How far in advance should I book my stay on Mackinac Island?

The short answer is that it depends. How far in advance you should book your stay on Mackinac Island depends on what time of year you want to visit. It depends on how many people are in your family or travel party. It depends on what kind of lodging experience you want and where you’d like to stay.

But as a general rule of thumb, the earlier the better when it comes to booking a room in the USA’s Best Summer Travel Destination.

As you plan your visit to Mackinac Island, here are a few things to keep in mind:

A teenager with a frisbee in hand flies a kite from the rocky beach at Mackinac Island’s Windermere Point

When to Make Your Mackinac Island Reservation

  • July and August tend to be the busiest times of the year on Mackinac Island. As you might expect, dates during these months often sell out the fastest – especially around the Fourth of July, during the yacht races that take place in July and during the annual Mackinac Island Fudge Festival in August. Pro tip: Book as far in advance as possible, as soon as your chosen place to stay begins taking reservations. For best availability, consider visiting the week immediately after major summer holidays such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day because those often are less busy than other summer weeks.


  • June is when the number of visitors really ramps up for the season. Finding a room during the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival often can be as difficult as finding one in July or August if you don’t book several months in advance. Ditto for the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference that takes place the week of Memorial Day. Pro tip: Book during the winter before you plan to visit, and as early as possible if you want to be on the island during the Lilac Festival.

A couple relaxes on Adirondack chairs near the water on the beach at Mackinac Island’s Mission Point Resort

  • If you’d like to experience Mackinac Island in spring or fall, then you may be able to get away with a shorter booking window. From the time the ferry boats resume daily trips from the mainland in late April until mid- to late May, you occasionally might even find some last-minute availability of rooms. The same can be true of the period from Labor Day through the end of October, although places to stay generally have extraordinarily high demand during Mackinac Island’s Halloween Weekend. Pro tip: To get your preferred dates and lodging, book your spring trip the winter before and your fall trip in the spring or summer. But don’t be afraid to see what might be available on short notice – you just might get lucky!


A couple lounges on the back of a private boat in the Mackinac Island marina with the Chippewa Hotel in the background


  • If you have a specific place to stay in mind, it’s best to check with that property about their booking policies and practices. While some places might book a year in advance, others don’t start taking reservations until the same calendar year in which you plan to travel. Pro tip: First explore Mackinac Island places to stay by category, amenities and price range.

Aside from booking earlier than later, another good rule of thumb for planning a visit to Mackinac Island is to connect with the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau. Our travel professionals can guide you toward places to stay that work best for your particular needs.


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