Now that we’re just on the other side of the Summer Solstice, you may want to reconsider if you’ve yet to plan an island escape for 2016. If you’re still looking for an easy-to-get-to island adventure , there are at least 16 prime choices I’d recommend in a heart beat, all in the Great Lakes Basin.

Plenty to see and do on each to make good summertime memories. And, by the way, they all have great sunsets. (The one above–the sunset, not the photo–courtesy of Beaver Island, MI.)

Having spent the last two weekends on Pelee Island–following my book’s launch and The Most Memorable Visit by Both Daughters and The Granddaughter–and with plans to return to . . .

  • Bois Blanc Island, MI (in the Straits of Mackinac; get there by ferry)

Sometimes a little bit of island fog makes other things in life, oh, so clear. Here, a Great Blue Heron on Bois Blanc Island, MI.

  • Wolfe Island, ON (in the St. Lawrence River; get there by ferry)

Human-made, as well as natural, wonders, abound–often unexpectedly–on Great Lakes islands. Here, Sacred Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church in Marysville on Wolfe Island.

. . . here’s another “baker’s dozen” of islands (in order from upstream to downstream) I’m planning to return to this year or next:

  • Madeline Island, WI (in Lake Superior; get there by ferry)

Ella’s Island Cafe on Madeline Island, a good place on the lake for breakfast, all morning.

  • Washington Island, WI (in Lake Michigan; get there by ferry)

Fiddler’s Green, a good place for dinner and music, coffee and games on Washington Island.

  • Beaver Island, MI (in Lake Michigan; get there by ferry)
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Livingstone Studio, the place to see art of all sorts on Beaver Island, MI.

  • Mackinac Island, MI (in the Straits of Mackinac; get there by passenger ferry)
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Mackinac Island is one of the few places anywhere that you can awaken to sight of dray horses waiting on the dock in early morning fog through your window.

  • Les Cheneaux Islands (area), MI (in Lake Huron; get there by bridge)

Possibly the best location for a fire pit in the Les Cheneaux Islands, at Dancing Waters B&B on Hill Island, MI.

  • Drummond Island, MI (in Lake Huron; get there by ferry)

Possibly the most picturesque dock on Drummond Island at Papin’s Resort.

  • St. Joseph Island, ON (in Lake Huron; get there by bridge)

One of the most interesting island churches, churchyard cemeteries, and island family stories, on St. Joseph Island, Ontario.

  • Harsens Island, MI (in St. Clair River; get there by ferry)

One of the best views of passing ships (and great perch sandwiches, too) at San Souci Bar and Grill on Harsens Island in the St. Clair River.

  • Grosse Ile, MI (in the Detroit River; get there by bridge)
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Two of the residents at Gibraltar Bay Alpacas on Grosse Ile, MI.

  • South Bass Island, OH (in Lake Erie; get there by ferry)

Step down into a geode underground to see the crystals, and then come up to the garden to sample the wine at Heineman’s Winery on South Bass Island (aka as Put-in-Bay).

  • Kelleys Island, OH (in Lake Erie; get there by ferry)

Kelleys Island has limestone features from a number of periods of island history (from top left, clockwise) found in: ruins of the Monarch Winery, Kelleys Island Cemetery, the glacial grooves, Inscription Rock, the German Reformed Church, and Herndon’s Sculpture Garden, to just name a few.

  • Amherst Island, ON (in Lake Ontario; get there by ferry)

So much depends upon a yellow picnic table swept by island breezes beside the gray lake (with a nod to William Carlos Williams, who would have been a prime candidate for “island time, ” I suspect) . . . 

  • Wellesley Island, NY (in the St. Lawrence River; get there by bridge)

. . . Or the quality of light on Rock Ridges Nature Trail on Wellesley Island.

Just pick one. Pick any Great Lakes Basin island. You won’t be disappointed. Meanwhile, beginning mid-July, expect island dispatches from someone who’s already picked more than a few!