South Manitou Island Regulations

Docking is limited to 30 minutes. There are no fuel services available. Set your anchor with wind shifts in mind. Squalls and passing weather fronts can create damaging wave conditions.

Camping is permitted at only three locations: Bay, Weather Station, and Popple Campgrounds. Low impact camping is the rule. This minimizes human impact on the fragile natural resources.

There is no transportation for camp gear so you must pack it in (travel light).

Various factors may require the ferry's departure immediately after arrival. Be at the dock with your gear at 11:00 a.m. in case of an early departure.

Individual Campsites: Individual sites are limited to 4 persons and 2 tents. Campers must purchase a Backcountry Use Permit before camping. Permits are available at the Fishtown dock in Leland from 8:30 am to 10:00 am during the summer months. During the off-season, please contact the VisitorCenter in Empire for permits. Upon arriving at the island, a park ranger will meet you at the dock to complete camper registration and to help you plan your visit.

Group Campsites: There are several larger group campsites, each designed to hold 20 campers (10 tents). Group sites are available by reservation only. Check the Camp Fees web page for cost. Please note: The fee for group camping does not include transportation to the island. Please contact ManitouIsland Transit to make ferry reservations.

Food and Trash
To thwart chipmunks and other animals, store your food in in hard containers or keep it in durable bags suspended from a tree about 6 feet above the ground.

Deposit all trash in receptacles located at the boathouse near the dock.

Please pack out all your trash.Trash cans are located in the village. Please place empty fuel cans next to the trash cans.

Fires are permitted in community fire rings only. Dead and down wood may be used. Cutting any standing vegetation, alive or dead, is prohibited. Fires are prohibited on the beaches.

Pets are prohibited on the island to prevent any disturbance to visitors and wildlife.

Water is available at locations marked on the map. Campers staying in the Bay Campground are required to carry water from the village. Please do not use pump areas for bathing or dishwashing.

For safety, hike with a companion and notify someone of your route and expected return time. Wear footgear that gives good support. Terrain varies from sandy beaches to gravel and boulder-surfaced slopes. Carry drinking water. Please stay on designated trails to avoid causing erosion and damage to plants. This is especially important in sensitive areas such as the gull rookery, old growth cedars, dunes and steep bluffs.

CAUTION: Hiking on steep bluffs is dangerous

Last updated: December 7, 2023

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9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630


231 326-4700

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