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South Manitou Island, Leland

4.8
Island · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
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South Manitou Island is located in Lake Michigan, approximately 16 miles (26 km) west of Leland, Michigan. It is part of Leelanau County and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The uninhabited island is 8.277 sq mi (21.44 km2) in land area and can be accessed by a ferry service from Leland. Guided tours on open-air vehicles are available to visitors, but most traffic is on foot. Larger North Manitou Island lies to its north.

The island is 3 miles (4.8 km) wide and 3 miles (4.8 km) long. It is part of an island chain that extends north to the Straits of Mackinac. The island consists of a ridge of tilted layers of limestone, buried under a blanket of glacial debris. Glaciers carved out the Lake Michigan basin. When the basin filled with water, the peaks of the ridge remained exposed as islands. During post-glacial times, winds blowing on the high, sandy bluffs on the west side of the island moved sand inland, forming sand dunes. Florence Lake is the island's only inland lake. The island has a system of trails and campsites.

A growth of Northern white cedars on the southwestern corner of the island are among the oldest and largest in the world. The largest is 18 ft (5.5 m) around and is estimated to be over 500 years old.
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South Manitou Island reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
12 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • The Leelanau Historical Society does an exceptionally good tour of the Manitou Islands for members & guests usually every September. National Park Service tour guides and island history docents put... 
    The Leelanau Historical Society does an exceptionally good tour of the Manitou Islands for members & guests usually every September. National Park Service tour guides and island history docents put...  more »
  • great anchorage to comfortably stay the night. trails and historical farms to explore! bring a bug net mask though 
    great anchorage to comfortably stay the night. trails and historical farms to explore! bring a bug net mask though  more »
  • This pair of island are a hop away from Traverse City. If you take the public ferry, you will park at Leland and take the hour long trip. For day trippers, there's nice clean beaches and lighthouse... 
    This pair of island are a hop away from Traverse City. If you take the public ferry, you will park at Leland and take the hour long trip. For day trippers, there's nice clean beaches and lighthouse...  more »
Google
  • Fabulous camping. Great service and history
  • One of my favorite backpacking trips!!
  • I went there as a teenager and I will never forget the amazing experience I had
  • Few have been, but the leeward crescent-shaped bay is one of the most beautiful places on the planet in the summer!
  • Beyond your wildest dreams of an outdoor experience. Treat it with reverence, and no trace. Watch out for Poison Ivy this summer. Its everywhere.

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