Top Things to Do on Mackinac Island, Michigan | Midwest Living

Top Things to Do on Mackinac Island, Michigan

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. See our trip guide for ideas on what to do, where to eat and where to stay.


Carriage tours A 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 you can drive a rented horse and buggy outside downtown.

Carriage tours

Carriage rides on Mackinac Island

Ferries Two lines shuttle visitors to the island. To avoid waits, order tickets online: 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 visitors engrossed watching cooking and crafting demonstrations, as well as musket and cannon firings, by costumed interpreters. 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 climbing wall) and a handful of other family-friendly attractions combine to make Mackinac State Historic Parks.

Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park

Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park

Mackinaw Crossings In Mackinaw City, a complex of more than 50 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.

Kayaking in Mackinac Island area

Kayaking at Round Island Lighthouse near Mackinac Island


Bessie’s Original Homemade Pasties The St. Ignace cafe claims a loyal following for its hearty, traditional meat pies.

Joann's Fudge This is just one of the places to find the quintessential Mackinac treat, with 26 flavors.

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

Woods Run by the Grand Hotel, this Tudor mansion serves dinners of local and Bavarian-style specialties.


Chippewa Hotel Waterfront Balconies take advantage of the refurbished 1902 hotel’s location facing the marina. The Pink Pony patio serves casual fare.

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.

Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel

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

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

Mission Point Resort Lounge on the lakefront lawn, relax with a lilac facial in the spa, or join activities such as flower pressing or bocce ball on the 18-acre property. 

For information: Les Cheneaux Islands Area Tourist Association
Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau
Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau
St. Ignace Visitors Bureau

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