Over the 4th of July holiday week, my family and I, including all 3 dogs, went up to the Upper Pennisula (UP) to visit Drummond and Les Cheneaux Islands. I had actually never heard of the Les Cheneaux up until recently. Jodie happened to see a billboard while driving and looked them up and sent me a link saying we should go. Then I happened to see a billboard while driving as well.
While we were up there, my dad wanted to go to Drummond Island as well since he’s never been. It’s about a 20 minute drive east from Cedarville to De Tour where you get the ferry.
Drummond Island is located in Lake Huron. You take a ferry over like Mackinac Island. Unlike Mackinac Island, you can take your car over (No cars are allowed on Mackinac Island). The ferry is also a lot cheaper than Mackinac. The 4 of us and the car was $10 roundtrip! Fun Fact: The founder on Domino’s has a house on the Island. It is also the second largest fresh water island in the United States.
There are 13 ecosystems on the island as well, including 6 forests, 5 swamps/marshes, inland lakes, rivers and cobble beaches. Drummond Island also has alvars which happens to be the largest remaining high quality alvars in North America. I don’t have any pictures of the the alvars but it was pretty cool.
All of these pictures above are from a bay that the dogs and I (Only Reika and Reidar, not Bridgette) went swimming in. Granted Reidar went swimming the most out of the 3 of us. I just went to about my thighs/hips. The water was so warm for a Great Lake. Look how crystal clear the water is!!
When you go to Drummond Island, you will be doing a lot of driving. Everything is so spread out. I think we actually spent most of the time in the car. Jodie was also sick so I think that had something to do with it. The signs aren’t very good, so you really need to pay attention. We spent about an hour trying find Glen Cove to go swimming before we gave up and came back to this beach.
Parts of the island are private property so even though you may see roads that lead to a location on a map does not mean you will actually be able to see the location when you get there.
I would love to go back in the fall and stay at one of the many resorts on the island!
We only had one meal there at Pins. I got a delicious Perch Po Boy. How could I not get fresh fish while I’m up north. It was so good. They also had homemade chips.
We also stopped for coffee at I think is the only place that has it, and our frozen drinks were disgusting. I thought it tasted old. Reidar happened to spill mine and I’m glad I didn’t have to finish it. There is also an ice cream place and it wasn’t very good. Maybe I’ve been spoiled with high quality ice cream and custard my entire life!
Les Cheneaux Islands
The Les Cheneaux Islands are 36 islands nestled off the coast of the UP 18 miles east of Mackinac Island. The islands are close together that they create calm channels and bays unlike the rest of Lake Huron. Most of the islands are uninhabited, but there summer home on some of them. Some are also year round home too but not very many.
The only way to get to these islands are by private boats or kayaks. 2 of the islands are actually connected to the mainland and you can drive to, Hills Island and Island No. 8. I really like Island No. 8.
Where to Stay
The Les Cheneaux tourist website is so helpful when it comes to places to stay in Cedarville (On the mainland). You have so many options to choose from whether it’s a hotel, cottage, camping, etc. They also have a pet friendly key which was very handy for us! By the time we booked, we didn’t have very many options to choose from and that allowed 3 dogs.
But we stayed at the Islands Inn Motel. It’s basically in downtown Cedarville and 2 blocks from the water. It was a very simple, basic place and the owners are very nice.
Places to Eat
Snows Bar and Grille
The place we ate at on the first night! My original plan was to get fish but when I saw they had a bison burger made from local, grass-fed bison I got it. Jodie got a veggie burger that was homemade and delicious.
We went here for the salad bar for dinner after a late lunch at Pins on Drummond Island. I was the only one just to get the salad bar but it was good. The bites of pasta I had from my sister’s and mom’s plates were good too!
Not a lot of vegetarian options but they can make salads vegetarian. The fried pickles were delicious. And they had bluegills, which I got! I haven’t had bluegills in ages since my DziaDzia stopped fishing and that was years before he died too! They were so good!!
Les Cheneaux Coffee Roasters
I wish I had known about this place sooner. Our kayaking tour guide, Stephanie, told us about this place, so we didn’t go until the last day. We tried to go after kayaking but they had just closed. I got an iced mocha made with almond milk. It was delicious.
Like I said above, the only way to view the islands is by kayak or private boats. There is a boat tour thats $100 an hour per person. My dad did try to call but they never called back but we ended up kayaking which we wanted to do anyways.
We opted for the full day instead of the half day which includes lunch and is only 2 hours longer than the half day. Plus for the full day you do get to get out of the boat and walk around on one of the islands. There also isn’t much of a difference in price between the half and full day. My dad paid, but I think he said it’s about $100 per person.
Our tour guide, Stephanie, was super nice and very informative. Her family happens to own a cottage on Marquette Island (The biggest of the islands). Our tour basically took us across one of the channels to Duck Bay where we got off on Marquette Island to walk around and eat lunch. We the then got back in your Kayaks and headed down one of the channels where we could look at the houses.
I really wish I took pictures while kayaking but my camera was in a dry bag in one of the compartments. If Reika wasn’t in the kayak with me, I would’ve kept it in the kayak with me.
One of the islands, Dollar Island, is big enough for literally just one house. It is very eclectic looking. Lucky for you my mom pulled out her phone and took pictures of the house!
If you do ever happen to go to Les Cheneaux Islands, I highly recommend you go kayaking to see all the different islands plus it was fun!
The Les Cheneaux Islands are definitely a hidden gem in Michigan and I would love to go back. I think owning or renting a house on one of the islands would be amazing as well!
Have you ever been to Drummond or Les Cheneaux Islands?
Don’t forget that I am a brand ambassador for ETA Travel and I have $250 for you to redeem for a travel!!