Les Cheneaux Islands
“The Snows,” everyone calls them, though the real name for these islands is Les Cheneaux (lay shen-O), French for “The Channels.” And there are channels aplenty. Like shards of glass, 36 long and narrow islands lie splintered just off the U.P.’s southeastern shore, forming a maze of calm channels and protected bays in northern Lake Huron.
Not surprisingly, this area is a delight for boaters. Tall sailboats, classic cabin cruisers, and simple canoes all share these waters, as they have for more than a century.
The best way to see Les Cheneaux, of course, is to get out on the water. Aside from the pretty wooded islands themselves, part of the fun is eyeing the beautiful old boathouses that dot the shorelines, especially on Marquette Island. If you’ve got your own craft, you’ll find launches in Hessel and Cedarville, the only two towns in the area.
Though the waters are protected and normally quite safe, be sure to bring a chart, or at least a map provided by local businesses. The various bays, channels, and points can be confusing for a newcomer.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel