8 ways to make fall memories on Mackinac Island

Spring on Mackinac Island brings beautiful new life, from the growth of colorful wildflowers in Mackinac Island State Park to the reopening of Mackinac Island hotels, restaurants and places to stay. Then, summer on Mackinac Island is when things really rev up, with regular flows of day-trippers and overnight rooms hard to come by if you don’t book early.

And then there’s fall on Mackinac Island. That’s the season when crowds thin as families settle back into the routine of kids being in school. It’s when days shorten, and the air takes on a crisp coolness after sunset.

A Mackinac Island fall color tour by air makes for a memorable experience whether by plane or helicopter.

What makes fall on Mackinac Island so special

In many popular summertime destinations, fall is an afterthought, a lackluster transition from the peak of summer activity to the hibernation of winter. But just as Mackinac Island is the Best Summer Travel Destination, it’s also one of the country’s Best Places to Visit for Fall.

Just as Mackinac Island blooms with the sweet scents of lilacs in June, it bursts forth with a wealth of reds, yellows and oranges as the leaves change in fall. Set against the deep blue water all around, Mackinac Island is vibrant and gorgeous spring, summer and fall! (And just so you know, Mackinac Island still exists in the winter, too.)

So, if there are still days on the calendar before the end of October, then there’s still time to make some last-minute memories this year on Mackinac Island. Come see for yourself!

Here are just eight ways that you can still experience the incredible natural beauty and charming atmosphere of Mackinac Island yet this fall:

A horse-drawn carriage passes by a row of trees with bright red leaves in fall on Mackinac Island

Extraordinary fall color tours on Mackinac Island

Driving tours of fall foliage are popular this time of year. Because Mackinac Island is car-free, that’s not an option. Good thing there are even better ways to see fall color on Mackinac Island!

Mackinac Island is one of the best places in Michigan to see gorgeous fall color because the surrounding waters accentuate the vibrant yellows, reds and oranges. And the variety of interactive ways to experience the beauty of fall on Mackinac Island makes it memorable, whether you take in the show by water, land or air.

6 awesome ways to take a fall color tour on Mackinac Island

A horse-drawn carriage on Mackinac Island passes Little Stone Church amid gorgeous fall color

Carriage tours on Mackinac Island

Speaking of horse-drawn carriages, there are lots of ways to experience first-hand (or hoof!) what it’s like to get around in the place where the horse is king. Mackinac Island offers both public and private horse-drawn carriage tours of Mackinac Island narrated by guides who know the island inside and out. You can even take the reins and drive a horse-drawn carriage on Mackinac Island yourself!

7 sights to see on a horse-drawn carriage tour of Mackinac Island

A woman kisses a horse outside a Mackinac Island stable with leaves on the trees starting to change color

Horseback riding on Mackinac Island

Horses not only are king of the road on Mackinac Island, they’re also king of the trails. And there are lots of trails in Mackinac Island State Park. More than 70 miles of them! Many of the trails are great for biking and hiking, while others are perfect for a Mackinac Island adventure on horseback. With the state park forest ablaze with color, fall is a fantastic time to saddle up and explore the interior wilderness of Mackinac Island.

Everything to know about horses on Mackinac Island

Fall golf on Mackinac Island offers spectacular views of rich green fairways, deep blue water and vibrant fall colors.

Fall golf on Mackinac Island

Few sites are as pretty as standing on an elevated tee, looking down at a green fairway flanked by fall color with the rich, blue waters of the Straits of Mackinac on the horizon. There’s still time this year to experience the one-of-a-kind golf courses on Mackinac Island:

  • The Jewel, Grand Hotel’s immaculate resort course that has attracted presidents and celebrities alike
  • Wawashkamo, the oldest golf course in Michigan and built on the historic theater of the 1814 Battle of Mackinac
  • The Greens of Mackinac, an incredibly scenic and family-friendly putting course at Mission Point Resort with 18 holes of all-natural grass and beverages from Bistro on the Greens never far away
  • The Gem miniature golf course, located in the Woodlands Activity Center at Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel

16 sports and games to play on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island’s Halloween Weekend includes trick-or-treating by day for kids and adult costume parties at night.

Halloween Weekend on Mackinac Island

Fall itself is an event on Mackinac Island, with all the beautiful colors. It’s also the time of year to experience annual autumn traditions including Mackinac Island’s iconic Halloween Weekend. With trick-or-treating for kids downtown during the day and costume parties for adults in bars and restaurants at night, there’s Halloween fun for all ages still to be had this year on Mackinac Island.

Be a part of the fun during Mackinac Island’s Halloween Weekend

A runner smiles for the camera during the Great Turtle Trail Run held each fall as part of Mackinac Island's Halloween Weekend

Great Turtle Trail Run on Mackinac Island

Halloween Weekend festivities include Mackinac Island’s annual Great Turtle Half Marathon, a 13.1-mile race that just might be the most picturesque and inspiring half-marathon you’ll ever run. From Mission Point Resort along the shoreline past Arch Rock and through the interior trails of Mackinac Island State Park, the route is breathtaking in the fall. And if you’re not crazy enough to run a half-marathon, no problem. The event also offers a shorter 5.7-mile course with run and walk options.

Mackinac Island is home to 4 of the world’s most beautiful road races

Heavy fog dims streetlights along a sidewalk through the woods on Mackinac Island

Haunts of Mackinac Tour on Mackinac Island

If you want to really get into the “spirit” of fall, then a Haunts of Mackinac history tour is a memorable way to do it. The 90-minute, guided walking tour visits several haunted sites on Mackinac Island, sharing eerie tales and informative history along the way.

Is Mackinac Island haunted?

A woman walks in downtown Mackinac Island with trees showing fall color and a horse in the background

Fall shopping closeouts on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is home to a handful of unique shopping districts that each offer unique finds throughout the season. Come fall, you can discover treasured items at discounted prices as the many charming boutiques, art galleries and shops markdown their remaining inventory before winter and offer great end-of-season deals! Get your holiday shopping done early this year by checking things off your list on Mackinac Island.

What one-of-a-kind shops on Mackinac Island have in common

Mackinac Island’s average temperatures in October are 53 degrees for daytime highs and 39 degrees for nighttime lows.


Share on Social
Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top