons Point Campground, and Kewadin Campgrounds await to welcome RVers. Make your reservation as soon as possible.

7. Neebish Island, Saint Mary’s River: Located in the waterway between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, south of the Soo Locks, Neebish Island is a favorite Michigan island for campers and fishermen though still relatively remote compared to many other Michigan islands. You’ll need to take a passenger/vehicle ferry from Barbeau to reach the island, and there are 28 sites available for RVs at Neebish Island Campground & Fishing Resort. Spend some time in Sault Ste. Marie before you head to the island.

These are some of the most popular of Michigan islands, but their natural beauty remains preserved for all to enjoy.