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.
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:
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!
- Have you ever taken a fall color tour by plane or a helicopter?
- How about a fall color tour by bicycle?
- Or a fall color tour by horse-drawn carriage?
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
RELATED MACKINAC ISLAND BLOGS: