CEDARVILLE, Mich. (Michigan Back Roads) – Les Cheneaux is a destination that may be different from any other in Michigan. It is all about the nature preserves, the water, and those fantastic islands. The region is informally known as “Land of Waters.” It is populated by two historic villages, Cedarville and Hessel.

In and around those towns is where the shops, museums, and art galleries are found. This is an area that is full of natural wonders and the activities to be enjoyed out of town. Long empty beaches, shorelines strewn with giant boulders, and vast pristine forests are the real attractions.

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The area is often referred to as “one of the last great places.” In addition to the natural splendor, Les Cheneaux is famous for its Culinary School, the Boat Building School, and the Antique Wooden Boat Show. The 12 miles of shore on Lake Huron, with Cedarville and Hessel, are where the festivals are held. Those include Music and Art Dockside in July and Art in The Park in September. More about festivals and the local arts scene can be found at the Visitors Center, the Arts Council, the Old Shell Gallery, and Pickle Point.

Les Cheneaux has always been bonded to the woods and waters since the late 19th century. For 150 years, a few knew about this place. While tourism has contributed to modernization and expansive growth to the west, here are islands, unspoiled forests, and spectacular lake views. The Les Cheneaux Archipelago consists of 36 islands with attendant coves, channels, and hidden shorelines. The villages of Cedarville and Hessel welcome visitors year-round and preserve the lifestyle and maritime history unique to this part of Mackinac County.