If you go
Mackinac Island: Ferries are run by three companies — Arnold Mackinac Island Ferry, Shepler's Ferry and Star Line Ferry Ferries — from both Mackinaw City, Mich. (Lower Peninsula), and St. Ignace, Mich. (Upper Peninsula). The trip typically takes between 16 and 40 minutes. Round-trip prices range from $18 to $26. Luggage service and parking are available at the ferry docks. Flights can be arranged, too (mackinacisland.org).
Beaver Island: The ferry ride from Charlevoix, Mich., takes about two hours ($31 one-way in peak season) and can be rough sailing. Contact the Beaver Island Boat Co. (bibco.com) for schedules and reservations. I took the ferry to the island and returned to Charlevoix on a small plane, a delightful 15-minute flight that costs about $50 one-way. The Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce website (beaverisland.org) has information about transportation options, events and lodging.
Other inland islands: Beaver and Mackinac islands rank as two of my favorite inland islands, but other gems include Madeline Island (madelineisland.com) and Isle Royale (nps.gov/isro) in Lake Superior; Washington Island (washingtonisland-wi.com) in Door County, Wis.; and the wooded wonderland of Thousand Islands (visit1000islands.com) between northern New York and southeastern Ontario.