Fudge, historic forts and downtown shopping come to mind for many people when they think of Mackinac Island. So, it may come as a surprise to know that more than 80% of Mackinac Island is state parkland.
Mackinac Island State Park is full of trails for hiking and horseback riding, historic natural landmarks and miles of glorious waterfront views. But one thing you won’t find in Mackinac Island State Park is a campground.
Camping is not permitted on Mackinac Island in part to avoid the potential for wildfire sparked by a campfire. From historic Mackinac Island rock formations such as Arch Rock and Sugar Loaf to delightful spring wildflowers and a plethora of migrating birds, the forest of Mackinac Island State Park is a delicate treasure. Preserving as much natural forest as possible is key to preserving a big part of what makes Mackinac Island so special.
While you cannot camp overnight on Mackinac Island, there are many ways to enjoy outdoor recreation during your visit. Hiking, biking, boating, horseback riding and horse-drawn carriage tours, golf, fishing, sightseeing and kayaking are just some of the ways to get outdoors and experience the incredible natural beauty of Mackinac Island.
There even are ways to incorporate camping into your Mackinac Island vacation. Here are a few suggestions:
- Camping is an option on the mainland, a short ferry boat ride from Mackinac Island. In fact, camping in St. Ignace or Mackinaw City is a popular choice for day-trippers who don’t spend the night on Mackinac Island. Just take the ferry to Mackinac Island for the day and return to your campsite on the mainland at night.
- Bring a hammock with you to Mackinac Island. Hammocking is allowed pretty much everywhere in Mackinac Island State Park except near the “Somewhere in Time” Gazebo, Anne’s Tablet and at any paid attractions such as Fort Mackinac. Here are some of the best places to go hammocking on Mackinac Island. A reminder though, overnight hammocking is not allowed on Mackinac Island.
- Book an overnight kayak trip from Mackinac Island with Great Turtle Kayak Tours. Guided tours include a Round Island Retreat and a Bois Blanc Getaway, both with overnight camping options. Both places that are just a short, guided kayak paddle from Mackinac Island.
If you do choose to spend the night on Mackinac Island, you’ll find a variety of places to stay with rooms at a wide range of price points. In addition to hotel rooms, Mackinac Island lodging options include resorts, B&Bs, condos, cottages and homes.