My Travel Guide to Mackinac Island

This summer I visited Mackinac Island and had a blast. Included in my guide are things to do, places to eat, and things to see to ensure a great visit! You are reading part 2 of my travel guides to Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Find part 1 (Petoskey and Harbor Springs) here and part 3 (the Upper Peninsula) here.

After 1.5 days in Petoskey we headed further north to Mackinac Island. I had only been to the island for a day trip and Jeff had never been! We were so excited to explore and stay on the island.

Guide to Mackinac Island:

Visit on a Sunday or Weekday: If you can avoid the island on a Saturday I would highly suggest it! It’s much easier getting around and seeing the sights when there aren’t tons of people congesting the roads.

Catch the Shepler’s Ferry: When we were visiting Good Hart (info about that in post 1 of Michigan travel guide) Bill Shepler was there signing copies of the book he wrote about his family business. The book is called Undefeated and it chronicles the journey their business has been on and how they have survived and thrived over the years. He was so kind and I love supporting a family business. Shepler’s is extremely well run. We showed up literally 8 minutes before the ferry was leaving and the employees had our bags tagged and tickets printed with time to spare. Also, our checkout time from our hotel was earlier than we wanted to leave the island—Shepler’s held on to our bags on the mainland for us until we returned so we didn’t have to haul our luggage around the island. You can purchase tickets here, you can save some money if you buy them in advance. Also on the site is their ferry schedule. We caught the ferry out of St. Ignace but you can also leave from Mackinac City. 

Rent Bikes: This is an absolute must! I knew people did this but didn’t understand what all the hype was about until now. We rode around the outside of the island (no hills-thank God) and had some of the best views. 

Stop here for a photo op—British Landing

Visit the Grand Hotel: Non-hotel guests can visit and explore the grounds for a $10 admission fee. I think this is well worth it for the views alone. Sitting on the porch was one of my favorite things we did all week. The Hotel is such an icon in the state of Michigan and seeing it in person is a cool experience. Info about visiting here. 

Visit Arch Rock: I have always seen photos of this rock formation and have wanted to check it out for myself. I forced convinced Jeff and my sister to come with me to explore it. Again, incredible views and worth the hike. If we had another day I would have loved to check out some of the other sights on the island, find a full list here. 

Take a private carriage tour of the island: There are some massive hills on this island. You can bike/walk pretty much anywhere but if you are looking for more of a laid back way to see interior parts of the island I would recommend taking a carriage tour. What’s nice about a private carriage tour is that it allows you to ask all the questions you want and stop for photo ops. Both times I have done this our tour guide has been an island native who is extremely knowledgeable and knows the cool and less popular places to go on the island.  We booked our tour with Jack’s Livery Stable, link here.  

Places to Eat/Drink: During our visit, we stayed at the Grand Hotel so most of our meals we ate there. I did find some well-rated restaurants on Yelp that I am linking.

 Best Places to Eat According to Yelp : Woods, Chuckwagon, Lucky Bean Coffeehouse, Seabiscuit Cafe, Pink Pony Bar & Grill, 1852 Grill Room, and Millie’s on Main. 

More Things to Do: The Mackinac Island official website has tons of info, check it out here for more!

Next up…the Upper Peninsula, check out that post here

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This summer I visited Mackinac Island and had a blast. Included in my guide are things to do, places to eat, and things to see to ensure a great visit!

What is your favorite thing to do on Mackinac Island? Leave me a note in the comments!