Mackinac Island Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Mackinac Island Trip Guide

A ferry ride beyond the history-rich tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula, the famously Victorian and car-free Mackinac Island continues to lure generations of travelers.
The Mackinac Bridge
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Carriage tours A classic horse-drawn carriage ride gives a good overview of the island’s interior and state historic park; operators line Main Street. Hire a horse-drawn taxi or sign on with Jack’s Livery Stable (; you can drive a rented horse and buggy outside the downtown area. Other business offering carriage rides include Grand Hotel ( and Mackinac Island Carriage Tours (

Ferries Three lines shuttle visitors to the island. To avoid waits, order tickets online: Arnold Transit Company (, Shepler’s ( and Star Line (

Mackinac Bridge Walk On Labor Day, tens of thousands of walkers gather in St. Ignace for the annual 5-mile trek across one of the world's longest suspension bridges, which links the Lower and Upper peninsula.

Mackinac State Historic Parks Kids can dress up like soldiers and play a giant fife (a flutelike instrument) at Fort Mackinac, a historic military outpost on Mackinac Island. Across the straits in Mackinaw City, Colonial Michilimackinac keeps kids engrossed watching musket and cannon firings, cooking, and crafting demonstrations. This reconstructed fort and fur-trading post sits near the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse; climb to the top of the 1889 tower and tour the keeper’s quarters. These sites, nearby Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park (with zipline tours) and a handful of other family-friendly attractions combine to make Mackinac State Historic Parks. 

Mackinaw Crossings In Mackinaw City, a complex of more than 40 shops and eateries makes a good rainy-day or evening stop. Stick around for free nightly laser light shows. Mackinaw Crossings on Facebook

Shepler’s Lighthouse Cruises Three- to five-hour cruises are available June through mid-September; reservations recommended.

Woods and Water Ecotours Sign on for guided hiking, biking and kayaking tours or rent equipment from this Hessel outfitter.


Bessie’s Original Homemade Pasties The St. Ignace cafe claims a loyal following for its hearty, traditional meat pies. (906) 643-8487;

Joann's Fudge This is just one of the places to find the quintessential Mackinac treat. (906) 847-6357;

Scalawags Whitefish and Chips Fresh perch and walleye fill baskets with fries, creamy coleslaw and hush puppies.

Woods Run by the Grand Hotel, this Bavarian-style mansion serves casual dinners.


Chippewa Hotel Waterfront Balconies take advantage of the refurbished 1902 hotel’s location. The Pink Pony patio serves casual fare.  (800) 241-3341;

Grand Hotel For an unforgettable experience, stay at this Victorian-Era landmark, with its 660-foot front porch overlooking the straits. Or at least dine there. (800) 334-7263;

Hotel Iroquois Surveying the water from the edge of town, this luxurious Queen Anne-style hotel on Mackinac Island feels like an oasis. (906) 847-3321;

Metivier Inn Want some character but not too much? Consider this charming (and air-conditioned) B&B on the island. (866) 847-6234;

Mission Point Resort Behind the expanse of lakefront lawn, the pet-friendly resort offers a range of stays.  (906) 847-3312; 

For information: Les Cheneaux Islands Area Tourist Association (888) 364-7526;

Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau (800) 454-5227;

Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau (800) 750-0160;

St. Ignace Visitors Bureau (800) 338-6660;

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