southern rivers whitewater fall colors

Manitou Islands Kayak Camping

The Manitou Islands lie approximately 8 miles off  the mainland near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  We’ll make the crossing (if the conditions are right) and spend the next 4 days exploring the islands from the kayaks and on foot.

The islands are served by a ferry so if folks choose not to make the crossing by kayak, we can meet up at the ferry terminal on the island and continue our explorations.  The Manitous trip is all backcountry camping with water available from Lake Michigan or at the ranger stations. The Manitous trip is a learning adventure with the opportunity to refine strokes and rescues in conditions, develop control in the surf zone and learn to deal with the intricacies of paddling a loaded sea kayak.

Thursday morning we’ll meet in the parking lot of the Cannery Boathouse Museum outside Glen Arbor.  We will pack the boats and do some “shakedown” manuevers and rescues (better to work out the kinks early) If everything looks good, we’ll paddle to South Manitou, set up camp then explore its coastline by kayak or by foot.  If it is too rough to make the crossing we will camp on the mainland and take a mainland day trip and cross when the weather allows. Friday & Saturday  we may explore the coast and inland sights of North or South Manitou. Sunday morning we’ll paddle along the coast and return, crossing to the mainland. Paddlers should plan on being self sufficient with camping gear and food and should have at least 1 extra day of food  and the flexibility to stay on the island if it is too rough to make the crossing and the ferries are not running due to weather or if they are full.  June, 2023 . Register Now

The ferry costs $42 per person plus $65 per sea kayak which is not included in the trip cost. There is no discount for a 1 way fare. More info on the ferries can be found here

Here’s an article on from on how to pack a sea kayak

Manitou Islands Kayak Camping


When: June 9-12, 2022 – postponed to 2023
Where:depart from Sleeping Bear Dunes
How much: $450
What’s included: low ratio professional coaching, 3 nights camping

Skill Development

Open water crossings
Kayak camping
Core strokes and manuevers refinement
Self rescues
Group rescues