Manitou Island Transit offers you a variety of ways to experience the beauty of the Manitou Passage. From day trips to South Manitou and camping on North & South Manitou, we'll get you there!
South Manitou - Day Trips
Your trip out to the South Manitou Island will take approximately 1 1/2 hours. Our crew will be on hand to guide you as we cruise on the Mishe-Mokwa past the natural beauty of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and cross the Manitou Passage, an international shipping lane.
We dock on the island for 4 1/2 hours, giving you ample time to explore the island's history and natural wonders. We provide two new Kubota’s that pull wagons with built in padded seats and backrests for guided tours of the island. Some tours focus on the human history of the island, with visits to the old schoolhouse, farmsteads and cemetery.
The tours are set up en route to the island and we may be able to customize tours for special interests, groups and abilities. Each tour takes about 1 1/2 hours.
You may prefer to take your own tour to areas unreachable by vehicle. Self guided tours to such locations as the perched dunes and famed Valley of the Giants are very popular. The trail system and the sandy shoreline of the island allows for unparalleled hiking opportunities to see rare wildflowers, old farmsteads, and a number of raptors and other birds -- just ask us for suggestions! Park Rangers are on hand to present the history of the Lifesaving Station and Lighthouse Service. Their tour includes a climb to the top of the 100' South Manitou Island Lighthouse.
Please be advised to bring lunch with you, as there is no food service on the island. Many restaurants in Leland make carry-out lunches available.
For more about the Manitou Islands, including maps, a brief history, and our new Photo Tour of the islands please visit our Manitou Islands Page at www.manitoutransit.com
North & South Manitou – Camping Trips
South Manitou Island
Camping is permitted at three locations on this island - the Bay, Weather Station and Popple Campgrounds. The island is small with a fragile ecosystem and low impact camping is the rule. At all locations food should be stored in hard containers to thwart the Northern Miniature Tiger (aka the chipmunk!). There is no transportation to the campgrounds so all camping gear and supplies must be packed in and out.
Backcountry permits are available onboard but large group sites are available only by reservation from the Park Service. Please call the Park Service at 231-326-5134 for reservations.
North Manitou Island
Now here is a camping trip! 15,000 acres of wilderness with a visitor use concept that emphasizes solitude, self-reliance and a sense of exploration. Camping on North Manitou is "open": you choose the campsite! The primary visitor activities include hiking, swimming, and backcountry camping and backpacking. The island itself is home to a large whitetail deer herd and is the summer range for a variety of raptors (including the Bald Eagle). In the fall, special trips are available for hunters.