Drummond Island, Michigan
Published: Sunday, July 1, 2018
Uniquely situated at the easternmost tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in Lake Huron, at the mouth of the St. Mary’s River and Canada’s Georgian Bay, Drummond Island is a boater’s paradise with wide open expanses of unspoiled fresh water and little to no boating congestion. Its protected waters provide a haven for water sports and its large size and various ecosystems provide year-round adventure and interesting terrain. With 150 miles of shoreline, the International Ice Bridge to Canada, Fall on the Island Festival, and over 200 miles of ORV, ATV, biking, and snowmobile trails, there is adventure for everyone any time you visit!
When arriving by water, the island offers three marinas where boaters can dock and replenish supplies: Drummond Island Yacht Haven, 800-543-4743 or 906-493-5232; Fort Drummond Marine & Resort, 906-493-5359 or 906-493-5471; and Nate's Landing & Marina, 906-493-5352.
Those who choose to fly in can land at the Drummond Island Airport - call letters KDRM. This facility has a 4000-foot paved runway and 2900-foot turf runway for propeller planes and small jets.
Visitors traveling by car get to enjoy a boat ride, too, on the Drummond Island Ferry which leaves scenic DeTour Village hourly and is a short ten minute ride.
On The Water
Sailing and Boating: In beautiful Potagannissing Bay, with its archipelago of islands, boaters can enjoy the solitude of an anchorage inside the famous horseshoe-shaped Harbor Island National Wildlife Refuge or relax at a slip with amenities at Drummond Island Yacht Haven. Day trips include enjoying the untouched splendor and unfolding vistas of all the islands in the bay, as well as Canada’s St. Joseph Island to the north, which boasts some of the North Channel’s best scenery.
Nearby to Whitney Bay’s Fort Drummond Marine is the beautifully restored historic DeTour Reef Lighthouse and freighter viewing in the St. Mary’s River. Though it is worth the time to book a tour or participate in the Lighthouse Keepers Program though The DeTour Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society - www.drlps.com, it is a fun trip out to and around the lighthouse in itself with close up views of freighters stopping at Drummond’s limestone quarry and traversing the passage into the St. Mary’s River to the Soo Locks.
You, too, can make the scenic day trip up the St. Mary’s River and through the Soo Locks where freighters move 90% of the world’s iron ore between Lake Huron and Lake Superior. The Poe Lock uses 22 million gallons of water to lift or lower boats 21 feet between the two lakes. Pleasure boaters need only radio the lock authority upon approach to get directions to enter in and through the locks.
A short trip to the west is the Les Cheneaux Islands and their many passages that are well-marked for navigating the protected waters among the beautiful summer cottages and famed boat houses. Just beyond the LC area is Mackinac Island with its historic harbor inviting the cruiser in from the open lake.
Drummond Island is the gateway to the North Channel, known worldwide for its stunning scenery and quiet anchorages. This enjoyable sojourn and the seemingly endless possibilities for exploration, approximately 45 miles east from Drummond Island to the breathtaking and wild magic of Georgian Bay, attracts yachtsman year after year. Many adventurers on the “Great Loop” end up storing their boat at Drummond Island Yacht Haven over the winter to allow for more time in this serene and beautiful setting.
No matter which way the wind blows, Drummond Island is a great place to visit and a convenient home base to nearby attractions in all directions. Though, once here, there are many recreational possibilities on and off the water that make it difficult to leave.
Kayaking and Canoeing: The paddling opportunities in and around Drummond Island are simply outstanding. Imagine paddling the same path that Native Americans, missionaries, French voyagers, and 18th century British military did over the last 300 years of North American trade and commerce. Whether looking for challenge, adventure, risk and environmental interpretation, or just a peaceful glide along pristine shoreline, there is a route to accommodate every paddler. From experiential learning to challenging courses, paddling the Drummond Island Heritage Water Trail will provide that opportunity. Kayak rentals are available at North Haven, 906-493-5567, and The Islander Shoppe, 906-493-5092.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding: Because of our quiet bays and small inland lakes, Drummond Island has some of the best unknown SUP spots in the Upper Peninsula. The Island offers seemingly endless shoreline to explore and 0ur island SUP rental providers can give you insider tips to explore the best spots like a local. Talk to The Islander Shoppe, 906-493-5092, and Drummond Island Yacht Haven, 906-493-5232.
Scuba Diving: There are 17 offshore Drummond Island shipwrecks providing ample diving exploration. Storms, heavy seas, and navigation errors have all contributed to shipping losses in and near the DeTour Passage. The remains of lost ships rest in fairly shallow waters easily accessible to divers. Some locations are shallow enough for snorkeling.
Fishing: All year long, anglers can find fantastic fishing on Drummond Island. Spring and fall bring the perch into shallow water. May 1st finds fishermen at the mouth of the St. Mary’s river targeting lake trout and Atlantic salmon. Come summer, the focus turns to northern pike and walleye, and the end of June through July brings cisco, herring, and whitefish. Potagannissing Bay and Whitney Bay are popular areas, and excellent smallmouth bass fishing opportunities exist where rocky shorelines abound.
Charter Fishing: If you have a specific fish in mind, talk to your Drummond Island fishing charter captain to book an excursion for an individual or a group. They know the best areas on the lake to find the fish that you’re looking for and have tips and techniques to make it a successful expedition. Contact: Always An Adventure Charters, 616-836-9415; Stormy Chinook Charters, 586-212-4030; or Sturgeon Bay Charters, 906-493-6087.
Big Shoal Bay Beach is a stretch of narrow sandy beach with picnic tables, restrooms, a parking lot, and spectacular vistas overlooking the cove. The floor of the swimming beach is hard packed sand with large, fossil rocks dotting the shoreline. Intermediate kayakers will enjoy the 3.5 mile (one way) trip around the point to Scammon Cove and paddling over the wreck of the schooner barge TROY, which sunk due to fire in 1920.
Glen Cove Beach is located on the eastern end of Drummond Island just north of the recognizable rock outcropping called Marble Head, which overlooks false DeTour Passage. Here, the view opens up to a large half-moon-shaped cove. The quiet sand beach is flanked on the left and right by a rocky shoreline that completes the one mile arc. It’s easy walking the entire distance and kids and adults alike enjoy looking for pretty colored stones.
Drummond Island Township Park Beach is located approximately 6 miles east of the Ferry Dock. The public boat ramp and sandy beach are perfect for kayaks and SUPs. Multiple geocaches can be found in this area. The dark skies of this beach are also perfect for stargazing and Northern Lights sightings.
Plan Your Stay
Whether you're staying overnight, for a few days, or all summer long, Drummond Island is the perfect destination for people looking to get away from it all and enjoy the peace and tranquility of nature. From resorts with on-site amenities to budget-friendly hotels, from quiet, rustic cottages to fully equipped lodges and homes along the shoreline, Drummond Island provides an unforgettable escape for couples, families, and friends.
The best place to start planning your Drummond Island vacation destination is www.visitdrummondisland.com or call Drummond Island Tourism Association at 906-493-5245.
Calendar of Events
- February (third weekend) - Slush Fest
- April (third Saturday) - Spring Migration (Jeep the Mac to Drummond Island)
- July 4th - Annual Hometown 4th of July Parade, Festival and Fireworks
- July/August - Arts & Crafts Shows
- October (second weekend) - Fall on the Island Festival
- November 14 - Annual Homemakers Hunter’s Dinner
*Events are updated on our Event Calendar at visitdrummondisland.com.
This article first appeared in the Summer Issue (Jul/Aug) 2018 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.