About the Les Cheneaux Islands (pronounced Lay-chen-o)
The Les Cheneaux Islands (French meaning: The Channel Islands) are a group of 36 small
islands, some inhabited, along 12 miles of northern Lake Huron shoreline on the southeastern tip of the
Upper Peninsula of Michigan . The name is French for the channels, noting the many channels between
the islands in the group. They are located about 30 miles north and east of the Straits of Mackinac and
about 35 miles south of Sault Ste. Marie . The islands are a popular resort, boating and kayaking area. The
nearby communities of Hessel and Cedarville, historic Upper Peninsula port towns on the mainland, offer
marinas, camping, lodging, restaurants, and unique gift and craft-making shops. The Les Cheneaux
Islands Antique Boat Show and Festival of the Arts (the world’s largest antique wooden boat show) has
been held in Hessel on the second Saturday of each August since 1976.
The named islands in the Les Cheneaux chain include: Bear Island, Birch Island, Boot Island, Coryell
Island, Crow Island, Dollar Island, Echo Island, Goat Island, Goose Island, Government Island (federally
owned and administered through Hiawatha National Forest, primitive campground), Gravelly Island,
Haven Island, Hill Island (connected by causeway and bridge with the mainland), Island No. 8 (connected
by bridge with the mainland via Hill Island), La Salle Island, Little La Salle Island, Lone Susan Island,
Long Island, Marquette Island (the largest of all 36 islands), Penny Island, Rover Island, St. Ledger
Island, Strongs Island.
The island chain forms many protected bays, harbors, and inland lakes, including: Bass Cove Lake, Bush
Bay, Cedarville Bay, Duck Bay, Flower Bay, Government Bay, Marquette Bay, McKay Bay, Mismer
Bay, Muscallonge (Musky) Bay, Peck Bay, Prentiss Bay, Sand Bay, Scammons Harbor, Sheppard Bay,
Urie Bay, Voight Bay, and Wilderness Bay.
From Lake Huron, there are four major entrances to access the islands by boat:
- East Entrance (Between Boot Island and Strongs Island)
- Middle Entrance (Between Marquette Island and Little La Salle Island)
- West Entrance (between Point Brulee and Marquette Island, main entrance to Hessel)
- The fourth entrance, though unnamed on official charts, is often known as Yacht Entrance
named for the many yachts that access Government Bay for overnight anchorage.
The Les Cheneaux Islands are home to Fleet 31 of the Ensign Class. The fleet sails out of the Les
Cheneaux Yacht Club located on Marquette Island . It is the largest fleet of ensigns worldwide, featuring
64 boats sailing as of summer 2008. Fleet 31 hosted the 2008 Ensign Class Region V Championships on
July 10-12, 2008. Fleet 31 was selected by the Ensign Class Association to host the National Ensign
Regatta in 2010.