You’ve probably noticed the many islands that dot the waters from Sault Ste. Marie downriver to DeTour Village, and then west to St. Ignace. Of these, Mackinac is certainly the most well-known island; but we’ll begin our tour by exploring some of the other islands in the Sault Ste. Marie area.

The Sugar Island Ferry crosses near a passing freighter.

The Sugar Island Ferry crosses near a passing freighter.


On the east end of Sault Ste. Marie, take Portage Avenue to Riverside Drive, where you’ll find the Sugar Island Ferry dock just past Aune Osborn Campground. The ferry runs 24 hours a day. The island was named for the massive stands of sugar maples that the Native Americans and early settlers used to make their sugar and syrup.

In many respects, Sugar Island is a wilderness area. While there are numerous year-round residents here, the island is cloaked by deep forests. In the southern portion of the island, it’s not unusual to find moose browsing the young aspens or wading through the marshes. Wolves inhabit the island too, and it’s a special treat to hear their howls in the early hours of darkness. Bird watchers –look hard and you’ll find a heron rookery!


Another island to enjoy is Drummond Island, often called ‘the gem of Lake Huron.’ To visit, travel south on M-129 through Pickford to East M-48 –a distance of about 30 miles. Take M-48 east until the road T’s at M-134. Turn left on M-134 and travel 10 miles to DeTour Village and the Drummond Island Ferry Dock. Like the Sugar Island ferry, it also operates around-the-clock.

Drummond Island is the home of The Rock At Woodmoor –one of Michigan’s finest golf courses. It’s also home to one of the best Alvar Plain regions in the country. This area hosts a variety of rare plants, butterflies and birds. Deer are very common on the island, and black bears are occasionally spotted, too.

Les Cheneaux


Once you return to DeTour Village, get back on M-134 and head west. Northern Lake Huron will be off your left shoulder all the way to the Cedarville/Hessel area, commonly known as the Les Cheneaux Islands Area. The waterways are a boaters paradise, with numerous islands and bays to explore. Kayak these fascinating inlets and stop for a beachside picnic. The Cedarville/Hessel has numerous other attractions, too, including museums, shops, restaurants and a casino.