There were two things I knew about Drummond Island before I actually visited the island. That Drummond Island Resort had a golf course called The Rock that was supposed to be a lot of fun to play and that they had a lot of off-road trails.
Drummond Island was on my bucket list of places to visit, more specifically I wanted to play The Rock. My husband had friends that had a cottage on the Island, and he had played The Rock many times before we met. I heard more about this course, and it only made me want to play there more.
Where is Drummond Island?
Drummond Island is on the northern end of Lake Huron off the Eastern coast of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is the third-largest lake island in Lake Huron and the seventh largest in the world. The island is 134 square miles and approximately 2/3 of the island is state land owned by the State of Michigan.
How do I get to Drummond
By Ferry – Most people get to the island via the Drummond Island Ferry out of DeTour Village and a one-mile ride across the St. Mary’s River. The ferry can hold up to 36 cars and crosses the river hourly, 12 months a year. There are not advance ticket sales, vehicles are loaded on a first come, first served basis. Vehicles line up in DeTour to await boarding the ferry. Round trip fare is collected once you are on board. The Drummond Island Tourism Association website features a live webcam view of the ferry docks
By Air – The Drummond Island Airport (DRM) is a small public airport with 2 runways. Th airport is Township owned and has a fuel, repairs and full-time manager and customs is available. An interesting feature of the runway is that the Township golf course is on both sides of runway 8/26. Golf carts and pedestrian do cross the runway and something to watch for in addition to island wildlife.
By Snowmobile – In the winter snowmobilers can use the Ice Bridge to Canada that is marked by burying pine trees to show the “bridge route”. The ice bridge starts at Drummond Island Yacht Haven and takes you across the ice to Milford Haven on St. Joseph’s Island in Ontario.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection operate on the island and offer a mobile app (ROAM) that allows you to clear customs when traveling from Canada to the U.S. 24/7. To use CBP ROAM on your personal smart device you can download the app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
Weekend on Drummond
Lucky us, our friends invited us for a weekend on the Island. I envisioned a weekend of golf because it was a small island and I assumed there was not much to do. I was so very wrong.
We did golf one of the days, but that was just a small part of our trip. The island is a unique way of life, and everyone is so very friendly. We found local pubs with fantastic food and great diners for breakfast. Small shops with local crafted items and of course puddingstones, lots and lots of puddingstones. Many local craftsmen sell jewelry and carvings made from puddingstones.
What are puddingstones?
A puddingstone is a quartz conglomerate. It looks like several pebbles that are embedded in a lighter stone. The sizes and colors can vary. The puddingstones found on Drummond Island have pieces of brown and Red Jasper which is a type of quartz.
Crossing to the Island
Our wait in DeTour Village to board the ferry was about an hour. We got in line and missed the departure by 2 cars. Although the ferry can hold up to 36 cars, longer trucks, semis, and campers can drastically reduce that number. That was the case for us as several trucks with travel trailers loaded on ahead of us. Still the hour was not a bad wait. The weather was nice, and we got out of our car and explored the shoreline in DeTour Village while we waited.
Driving onto the Ferry was little scary for me even though I was only a passenger. It felt tight for our crossover vehicle, but I was assured we were fine (we were). We stayed in our car and the 10-15 ride was uneventful.
Drummond Island Quarry
We did see a freighter pass through the St. Mary’s River and could see the Drummond Island Quarry that was south of the ferry docks on the Island. The quarry is a major producer of crushed and broken Engadine dolomite throughout the Great Lakes region. Dolomite is the underlying rock of Drummond Island. It is calcium carbonate with a high percentage of magnesium carbonate.
Exploring Drummond Island
Drummond Island is more than puddingstones and off-road trails. There are beaches, hiking trails, parks, events and more. Of course, they get a lot of off-roading visitors, and folks coming to the island for hunting and fishing.
Our friend’s cabin is on Lake Huron, and we explored the shoreline and walked many trails. There is a lot of wildlife, and it is common to see a deer, coyote, fox, black bear, and other wildlife cross in front of you. Hopefully if you see a few of them you are in the safety of a vehicle!
The north shore of Drummond Island are Fossil Ledges that are made up of fossilized remains of a salt water coral bed. The Ledges can be difficult to get to and requires some off-roading, make sure your vehicle has high clearance. They are worth the effort.
Drummond Island has much to offer year-round. There are over 100 miles of ATV and ORV trails and snowmobile trails you can explore. Kayak the 56-mile Heritage Water Trail around the island or the Drummond Island Explorer H20 Trail. or scuba dive and explore multiple shipwrecks. With 150 miles of shoreline and twenty-four different biodiversity types there are many unique land features on Drummond Island. A weekend is not enough.
If you are not lucky enough to have friends with a cottage, Drummond Island has many lodging options to fit your budget. If you would like to golf The Rock and stay at the resort, they offer stay and play packages that let you play a couple of rounds and still leave time to explore the island. Regardless of how you get there, where you stay, Drummond Island is the “Gem of the Huron” and worth visiting.
10 Interesting Facts about Drummond Island From the Drummond Island Tourism Association
- Drummond Island is the 2nd largest freshwater island in the United States.
- The island boasts a population of 1,058 people.
- Drummond Island has the largest closed-loop trail system for off-road adventures in the State of Michigan.
- There are more than 13 ecosystems on the island including six forest types, five swamp-marsh types, inland lakes and rivers, and cobble beaches.
- The alvars found on Drummond Island are the largest remaining high quality alvars in North America.
- The island is ideal for bird watching as it is home to a host of avian species including loons, grebes, waterfowls, and owls. The island has 8 designated bird watching areas on the North Huron Birding Trail.
- The Drummond Island Ferry runs hourly to and from the mainland, 365 days a year (See schedule.)
- In 2017, Drummond Island was named one of the “Top Ten Value Travel Destinations” by Lonely Planet.
- A paddler’s paradise, Drummond Island is the center of two significant water trail systems.
- Pure Michigan voted Drummond Island as “The #1 Place to Snowmobile.”