The Best Way to Unplug: A Mackinac Island Experience


You deserve this. The rush of the year’s beginning bogs you down. The holidays have come and gone and the daily grind is back in full effect. Now is the time to look ahead and prepare that getaway.

We’re a plugged-in society so when we have our free time and vacations many of us set sights on a place to unplug. Unplugging isn’t necessarily about escaping society, but rather shifting our focus to what’s happening around us. It’s more about appreciating society. It’s about treasuring Mother Nature without the distraction of email or some smartphone game. It’s an immersion into life.

Successfully unplugging doesn’t have to mean finding some off-the-grid remote island in the middle of the ocean – but the island element does help. Mackinac Island, nestled in the gorgeous waters of Lake Huron, offers a playscape that you’ll naturally settle into without thinking twice about Twitter or Facebook’s latest happenings.

Mackinac Island is an ideal place to unplug as it even removes your vehicle from the equation. Motor vehicles are banned from the Island, as visitors arrive via passenger-only ferryboats. Upon arrival, guests traverse the Island’s landscape by bicycle, horse and carriage, or their own two feet. And amid that landscape, there is a lot to discover.

You’ll amble off the ferry and immediately find yourself in the Island’s quaint downtown. Here you can shop, eat and participate in the many activities you’re accustomed to in your daily life. Exploring these shops and restaurants are a must, as each brings a unique delight to Mackinac. But there is much more to this Island than its timeless downtown.

The impeccable starter activity to Mackinac’s unplugged splendor is making the 8-mile bike ride along the Island’s exterior on M-185, the only state highway in the country where motor vehicles are banned. This ride introduces you to the Island by taking you past the famed Arch Rock, to historic British Landing and more. It offers gorgeous views of Mackinac Bridge, and for the evening riders, a magnificent sunset along the west bluffs. You’ll feel the lake’s breeze, indulge the water’s fresh scent and see all the beauty. The ride will captivate your senses, leaving photo ops as the lone reason why you’d want to pull that phone out. And if this sensory overload isn’t enough, there’s still the interior to explore.

Mackinac Island features more than 70 miles of natural and paved trails. It’s an idyllic place to just get lost on because discovery is abundant but you’re never too far from your hotel. Trails will wind you up and down, through areas with tunneling trees and open fields. The sights to stumble across are seemingly endless. From hidden gems like the Crack-in-the-Island to geological staples like Sugar Loaf, Island wonders are commonplace.

A surefire way to absolutely get away from your devices is to get out on the water. While Mackinac Island’s land-based activities can occupy loads of time, if you’re on an Island it only makes sense to embrace the serene azure waters. On Mackinac you can rent kayaks and paddleboards and experience Mackinac from a whole new perspective. Other notable water activities on Mackinac include parasailing and sunset and lighthouse cruises.

Unplugging comes easy on Mackinac Island. Its outdoors calls for you, and even if your bring that smartphone along, you’ll find yourself forgetting it’s even on your person. Visiting Mackinac Island isn’t necessarily a disconnecting experience, but rather a connection with the natural. It’s relaxation and adventure, no batteries necessary.

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