Yes, you can fly to Mackinac Island! In fact, in the depths of winter when ice clogs the Straits of Mackinac, flying sometimes is the only way to get to Mackinac Island.
Mackinac Island Airport has a 3,500-foot, paved runway capable of handling propeller planes and small jets throughout the year. For the most part, the airport on Mackinac Island welcomes short flights from St. Ignace, at the southern tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Flight time to Mackinac Island from St. Ignace is only about 7 minutes!
Great Lakes Air and Fresh Air Aviation both provide commercial service to Mackinac Island out of St. Ignace. They also provide charter service to Mackinac Island from airports throughout Michigan, the Midwest and around the country.
What is the nearest major airport to Mackinac Island?
No major airlines fly direct into Mackinac Island Airport. But you can catch a flight to nearby Chippewa County International Airport (CIU), which is about 35 miles north of St. Ignace near Sault Ste. Marie. You can also fly a major airline into Pellston Regional Airport (PLN), which is about 15 miles south of Mackinaw City at the tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
From those two airports you can take a short shuttle ride to the ferry docs in Mackinaw City or St. Ignace and board a boat to Mackinac Island from there.
Connecting flights to Chippewa County International Airport and Pellston Regional Airport typically originate out of airports in Detroit or Minneapolis.
It’s also popular to fly into a major airport in Detroit, Minneapolis or Chicago and then rent a car for a road trip adventure through Michigan that culminates in a ferry boat ride to historic Mackinac Island:
- From Minneapolis, it’s about a 9-hour drive through Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Mackinac Island.
- From Chicago, it’s a 6- to 7-hour drive to Mackinac Island – either along the east coast of Lake Michigan through Michigan’s Lower Peninsula or along the west coast of the lake through Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
- From Detroit, it’s about a 4-hour drive to Mackinac Island.
For shorter road trips, you could fly a major airline into Michigan airports in Grand Rapids (GRR), Flint (FNT), Traverse City (TVC), Lansing (LAN), Kalamazoo (AZO), Saginaw (MBS) or Marquette (SAW).
If you do take a charter flight or commercial flight into Mackinac Island Airport, then you’ll take a horse-drawn taxi (or walk) to your place to stay. Because cars are not allowed, the primary ways of getting around Mackinac Island are by horse, bicycle or on foot.
Even if you don’t fly to Mackinac Island, you can still fly around Mackinac Island after you get here. Both Great Lakes Air and Fresh Air Aviation offer scenic aerial tours of the Mackinac Island region.
One interesting aspect of a Mackinac Island vacation is that you can travel by car, plane, boat, horse and bike during your trip. Come experience Mackinac Island for yourself and make an adventure out of it!