Thinking about spending the day on Mackinac Island? As you should! Mackinac Island is located in the southeast corner of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and spans less than four square miles, making it a great, fun-filled one-day destination for the whole family.
Before we get too far into our Mackinac Island itinerary, here are a few things you should know about the island before you visit:
- Late spring, summer, and early fall are the best times to visit Mackinac Island due to the harsh winter conditions. But hey, if you talk to the locals you’ll find that taking a helicopter across a frozen lake isn’t out of the question.
- To get to the island, you’ll have to board a ferry. Luckily, there are a ton of ferry services available. You’ll want to compare prices, schedule, and parking. If the weather is just right, we highly recommend riding the upper deck if you can snag a seat and don’t mind the wind in your hair.
- There are no cars on Mackinac Island, they became restricted at the end of the 19th century due to health and safety concerns of the citizens on the island, as well as complaints that car engines were startling horses. So make sure to wear comfy shoes and plan on doing a fair amount of walking; there are also carriage rides and bikes available to get around on.
Let’s talk about a day on the island!
Carriage tours are a unique and relaxing way to see the entire island from the comfort of your breezy carriage seat. This is a guided tour so you’ll also learn a ton about the island as you go.
Fort Mackinac is the place to be if you want to learn about the early history of the island in greater detail. This is an uphill/upstairs jaunt, so be prepared to walk a little to get there!
Bike tours are another great way to take in all Mackinac Island has to offer. Trails are kept clean and of course, there are no cars to dodge, so bikers can enjoy a leisurely ride. An added benefit of a bike tour is the option to stop whenever you want, for as long as you want.
Explore the town! Mackinac Island is full of cool little shops, the oldest grocery store in the country, a quaint church with a gorgeous interior, and the friendliest locals. While you’re out and about, you absolutely have to enjoy a scoop of Superman ice cream and a few fudge samples!
The Grand Hotel is the perfect place to take a load off; you’ll be overlooking the beautiful shorelines as well as enjoying a sit on the world’s longest porch!
If you happen to be planning a trip to Mackinac Island for the first week in June, you’ll be just in time to catch the Lilac Festival. The Lilac Festival is a ten-day celebration of the aromatic, lush lilacs that bloom on the island every year.
If you find the day has completely gotten away from you (and frankly that’s bound to happen on an island so charming!) don’t worry about lodging, Mackinac Island has plenty of hotels and little bed and breakfasts to choose from!