I Want To Go To Mackinac Island: Where Do I Start?

You’ve convinced yourself, your spouse, your family – whomever – that it’s time to book a Mackinac Island getaway. Now, where do you start?

Here’s a quick rundown of things you need to know when planning a trip to Mackinac Island:

Tulips bloom out front of Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island Lodging

Like any trip, lodging is a nice starting point. You should know Mackinac Island has more than 1,600 rooms and each option is unique. There are no chain hotels. From luxurious resorts to quaint bed-and-breakfasts, you’ll find a full spectrum of options suitable for a multitude of preferences. We recommend spending ample time delving into the possibilities.

Think about what the focus of your trip is: Is it a family outing? A long weekend away with friends? An anniversary trip? Some hotels may appeal more than others based on what your trip is all about. You must also consider where on Mackinac Island you want to be: Main Street? Waterfront? Tucked away?

A Shepler's ferry boat full of travelers plies the water off Mackinac Island

Ways of Getting to Mackinac Island

With the lodging booked, we recommend thinking about how you get to Mackinac Island. We hope by this point you already know that Mackinac Island is car free. It’s part of what makes the island so special. So, getting here isn’t as simple as driving your car and parking directly outside your hotel. But don’t fret, the Mackinac Island ferry companies – Shepler’s and Mackinac Island Ferry Co. – will take good care of you.

All season long, you’ll find ferry service that departs in both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. You can purchase your ferry tickets ahead of time or directly at the docks. Departures are frequent, so if you happen to miss the departure time you were aiming for you won’t have to wait around all that much. And if you prefer to travel by air rather than water, Fresh Air Aviation provides affordable passenger charter service from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island. It takes around 20 minutes to get to Mackinac Island via ferry and 7 minutes via plane.

A horse-drawn carriages passes a Mackinac Island church on a sunny fall day with leaves changing colors

How to Get Around on Mackinac Island

As mentioned, there are no cars on Mackinac Island. So, how does everyone get around? Bikes and horses are prevalent. This presents you an important decision: Bring or your own bike to Mackinac Island or rent one? You’ll find several rental options including single-speed, three-speed, five-speed, tandems, mountain bikes, kids bikes, burleys, beach cruisers and more. Additionally, you can rent wheelchairs and mobility carts from many of the shops. You can rent bikes in hourly, half-day, full-day and 24-hour blocks. You can also bring your own bikes with you on the trip for an additional fee on your ferry ticket.

In addition to getting around on bicycle, horse-drawn transportation is everywhere. In fact, taking a narrated horse-drawn carriage tour of Mackinac Island is the most popular visitor activity. If you just need a ride from one place to another, a horse-drawn Mackinac Island taxi is your best option.


Locking down your hotel room, putting together your transportation plans, and deciding whether to bring your own bike are three integral aspects to laying the foundation of your trip to Mackinac Island. Everyone will bring their own personal variables to the table in regards to these three components. Much like Mackinac Island itself, how you configure these options into your trip is unique. Think about your situation, what you hope to accomplish with your Mackinac Island getaway, and proceed with your planning accordingly.

And if you need some help in the planning stages, don’t hesitate to contact us here at the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau.


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