Mackinac Island in April

April is a month of change on Mackinac Island. The month starts out quiet, thawing from the winter season and quickly turns into the summer destination many people know and love.

There is a sense of excitement, anticipation, and urgency as the Island awakens for the start of the season.

Although Mackinac Island is known as a May-October destination, there are a handful of businesses that get an early start and generally open their doors the last weekend in April. This date varies year to year of course so be sure to check out the latest seasons updates on Mackinac Island.

As the weather begins to warm up, the summer ferries begin to fill with seasonal employees and, of course, horses make their way back to Mackinac Island, here’s a snapshot of what to expect in April!

A group of horses is led along the ferry dock after returning to Mackinac Island on an early spring day


The first official day of spring may be in March, but April is when it starts to warm up on Mackinac Island. Of course, it is Northern Michigan and the weather can be unpredictable. But for the most part, the beginning of April brings average Mackinac Island temperatures of 30 to 40 degrees for highs, rising to 50 degrees by the end of the month.

One thing to note is that Mackinac Island is very wet and muddy in April. Not only is most of the snow and ice melting, making the trails muddy and puddles abundant, but the old saying “April showers bring May flowers” applies.

If you are planning an April visit to the Island, be sure to bring layers, rain boots, a rain jacket, and make sure you have a fender on your bicycle! Bicyclists without fenders get the Mackinac Island stripe up their back pretty quickly.
Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel seen through the window of a passing ferry boat in early spring before the trees have leaves


The best ways of getting to Mackinac Island in April varies depending on what time of the month you go.

For ferries, the first half of the month continues to follow the winter boat schedule. The only ferry available is through Mackinac Island ferry departing from St. Ignace.

Generally, a week before opening weekend (again, opening weekend is usually the last weekend in April), Shepler’s Ferry Company will begin to run their boats and Mackinac Island Ferry Company transitions to their summer boats and offers departures from Mackinaw City.

Both ferry companies have ferries leaving from both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace in the later part of April.

Another way of getting to Mackinac Island is by taking an air taxi or charter plane from the St. Ignace airport or flying a small private plane directly to the Mackinac Island airport.

  • Fresh Air Aviation operates out of the St. Ignace Airport and flies directly to the Mackinac Island Airport. It is about a 7-minute flight for a $45 one-way adult ticket. Call ahead to schedule a flight with them at 906-285-6727.
  • North Country Aviation is another way to get to Mackinac Island and offers chartered flights from nearby airports. Visit their website for more information.

If you are flying into the Mackinac Island Airport, it is recommended to arrange a horse-drawn taxi ahead of time 906-847-3323. The Mackinac Island Airport is about 2 miles from the downtown area.

Mackinac Island visitors wearing hats and coats line up to buy tickets for horse-drawn carriage tours in early spring


The businesses and attractions that are open on Mackinac Island in April really depends on when you are planning to visit.

The businesses that are open year-round (visit the Mackinac Island winter page to see them all), remain open, of course. April is also when you’ll find business owners and employees making their way back to Mackinac Island, finishing up those fresh coats of paint and preparing their spaces for the busy season ahead.

If you plan on visiting before the last weekend of April, Mackinac Island will be abuzz with people, but there won’t be a lot going on in terms of entertainment. Almost everything is still shut down: Horse-drawn carriage tours don’t begin until opening weekend, and Fort Mackinac doesn’t open until the first weekend in May.

The opening weekend at the end of April will see a handful of additional places opening their doors with an even larger number of stores and businesses opening the first weekend in May.

The best thing to do is check out the latest Mackinac Island Season Updates to see when Mackinac Island businesses are opening for the season.

Livery workers lead horses down the street after returning to Mackinac Island on an early spring day


There aren’t many activities nor events on Mackinac Island in April. It’s a time when the Island is transitioning into opening, but many businesses are still getting their feet under them.

Activities, events, and live music will begin to pick up in May.

Click here for a list of annual events on Mackinac Island and click here for a list of daily events on Mackinac Island.

Infographic with details on packing layered clothing, rainboots, rain jackets and riding a bicycle with a fender in April on Mackinac Island


  • Early April is still too early to visit if you are looking for the full Mackinac Island experience. A handful of businesses will begin to open at the end of April, with an even larger number of them opening in May. To get a better idea of what to expect, see the latest Mackinac Island Season Updates.



  • Mackinac Island is wet and muddy in April. It’s a mixture of melting snow, rain, mud, and puddles. Be sure to bring the appropriate clothing and gear for your visit!


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