After Labor Day on Mackinac Island is shoulder (pads) season

Once the calendar flips past Labor Day, summer is done and Mackinac Island enters its shoulder season. Or, shall we say, shoulder pads season?

Things around town quiet down a bit when the USA’s Best Summer Travel Destination transitions to fall – except when there’s a football game on TV. You wouldn’t believe how loud it gets inside Mary’s Bistro Draught House during a game. The place fills with “Weekend Warriors” who visit Mackinac Island to enjoy the beauty of fall and root for the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears or another favorite team.

Even though summer’s light fades once school gets back in session, things are still hopping on Mackinac Island. Yes, it’s less crowded on weekdays when the typical visitor is an emptynester, young couple or anyone else whose schedule isn’t tied to the school calendar. But weekends especially are lively and full of activity.

In addition to football, fall on Mackinac Island brings some other big events:

Runners participate in the Mackinac Island Eight Mile race along M-185

Mackinac Island Eight Mile

The Mackinac Island Eight Mile is a run/walk that goes all the way around the outer rim of Mackinac Island on M-185, the only state highway in the country that’s car-free. It is one of the oldest and most scenic races in Michigan, attracting some 2,500 participants each fall.

Adults and children wearing costumes celebrate Halloween on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island Halloween Weekend

The annual Mackinac Island Halloween Weekend attracts a zoo of people with downtown trick-or-treating for kids, costume parties for adults and the Great Turtle Trail Run, too. The run/walk has half-marathon and 5.7-mile distance options.

Couple Enjoying Dinner in Restaurant on Mackinac Island

Watching Football on Mackinac Island

As for watching football in one of the USA’s Best Places to Visit for Fall, come enjoy Michigan craft beers at Mary’s Bistro and some of the other many bars and restaurants on Mackinac Island. Check out the following college and NFL team schedules to find the dates for this season’s biggest games:

Couple Walking on Trail Overlooking Horizon Off of Mackinac Island

Other Joys of Fall on Mackinac Island

Not a football fan? Don’t like big crowds? Then weekdays in the fall are a fantastic time to visit Mackinac Island. The days are sunny and warm, and the nights are crisp and cool for perfect sleeping weather. Places to stay on Mackinac Island offer lower rates and you can find great discounts at Mackinac Island shops as they clear out inventory before the winter. There’s also a slower pace with less bicycle and foot traffic around town.

Shoulder (pads) season is the perfect time for a quick getaway to Mackinac Island, whether to watch football or just to sit on a waterfront patio with a favorite beverage in hand and enjoy the scenery of one of the Best Islands in the Continental U.S. Come visit Mackinac Island this fall!


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