How spring on Mackinac makes for a unique island experience

Published on April 9th, 2018

Last updated on January 23rd, 2021

It’s seven weeks until Memorial Day. Which means there are seven weeks to experience Mackinac Island in a way many visitors never do – during the spring. The unofficial open to the 2018 season is April 26, 2018.

The summer months are the most popular time of year on Mackinac, yet you might find that you like spring on the island even more. Whether one is better than the other is up to you decide, but Mackinac Island in the spring certainly is unique.

Here are seven ways it’s different, one way for each week left in the spring:

  • Smaller crowds – As relaxing as things are on Mackinac in the summer, the pace is even slower in the spring. Restaurants and shops are just awakening from their winter slumber, and the ferries that shuttle visitors back and forth to the mainland are just ramping up their services. Part of the island’s peak season appeal is the buzz and excitement of the crowds, of course, but you can find a quieter time here in the spring before school lets out for the summer.
  • Better deals – The basic law of supply and demand makes lodging on Mackinac Island even more affordable in the spring. Many hotels and B&Bs offer special packages and deals that stretch your dollar farther. Find lodging specials here.
  • Cooler weather – Sure, there can still be a chill in the air on Mackinac in the spring. But the end of April and into May is a special time when the island bursts forth with new life as it sheds its winter coat. Even if you’ve been too busy to appreciate the beginnings of spring where you live, you can head to the island and immerse yourself in nature’s annual rebirth.
  • Spring skies – Whether it’s in late August or late April, stargazing at Fort Holmes is a must for your Mackinac Island experience. The highest point on the island offers an incredible 360-degree view of the Mackinac Straits including an amazing vista of the Mighty Mac. During late April evenings you’ll see the Lyrid meteor showers, which will hit their peak this year on April 22.
  • Special occasions – Summer has its own schedule of holidays that are great for family gatherings, while spring has the mother of all holidays – Mothers’ Day. A weekend getaway to Mackinac is the perfect gift. Hotels and B&Bs on the island will help you put a bow on it with special packages just for mom.
  • Fun events – The world-renowned lilacs don’t bloom yet in spring, but the clip-clop of hooves can be heard in the streets. What better place to watch the Kentucky Derby than where horses rule the road?
  • Easier to fit it all in – Though some restaurants and attractions are slower to emerge from winter’s hibernation than others, most Mackinac hot spots open for business as spring progresses. There will be plenty to do whenever you visit and, in fact, you’ll be able to fit more into your trip since the crowds are smaller and you’ll have your run of the island.

It’s seven weeks until Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer. But it’s less than two weeks until the Mackinac Island ferries begin their seasonal schedule of shuttles April 19-21. Plan your spring excursion on Mackinac now!