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Explore South Manitou

WHAT TO DO THERE: Grab a pack, climb aboard a rusty ferry, and get ready to party like it's 1834. This day trip takes you through a historic ghost town, an ancient cedar forest, near a shipwreck, and around some of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in northern Michigan.

WHEN TO GO: Catch the early morning boat to allow plenty of time for fun. Buy your tickets and get the schedule here (be sure to reserve them in advance): 

Manitou Island Transit information

WHAT TO BRING: Drinking water and/or a filtration system, food, comfortable daypack, camera, good hiking shoes, swimsuits, hammocks.

OPTIONAL SIDE TREK: Go early and take a walk around historic Fishtown, a collection of shops and old shanties—a booming place for fishermen back in the day.

TIPS: Be sure to book your reservation in advance; the boat fills up fast on weekends and popular holidays. 

You'll need a park pass, but don't worry—you can get everything you need at the ferry station that morning. Just plan an extra 20 minutes for parking and permits.

Pack an extra day's worth of food! At least a few times a year, the ferry has to suspend it's service due to weather (think 10 foot swells) and leave the islanders stranded. It's happened twice to our field researcher, and she's never regretted being prepared.

Watch for poison ivy, the island is covered in it. Here's how to spot it. 

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Love Lake Crew T-Shirt

Nothing makes you fall in love with Lake Michigan more than crossing over it on a ferry, abandoning yourself on a remote island, and spending your day like its 1834.