Manitou Island Transit is an authorized concessionaire of the National Park Service Department of the Interior and has been guiding the public to South and North Manitou Islands since 1917.
PARK PASSES NPS LINK: http://www.nps.gov/slbe/planyourvisit/feesandreservations.htm
TRIP TO SOUTH MANITOU ISLAND:
Your trip to the island will take approximately 1 1/2 hours. Our crew will be your guide as we cruise past the natural beauty of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Crossing the Manitou Passage, and international shipping lane, notice the North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse standing guard.
DAY-TRIP TO SOUTH MANITOU:
Day-trips to the island will give you the chance to explore and experience South Manitou’s great beauty and history. No food service is available on the island, so please pack a picnic lunch. There is a cash bar with packaged snacks, candy and drinks on board.
SOUTH MANITOU ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE:
The South Manitou Lighthouse is an interesting feature on the island. The iconic 104 foot lighthouse is strategically located on the heavily trafficked Manitou Passage on the 300 mile eastern route from Chicago to Mackinaw. It identified both the passage and the most frequently used refuge on the Great Lakes. It was active from 1871 to 1958. This historic beacon to shelter, commerce and growth had been dark for almost 50 years. The light has since been “re-lit”. Take a hike up the 104 foot tower to see the awe-inspiring sites.
AMENITIES ON SOUTH MANITOU ISLAND:
We dock in the village on South Manitou. This is where the ranger station is located. There are restrooms in the village with running water and a drinking fountain/pump from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. There are NO showers. There are outhouses at the Bay Campground, the Weather Station Campground, and also at the Schoolhouse. There is a water pump in the village, at the Bay Campground, the Weather Station Campground, and also at the Schoolhouse from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. There is no water pump or outhouses at the Popple Campground. Fires are allowed in the designated group fire-rings at the Bay Campground and the Weather Station Campground. No fires in the Popple Campground.
South Manitou Island offers three first come first serve campgrounds for your overnight trips. They include: The Bay Campground (0.5 miles from dock); The Weather Station Campground (1.3 miles from the dock); and The Popple Campground (3.5 miles from the dock). Leave no trace camping is the rule. This minimizes human impact on the fragile natural resources. There is no transportation to the campgrounds and also no wagons are permitted to the campgrounds.
NPS CAMPING LINK: http://www.nps.gov/slbe/planyourvisit/smicamping.htm
North Manitou Island offers 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! However, camping is strictly prohibited within 300 feet of Lake Michigan. The primary visitor activities include hiking, swimming, 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). Solitude is easy to find. Leave no trace camping is the rule. There is one campground in the Village area, which does have a group fire ring as well as water. The Village Campground is the ONLY place on the island that a fire is allowed.
Manitou Island Transit now offers Kubota tractors which pull custom handicapped accessible wagons with comfortable seating. Tours are set up on board during the cruise to the island. Each tour will take approximately 2 hours.
BEACHES AND SWIMMING:
South and North Manitou Island offer wonderful beaches and some great swimming. The beaches are secluded and go on for miles.
*ARE PETS ALLOWED ON THE ISLAND?
PETS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON SOUTH OR NORTH MANITOU ISLAND. HOWEVER WE DO ALLOW PETS ON OUR EVENING SHORELINE CRUISE.
*WHERE CAN I LEAVE MY CAR?
WE HAVE A PARKING AVAILABLE FOR $2.00 PER DAY, DIRECTIONS AND A PERMIT FOR YOUR CAR AVAILABLE AT THE TICKET OFFICE.
*DO WE NEED TO PURCHASE TICKETS AHEAD OF TIME?
WE DO FILL UP, SO WE DEFINITELY RECOMMEND GETTING TICKETS AS SOON AS YOU ARE SURE OF YOUR TRIP.
* DO I NEED A PARK ENTRANCE PASS?
YES, THE FEE IS $10.00 PER CAR. PASSES CAN BE PURCHASED AT THE MANITOU ISLAND TRANSIT OFFICE IN LELAND.
* HOW DO I GET A CAMPING PERMIT?
CAMPING PERMITS CAN BE PURCHASED AT THE MANITOU ISLANDS TRANSIT OFFICE OR THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE VISITOR CENTER IN EMPIRE.
* IS GROUP CAMPING AVAILABLE?
YES, CALL 1-877-444-6777 OR http://www.recreation.gov (FOR SMI GROUP CAMPING)