• Ferry to the Island.
  • Mackinac 4 sq miles and only non-motorized transportation allowed
  • Bicycles and horse carriages everywhere
  • Be sure to tour Grand Hotel, used for movie Somewhere in Time
  • Take a carriage tour and see Fort Mackinac
  • Bicycle around Island, stop for picnic, see Butterfly House
  • Dinner at The Point, or at 1852 Grille Room attaches to Island House Hotel. Make reservations day before
  • Lots of small shops, be sure to try the fudge!

For centuries, visitors have found this national landmark Island to be the ideal vacation spot. No cars. No chain hotels. Just world-famous Mackinac Island Fudge, historic Fort Mackinac, unique shopping and diverse dining. We traveled from Austin Texas, via Southwest Airlines, and landed in Detroit, rented a car and took a 4 hour drive to Mackinac City, parked the car and took the ferry to the beautiful island of Mackinac.

This 4 day getaway in the summer of 2020 was a special trip in honor of Kathy’s sister’s 60th birthday. We had planned to celebrate, following Covid restrictions, with a few days in the cooler temps of Michigan, and were particularly excited because none of the 4 of us had ever been to this part of the state.

While the island is only 4 square miles, there is no motorized transportation allowed. Transportation is horse drawn. Either a taxi or shuttle both horse drawn from your hotel (If you staying at the Grand or Mission Point), renting a bicycle or walking. We opted for the horse drawn shuttle to our hotel, didn’t have to worry about the luggage as it was tagged by the ferry service and came right to our room at the beautiful Mission Point Hotel on the West end of the island.

There are many sights to see on the island including the most famous, Fort Mackinac (pronounced: MACK-in-awe). A former British and American military outpost garrisoned from the late 18th century to the late 19th century. Fort Mackinac later became the scene of two strategic battles for control of the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. There is an 8-mile bike trail around the island, that circles right next to the straights between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, where you can leisurely pedal all the way around with no hills and complete serenity and beauty. We rented bicycles and got picnic supplies at the local grocer for lunch. We rode about half-way around, then stopped for lunch and pictures, then completed our loop around the island. After the island bike ride, we toured an amazing Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House on the island, full of many different types of butterflies. It’s the third oldest Butterfly house in the United States. It capped off a wonderful day.

As far as things to do, there are several locations to rent bicycles, or get a hour and a half guided tour by horse drawn carriage, or even rent a horse and carriage and be your own driver. There are also horses you can ride! Our first full day we did the Horse carriage tour. We enjoyed hearing all about the sights and history from our driver. There are numerous sights along the way including the famous Mackinac Bridge, and Arch Rock.

The town has a nice mix of tourist shops, some of the best fudge you’ve ever eaten, restaurants, B&B’s, small hotels and quaint turn of the century houses. It is very relaxing to walk the streets and only hear the sounds of bicycles and horses pulling carriages down the streets. Located right on the water, we experienced a new type of serene quiet not usually found any place else. Being the food and wine lovers that we are, during our 4 nights we had excellent food. Two nights, at our hotel, Mission Point Resort. Mission Point also has a beautiful cabana type restaurant right next to the water, perfect for lunch. We had lunch, and enjoyed the tremendous views of the lake.

Our best meal was the 1852 Grill room, attached to the Island House Hotel. There we had a fantastic dinner in a Victorian style hotel, The Island House.

Most days for breakfast, we would chance our luck. Because of the COVID crisis, there were fewer tourists and staff, and that made getting into some of the breakfast locations a little bit of a challenge if you go after 9:00 am. We enjoyed the Broken Spoke two days, as their service and food were good! Our final night we had dinner at the Yankee Rebel Tavern, an excellent meal of pasta, with goat cheese and cherries, it was awesome!

Getting back home we simply retraced our steps. Horse carriage from hotel to ferry pickup. Ferry to car park, drive to Detroit, fly from Detroit back to Austin.

Our trip there was very relaxing, and being from Texas, and visiting in August, the temperatures were delightful! Low 60’s at night and very pleasant 70-80 degree weather during the day. We would highly recommend a trip to visit this beautiful and relaxing location on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Here are some helpful links for your trip.

Sheppler’s Ferry Service
556 E Central Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701
Can catch the ferry here, and also long term car parking. Allow PLENTY of time when you arrive to follow their process for tagging luggage and parking the car, prior to boarding the ferry.

Mission Point Resort
One Lake Shore Dr, Mackinac Island, MI 49757
We stayed here. They were very accommodating for the special birthday dinner, complete with customer birthday cake.

1852 Grill Room
6966 Main St, Mackinac Island, MI 49757
On main street next to the Island House Hotel. Must make reservations at least 1 day ahead of time.

Yankee Rebel Tavern
1493 Astor St, Mackinac Island, MI 49757
On a side street off Main Street.

The Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House
6750 McGulpin St, Mackinac Island, MI 49757
easy to do in an hour. Can make some great photos here.

Broken Spoke
7304 Main St, Mackinac Island, MI 49757
Great place for breakfast. Don’t take reservations. Right next to Starbucks.