The Manitou Islands, located 8.5 miles offshore from Michigan’s Leelenau Peninsula, are one of the most desired paddling locations on Lake Michigan. Rich in agricultural and lumber industry history, towering sand dunes, a restored lighthouse, and a partially submerged shipwreck, this is a trip to be remembered.

Our journey will begin at the DH Day Campground in Glen Arbor, MI. We will meet to discuss the trip, distribute, and pack group and personal gear for the following morning’s trip. The next morning, we will launch from Sleeping Bear Lifesaving Station in Glen Haven, MI, making the 8.5-mile crossing of the Manitou Passage to our destination. After exploring the South Manitou lighthouse and natural harbor, we will continue to set up camp for the night at the Weather Station Campground. As an alternate option, depending on conditions, skills levels, or participant comfort levels, we may take the ferry from Leland (at your own cost).

On day 2, we explore the wreck of the Francisco Morazon. Partially submerged and just 150 yards from the island’s shore, the ship is now the home to thousands of nesting cormorants. We continue the fun by paddling along the dunes of the island’s western shore, making our way to  the island’s north end for our second night. This evening’s beachside camp will provide views of North Manitou Island and Pyramid Point.

Our final day will lead us around the remainder of South Manitou and a return to the mainland by the afternoon in time to enjoy dinner on the Leelenau Peninsula.

Trip includes logistics planning, campground reservations and fees, National Park Service admission, parking, and all group meals. Group members will be expected to assist with minor camp duties and sharing the load with group gear.

Group members are expected to provide their own boat (minimum 14′ 6″ with sealed bulkheads in bow and stern), personal paddling and camping gear, clothing, and snacks.

If ferry transportation should be required for or desired by any participants to or from the island, that transportation is not included and would be paid separately by the participant. Trip leader may require a participant to travel via ferry based on equipment, experience, conditions, or other factors influencing the group or any participant or leader’s safety.

It is expected that participants interested in joining this trip will have participated in a minimum of three, full day journeys e.g. longer than 8 nautical miles, be appropriately skilled in group travel, self and assisted rescue techniques.

Cost: $225 per participant

Dates: Contact John to schedule

Time: TBD

Location: Glen Haven, MI

Trip Policies

Before reserving your spot in any of classes or trips, please read the following carefully:

  • All trips or classes are held rain or shine. Severe weather or weather unsuitable for your skill level will result in it being rescheduled for a later date.
  • You will be required to read and sign a waiver form prior to participation in any class or trip.
  • All participants will wear a properly fitted personal flotation device whenever on the water.
  • You will need to have appropriate headwear, clothing, and footwear (water shoes or sandals that stay on) rain gear, and extra clothes just in case.
  • Sunscreen is mandatory.
  • Energy bars and light snacks are highly recommended.
  • If you wear eyeglasses, please wear a leash for them! If you wear contacts, please bring an extra pair in case you lose them.
  • Electronics on the water – AT YOUR OWN RISK – If you choose to bring a phone, camera, key fob, or anything electronic, get a dry box for them at any local sporting goods store, or leave them back on dry land!


  • You can cancel up to 21 days before the event and receive a full refund.
  • If you cancel within 10-20 days before the event, you will receive 50% back
  • Cancellations within 10 days of event, no refunds unless we can get someone to take your place in which case you would receive a 50% refund.
  • If a medical emergency should arise at the last minute, please call us. We will try to re-schedule you into another class in the future, but we cannot provide a guarantee. Documentation may be requested.
  • Cancellations at our discretion due to weather will be rescheduled for a later date or a full refund will be given.

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