The Les Cheneaux area lies east of the Mackinac Bridge along the northern shore of Lake Huron. Thirty-six islands provide sheltered channels and bays within the Straits of Mackinac - a historic harbor area for boaters and explorers. Towering forests laced with trails and pathways offer unparalleled year-round opportunities for vacations, day-trips, reunions and quiet breaks from city living.
The villages of Cedarville and Hessel anchor the Les Cheneaux Islands region on the mainland, and serve the seasonal island population that inhabits cottages on the islands that dot the waters offshore. This unique archipelago is accented by limestone cobble and sandy shoreline, shadowy cedar forest and century-old cottages that have been in families for generations. Government Island is open to the public, and offers nearly 200 acres for camping, hiking and beach access. The best views of the islands are seen by boat, and many choose canoes and kayaks to leisurely ply the waters here. Recreational motor boats and sailboats are also popular, but it is the wooden boat that the area is best known for.
Cedarville and Hessel, historic Upper Peninsula port towns with marinas, have unusual gift and craft-making shops, eateries, historic taverns, galleries, an outfitter and guide service, and places to eat within walking distance from docks.
Detailed information, lodging and business listings, events and much more at our local information sites:
Les Cheneaux Islands
The Les Cheneaux area hosts the largest antique wooden boat show in the Midwest-- always the second Saturday of August. The show was launched over 30 years ago to celebrate the many wooden boats that remain in the area, thanks to the cold and gentle waters that protect these boats' hulls. The Les Cheneaux region also shares a large concentration of artists and craftspeople with the nearby communities.
Located on Brulee Point overlooking the Les Cheneaux Islands, the Birdge Nature Preserve captures the quiet solitude of the Lake Huron shoreline and surrounding wetlands at three separate locations.
Les Cheneaux Maritime Museum
The O.M. Reif Boathouse (circa 1920s) is home to displays of vintage boats, marine artifacts, antique outboard motors, historic photos of area boating, a boat building workshop, and a gift shop.
Mackinac Bay Nature Overlook
A viewing platform located alongside the crystal clear Mackinac Creek allows you a front row seat to nature's marshland symphony, featuring the music of tuneful songbirds and croaking frogs.