5 money-saving tips for visiting Mackinac Island on a budget

An experience of Mackinac Island is priceless. Still, it can feel good to save a little money here and there when we can.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to keep costs in check while visiting Mackinac Island. From free things to do on Mackinac Island to money-saving tips that stretch your dollar, here are five bright ideas to keep in mind when visiting Mackinac Island on a budget:

A Michigan Historic Site marker stands outside the Island House Hotel on Mackinac Island

Keep an eye on Mackinac Island lodging specials

Even in peak season between Memorial Day and Labor Day, many places to stay on Mackinac Island offer specials that give you a bigger bang for the buck. Of course, you’ll reap the biggest savings if your schedule allows you to visit Mackinac Island in the spring or fall, when crowds are smaller and the hotels, resorts and B&Bs reduce rates. It’s also a great idea to follow Mackinac Island on social media for a heads-up on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals that give you great savings for next year’s visit.

Choosing Where to Stay on Mackinac Island: B&Bs, Condos, Cottages, Hotels or Resorts

A Mackinac Island ferry boat leaves the dock to bring passengers back to the mainland

Book your Mackinac Island ferry and attraction tickets online

Most visitors come to Mackinac Island on a ferry boat departing from the mainland in either Mackinaw City or St. Ignace. Did you know you may be able to save money on your ferry ticket by buying it in advance online? In fact, you can save even more when you buy combo tickets that package a ferry ride along with Mackinac Island attractions such as historic Fort Mackinac, a narrated horse-drawn carriage tour, lunch at Grand Hotel and admission to The Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House & Insect World.

Tips for getting to Mackinac Island, what happens after ferry arrives

An interpretive sign stands along a boardwalk through the forest of Mackinac Island State Park

Explore the wonders of Mackinac Island State Park

Whether by bike, on foot or by horseback or horse-drawn carriage, a journey through the forest of Mackinac Island State Park makes for an adventure to remember. From scenic waterfront views at British Landing to ancient cemeteries and legendary rock formations, there is so much to see. And there’s no entrance fee for any of it! There’s a reason all the natural beauty of Mackinac Island originally was protected as America’s second national park. Come see why for yourself!

How much does it cost to ride horses on Mackinac Island?

A family of four enjoys a picnic on the lawn of Mackinac Island’s Marquette Park in front of historic Fort Mackinac

Pack a picnic lunch on Mackinac Island

Known for its historic charm and natural wonders, Mackinac Island has also become quite the destination for foodies looking to taste a variety of flavors from around the globe. The unique bars and restaurants of Mackinac Island will keep your stomach craving more throughout your trip. But if your wallet wants a break from sit-down dining, no problem. Mackinac Island happens to be a fantastic place for a picnic! Just pop into Mackinac Island’s historic Doud’s Market for some grab-and-go fare, then head over to Marquette Park or one of several other prime picnic spots on Mackinac Island to enjoy a glorious meal on the cheap.

9 absolutely stunning places for a picnic on Mackinac Island

A young couple enjoys free samples of world-famous Mackinac Island fudge inside a downtown shop

Enjoy free samples of world-famous Mackinac Island fudge

Of course, Mackinac Island is also known for its world-famous fudge. Here’s a tip: There are more than a dozen fudge shops right in town, and they all offer free samples! Stop by in the middle of the day when you need a sugary little pick-me-up. And be sure to leave a little room in your budget to buy some Mackinac Island fudge for the ferry ride back home!

How to get free fudge on Mackinac Island

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