Best Places for a Picnic on Mackinac Island

With so many coffee shops, breakfast spots, bars and restaurants to choose from on Mackinac Island, it’s easy to overlook the Best Picnic Spot in Michigan. Yet, Marquette Park is a delightful place to spread out a blanket and have something to eat as you soak up the sun and watch all the people, horses, bicycles and boats go by.

Ditto for Fort Holmes and Windermere Point, British Landing and the Mission Point Resort lawn. There are so many gorgeous places for a picnic that you could have one every day of your trip and experience a different side of Mackinac Island’s amazing personality!

Here’s a look at nine of the most picturesque places for a picnic on Mackinac Island:
A view of Lake Huron from the edge of a cliff high above on Mackinac Island’s Tranquil Bluff Trail

Picnics at Mackinac Island’s Arch Rock and Tranquil Bluff Trail

Take a horse-drawn carriage tour to Arch Rock or bike or hike there on your own to see perhaps the most photographed landmark on Mackinac Island. There are picnic tables in the nearby plaza where you can also explore the Milliken Nature Center’s fascinating exhibits. Restrooms are available here, too.

For a lakefront picnic, make your way down the 207 steps from Arch Rock to the shoreline where you can set your meal out on one of the large rocks at the water’s edge. Another adventurous option is to hike north on the Tranquil Bluff Trail where you’ll find stunning coastline views from a variety of overlooks high above.

The history of Mackinac Island’s Arch Rock

Cannonball Oasis on Mackinac Island at British Landing serves a picnic area and beach on the water

Picnics at British Landing on Mackinac Island

You can pack a lunch or pick something up from Cannonball Oasis for a picnic at British Landing, about halfway around Mackinac Island from downtown. There are many picnic tables right there as well as a rocky beach where you can eat while skipping stones on the water toward the Mackinac Bridge in the distance.

British Landing is a fine spot for a break on the 8.2-mile bike ride all the way around Mackinac Island. There’s also a nature center there and a trail that will take you to a curious rock formation called Friendship’s Altar.

6 things to do at Mackinac Island’s British Landing

A young couple sits atop a picnic table outside Fort Holmes on the highest point of Mackinac Island

Picnics at Fort Holmes on Mackinac Island

It’s a bit of a trek up to Fort Homes at the highest point on Mackinac Island, but well worth the effort. From the 19th-century stronghold you can take in a panoramic view of the Straits of Mackinac while relaxing at one of the picnic tables there. Fort Holmes is also a spectacular stargazing spot with dessert after dark.

The fort itself is a joy to walk through and relive the history that dates to the War of 1812. Originally built by the British as Fort George, the fort was renamed in honor of Andrew Holmes, a U.S. Army major who was killed in the Battle of Mackinac Island.

Learn more about Mackinac Island’s Fort Holmes

Two people walk by a soccer goal in Great Turtle Park on Mackinac Island

Picnics at Mackinac Island’s Great Turtle Park

Just like many communities, Mackinac Island has a public park for year-round residents to enjoy. Visitors also are welcome to have a picnic at Great Turtle Park and make use of all the amenities including basketball hoops, soccer field, sand volleyball court, disc golf course, skate park and playground. There’s a covered pavilion and bathrooms at Great Turtle Park, too.

The park is located in the Harrisonville area where many full-time Mackinac Island residents live. You can get there from Garrison Road, Cupid’s Pathway or on 6th and 7th streets off Cadotte Avenue.

16 sports and games to play on Mackinac Island

A family of four has a picnic on a blanket on the grass in Marquette Park below Fort Mackinac

Picnics at Mackinac Island’s Marquette Park

Named the No. 1 Picnic Spot in Michigan by Reader’s Digest, Marquette Park checks all the boxes for a lovely meal on the lawn. For one, it’s right in the middle of town, between historic Fort Mackinac on the bluff above and the Mackinac Island marina. You can relax on a blanket amid scores of fragrant lilac bushes and watch all the activity pass by on M-185.

Marquette Park also is close to many Mackinac Island restaurants where you can get take-out. And it’s right across the street from Doud’s Market, the historic Mackinac Island grocery store with lots of grab-and-go picnic options. There’s a playground in the park, too.

Things to know about Mackinac Island’s Marquette Park

A man kicks a soccer ball while other people mill around Adirondack chairs on the lawn at Mackinac Island’s Mission Point Resort

Picnics on the Mission Point Lawn on Mackinac Island

An equally impressive greenspace that’s a bit quieter and perhaps even more scenic is the Lawn at Mission Point Resort, east of downtown along M-185 at the southeast corner of Mackinac Island. The waterfront lawn is dotted with charming Adirondack chairs that make the perfect place to sit with a carry-out meal from one of the resort’s restaurants including Bistro on the Greens or Round Island Kitchen, or with grab-and-go options from Boxwood Coffeeshop & Cafe

The resort has equipment available for lawn games including bocce ball and croquet, or you can bring your own soccer ball or frisbee to play with. Right next to the lawn is the Greens of Mackinac, an 18-hole, natural-grass golf putting course that’s fun for the whole family.

Lawn Games on Mackinac Island: How to play bocce ball

Sugar Loaf rock formation rises out of the Mackinac Island State Park forest with Lake Huron in the background

Picnics at Mackinac Island’s Sugar Loaf

Located in the heart of the Mackinac Island State Park forest, Sugar Loaf is an iconic limestone stack rising 75 feet out of the ground. While there’s a thrilling sense of discovery when you emerge out of the woods and behold the impressive rock, you’re immediately struck by the quiet stillness of the surroundings. The peaceful scene sets the stage for a pleasant picnic during which you’re unlikely to encounter many other visitors.

Before or after you eat, be sure to make your way to Point Lookout for a view of Sugar Loaf from high above.

The legend of Sugar Loaf

A family of four orders food and drinks for a picnic at the Feed Bag in Mackinac Island’s Surrey Hill

Picnics in Surrey Hill on Mackinac Island

Up the hill from downtown past Grand Hotel is Surrey Hill, a quiet neighborhood with lots of picnic spots and things to do. You can explore the Wings of Mackinac butterfly house, team up with a blacksmith to make a souvenir blade at Forge A Memory and browse an antique carriage museum.

The public horse-drawn carriage tours of Mackinac Island stop in Surrey Hill. You also can walk or ride a bike there. If you don’t pick up some food in town, then you can find something to eat at the Feed Bag right there in Surrey Hill.

Things to see and do at Mackinac Island’s Surrey Hill

An American flag blows in the wind on Mackinac Island’s Windermere Point as people relax on picnic tables near the water

Picnics at Mackinac Island’s Windermere Point

Right at the west end of downtown Mackinac Island not far from the ferry docks is Windermere Point, which has lots of picnic tables right by the water where you can watch the ferry boats come and go. Windermere Point is also a fine spot for kite flying and stone skipping, as well as killer photos with Round Island Lighthouse in the background.

You can pack a picnic for Windermere Point, of course. Another option is to order up the best hot dogs on Mackinac Island at the Doghouse, right there in the park!

Take a real-time look at Windermere Point with this web cam

A map of Mackinac Island with nine recommended picnic locations highlighted


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