Like to hike? Or mountain bike? How about slice through the water in a kayak?
If outdoor recreation is your jam, then Mackinac Island is a destination you don’t want to miss.
Outdoor Adventure on Mackinac Island
Did you know more than 80% of Mackinac Island is state parkland? That there’s more than 70 miles of trails crisscrossing the island? That in addition to hiking, biking and kayaking the list of outdoor things to do on Mackinac Island also includes boating and parasailing, disc golf and stoneskipping, horseback riding, geocaching and lots more?
Yet, Mackinac Island’s natural outdoor playground is just one reason to visit sooner in life rather than later. Here are four more reasons to visit Mackinac Island before you’re 40:
Mackinac Island Nightlife
Mackinac Island is full of unique bars and restaurants including several with live music after dark. From orchestra music at Grand Hotel to incredible guitar talent at the Pink Pony, anyone can find their vibe on Mackinac Island. And the best part is all the venues are close together, within walking distance (which is good, because there are no cars on the island!). There’s such a wide variety of music in such a concentrated area that it’s easy to go from one place to the next and get the full experience of Mackinac Island nightlife.
Mackinac Island Shopping
You can find a souvenir T-shirt on Mackinac Island if that’s what you want. There’s also lots of super cute boutiques with styles you’ll love. And because there are no retail chains on Mackinac Island, everything is unique (except Starbucks, but that’s a good thing!). While you’re shopping, you can check out one of Mackinac Island’s many extraordinary restaurants for a drink and a bite to eat.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Tours and Boat Cruises on Mackinac Island
A horse-drawn carriage ride around Mackinac Island is the most popular activity for families, and it’s a fun activity for Millennials, too. The tour takes you over a lot of the island and whets your appetite for what you’d like to explore more. For a different kind of tour, book a Mackinac Island boat cruise that gets you out on the water. There’s a variety of options including some that take you right under the mighty Mackinac Bridge while you enjoy live entertainment on board and a cash bar.
Mackinac Island Beaches
Various travel publications have hailed Mackinac Island as one of the country’s Best Little Beach Towns over the years, and with good reason. Mackinac Island has beautiful beaches. Not so much sandy shores where you lounge the day away, but scenic spots to wade in the water, skip some stones, fly a kite and enjoy the refreshing lake breeze. If you’re really adventurous, there are even a few spots where you can jump in and go for a swim! One of the best beaches is at Mackinac Island’s British Landing, halfway around the island from downtown. It’s a great stop on a bike ride around the perimeter of Mackinac Island where you can take a break, grab some food at Cannonball Oasis and maybe even take a dip.
When To Visit Mackinac Island
Now that you know what to do on Mackinac Island, when should you visit? The main tourist season runs from late April through the end of October, although you can visit Mackinac Island throughout the winter as well. The opening weeks in May can be a great time to visit before the season’s peak in summer. The atmosphere is electric on the Fourth of July. You can also build a trip around one of Mackinac Island’s four road races held in May, June, September and October.
Whenever you visit Mackinac Island, you can enjoy really accessible outdoor recreation. And maybe the best part is that there’s outdoor recreation for all levels, whether you want to bring your mountain bike and really do it up or just take a walk along the waterfront to Mission Point Resort or relax with a picnic in Marquette Park.
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