Three Michigan Islands to Visit Within an Hour of Detroit

Island life right here in Michigan, why not? It may not be a tropical destination, but Michigan islands have a lot to offer for shark-free fun. Come along for an escape as I take you to three islands to visit within an hour of Detroit.

Grosse Ile

The beautiful island of Grosse Ile is located in the St. Clair River. It’s about a half hour south of the city and you could spend an entire day on the island. The cost to cross the bridge is $5 as you head to an island escape.

Things to Do

  • Gibraltar Bay Alpaca Farm | 8545 Groh Rd, Grosse Ile Twp
    Take a visit to the cutest alpaca farm where you can pet these furry guys, learn a little bit, and shop.
  • Grosse Ile Municipal Airport | 9601 Groh Rd, Grosse Ile Twp
    The airport is located conveniently right by the Alpaca Farm. While I wouldn’t say make a trip just for this, it was fun to watch the planes fly in while we were at the farm!
  • Centennial Farms | 25797 3rd St, Grosse Ile Twp 
    Centennial Farms is one of the most kid-friendly spots on the island. With farm animals to visit, a playground, and a walking trail, you won’t want to miss this little spot.
  • Lighthouse | Location: Northeast end of the island
    Driving around the perimeter will bring you to this little spot to visit one of Michigan’s 124 lighthouses.
  • Drive around the island perimeter.
    A drive around the perimeter is one of our favorite things to do to look at all the homes and the beautiful coastline.

Places to Eat

Harsens Island

Located an hour north of the city in lake St. Clair is a humble Michigan Island that is a sure-fire spot for a quiet escape. Spend the day or make a weekend of it and grab a rental on the island.

Things to Do

  • Kayak
    Bring your own kayak and put in on the Middle Channel to explore the marsh.
  • Sans Souci
    The Sans Souci area is located on the eastern shore of the island and is a fun little shopping district loaded with history.
  • Rent a boat
    Check out Middle Channel Marina for rentals.
  • Car Ferry
    The only way to get to Harsens Island is by boat so be sure to take the Champion’s Auto Ferry across.

Places to Eat

Belle Isle

I’m sure you’ve heard of this Detroit gem, but if you haven’t been, here are the details you won’t want to miss. Driving across the bridge to the island is free and gives you an amazing view of the city. Plan ahead where you want to go to optimize your day — the island is a lot bigger than you may realize!

Things to Do

  • Belle Isle Nature Center and Trails 
    Head to the linked website for all the info you need on checking out the Nature Center and the trails that surround it.
  • William Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse | East end of the island
    This is a great spot to relax and read up on a little history of our lakes.
  • Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory | 4 Inselruhe Ave, Detroit
    Visit the outdoor gardens, and watch the website for the reopening date of the conservatory building!
  • Belle Isle Aquarium | 3 Inselruhe Ave, Detroit
    As of publish date, the aquarium is temporarily closed, but be sure to follow their social channels for the much-anticipated date of reopening.
  • Playgrounds | Kids Row and Belle Isle ADA Park
    These are two awesome spots for your littles to blow off some steam. The Belle Isle Park on Oakway Road is a new favorite spot for us!
  • Beach | 2 Inselruhe Ave
    Head to the beach for the day without leaving the city!
  • There is nowhere to eat on the island so be sure to pack some food before you head out for the day.

I hope these three Michigan Islands make you feel like you’re living on Island time even if you can’t get to one. If you’re looking for more great things to do in Detroit head here.


  1. In addition, Harsens island also offers lighthouses, you can enjoy ice cream while watching the freighters from all over the world pass by. The kids can play at Brown’s field playground, play baseball, basketball, tennis, or pickle ball. The island is known for outstanding fishing, you can visit the horse farm, go canoeing, biking, or relax at a bed and breakfast. Don’t forget to visit the museum and the gift shop with penny candy. There’s a brewery, a new coffee shop, you can even get home made donuts and farm fresh eggs. Cross the ferry to a simpler time and enjoy a visit to Harsens island.

    • That is so amazing all of this info. We grew up visiting the island but it seems there is a ton more to do. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Katie. Just wanted you to know Grosse Ile is located in the Detroit River, not Lake St. Clair. I did enjoy reading the detailed info on all three islands. Thanks for your research.


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