Just like getting to Mackinac Island is part of the adventure, getting around Mackinac Island once you arrive is also part of the fun. With no cars allowed, Mackinac Island runs on real horsepower. In fact, horses go hand in hand – or shall we say hoof in hoof – with Mackinac Island, just like pecans go with world-famous Mackinac Island fudge or brides go with grooms at Mackinac Island’s spectacular wedding venues.
To get the full Mackinac Island experience, you’ll want to befriend a horse while you’re here. So, you’re wondering, where can I ride horses on Mackinac Island? And what does it cost?
Here’s the lowdown:
Perhaps the most popular thing to do on Mackinac Island is enjoy a narrated horse-drawn carriage tour
It’s a fantastic way to get the lay of the land when you first arrive at the ferry dock. You can head to Mackinac Island Carriage Tours right downtown, where tours depart throughout the day. The tour lasts about 1 hour 45 minutes and takes you past Grand Hotel and Fort Mackinac with stops at Arch Rock and Surrey Hill. The tour costs $34 for adults and $14 for kids age 5-12, with special discounts available when you combine with attractions such as the Wings of Mackinac butterfly conservatory.
An alternative to the public horse-drawn carriage tour is a customized private tour of Mackinac Island with a personal guide
With a private tour through Mackinac Island Carriage Tours or Gough Carriages, you can ask your driver to show you parts of Mackinac Island unseen on the public tour. You’ll learn interesting tidbits about Mackinac Island and get more chances to stop for photos in some incredible settings. Carriages are available to rent for private tours by the hour, with a cost of about $40 per hour per guest. Private tours start at $160 per carriage for up to 4 people and have tours for up to 8 people.
Drive-It-Yourself horse-drawn carriages on Mackinac Island
If you’re comfortable getting behind the wheel, er, reins of a horse-drawn carriage, then you can rent a Drive-It-Yourself carriage from Jack’s Livery Stable. After getting a brief lesson on how to drive a buggy, you can head out and explore Mackinac Island on your own. Buggies have room for two, four or six passengers and can be rented by the hour. It costs about $80 per hour for a 2-person carriage, $100 per hour for a 4-person carriage or $120 per hour for a 6-person carriage.
Horseback riding on Mackinac Island
In addition to paved roads traveled by horse-drawn carriages, Mackinac Island is home to many miles of dirt trails that are perfect for horseback riding. It costs about $50 per hour to ride a saddle horse. Both Jack’s and Cindy’s Riding Stable offer guided and unguided trail riding through Mackinac Island State Park or even right through town.
Horse riding lessons on Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island is also home to the Mackinac Community Equestrian Center where you can take horseback riding lessons in private, semi-private or group settings. It costs about $50 per hour for a private lesson, with lesser prices for semi-private or group lessons. Pony day camps also are offered at various times each summer at various price points for kids to learn about riding and caring for horses.
Mackinac Island taxis
Even though cars are not allowed on Mackinac Island, there are taxis, believe it or not. Horse-drawn taxis! Wherever you are on Mackinac Island, call Mackinac Island Taxi for a ride 24 hours a day. Prices range from $6 to $8.50 per person, depending on your destination. Kids are usually half-price.