Before you check the island ferry schedule, you may want to check another schedule first. On most Great Lakes Basin islands, summer is the island season in which a wide variety of events are planned to attract island visitors. Check the island’s events schedule before planning your trip. You just may find something to “tickle your fancy,” as my grandma used to say.
Three of my favorite Great Lakes Basin islands are: Lake Michigan’s Beaver Island, Bois Blanc Island in the Straits of Mackinac, and Lake Erie’s Pelee Island. I plan to visit all three of these islands between July 14 and July 22.
I’m crossing over to each island in the near future because I’ve been invited to talk about my book at Pelee Art Works, sign copies of my books at the Beaver Island Museum Week Art Show, and present a book talk, sponsored by the Bois Blanc Island Historical Society, at the Coast Guard Chapel. However, there’s a lot more going on—much of it musical, historical, or gustatory in nature—on whichever of these three Great Lake Basin islands you might be considering visiting this summer.
- July 14-16 is the Beaver Island Music Festival.
- July 18 – July 23 is Museum Week on Beaver Island. The island has two museums: The Old Mormon Print Shop Museum and the Marine Museum and two historical sites: Heritage Park and the Protar Home. Museum Week features special events at these four sites, music, presentations on nature, oral history, and Native American culture, nature walks, a pet show, and an art show.
- July 29 – August 7 is Baroque on Beaver.
- August 19 – 21 is the Beaver Island Jazz Weekend.
- Pelee Island Stone & Sky Music and Art Series: July 17, 24, and August 7, 14, 21
- Friday evenings (and at least one Thursday) in the summertime may mean Pizza and Tapas Nights at the Pelee Island Winery (July 28 and 29, August 19, and September 2).
- And, of course, the popular The Island Unplugged music festival on Pelee Island is July 30-31.
Bois Blanc Island
Bois Blanc Island is hosting a Day at Bible Farm on Saturday, July 30th from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Music happens on occasion at Barb’s Boblo Tavern. And, of course, Taco Tuesdays.
Okay, now check the ferry schedule
You get to all three of these islands by ferry, and if you plan to bring a vehicle, you need to make a reservation for it.
- The vehicle ferry to Pelee Island leaves from Sandusky, Ohio or Leamington, Ontario (except when it leaves from Kingsville, Ontario the second half of the season). It’s a 1.5-hour ferry ride to West Dock on either the Jiimaan or the Pelee Islander. Check out the Pelee Island Transportation ferry schedule and rates.
- The vehicle ferry to Beaver Island leaves from Charlevoix, Michigan. It’s just over a two-hour ferry ride to St. James on the Emerald Isle or the Beaver Islander. Check out the Beaver Island Boat Company website for the ferry schedule and rates.
- The vehicle ferry to Bois Blanc Island leaves from Cheboygan, Michigan. It’s a half-an-hour ride on the Kristen D. Check out the Plaunt Transportation website for the ferry schedule and rates.
You’re in luck if your planning a trip to any of these three islands in the next two months because at this time of year—between the Fourth and until Labor Day—ferries to just about any Great Lakes Basin island will be making their maximum number of daily trips.
Perhaps the greatest island draw of all
Lots of special summer events beckon from this trio of very different islands. But as one of owners of my favorite island B&B , which just happens to be on Bois Blanc, states, “Most folks don’t realize how much they need ‘nothing to do.’”
Here’s hoping that in between an island adventure or two, you have an opportunity to experience having “nothing to do” on a Great Lakes Basin island this summer!