5 Things A Kid Must Do On Mackinac Island

An integral aspect of a family’s foundation is the family vacation. It’s a time to bond in unfamiliar territory. To experience something that brings your family closer together. To create memories that your kids will want to re-create with their own kids in the future.

That’s what Mackinac Island offers for families. There’s fun at every turn for everyone, both young and old. There’s a variety of activities that they’ll be talking about for years to come.

For starters, here are five things that any kid must do on a visit to Mackinac Island:

A family rides bicycles past spring wildflowers on a path along the water at Mackinac Island's Mission Point Resort

Ride a Bike Around Mackinac Island

On car-free Mackinac Island, bicycles (and horses) are the primary way of getting around. In fact, one of the most popular activities for all ages is a bike ride all the way around the perimeter of Mackinac Island on M-185, the only state highway in the country that has no cars. The 8.2-mile route is far from daunting. It’s mostly flat and there are numerous stops along the way to take a break and go off on another Mackinac Island adventure, from skipping stones at British Landing to snapping a cute family photo at Devil’s Kitchen.

You can bring your own bikes to Mackinac Island or rent from one of the island’s many vendors that have all kinds of options including mountain bikes, kid bikes, tandems, tag-alongs and buggies for transporting younger children, too.

Two young girls look wide eyed at the sweets inside a display case at a Mackinac Island fudge shop

Try Tasty Fudge on Mackinac Island

Fudge might not have been invented on Mackinac Island, but you could say it was perfected here. Fudge aromas fill downtown Mackinac Island and you can’t help but wander inside one of the many fudge shops just steps away from the ferry docks. Mackinac Island fudge shops are usually packed full with kids, and for good reason: There are so many delicious flavors to try! No wonder this tasty treat is Mackinac Island’s most popular souvenir. Kids also love to line the stores and watch the fudge get made.

Girls run up a wooden boardwalk toward a historic building at Mackinac Island's Fort Mackinac

Explore Mackinac Island’s Historic Fort Mackinac

One of the coolest sights when approaching Mackinac Island in a ferry boat is historic Fort Mackinac. The 18th-century fort was built during the American Revolution and includes 14 original buildings high up on the bluff. With live cannon and rifle firing demonstrations daily and an interactive kids quarters, Fort Mackinac is a must-do attraction for families.

As a bonus, a Fort Mackinac ticket also gets you into a few other historic Mackinac Island attractions including the Biddle House & Mackinac Island Native American Museum, the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum and Mackinac Island’s American Fur Company Store and Dr. Beaumont Museum.

A boy and girl look wide eyed at a butterfly resting on a flower inside one of Mackinac Island's butterfly houses

Visit a Mackinac Island Butterfly House

Mackinac Island has not one but TWO butterfly houses! Winged wonders reside at the Original Butterfly House and Insect World, located east of downtown behind Ste. Anne’s Church toward Mission Point Resort, and at Wings of Mackinac, which is at Mackinac Island’s Surrey Hill near a regular stop on horse-drawn carriage tours. Both locations allow kids to see beautiful creatures from around the world up close. Have that camera handy because you never know when a butterfly will land on your little one, creating the perfect photo op.

A young boy smiles in front of Mackinac Island's Arch Rock as he holds the railing of the viewing platform

See Mackinac Island’s Arch Rock

Mackinac Island’s assembly of wonders extends into the geological realms. Arch Rock is a staple of Mackinac Island and easily provokes proclaims of “wow” from both young and old. Located close to downtown, Arch Rock features sweeping views and inspiring sights. This is often the first spot people venture to when departing the downtown area because it’s so picturesque.

Not far from Arch Rock you can also discover Sugar Loaf, Robinson’s Folly and, at the highest point of Mackinac Island, historic Fort Holmes.

A list of 19 fun family things to do on Mackinac Island

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