Vacation Week on Drummond Island – 2022 Photo Gallery
Drummond Island is an all-seasons vacation paradise in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The third largest island in Lake Huron, Drummond Island offers 129 miles of mostly undeveloped land and 150 miles of shoreline. Popular activities for those visiting the “Gem of the Huron” include fishing, kayaking, boating, riding the ATV trails, observing wildlife, visiting unique land features, golfing, watching freighter traffic on the St. Mary’s River, and searching for puddingstones. The island has campgrounds, a hotel, and a few resorts but many guests choose to stay in a rental house or cabin (most of them managed by Northern Properties or Drummond Island Vacation Homes). In September we had the chance to return to Drummond Island for a weeklong vacation and today we will share some pictures from that trip and a look at everything we were able to see and do. If you weren’t already thinking of visiting Drummond Island, we hope these pictures might change that!
On my first visit to Drummond Island our group of five stayed at Pebble Beach Lodge, a great home located on the west side of the island. I loved watching freighters pass on the river and seeing the stunning sunsets each night. This year our group of 10 needed a little more space and a few more amenities, so we booked the stunning Bootjack Lodge on the southwest shore of the island. This amazing log home has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, three levels of decks that look out at Lake Huron, a large kitchen, two living rooms, and more. The sandy beach and shallow waters of the bay were perfect for our kayaking plans, and we were able to paddle out and explore Bootjack Island and watch freighters pass by. While driving around the island we passed many other rental properties, but after staying at Bootjack Lodge the bar has been set pretty high! This is the perfect cabin/home for a larger group and its location made for a very relaxing and quiet week.
Getting to Drummond Island involves a ferry crossing from DeTour Village, and we arrived Sunday afternoon and had no issues crossing (more info at eupta.net) within a half hour of reaching DeTour. Wait times can be longer on weekends and are typically longer leaving the island on Sunday. With the regular ferry the Drummond Islander IV out for its five-year inspection, the Drummond Islander III (smaller) was working nonstop during our visit to try and keep up.
A rainy forecast hampered our outdoor plans for most of the first two days, but that gave us a chance to get familiar with the cabin and everything it had to offer. We managed to get some kayaking in Monday and started our search for puddingstones. The waters near Drummond Island are one of the few places in the Great Lakes to find these rocks, which are jasper conglomerates where smaller pebbles are embedded in larger rocks. The one pictured above was the best one we found all week. We found many small and medium size puddingstones, and marveled at a few large ones in the water that will remain there for many years.
I kept an eye on the freighter traffic using the MarineTraffic app, and we made a few trips back to the ferry dock to watch some ships pass. On Monday we saw the Atlantic Huron (Canada Steamship Lines) and the Floretgracht (Netherlands) as they headed north. I love seeing freighters I haven’t seen before, so seeing a “saltie” pass by was a great addition and made for some nice photos!
On Tuesday we made our first trip out in the Jeeps we had brought along for trail riding. We headed out to Four Corners, then east on Johnswood Rd. before heading north on Maxton Cross Rd. Following that to Maxton Rd. and heading northeast we soon reached the point where the road turns to dirt just before it reaches the Maxton Plains Alvar. This rare landscape where dry grassland grows on limestone pavement is only found here and in Estonia, Ireland, and parts of Scandinavia. From the Maxton Plains Alvar interpretive signs it is around a six mile journey out to Fossil Ledges, with a high-clearance vehicle being recommended.
The Fossil Ledges are limestone ledges on the island’s north side that contain the fossilized remains of a saltwater coral bed. Look at just about any rock here and you’re likely to find a fossil. It was still a bit wet and windy so we didn’t stay long but we did manage to find some amazing fossils!
Wednesday saw us return to the water for some more kayaking as we explored more of the shoreline and more of the area around Bootjack Island. At night we had a fire on the beach and spent a lot of time looking up at the night sky. Drummond Island is a great place for dark sky viewing, as there is virtually no light pollution to interfere with seeing the stars and more.
The last two members of our group arrived Thursday, and we made another trip out to the Fossil Ledges. The weather was much nicer this time and we had a lot of fun walking around looking at fossils. We also were able to enjoy the Jeeps on the drive out and the drive back.
On Friday, we turned things up a notch and made our most ambitious trail trip of the week. One of the highlights for any Drummond Island visitor with an ATV, Jeep, or other capable vehicle is the trip to Marblehead, the easternmost point in Michigan. This route offers up several obstacles before reaching the Steps at Marblehead, where the rock ledges offer drops of a foot or more as they challenge the suspension and driving ability of very vehicle and driver that makes it to this point. Having an experienced guide with our group ensured that everyone made at least one successful trip down and back up. We then had a picnic lunch and enjoyed the breathtaking views of Lake Huron from 100 feet above.
On our way back we made a side trip to Shale Rock Beach, a seemingly endless rocky beach that we had all to ourselves. The route here was wet and challenging in spots but everyone made it through. The trip to Marblehead and back easily takes up four or more hours. Make plans for it being a half day excursion and make sure you have a paper map along as cell phone and GPS service can be spotty.
Saturday was a day for resting and relaxing as well as starting to pack up. We did some shopping in town, watched more freighters pass by, and visited the Clyde and Martha Williams Nature Preserve and the Potagannissing Wildlife Flooding in hopes of seeing more wildlife. We did see a few birds and a lot more deer, but this ended up being another visit to the island without seeing a black bear.
The forecast for Saturday night called for an excellent chance of the Northern Lights making an appearance so we made plans to head back out to the Maxton Plains in the early morning hours. While the Northern Lights never did make an appearance, those of us who made the trip out were treated to an amazing view of a sky full of stars with no artificial light around for miles. What a great ending to a fun-filled week on one of Michigan’s most spectacular islands.
It was an early start out the door Sunday, to make sure we got in the ferry line to head back before it got backed up. It always feels sad to leave a place as magical as Drummond Island, but the memories made during our weeklong stay will last forever. All of the newcomers in our group loved it and I’m sure they’d go back. I also can’t say enough great things about Northern Properties – if you’re headed to Drummond Island you can’t go wrong staying at one of their vacation homes! Enjoy the photo gallery below, we hope it helps give you some ideas of the fun you can have when you visit the island!