Exploring Mackinac Island

Located in Lake Huron

Overlooking the Straits of Mackinac

Mackinac Island is located in Lake Huron, just north of the Mackinac Bridge that connects the Upper Peninsula with the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge spans the Straights of Mackinac that lie between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron with Mackinaw City on the south end of the bridge and St. Ignace on the north.

Mackinac island Harbor Lake Huron

Travel to Mackinac Island is by boat, ferryboat, or by small plane. Ferryboats depart from Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula and St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula every half hour during the summer season. Boats have an enclosed lower deck for a comfortable trip of about 20 minute, offering visitors the opportunity to visit the Island for a short or longer visit. Take a day trip over to the Island for lunch and a carriage tour or spend a few days enjoying the outstanding beauty of Mackinac Island.

This small island of about 4 1/2 square miles has a downtown area with lodgings, old historic buildings, specialty shops, restaurants, and museums. Be sure to try some of the delicious Mackinac Island Fudge.

Fort Mackinac, built by the British during the Revolutionary War, is located on a limestone bluff 150 feet above the town and contains 14 original buildings and informative displays. The Tea Room is a popular place for lunch or dinner with service from the famed Grand Hotel.

There are no motorized vehicles permitted on the island except for service vehicles so you can enjoy the beauty of the island riding in a horse drawn carriage, bicycling, hiking, golfing, tennis, sailing, horseback riding, or taking a leisurely stroll through the delightful back streets.

The majority of Mackinac Island is preserved as Mackinac Island State Park, undeveloped wilderness with 140 miles of trails and footpaths for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. There is an 8-mile perimeter road around the island, ideal for a carriage tours or a bike ride. Stop at British Landing Nature Center where the British landed during the War of 1812 for restrooms and water as you travel the Island to view Arch Rock, 150' above the eastern shore; lakeside caves; Sugar Loaf, the large inland slab of limestone; unique rock formations; wildflowers; and woodlands. Enjoy the spectacular view and don't forget your camera.

Arch Rock Mackinac island

Bicycle rentals are available at several places near the downtown area and some offer electric carts and strollers for those who prefer a leisurely ride around the town. Several stables offer horses for trail rides or carriage rides, or you can take a horse-drawn taxi to visit some of the interesting sights you wish to see such as the Butterfly House, the Governor's Mansion, and the Grand Hotel.

Pets are welcome but must be on a leash and under your control at all times. Pet friendly lodgings are available and on a nice day you can sit at an outdoor patio with your four-legged friend and enjoy a nice meal.

British Landing Mackinac Island
Lilac Festival Mackinac Island

When you visit the Upper Peninsula, take time to visit Mackinac Island where recorded history dates back to 1634 when Jean Nicolet landed there as he was trying to find a route to the Orient. Mackinac Island was a busy trading center for the Great Lakes Indians, French fur traders, Jesuit Priests, a Victorian resort, and now a delightful place to visit and explore.

Mackinac Island is open year round with winter visitors arriving by plane or, if the ice is thick, by snowmobile on the ice bridge from St. Ignace to British Landing.

There is no camping on Mackinac Island but campers will find campgrounds in Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.

Visit Mackinac Island

A wonderful vacation on Mackinac Island can be arranged through Vacations Made Easy, an online travel site that provides arrangements for lodging, activities, and attractions during your visit. Vacations Made Easy also offers vacations throughout the country. Phone 1-800-987-9852 or 417-823-0981 to speak with one of our experienced representatives



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Photographs: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau:
Mary McGuire: Harbor, Main Street, Jack Walking, Fall, and Family Drive
Remaining photos by Terry W. Phipps

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