Mackinac Island is a place everyone should visit. The soothing water, 70+ miles of trails, rich history, and horse-drawn community make it an experience everyone will enjoy.

There are different ways of getting to Mackinac Island and we’ll talk about those briefly, but in this blog post we’re going to dive into the best way to get to the Mackinac Island ferry docks if you fly into a commercial airport.

Travel to Mackinac Island can include transportation such as commercial ferry boats, private planes and airport shuttles.



1) Take a Shuttle from the Airport to the Mackinac Island Ferry Docks

Pellston Regional Airport (PLN) and Chippewa County International Airport (CIU) are the two closest airports and are both less than 35 minutes from the Mackinac Island ferry docks. Both airports have a shuttle that will take you from the airport to the ferry dock and back again for a fee.

Mackinaw Shuttle offers a variety of transportation options. A shuttle is available from Pellston Regional Airport (PLN) to Mackinaw City ferry docks, hotels, and campgrounds. Mackinaw Shuttle also offers transportation services with advance reservations from Chippewa County International Airport (CIU) to the St. Ignace ferries, depending on availability. Likewise, Mackinaw Shuttle has a shuttle available with advance reservations from the Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) about 2 hours south of Mackinac Island in Traverse City, Michigan depending on availability. Both departure and return shuttles can be reserved ahead of time.

Visit the Mackinaw Shuttle website or call 231-539-7005 for more information and pricing.

Northern Transport & Shuttle operates out of St. Ignace, Michigan and offers shuttle services for Chippewa County International Airport (CIU) to the Mackinac Island ferry docks, Pellston Regional Airport (PLN) to the ferry docks, as well as Northern Michigan, the Straits Area, and the Upper Peninsula!

Call to make your reservation with Northern Transport & Shuttle!

Here’s a graphic showing driving distance to Mackinac Island ferry docks from cities across the eastern United States.

2) Rent a Car at the Airport and Drive to the Mackinac Island Ferry Docks

Another option if you fly into an airport, especially one further away, is to rent a car. Take a road trip through scenic Northern Michigan and park the rental car at the ferry parking lots for an overnight stay on Mackinac Island.

What to do with your car when going to Mackinac Island

3) Rental Car and Airport Shuttle to Mackinac Island

And finally, if you fly to an airport and decide to rent a car, you can drop it off at Pellston Regional Airport (PLN) and then use their shuttle service to get to the ferry. They have drop-off and rentals available through Avis and Budget rental companies. Then, you can arrange a shuttle to take you to the ferry!



1) Get to Mackinac Island by Ferry

The most common way to get to Mackinac Island is by ferry. Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry and Mackinac Island Ferry Company have locations in Mackinaw City in the Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula. The ferry is a about a 16-26 minute ride from the mainland to Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Island Ferry FAQs

Mackinac Island visitors can arrive by airplane on a brief flight from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island Airport.
While flying to Mackinac Island sometimes is the only option in the winter when the water freezes, you also can fly to Mackinac Island in the summer. Photo Credit: Katharine Rose Witt

2) Get to Mackinac Island by Airplane

Another way to get to Mackinac Island is by airplane. You can fly commercially from St. Ignace, charter a flight from other Michigan airports, or arrange a private flight in. Flying is common in the winter for locals and visitors alike, especially when the water freezes along the Straits of Mackinac. It’s a fun adventure that many people don’t consider.

Fresh Air Aviation operates out of St. Ignace and can be contacted for more information about flying to Mackinac Island.

3) Bring Your Boat to Mackinac Island

Beat the crowds and take your own boat to Mackinac Island. Sailors and motor-boat owners can plan their route and rent a boat slip from the Mackinac Island State Harbor, East Dock, and Coal Dock. For slip rental information in the Mackinac Island Harbor call 906-847-3561. For East Dock and Coal Dock rental information text 906-430-0095.

Where to dock your boat for an overnight stay on Mackinac Island

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