Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is breath-takingly beautiful. Most people are drawn to Mackinac Island, a quaint tourist destination at the base of the peninsula. However, if you drive over the bridge and take byway 134 for 40 miles due east, you’ll reach the end of the peninsula and the village that resides there. Just relax, enjoy the drive, and don’t forget to stop at the farmer’s stand right off the exit and stock up on fresh summer vegetables for the weekend!
DeTour Village has a population of 320 people. Many people who purchase homes here only stay for the summer, choosing to avoid the long winters. The warmest months here are July and August, but even then the high temperatures won’t reach 80 degrees every day. Being up north and experiencing cool breezes off of lake Huron make for moderate summers. While the water may not always be warm enough to swim in, there are plenty of opportunities to boat, kayak, jet ski and even paddle board when the water is calm.
If you have a four-day weekend to get away, here is an itinerary you can use to plan your trip.
Day 1: Explore DeTour Village
Ontario Street runs through the main part of town. There are no traffic lights, but you will find a gas station, grocery store, hardware store, post office, coffee shop, two restaurants, and the Village Inn, the local bar. Take an afternoon to walk into town and browse around. From there you can easily walk to the state harbor and see boats docked in the marina. You will probably even see barges moving past, as its a popular channel for ships. Don’t forget to stop by the DeTour history museum, which gives great insight on how people settled here in the Upper Peninsula and what life was like for sailors on these massive ships.
If you need a place to stay, there are two options right in town. DeTour’s Historic Huron Street Inn is a charming bed and breakfast located right on the water. You will have a perfect view of Lake Huron from the white rocking chairs on the front porch. The second option is a River Bend Resort waterfront cabin. These colorful little cottages will give you more privacy, but also give you immediate access to the water.
After seeing what downtown has to offer, take a hike. There are short hiking trails here in DeTour. The trail head is at the high school’s football field, so follow the sign on E South Caribou Lake Road until you reach the field. The trails are not strenuous, so they offer something to do for everyone. You can easily spend a good hour walking through the trails.
DeTour Village also has a botanical garden. It is the northern most botanical garden in Michigan, and the only one above the midland. It’s quaint and on the water, and another lovely option for part of your trip.
End the evening by stopping in town at The Village Inn and enjoying the best curly fries and onion rings you’ve ever tried! This bar is a local favorite. The staff is extremely friendly and the food is to die for.
Day 2: Visit Sault Ste. Marie & Tahquamenon Falls
Just one hour away from DeTour Village is the town Sault Ste. Marie, also nicknamed The Soo. Take road 48 to 129 and you can’t miss it.
This town is unique because it is part of two countries. Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan has over 13,000 residents and offers a relaxing day for visitors on the water. The most popular thing to do here is see the Soo Locks, a narrow channel that ships must pass through to continue on in the Great Lakes. It is free and there is a stadium-type seating arrangement where you can watch the locks fill with water as the ships prepare to pass through. You may just take a glimpse of the locks, or you can stay for over an hour to watch the entire process.
After you’ve had your fix, walk around the downtown. There are plenty of souvenir shops, restaurants, and breweries to enjoy. I recommend eating lunch here before continuing on your way.
Like I mentioned earlier, Sault Ste. Marie is a town in Michigan, but it’s also a town in Ontario, Canada! The international bridge is located here, and you can cross the border and continue exploring. The population on the Canadian side is 73,000 people and offers plenty of other fun things to do.
However, I instead continued driving west to Tahquamenon Falls State Park. It’s about an hour from the Soo, and offers incredible hiking trails. There are two waterfalls, the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. For a half day trip I recommend driving to each and hiking the shorter trails to the falls. If you have the time, spend more of your day here and hike to the lower falls, then hike the four mile trail leading to the upper falls. You can either hike back or take a shuttle to your car at the original parking lot.
For more information, read my entire post about visiting this gorgeous state park.
Day 3: Ride the Ferry to Drummond Island
DeTour Village is a popular detour for travelers making their way to Dummond Island. You can see it across the water, and the ferry boat that will take you over is located here in DeTour.
A roundtrip ticket costs $14, and then it’s $2 more for each passenger in the car. You just drive your car onto the ferry, and it only takes a few minutes to reach the other side! Ferrys leave from DeTour and Drummond every single hour, so it’s easy to board and cross over to the island.
Drummond island is the largest freshwater island in the United States. It offers a plethora of outdoor activities in the summer, from kayaking, golfing, ATV riding, and hiking. There are even shipwrecks right off the island that you can scuba dive to see! It was ranked in the Top 10 Best Value Travel Destinations in the World by Lonely Planet in 2017, and for good reasons.
For more ideas on planning out your day, visit the Drummond Island Tourism Association.
Day 4: Relax, it’s a vacation after all!
Wake up for the sunrise. Enjoy the drive along scenic byway 134. Lay by the lake. Grill out with family. Kayak along the lake and find the ship permanently docked just north of the village. Jump off docks into the water. Tube behind a boat. Read a book in the sun.
Whatever you do, just enjoy it. They don’t call it “America the Beautiful” for nothing. There is nothing quite like spending at weekend at the lake, and the Great Lakes are truly something to behold. Until I came last summer I had no idea what the Upper Peninsula was like, but now I can’t get enough. I am making plans to return and visit more of Lake Superior on the western side of the peninsula, as well as visit Mackinac Island. Until then though, I’ll just stick with DeTour Village.