A Guide to Visiting Mackinac Island

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Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island, the prettiest place you (probably) haven’t heard of-yet. 🛥

Mackinac Island is a place of beauty, peacefulness and fun! Actually, you may have already seen it and didn’t realize it. If you’ve ever watched “Somewhere in Time” with Christopher Reeve & Jane Seymour, you’ve seen the grand dame of Mackinac- the Grand Hotel. If you’re a fan of 40’s musicals, like I am, “This Time for Keeps” with Jimmy Durante & Esther Williams also features the Grand Hotel and the pool. 🏊‍

Travel + Leisure lists the Grand Hotel as one of the “Top 100 Hotels in the World.” It also has the longest porch in the world and is a beautiful throwback in time.

The Grand Hotel Image by Jason Gillman
The Grand Hotel
Image by Jason Gillman
Having fun on the front porch of the Grand Hotel
Having fun on the front porch of the Grand Hotel

 

Path by the Grand Hotel
Path by the Grand Hotel

 

Where is Mackinac Island

Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Mackinac Island is accessible by ferry. One of the great things about the island is that no cars are allowed. Only horses, bicycles, horse-drawn carriages and snowmobiles (in the winter) are allowed. Imagine a day of no honking cars, no noise pollution from revving engines or getting stuck at a stoplight. Renting a bicycle for the day, walking around or taking a horse-drawn “taxi” creates such a peacefulness. Sounds nice, right? 🐴

Main Street
Main Street on Mackinac Island
Map of the Upper Peninsula
Map of the Upper Peninsula

 

As part of our road trip to Niagara Falls, I knew that coming back into the states I wanted to go to Mackinac Island. It was definitely worth the drive and I couldn’t wait to get on the ferry and get to Mackinac Island. We used the Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry.

Things to do 

Did I also mention that the island is STUNNING!? It’s quaint, full of cute shops, Inn’s, delicious restaurants, B&B’s and flowers everywhere. The Lilac Festival, held in June is the largest summer festival. 💐

Lilac
Lilac photo by congerdesign

 

There are activities for all ages including a visit to Fort Mackinac which was founded during the American Revolution. The British captured the Fort in the very first engagement on American soil in the War of 1812. Inside, 14 original buildings, cannon salutes, bugle music, daily reenactments, and interactive displays speak of America’s infancy.

"Horse Taxi"
“Horse Taxi” photo by Cameron Pickford

 

Rent a bike and enjoy the island as this can be your main source of transportation. Most of the bike rental companies are priced the same so, no matter which you pick, you will have fun!

Definitely ride to Arch Rock. It is a natural limestone arch that formed during the Nipissing post-glacial period. It is beautiful to see and you will be so glad you made the ride.

Arch Rock
Arch Rock photo by t3lincol

 

The Downtown is the beating heart of Mackinac Island and there is an endless array of cute shops, art galleries, souvenir, and specialty shops. Don’t forget to pick up a Christmas ornament for your family travel tree.

Whether on a bike or on a carriage ride, there are many beautiful historic homes that will make you swoon and wish for a simpler time.

One of my husband’s regrets is that he didn’t get to play golf at Michigan’s most historic golf course, Wawashkamo Golf Club. The golf course is the site of an 1814 battle between the British and Americans. While some in your group are playing a round of golf, you could be in the spa or enjoying a bite of fudge.

There are lots of hiking trails, as well as, kayaking. Although it was too chilly the day we went, a guided kayak tour would be beautiful on Mackinac Island during the Summer. There are a couple of guided kayak providers on the island such as Woods and Waters Ecotour and Great Turtle Kayak Tours. Both offer instruction, rentals and stand up paddle board options.

man in a kayak
Kayaking by the yacht racers
photo courtesy of Great Turtle Kayak tours

 

If you have time, afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel shouldn’t be missed. The Grand Hotel has had the tradition for more than 100 years. Each guest can sit in the hotel’s grand parlor and indulge in delicious baked goods, pastries, finger sandwiches and a large selection of tea.

Where to Stay

The big question is where should I stay? While the Grand Hotel is the obvious option, it is a little pricey. However,  the Lilac Tree always gets amazing reviews and the Hotel Iroquois is also one that we have heard great things about. Depending on whether you would like to be off of Main Street or in a more secluded Inn, all of the options are really good.

Where to Eat 

There are a ton of local joints and fine dining options. The Pink Pony is a super popular place with great views and a fun vibe. Your kids will like this restaurant that serves seafood and pub fare.

water view from table
The Pink Pony
photo courtesy of Pink Pony

 

We ate at Millie’s on Main and it was delicious. It was rainy the afternoon we went, so we weren’t able to eat outside, but the service and food were outstanding.

Mackinac Island is also famous for its fudge – Yummy! We stopped at Joann’s Fudge which was incredible and we even bought some extra fudge to bring home. Seriously, make sure you get some fudge while you are on Mackinac Island- you won’t regret it.

picture of fudge in a case
Inside Joann’s Fudge
photo courtesy of Joann’s Fudge

 

Have you been to Mackinac Island? Did you enjoy it?

Travel Well,A Guide to Visiting Mackinac Island, Michigan

Nicole

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